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Application Support

Power Fx: Microsoft’s New Language

This month Microsoft has introduced Power Fx – the new name given to the formula language used within some of the Power applications, specifically the canvas apps.

 

The newest member of the Microsoft Power Platform family is:

 

  • Open-source – the broader community is able to contribute to the language’s development through GitHub.

 

  • Based on Microsoft Excel – on the image below you can see how similar the language is to Excel’s expression language. The ones in green are either identical or very close to Excel’s formulae.  The Power Fx team has expressed how they are aiming to expand their functions again using Excel as a base.

 

Power Fx and Excel Comparison Table

Available Power Fx functions which are the same/similar to Excel. Source

 

  • Built for all abilities – It is tailored for both makers and developers when performing common programming tasks, due to its simple and concise syntax. It enables the full spectrum of users to code no matter their ability – from “no-code” to “pro code.” For those with more coding experience, more sophisticated edits can be made in text editors including Visual Studio Code.

 

Power Fx in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code. Source

 

  • Constantly live – another trait portered over from Excel is that there are no separate stages for edit, compile and run. As soon as changes are made the spreadsheet updates the values and formulae inserted into the Fx bar, any errors are highlighted to the user. This is the same for Power Fx. See the example below:

 

 

 

 

In the video above, the user is using the scroll bar to alter the order number, employee name, and customer name simultaneously. Source

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What happens next?

By rolling out the language it reduces the need of using JavaScript – which can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. Furthermore, it means that consistency is developed between different Power Platform applications’ languages. Everything can be done relatively easily in all of the products in the same way. Here’s an example of how the language differs in difficulty in Power Automate and the Power Apps:

 

Power Fx and Power Automate Comparison

Direct comparison of programming languages. Source

 

Microsoft have announced that they are aiming to make Power Fx the unified language for all of the products in the Power Platform. This is not going to happen overnight – it will take some time. Their roadmap for the phased roll-out is:

  • End of 2021 – Dataverse calculated columns, AI Builder, and Power Virtual Agents.
  • Beyond 2021 – Dataverse business rules and Power Automate.

 

Note: M and DAX in are not being replaced in Power BI. The three languages will co-exist with one another.

 

 

Power Fx