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Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Power Apps

Introduction

This article will explain how to apply Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) in Azure DevOps for Power Apps. It will be shown how to set up the required Azure DevOps environment. Furthermore, it will be described how source code/Power Apps can be versioned, quality assurance can be performed and subsequently artifacts delivered to the production environment.

The history of the article is longer. The first draft was already written by me in 2019. In the meantime I have worked on it again and again. What finally kept me from publishing it was, in my opinion, not yet “finished” tooling of the “Microsoft Power Platform Build Tools for Azure DevOps – Power Platform | Microsoft Docs”. The originally available tooling (Azure DevOps Extension) is still available now but has been marked as “DEPRECATED” since the jump to version 0.3.7. Already since the jump from version 0.1.16 to version 0.3.6 the original tooling has been fundamentally revised/improved.

In version 0.1.16, the access credentials (user name/password) had to be stored in plain text to set up the connection. Since version 0.3.6 this authentication can finally be setup using Service Principals.

Authentication methods

Figure: Authentication methods

The old (not recommended) method (yellow) is still available. So the transition to the new option (green) is seamless, even for users who have already used previous versions of BuildTools or have not yet set up Service Principals. When changing to or starting with the current version of the Build Tools, you should always be using Service Principals.

Two versions are available in the Visual Studio Marketplace:

  1. Power Platform Build Tools – Visual Studio Marketplace
  2. (DEPRECATED) PowerApps BuildTools – Visual Studio Marketplace

As described above, this extension [2] is now marked as “DEPRECATED”, so only [1] should be used.
The tools currently available for Azure DevOps are basically a wrapper around the SolutionPackager for D365 Customer Engagement (CRM).

The final architecture, for the integration of Azure DevOps and Power Platform, will look like the following on an abstract level.

Architecture overview

Figure: Architecture overview

Microsoft itself suggests two different approaches for ALM in conjunction with the Power Platform. 1 In this article the first variant is described, where only the source code is versioned, but not the packed solutions. In the context of classical software development this is also the normal way, because usually only source code and not compiled binaries are versioned.

Continue reading “Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Power Apps”

Weekly CW17-2020

When you try to focus on one technology, such as Microsoft Azure, as I do, you often forget to think outside the box. Due to the current situation, Google has made all online training materials for the Google Cloud currently available for 30 days free of charge.

Google Cloud learning resources at no cost for 30 days | Google Cloud Blog

Really a good possibility to extend your own knowledge and to look beyond your own nose, if you have not had any contact with GCP before.

If you have had contact with databases as a developer, ask why things are the way they are and what needs to be considered to prevent problems. »Things I Wished More Developers Knew About Databases« is a longer article, but a really good one.

There are several ways to get started using Microsoft Graph. One possible good one is »A Lap around Microsoft Graph Toolkit in Day 1 – An Overview of Microsoft Graph Toolkit«.

Developers who are starting to get involved with Power Apps are often surprised that OOTB there are no popup dialogs in Power Apps. But not everyone needs to reinvent the wheel. Therefore you should use components that have already been developed by others. »Canvas Power App Modal Dialog (Popup) – Power Platform Community« shows one possible way.

Weekly CW16-2020

Julie Lerman wrote a very detailed article about the Entity Framework Core 3.0 with »Entity Framework Core 3.0: A Foundation for the Future«. Very interesting to read why the Entity Framework team has laid the foundation for further innovations with this version.

Uncertain which asynchronous messaging solution in Azure is the right one for a specific requirement? Then you should read the documentation »Asynchronous messaging options in Azure« from Microsoft to get a good overview of all available options.

If you want to start running an ASP.NET Core application in a container then you will often have basic questions about how to start it. Greg Roe has published a two-part article that explains exactly that.

Weekly CW015-2020

Personally the biggest announcement this week was that Microsoft announced that all of their events will be digital-only until July 2021. For me personally this could be an indicator on when we could expect things to become normal again after the current pandemic.

Are you interested in IoT and looking to get a »AZ-220: Azure #MSIoT Developer certification«? Then you can get start your preparation with
»Set up an IoT Edge Gateway«.

If you ever wondered on how to create a solution using CQRS and Event Sourcing using C# then you definitely should have a look at »A Fast and Lightweight Solution for CQRS and Event Sourcing«. A very comprehensive article which explains this end-to-end.

Are you a SharePoint or Teams developer and ever asked yourself why you should care about Azure Functions? Then you should have a look at »Microsoft 365 & SharePoint PnP Weekly – Episode 74«.

Renaming Azure "Root" management group not possible

When you start dealing with management groups in Azure, you may get to the point where you want to rename the “Root” management group. But even the simple query of the group will cause a problem.

In order for modifications/queries to be possible for this management group, you must first elevate the access rights for your own account, even if you are already a directory administrator. A corresponding message is also displayed in the Azure Portal.

The entire process is explained in the article “Elevate access to manage all Azure subscriptions and management Groups”. Once you have altered your own access rights as described here or had them altered, you can make the appropriate changes or simply query the management group.

Unfortunately, the “Tenant Root Group” cannot be queried by name in the Azure CLI resp. the name of this group is not meaningful. However, with elevated access rights you can query all management groups and thus find out the name of this particular group.

az account management-group list

Announcement from Microsoft: Introducing Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions

Today Microsoft announced that Office 365 will become Microsoft 365 and therefore announced new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions which will be available on April 21st. But this announcement is bigger than just a simple rebranding of a product.

Apart from renaming Microsoft announced that two new Microsoft 365 experiences will roll out as a preview in the coming months – a new Microsoft Family Safety app and new features in Teams.

But Microsoft even announced more today. Microsoft Edge (Chromium based) will get new features. You can find all the details about this here.

In addition Microsoft unveiled a new editor – Microsoft Editor – which is an AI powered service available in 20 languages. All the details can be found here. This editor can be used on its own as standalone browser extension for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, or in Word and Outlook.com.

For PowerPoint Microsoft introduced an AI assistant which should assist you in becoming a better presenter by observing your presentation style which I think is a great new feature.

But this is not the end of new features. But instead of rephrasing all of the new announcements I recommend that you simply go the first source of this post and have a look at all the details of Microsoft’s announcement.

Sources

  1. Introducing the new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions
  2. Extending the power of Azure AI to Microsoft 365 users
  3. The top 10 reasons to switch to the new Microsoft Edge
  4. Introducing Microsoft Editor – Bring out your best writer wherever you write

Weekly CW012-2020

This edition of my weekly is a little bit late not because of Corona but instead I simply forgot it because I’m on holiday (at home).

Year after year since I’m working in IT I keep on reading stories about how awesome VIM is. Nevertheless I never got into it mostly I guess because I have been a Windows user most of the time. But I’m still curious to get into it even more lately because of WSL2 which makes all Linux tooling available for Windows users. Interesting to read why and how others are using VIM: »Confession: I’m a Vim user«

The combination of Kubernetes and KEDA as an extension is really powerful. Even more impressive it is to see a demo like »KubeView & Keda Demo« by Ben Coleman.

I guess almost everyone knows WD-40. Therefore I think it is quite interesting to read »The History Of WD-40 Is Stranger Than You Think And No This Isn’t Sponsored Content I Just Thought It Was Weird«.

Trying to get started with Power Platform? Then Tracy van der Schyff wrote something for you. »Power Platform: What How When & Why« is a really good high level introduction on the platform.

But most importantly for this weeks edition is: #StayTheFHome

Weekly CW011-2020

Looking for great input on .NET architecture? Then have a look at this tweet by Nish Anil. Microsoft made four new e-books available. These are in detail:

Are you an ASP.NET developer who is interested in Kubernetes? Have a look at this introduction: »ASP.NET Community Standup – Feb 25, 2020 – Intro to Kubernetes for ASP.NET Core devs«

If you are using Git you’ve probably heard of Git Flow. George Stocker has an interesting point in »Please stop recommending Git Flow!«.

Weekly CW010-2020

Talking about monitoring or observability? Have a look at »Observability is a Many-Splendored Definition«. You should no longer be talking about monitoring but instead about observability.

Trying to understand how you need to do authentication using Power Platform’s CDS? Then have a look at »How to authenticate your code with Azure Active Directory and Common Data Service« by Jens Christian Schrøder.

»How to merge two or multiple git repositories into one« was a huge time saver for me last week because I needed to merge two different Git repositories. As I had done this never before this article was a big time saver for me.

Dona Sarkar who is a always recommendation to follow on twitter, if you are interested in #PowerPlatform, tweeted about a great demo by Chris Huntingford. He demoes end to end how to built a complete application using #PowerPlatform in 45 minutes.