Microsoft has unveiled a brand new low-code development platform called Power Pages to easily build websites and web applications without the need for developers.
The new product builds on its existing Power Apps Portals product, which also allows businesses to build apps without a deep understanding of software development.
Power Pages is the fifth and final product to be added to Microsoft’s Power Platform and will install alongside Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents.
Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president of enterprise applications and platform at Microsoft, said IT Professional that anyone familiar with Office 365 will find Power Pages functionality intuitive and easy to learn.
“There are hundreds of millions of people, probably a billion people around the world, who would feel comfortable in this Office 365-like development environment, and we’re going to the models that they’re already used to, and allowing them,” he said.
“I think that’s been the key to the rapid growth of Power Platform, it’s because we went in that direction: we took Office and added development capability, as opposed to the other coming of a programming language and trying to simplify.”
Power Pages users will be able to create rich and interactive web pages using the build platform which is primarily driven by a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than a traditional integrated development environment (IDE).
The new product has already been used by New Zealand’s Department of Business Innovation and Employment to launch a visa application program. Microsoft said the former government website was supposed to support applications from 120,000 immigrants, but had hit a breaking point at 5,000 users.
The platform can be used by non-developers and professional programmers to create beautiful web pages much faster than it would take a company to find a development team and go through the lengthy planning process, said Microsoft.
Lamana added that Power Apps, the technology Power Pages is built on, is primarily an in-house product, which means companies are expected to use tools like Power Pages to troubleshoot intra-company issues.
The New Zealand case study was an example of an outward-facing product, but the perfect use case for the technology is one that relies heavily on forms.
“You’re not creating an Uber-like experience with a map and a search bar and drawing cars on maps – you’re not doing that level of sophistication. Overall, you’re gathering information, triggering a workflow and run a process,” Lamana said.
Microsoft’s CVP added that there is “tremendous demand” among companies to create new products, but, with development resources so limited, the idea is that companies will feel empowered on Power Platform to use the similar tools and concepts to which they are accustomed. see in the likes of PowerPoint and Excel.
Fixing bugs with web products is easier compared to a traditionally developed application, Lamana said, because the code generated by Power Pages is low-code/no-code.
“If you get 50,000 lines of code generated, but want to make some adjustments, it’s a very tedious process. In the case of Power Apps, it generates this visual representation, so it’s very easy to see exactly what has been created by our AI models,” Lamana said.
“And then to tweak it, you want to move a button up 10 pixels, you just click on it and drag it up 10 pixels. You want to bind additional logic to a particular form element, just click on it and start writing power effects formula bar – low code studio on the other side completely changes the dynamics.
Power Platform Express further streamlines design
Microsoft also revealed that it is still working on a new feature called Power Platform Express, which allows businesses using Power Pages to upload an image of a user interface (UI) and have Microsoft’s AI models automatically generate the working UI from the image in Power Pages Builder.
The functionality is similar to Flutter’s integration with Adobe Creative Cloud software, which allows user interfaces to be created from Adobe Illustrator files, for example.
The feature is driven using Microsoft’s AI models combined with machine learning and builds on the company’s work with AI code suggestions, already found in the Visual Studio Code IDE , which suggests entire blocks of code to developers to streamline the creation of new features.
“Our approach to AI and these use cases is to augment people rather than replace them,” Lamana said. “So just making people more productive.
“We’re in private preview right now, so we have customers basically using and trying it out – early adopters – and Build will be when it gets really big and wide.”
Microsoft’s vision for low-code, no-code
Microsoft is betting big on the low-code movement and sending the message that it wants to “democratize app development”.
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Lamana said the company draws an analogy to the world moving away from using travel agents to book vacations. Internet companies have given the tools to search for flights and hotels to every Internet user and it seems that companies will be looking for low-code specialists more and more over the next five to ten years.
He also said proficiency in weak code could be a common sight on resumes in the same time frame, comparing proficiency to the number of professionals who put proficiency in office software on their skills list when applying for a job. new jobs today.
According to Microsoft figures, 92% of Fortune 500 companies have built using Power Apps in at least one of their departments.
“This transformation has gone from zero to almost every company in the world in just a few years, so I think that’s it,” he said. “We’re early in the game, but I think we’re lower than people might think in terms of adoption of these [technologies].”
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