Hi all! The Microsoft Build 2022 Book of Reviews continues... In the previous post, Mohamed El-Qassas went though the major announcements, divided by technology areas. Today we will look at Microsoft Build from my own perspective. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, I have several Build stories to tell, but you need to be patient, I will simply save the best stories for later, sneak peak only it was in my first post. :) Until then, in this post I will tell you more about Build 2022 from my own perspective. Here are the main technology areas again, as presented at Build, number 8 has a framed picture, with a message told at Build by Charles Lamanna, CVP, Business Applications and Platform.
As mentioned in my first post, I'm a BizApps MVP. I have worked with Microsoft Dynamics CRM/xRM/365/CE since version 3 and I still remember the feeling of coming from working with an own developed (by the company I was then working at) CRM system, to starting to work with Microsoft products. You could find answers on the Internet! Both in forums and also on many personal blogs from passionate people. There was a whole community out there with helpful people. What a feeling not being the only one stuck with a certain issue!
Why am I interested in Microsoft events?
In order to answer the WHY question, I need to talk a little bit about the technical parts. The features and announcements. I know this blog is about the other side of things, the community and their stories, but for me, it is not possible to tell only one side of things. Technology could of course exist without community, but the communities I am involved in could not exist without technology and communities make it more fun to work when we can all help each other to solve different challenges. They are simply mixed together, technology and community and you can be passionate about both. Technology by wanting to try out all the new features, understand what tools we can use, learn in detail how it all works and figure out how to best apply it and make great solutions for customers. Community by sharing what we have learned and connecting with people all over the world, exchange knowledge, highlight and support each other.
From my perspective, Build in general means big news and announcements. There are Power Platform and Dynamics 365 Release Waves with related Release Plans, and there are Microsoft events. These events come with announcements and then the Release Plans are updated. As mentioned in my previous post, Build has been a developer focused conference since 2011. It still is. However, low code parts as well as collaboration concepts are included these days. That means, Microsoft Build, is of interest for anyone working with Microsoft technologies and development, but also with Power Platform and Microsoft 365, even if you are a developer or not.
All Microsoft events which has Power Platform related content is of interest to me. Having a technical background, I am also interested in all things techy. So the developer aspects are of interest for me too and I am always extra happy when I see Microsoft speaking about Power Platform and that there is a place for developers too. After all, I am interested in technology, of course how to apply it and make use of it for my customers, but also, I am interested in how things work and why and how it all fits together. The tiny details! Not only the configuration parts, but also how you can extend your Power Platform solutions further.
This year at Build, my feeling was that this was the message more than ever at a Microsoft event, that there is a place for developers too.
Charles Lamanna ended his (and Jeff Teper's) session Innovate with collaborative apps and low code mentioning that this is the biggest Build ever for the Power Platform. Features mentioned were collaboration though commenting across the platform, Power Apps Wrap (distributing native apps) and versioning control with GitHub.
If you work with Power Platform and as a developer, you know about the possibilities to extend solutions. There was also a session about it, which I will write about more in an upcoming post, since I have talked to one of my community friends, who is known for a helpful community tool related to Power Platform and he had so many great Build tips so I will just save all that until I tell you that whole Build story, another day!
Before a Microsoft event, I usually try to prepare by registering and making a schedule. I search for Power Platform related sessions and I also make sure to search for the people I know usually hold such sessions, Charles Lamanna, Julie Strauss and Ryan Cunningham just to mention a few. Now I will go though some of the sessions that I liked this year.
You simply cannot miss the main keynote, Build 2022 Opening Keynote. That advice is for all events. Keynotes include the major announcements. This year we could see how Power Platform related announcements made it to the keynote once again. That tells us Microsoft is investing in these areas. One such announcement was the introduction of Power Pages. From being one of the app types in Power Apps to become a main part of its own in the Power Platform family.
After the announcement, there was an example on how Power Pages had been used by citizen developer Edgar Simões to create real-time support for Ukrainian refugees. Ukraine Live Aid - Power Pages, a website with an interactive map displaying donation sites in Portugal. It was a good example and very very nice to see it included in the keynote.
One thing that caught my mind though was that it is often described how easy it is to create apps and other kinds of solutions. However, in reality it can be simple to set up a demo, PoC, or productivity app for your own use, but a production ready solution with proper ALM might be another story. It is just good to remember that. In order to have maintainable solutions, I'm all for proper ALM stories. But enough about that here. There was a whole session dedicated to Power Pages by the way, Announcing Power Pages - the go-to, low-code website creator for your complex business needs!
Also Express Design for Power Apps made it to the keynote, go from Image or Figma design to App. You probably have noticed this, the major announcements usually repetitively show up in different sessions, from different angles and with different demos. Power Pages and Express design were among the popular announcements to be included and described in several different sessions this year. Except for the keynote, you can see both Power Pages and Express Design in these three sessions.
There was one session, which was dedicated to Power Apps What’s new in the world of Microsoft Power Apps and in this session they did not only talk about Image to App and Figma to App, they also talked about API to App. If I had not watched that session, I would have missed this! So this one I want to highlight a little extra!
For anyone wanting to catch up with Power Virtual Agents or Power Automate related news, this session is for you. How to accelerate cloud automation and conversational bot development for developers. I found interesting that it will be possible to have the UI configuration experience of Power Automate embedded in your own SAAS application, similar to how it is embedded in Microsoft Teams. There was an example in this session, how Adobe Sign is using Power Automate embedded.
There were many great sessions and lots of more announcements which I have not brought up. Don't miss the Book of News and don't forget to revisit the digital venue and watch sessions on-demand.
If I could wish for something more, it would be to have on-demand content available even faster and also one thing that Ronen mentioned in his introduction post, that the background music during the sessions could be a bit annoying. I just wanted to hear what's new and focus on that! :)
What is an event without having concepts reimagined and new icons being introduced?!
One more Power Platform related piece of news to tell here. Build 2022 did not only announce reimagined features when Power Pages was introduced, it also gave us new icons. For Power Platform itself, as well as for Power Fx, AI Builder and of course the new member of the Power Platform family, Power Pages. If you did not know, icons can be downloaded from Microsoft Doc, Microsoft Power Platform icons, don't miss the related links on that page, where you can also find Azure and Dynamics 365 icons available for download.
My last Build tips is that sessions are not only available on-demand, you can also download presentation decks which were used in the sessions. Just navigate to the on-demand session and you can find the Download Slides alternative. I really like that we have this option, however, it is not for all sessions, only for some. That is another thing I wish for, to be able to download the presentation decks from all sessions and not only some of them. :)
I watched most sessions on-demand and a few live. I know that other people appreciate connecting with community friends during the event and also to participate in the event in different ways. I like to try and keep up with what's new on my own and then talk to my community friends afterwards about the announcements and what we can make of it, i.e. what it means for our customers and what kind of solutions we can use it for. To find the value it can bring to customers.
This was Build from my perspective as a virtual attendee and also from a Power Platform point of view. Build 2022 brought me more than just the event of course, since I became a part of the reviewers team. I can't wait to publish the full stories that I have gathered for you, another day! Remember, I'm saving the best parts for later! Until then, enjoy the other stores which the reviewers team will bring you.
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