Custom Page Multiple Screens

Custom pages can only have one screen… Right? No, actually they can have multiple screens like a normal Canvas App

I was a bit surprised when learning this, because I have been told that there only was one screen pr Custom Page. Turns out that Microsoft only reccomends one screen pr Custom Page, because they want to isolate the pages better, and rather navigate betweeen custom pages.

In some cases you actually just want a simple screen instead of a new Custom Page.

Enabling multiple screens

This might be old news for many, but I for one did not notice this before recently🤷‍♂️

AI Builder + Lobe

During the recent Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge Hackathon I was playing around with AI Builder for the first time. The scenario we were going to build on there was the detection of Good guy / Bad guy.

The idea was that the citizens would be able to take pictures of suspicious behavior. Once the picture was taken, the classification of the picture would let them know if it was safe or not.

For this exercise I would use my trusted BadBoy/GoodBoy nephew toys:)

Lobe

To start it off I downloaded a free tool called Lobe. www.lobe.ai . Microsoft acquired this tool recently, and it’s a great tool to learn more about object recognition in pictures. The really cool thing about the software is that calculations for the AI model are done on your local computer, so you don’t need to setup any Azure services to try out a model for recognition.

Another great feature is that it integrates seamlessly with Power Platform. Once you train you model with the correct data, you just export it to Power Platform!👏

The first thing you need to do is have enough pictures of the object. Just do at least 15 pictures from different angles to make it understand the object you want to detect.

Tagg all of the images with the correct tags.

Next step is to train the model. This will be done using your local PC resources. When the training is complete you can export to Power Platform.

It’s actually that simple!!! This was really surprising to me:)

Power App

Next up was the Power App the citizens were going to use for the pictures. The idea of course that everyone had this app on their phones and licensing wasn’t an issue 😂

I just added a camera control, and used a button to call a Power Automate Cloud Flow, but this is also where the tricky parts began.

An image is not just an image!!!!! 😤🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️

How on earth anyone is supposed to understand that you need to convert a picture you take, so that you can send it to Flow, only there to convert it to something else that then would make sense???!??!

Image64 and Power Automate – What a shit show

After asking a few friends, and googling tons of different tips/trics I was able to make this line here work. I am sure there are other ways of doing this, but it’s not blatantly obvious to me.

Set(WebcamPhoto, Camera1.Photo);

Set(PictureFormat,Substitute(Substitute(JSON(WebcamPhoto,JSONFormat.IncludeBinaryData),"data:image/png;base64,",""),"""",""));

'PowerAppV2->Compose'.Run(PictureFormat);

The receiving Power Automate Cloud Flow looked like this:

I tried receiving the image as a type image, but I couldn’t figure it out. Therefore I converted it to a Base64 I believe when sending to Flow. In the Flow I again converted this to a binary representation of the image before sending it to the prediction.

The prediction on the other hand worked out really nice!! I found my model that I had imported from Lobe, and used the ouputs from the Compose 3 action (base64 to binary). I have no idea what the differences are, but I just acknowledge that this is how it has to be done.. I am sure there are other ways, but that someone will have to teach me in the future.

All in all it actually worked really well. As you can see here I added all types of outputs to learn from the data, but it was exactly as expected when taking a picture of Winnie the Poo 😊 The bear was categorized as good, and my model was working.

Why Lobe?

One can wonder why I chose to use Lobe for this, when the AI Builder has the training functionality included within the Power Platform. For my simple case it wouldn’t really matter what I chose to use, I just wanted to test out the newest tech.

When working with larger scale (numbers) of images, Lobe seems to be a lot easier for the importing/tagging/training of the model. Everything runs locally, so the speed of training and testing is a lot faster also. It’s also simple to retrain the model an upload again. This being a hackathon it was important to try new things out 😊

More about AI builder

I talked to Joe Fernandez from the AI builder team, and he pointed me to some resources that are nice to checkout regarding this topic.

https://myignite.microsoft.com/sessions/a5da5404-6a25-4428-b4d0-9aba67076a08 <- forward to 11:50 for info regarding the AI Builder

https://youtube.com/watch?v=MQQmDUCufS8 <- Lobe

Business Unit Name Change

Something small, but yet useful. Thank you Tanguy for the tip🤗

As you probably figured out the Default Business unit name is something you can’t change OOTB after you have created a CRM/Dataverse environment.

If you are not careful when creating a new environment the org name will be set for you, and that is also when the Business Unit Name is set.

This can result in the following main Business Unit, and it just doesn’t make any sense. Also you can’t change it because Parent Business needs to be entered. Problem is that there is no parent to the parent in this case 🤣

XrmToolBox – Bulk Data Update to the rescue😎

Open the view for active Business Units and find your result.

⛔NB!! Make sure your search only returns one business unit

Next thing you do is set a fixed value, add attribute to the bulk job, and the update the record.

Power Apps Pay As you GO!!💸

When Microsoft introduced Azure for the Microsoft public, it was a new way of thinking. We were suddenly paying for what we needed and when we needed it. Amazon had been there for a long while, but for Microsoft customers this was a new way of thinking. After a skeptical start, this model has really become somewhat of a system standard.

As of today Power Platform will be available on Azure subscription! It is being introduced as a “Pay as you go” model. It is important that you don’t mistake this for the same as Azure. In Azure you actually only pay for the compute time used (in most cases), but here you will pay for a license once you use an application.

WOW THIS IS SOOOO COOL … Well, is it really?

Let’s just think about the following first. Just a few weeks ago Microsoft dropped the prices to half of what they used to cost. They are now only 5$ and 20$ for the different plans. When you think about the value you get from a Dataverse OOTB that is a BARGAIN already.

So why am I not overly excited about the “Pay as you Go” PAYGO model? Well, I don’t really see the big impact yet. Most of my customers are on the CSP agreement, and can flex as much as they feel for. Planning ahead for apps is also hard, and is counter intuitive for innovation. By releasing a plan as PAYGO, you essentially need to plan financially for all users that might use an app, while you silently hope that not all users actually use the app that month. For every user that didn’t use the app, you save some money.

I am sure that the plan makes sense for many scenarios, but I just don’t really see them yet. The good thing is that “limitations/possibilities” for the new plan will be monitored closely in the beginning to find the correct levels for all types of use cases. Remember to voice your opinion if you see some great opportunity. Microsoft will be listening😀

Pricing comparison

Standard Pricing App and User Plan

Standard Pricing Storage

PAYGO Pricing app

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/powerapps-flow-licensing-faq#add-ons

PAYGO Storage

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/powerapps-flow-licensing-faq#add-ons

Personal Thoughts

The only thing that we know for sure is that licensing will always be a situation where we as consumers want changes. We want more more more, and want to pay less less less. Microsoft will continuously find new license models to adapt to our wishes while finding ways to keep profits. Don’t get me wrong. I am all about Microsoft being able to charge what they want. After all it’s a great product!!! I’m just saying that you need to look behind the shining stuff before you automatically assume that everything new is automatically better.

What you need to do as a customer is get help to assess assess your licensing situation. Not only is licensing complex from a rules perspective, but the applications can be modified to adapt to licensing changes. I am not saying PAYGO is bad, but I’m not jumping on the PAYGO train quite yet. Most of my customers are CSP customers and have a lot of freedom with licensing (Up and Down). Just going to see what happens first 😁

I might also have misunderstood quite a lot in regards to the benefits received from this model, and if so I would love feedback to learn new ways of thinking!👌

GIF Custom Connector

In my last post I wrote about Adaptive Cards in Teams, but a vital factor for that adaptive card to be interesting is the content on the card. Dynamics 365 Sales Adaptive Card🚀.

One of the technical bits last time was connecting with an HTTP GET request to the API. I will be using the same information to create a custom connector so that anyone can reuse for the future 😁

Creating the Connector

Step one.. open https:///make.powerapps.com .

Step 2.. Break down the URL from the first picture like this

Step three… If you don’t really know how to do this, ask a friend!! 🙂

Step three again.. Enter the security settings. When entering the security settings and providing something more than blank, you will be prompted with the credentials first time you create a connection to the connector.

I broke the URL down further with the “api_key” as a query, so that it would show in the URL like the example on the first picture.

Step four.. Create a search tag like the one I had in the URL from the first picture

Step five.. Get the URL from the first picture with your API key, and add this to the import sample

Choose the GET in this case, and add the full URL

Your request should look something like this:

Step 6.. Add a connection to the connector and test with a tag. It should return some info like this:

Result

When you are done, you have a custom connector you can reuse from Power Apps, Flow or any other tool that can use custom connectors.

Connector Gallery 🌌

What better thing to do than release this to the https://connector.gallery when you are done creating a new connector?? :😁💪🥇

The rise of the Galleries🌌

By now I hope most people know the https://pcf.gallery (run by Guido Preite). A great page for sharing community components (PCF) and exposing awesome contributions to the rest of the world. 🌎

What I like about the PCF Gallery is the simplicity of the site only being about PCF components. This is why I asked Guido if we could create a similar site for other components regarding the Power Platform. He was so kind to share his code for the project, so Matt Beard and I decided to give it a go. 🤗

Connector Gallery

First out in list of future galleries is the CONNECTOR gallery . This site will contain all sorts of custom connectors for Power Platform that you can share with the community. If you want to contribute to this gallery, you only have to share the custom connector file you have on GitHub, and we will post it out!

Dynamics / Power Apps + Office App Launcher

Launching a new app or launching a new CRM system always leaves the users with the same question. Where do I find the application? At first I didn’t really understand the question, because I thought it was natural to bookmark the URL to your application ie https://www.company.crm4.dynamics.com/***** etc.

Eventually I realized that most users are actually using the waffle menu in office 365 when navigating to applications that they don’t use continuously.

They were expecting to see the application in the list when you clicked the waffle menu, because this would save them time.

Luckily this is not a problem 😊 Open the all apps, and locate the app you are looking for

And just like that you now have a quick navigation to your CRM or Power App application in the Microsoft 365 app launcher👊

ACDC 2021 – Hackathon summary

WOW… Simply WOW. It’s the best way to summarize this years hackathon.

Normally this 3 day hackathon is situated in the beautiful hill of Holmenkollen, but this year we were forced to go online for obvious reasons. One little difference we did do was to open up for teams to gather locally at their companies offices. This way we could add a social factor within safety regulations without having to keep everyone 100% at home office.

We decided to have a participation fee for the event, and everything that was extra would be given to children’s cancer www.barnekreftforeningen.no

This project has consumed most of my time the last few months being a part of the committee, and getting it all together has not been easy.

We were 5 teams total and almost 40 participants that dedicated 3 whole days of fun where this years topic was LEGO.

ACDC 2021 (arcticclouddeveloperchallenge.net) <- Homepage for the hackathon with the live scores

Teams were from:
Point Taken (Point Taken Brixters)
Avanade (Orange Panthers)
Albatross (The Merge Conflict)
Skill (Klossmajorene)
Felleskjøpet (Cowders)

Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge Submissions (acdc.blog) <- The blog showing most things that were created during the 3 days.

Our team decided to create a Lego City where IOT sensors controlled it all. I will write more about the geek stuff in my next post, but this might give you some hint:

Winner of the tournament was Felleskjøpet, that simply were superior in this years technical setup and performance. Read more about their solutions in the ACDC BLOG!! 🙂

Final delivery – Cowders | Arctic Cloud Developer Challenge Submissions (acdc.blog)

Charity

While everything is fun and games, we were able to raise some money as well! 🙌✨🙌

This event just really made my day, and I am thankful for the People that made it happen. Amazing what community can do when we work together!

Ulrikke Akerbæk (Skill)
Carlos Briceno (Bouvet)
Marius Børresen (Felleskjøpet)
Jarle Engseth (Skill)
Ragnhild Baumann (Infoworker)
Thomas Sandsør (Point Taken)

What the Flex !?💪

So as of yesterday Common Data Service platform was rebranded to Dataflex Pro.

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-microsoft-dataflex-a-new-low-code-data-platform-for-microsoft-teams/

This post confused me way to much. Nothing seemed to make sense, and the only thing I could focus on was the extremely odd name Dataflex.

What about the name….

A quick online search shows that the name is already in use. Not only is it in use, but it is used by a competitive product offering low-code development! How on earth is it even possible to miss out on this?

https://www.dataaccess.com/products/dataflex-63

This sounds like a whole new SkyDrive – OneDrive problem, so I’m going to wait a bit before I rebrand everything to Dataflex

The voice of reason

My mind has been twisting and turning to understand the reasoning of it all of this, and luckily we have Jukka. His post is what Microsoft should have posted originally. It explains everything I was wondering about….. Except the name 😂

https://forwardforever.com/what-is-microsoft-dataflex/

Keep on flexing 💪

Scottish Summit 2020

Scottish summit was really impressive, and that is probably why you see everyone writing about it. There were so many sessions to attend, that it was impossible to be everywhere. That is why everyone has a different experience of the summit. That is just to say how extremely big it was!

Mark Christie and Iain Connolly…. Well Done!

Keynote – Jon Levesque

Picture from Marijn Somers

Kicking of the keynote was Jon Levesque entering the session on possibly the coolest way ever, and wearing a kilt accompanied by bagpipes

Jon is a great speaker. His talk was about personal transformation, and how he had gotten to where he was today. Believing in himself and setting a goal in his life. He wanted to get payed for talking. Given his current role in Microsoft, it is clear that he has come far with his goal.

He also time to talk about Samit from Heathrow (recent addition to the MVP family), and how his transformation from a security officer at the airport to one of the communities leading entrepreneurs in power platform.

He completed the keynote by talking about the community and the #PowerAddicts. The community is seeing a spike in participation that is just unreal. So many no-code / low-code enthusiast out there that love sharing knowledge. I have been in Dynamics since 2007 and I have never seen anything like it before. Sharing knowledge has never been so important, and I am glad I get to take part in it.

Tricia Sinclair – Omnichannel

Omnichannel is a fairly new product in the Dynamics family, and many people consider it USD’s little brother. I would say that the project is smaller than USD, but in functions it is amazing!

Microsoft link:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/omnichannel/introduction-omnichannel

Tricia made a recording!

Tricia recorded her session!

OmniChannel includes: Chat agent, SMS, Emails, Phone, facebook chat, WhatsApp, Wechat, Twitter, line, etc etc.

More about upcomming features here:
https://thecrm.ninja/omnichannel-wave-1-2020/

Smart Assist (really cool) on the right side of the panel reads the chat dialog and gives live suggestions to help the agent. In her example she mentioned a meeting, and the smart assist suggested to setup a meeting with the client. Things like this can be a major time saver and great help for the agents.

The best thing about this product is that many of the settings require very little configuration. Microsoft has produced something that is very similar to an actual product that delivers value from day one. I believe this product will fit both large and small companies because of the configurable setups. I would definitely set this on the “ONE TO WATCH” list for the next months.

Tricia is extremely knowledgeable about Dynamics, so it is just relaxing to hear her talk about it all. There is no doubt about what can or can’t be done. 

Seriously, I really want a project where I can use this tool. Connect with me if you want to be a trial customer for a good price:)

Ben Volmer – Field Service Business Value

In Europe we wonder if Microsoft ever looks outside the USA to see how the rest of the world is in scale. During this talk I really got into the mind of Ben and what discussions he is having with his customers. In short terms, everything is bigger there.

While Ben is talking about optimizing operations to save millions, I am still at the ABC’s in teaching what Field Service can do for your organization. Attending his session made me realize that I have a long way to go in order have a similar conversation with potential customers regarding Field Service optimization.

I learned a lot by actually not being able to relate to any of the business decisions that a Field Service organization in the USA (and large organizations) have to make. If you ever have the chance to go to a Ben session, make sure he indulges you in the business perspective of Field Service, because it put’s a lot of things into perspective. Functions and features you can read about in the release notes:)

Business models are changing, and old cost centers are now potentially the best ways of increasing revenue. Rolce Royce is no longer just an engine manufacturer. They now sell engines based on running time. This way the customer is paying for an active engine, and not the typical maintenance and support contract. This increases the revenue stream for the company by a lot, because the hardware business has lower margins now than ever before

Chris Huntingford – Functional Awesome

Chris is one of those people you just believe was born to talk. I am sure he has worked his ass of to be where he is today, but if you meet him you will know what I mean. He is simply in the correct role for his personality, and I am sure he is one of the major contributors to the fact that UK has such a great community.

So what about his session? Well, it was mostly about momentum in the Power Platform, and how it has been moving the last year(s). Just look at the numbers under to be amazed.

The platform has transformed what used to be workers without power, to workers that now call themselves citizen developers. Microsoft has a goal to grow the number of citizen developers to 10 mill within a few years, and that means that you, me, and everyone out there will learn how to get more out of the data in the organization. This is good news.

Chris also has a smart way of defining the difference of Model Driven apps and Canvas Apps.

Model Apps is the Line of Business application that supports complex business scenarios.

Chris

Canvas Apps is not LOB, but is designed to support a specific workload for a specific role. This is where the citizen developer comes in. Instead of having to use developers to get great value, non technical people now get the power to create smart applications. We ended the session by creating a UFO Sighting app within 10 minutes, just to prove how quick it can be done. We managed to create both a Model driven app and a Canvas app in that time. Not many platforms in the world are capable of something like this.

Lucy Bourne – Surviving Networking

Lucy shared 20 great tips for getting better at networking. This session also related to the mental issues that some people struggle with when they are their own worst enemy.

20: Go get started, take the leap
– Dare to do things you haven’t done before. What is the worst that can happen

19: Be ballsy, like Howie (ACDC)
– Howie was a consultant wanting to participate at the ACDC hackathon in Oslo. He didn’t have a team, but gave it a shot anyway. He wanted to be a part of something where he could identify as “home”.

18: Make a plan for the year, sessions, meetups etc. What does it mean for you personally?
– Being prepared helps you manage time better. Time is important, and when you improve your time skills, everyone around you benefits from this. Friends and Family should never be neglected when pursuing a dream. They should bee there as important assets in achieving a goal.

17: Work out where you want to start.
– Find your clan. Find out where you want to belong, and what passions others share. Be inclusive and never think you are better than others.

16: Find your focus
– You cant cover it all, and that is ok!!

Define topics and channels
– Where is your passion? Work on it

15: Be Authentic
– If people don’t like you for who you are, that is their problem. Don’t try to be something you are not. Unless you are an asshole, then you can change;)

14: Remember Empathy
Not just listen, but actually listen
#bekind

13: Meet people in their onlyness
Everyone has their own story to tell, experience and challenge. Understand them and try to relate.

12: Dedicate time to research
Figure out where people are talking, who the speakers are, topics they will be covering etc etc.

11: Follow up
– Luise Freese has found ways of automating follow-up of contacts when at seminars. Using different tools to reach out while recording who you are. Find a method that works for you, so that you don’t forget.

10: Share the Love
– Find something you like. Share it. Community is about sharing. Open up to others, and they will in turn open up to you.

9: Ask for help
– Be the person who asks the question everyone is wondering about. There is always someone there that is wondering about the same.

8:Create your own mission statement
How do you want to be perceived. Make it simple, but meaningful. That way it is easy for people to understand what your goal is.

7: Give it time
One event wont make you famous. Tender love and care.

6: Find a Balance
It can be overwhelming you being everywhere. Find inner peace knowing that not being at an event is OK.

5: Get the tools
– About.me. Smart way of sharing your info.
– Session questions (get customer interaction). Get the people in the audience activated

4: Remember inclusivity
– Bring a friend
– Be a friend
– Be a matchmaker

3: Build your network
– Talk to people, and figure out who they are. Don’t be afraid to approach people. At a community event they are mostly here for the same reasons.

2: Be a matchmaker.
If you know people that might match, just try to help them meet.

1: Put your skills to the test
Link up to local communities and try to be a part of it. All communities love receiving help. Most of the people are doing this at free will.

Random Pictures

What’s next!!!??

NORDIC SUMMIT is in October. Don’t miss out on this epic event…