March 3, 2021

Power Fx and Power Automate Desktop, my opinion

Microsoft announced a couple of things regarding Power Platform, Power Fx and Power Automate Desktop for Windows 10 users.

I start with Power Fx, you can find a couple of posts here:
Introducing Microsoft Power Fx: the low-code programming language for everyone
What is Microsoft Power Fx?

I am happy the language used in Canvas Apps got an official name (and it will be Open Source too) but I am not surprised, sooner or later (just for Documentation purposes) you need to call this agglomerate of functions in some way, so people can easily check or ask questions about it.

I am also happy that the code behind a Canvas App can be easily stored inside a source control system but let's be honest, nobody in a clear state of mind would be happy to edit that kind of YAML files directly :)

For how long we will continue to talk about low-code, citizen developers and stuff like that? When I was younger I developed applications with Visual Basic 6, I am sure that people developing in C++ thought about Visual Basic like it's a toy or something similar, the reality is that who used Visual Basic was probably a developer with less knowledge than the average C++ developer, nothing to be ashamed for, because there is a difference if I need to create a Windows driver for a PC component or a Windows Forms application to manage my customers.

As much as I appreciate the games developed by Scott Durow for Canvas Apps, using just a specific option (like a Canvas App or a writing a plugin) because it's technically possible should be (in my opinion) avoided. Like writing a 1000 lines of code plugin instead of 3 blocks inside a flow, or creating the biggest flow on earth just to avoid a 10 lines of code plugin. I think less of who write code in Canvas Apps? Definitely not, I call them "citizen developers"? Definitely not, if you know how to develop good for you, if you found a tool that encourage you to write better and lesser code good for you. For me Power Fx is not a low-code language, it's just a code language, like C#, JavaScript, VBA Macros, etc etc. Why I say this? because I can be proficient in one of the most common code languages, but I am sure that there are plenty of developers (maybe proficient in Assembler) developing more complicated stuff than I do. But the moment we write some code we are all developers, that's matter.

Moving to a more interesting topic, the new release of Power Automate Desktop for Windows 10 users is an AMAZING news. Announcement post:
Automate tasks with Power Automate Desktop for Windows 10—no additional cost

This is a game changer for Windows, if you are familiar with Mac, it is comparable to what Automator does. I quickly downloaded the application (link is and it's really something users should try.

Check this screenshot:

These are the actions related to FTP, imagine that your security camera saves the files in a specific FTP site and you want to copy automatically that files to a local folder (maybe synced with OneDrive), no manual steps, you can just create the automation and launch it.
Having a tool like this included in Windows will make users more familiar with the technology itself and the possibilities it offers, this means that when a user will need to automate some tasks in a work environment, already has the experience to do this kind of tasks.

Next time I need to create a repetitive task, I will definitely check if I can do it using Power Automate Desktop first.


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