What do the words “innovation”, “change”, and “Microsoft” have in common? A powerhouse in the world of business applications, Microsoft is once again demonstrating its ability to innovate and change with the introduction of Power Pages. Power Pages is the next generation of a Microsoft's Power App Portals offering, and this latest innovation will help businesses get to market faster with their Portal Websites. This blog will provide an understanding of what Power Pages is and the features that are being introduced with this next generation of Power Apps Portals.
Power Pages - What Is it?
In technical speak, this is an enterprise-grade, low/no code software as a service platform for creating business facing websites. In simpler terms, this is a solution that allows businesses to take internal data from Dynamics 365 and make it available to external users. Power Apps Portals is the earlier generation of Power Pages, so the base foundation of providing secure access to internal data isn't new. However, the experience for creating those external facing portal pages is getting in line with Microsoft's no/low code philosophy.
The new features coming out with Power Pages includes a new design studio for easier page creation, an easier process for creating sites, new templates for creating content, and a Learning hub. All of these changes are geared towards the business development teams creating the portal pages meaning. This is exciting because this means Microsoft is trying to help lower the cost of entry for businesses to create and manage portals while still maintaining a secure means of delivering information to external portal users.
The Design Studio makes the portal creation experience so much easier. Changes to pages and site menus can be viewed in line while editing.
There are 4 different "work spaces" included with the design studio.
- Page Workspaces: This area of the studio provides the ability for users to build web pages with no or low code widgets including text, image, video, POWER BI reports, lists, and forms. It also provides the ability to easily preview changes as they are made.
- Styling workspace: This area of the studio gives users the ability to apply global site styling - think corporate branding. There are 13 preset themes to start from which can be customized in a variety of ways - from changing color palettes, font styles, button styles, and section margins. As with the Page Workspaces, users can easily preview changes as they are made. While templates are provided, the ability to support custom styling does remain in place.
- Data workspace: This are of the studio provides the ability to visualize and manage the business data presented within the portal. This includes the layout of tables, forms, and lists. This workspace allows for the editing or creation of new model-driven forms and views, and the changes made here are stored in the Common Data store. This workspace, like the others draws on the creation of experience of model driven apps and power apps, so end users familiar with the Power Apps platform will find this easy to adopt and navigate.
- Setup workspace: This area of the studio is geared towards administration and site configuration. Here, portal admins can configure identity providers, security and permissions, go live configurations, and progressive web app settings. Though these capabilities are not new to portal, the process for managing them has been streamlined a great deal with this area of the studio.
Along with the new design studio comes an improved experience for creating a trial. Interested users can go to https://powerpages.microsoft.com and select the “Try it Free” option to get started on a “sign up” basis with a trial. Once the trial is launched, users can create sites, try out templates, view sample sites with sample data, and connect to their own customer data.
As mentioned above, there are new templates available for use with the Power Pages design studio. When creating a new site, users can pick from a default template OR a scenario-based template to increase the speed of site generation. There are a handful of templates available today and as this product matures and reaches general availability, one can expect Microsoft and the community to deliver more starting templates.