Michel Mendes’s groundbreaking blog post focuses on building more dynamic Adaptive Card experiences for Teams with a new addition to the Microsoft Power Apps family: Cards for Power Apps in its preview state. He emphasizes how these Cards differ from traditional Canvas apps: Rather than heavyweight web pages or mobile apps, they are mini apps built on the same framework as Adaptive Cards.
This innovation entwines with Power Fx and Power Platform connectors, exerting logic and data manipulation much more straightforwardly than resorting to extraneous applications or Power Automate flows or tweak JSON. As of the present, only Microsoft Dataverse is usable, but he anticipates more compatibility in the imminent future.
With the no-code card designer in Power Apps, creating cards has been made more accessible. Allowing quick card design and behavior setup, it also supports JSON editing for more tailored experiences. This designer incorporates the screen concept, much like a Canvas app, enabling several cards within one card app, governed by custom Power Fx.
A unique aspect of Power Apps Cards is the introduction of a new variable persistence, which comes with two persistence types: Temporary and Permanent. Any variable value set in a Cards instance is subject to these two persistence scopes, depending on the context.
While adding a new connector, the process will be similar to that on a Canvas app. Once a connector is chosen and a table selected, standard Power Fx formulas such as Filter, LookUp, Patch, and Collect can be applied to manipulate the data. While updating and adding data to these tables, the user might experience some divergence in approach.
A click on the ‘Send’ button in the Cards for Power Apps player will generate a shareable link. Once this link is pasted in Teams chat, the card renders directly within the conversation, and Users can interact with it.
The utilization of Cards for Power Apps signals a dynamic shift away from the standard process of using JSON to design Adaptive Cards and handling logic with a custom Teams app/bot or separate workflows built with Power Automate/Logic Apps. It introduces a faster way to build interactive cards, connect to data using Power Platform connectors, and easily add logic using Power Fx language. Microsoft's Power Apps Cards simplifying the process of adaptive card experiences underscores Microsoft’s goal of empowering productivity and seamless collaboration.
Coming soon to the Power Apps family is the Cards for Power Apps (Preview) feature. Conceived to operate as compact applications as opposed to extensive web pages or mobile applications, these cards are anchored in the same technology that drives Adaptive Cards. The key advantage here is that Power Fx, Power Platform connectors, and logic can simplify data management instead of having to fine-tune JSON content or build separate applications or Power Automate flows for data analysis.
At present, only Microsoft Dataverse is available, but there are plans to bring in more connectors in due course. Cards for Power Apps will allow users to create more interactive digital card experiences, meaning that you can create cards more easily from the maker portal. The designer for these cards also incorporates the screen concept, much like a Canvas app.
A new concept of variable persistence has also be introduced, but it requires variables to be explicitly configured in the app. Variables come with two persistence types: Temporary and Permanent. A temporary value gets reset every session, whereas a permanent value persists across card sessions in the same instance of the card, even when sent to different users.
The process of adding a new connector is quite similar to a Canvas app. From the Data pane, Dataverse can be selected, then a connection chosen, and finally, a table picked to be used. Following this, regular Power Fx formulas like Filter, Lookup, Patch, and Collect can be used to manipulate Dataverse data. Furthermore, slight differences exist in the data updating approach from cards. For updating existing items, Power Fx code can be run from a button.
Creating new items, however, entails a different approach in which patching with defaults ought to be substituted with a Collect function call - this is the only supported method at the moment. Once all the necessary modifications have been made, cards can be shared through Teams.
Compared to the tedious method of using JSON to design Adaptive Cards, the newer Cards for Power Apps allows for a quick and easy setup of interactive cards with a drag-and-drop designer.
In essence, with the Cards for Power Apps, superior Adaptive Card experiences can be created and used within Teams. Nonetheless, it is good to note that as the feature is still in its Preview stage, the utility or features may be subject to change when it eventually achieves GA status.
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