Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal Updates – App and SiteMap Designer

In preparation for our upcoming NYC BizApps event on October 27, 2021, and the Power Platform 2021 Wave 2 release (weekend of October 23/24), I am writing a series of blog posts related to some of the most sought after updates. In this post we will review the new app designer and sitemap designer.

There are several updates with the new designers and not all will be reviewed in these post, but I will try and highlight most of them.

In the maker portal, when you navigate to your apps section, you will see the list of both Canvas and Model Driven Apps, and you can still create your apps from here.

With just a few clicks, you can build views and forms in the maker portal, and preview your app changes within the same designer. The modern app designer is now available via the maker portal, and does not require navigating to the preview maker portal. In order to start creating a new app, click on the “+ New app” command bar button and select Model-driven from the drop down menu.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - New Model-Driven App

This will pop up the create model driven app from blank window, where we can select to use the Modern app designer (preview) or the Classic app designer. To start with the Modern app designer, select that choice, and click Create.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Select Experience

Next we will need to give the app a name, and an optional description, and click on the Create button.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Enter App Name

After a few seconds the new app will be created, and we can start adding pages. Let’s start and review what we see on the screen once we created a new app. In the Command bar we have 7 buttons. These are Back, New Page, Settings, Switch to classic, Save, Publish and Play. Most of these are pretty obvious.

The New Page allows us to create a new page for our app, which can be either table based or dashboard. The Settings allows us to change the app name and description that we entered before, and specify whether the app will be available offline.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Add New Page

When you select a page type of type table-based, you will be able to select one or more tables to add to the app, and also add them to the navigation (site map).

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Select Tables

When you click on the add button, you will be able to see a preview of your app directly from the designer window, basically a preview of what you app would look like. The image below shows you the preview window. You will notice that the center area is the preview, and on the left hand side we see the tables that were added to the app.

The preview area, not only shows you the way the app looks, but allows you to change the layout so that you see how the app will look in responsive design for different devices.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - App Preview

You will also notice the collapsed section to the left that is expanded to show the data tables, which contain two additional links. The first link is Pages. This link shows you the tables you have selected and the different forms and views that you have access to edit.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Pages Navigation

When a particular page (table) is expanded, in our case Accounts, you will notice that under the table you will see two options for Account form and Account view. When you click on the Account form, on the right hand side you will notice an option for managing the account form. When you click on the Manage forms link, you will be able to select which forms you want to be enabled for this page within the app as see on the image below

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Manage Forms

Within the forms that you added, if you click on the more options (three dots) at the right of the form name, you will see the options to Edit the form or remove the form.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Manage Forms - More Options

If you click on the Edit form, this will open the form in the Maker Portal form designer (in a new tab), where you can make changes to the form directly.

The exact same applies to views. You can add the views that you want to be available to this page within the app and edit the views by clicking on the more options.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Manage Views

The next link is navigation. This is basically your site map. By default the site map will contain a single Area, Group and Subarea, and any additional tables that you have added to the app, either automatically when selecting the entities or manually. You have the ability to rename the areas and the groups, as well as remove any of the existing items (such as the default Subarea1, which is not necessary once you added new tables). The image below shows the navigation that is available once the new tables are created.

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Site Map Navigation

The main thing to notice that when setting up the new app, this is all live data. As you click through the views and the forms, you will be able to switch between them and view the live data of the different views and forms. You will also be able to see which forms and views are enabled for the app, and navigate to edit each of these and edit them from the designer directly.

When you are in your apps view, and see the list of all your existing apps (the ones created using the new Modern experience or old ones, the edit button will now have a drop down option to edit the app using the new Modern design

Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 Maker Portal App Designer - Edit in Preview Designer

As this is still work in progress, not all existing apps will be editable in the modern designer, but the new apps that you create can be editable from there. Not sure yet if this is a bug, or future enhancement.

There are still some limitations to the new Modern app designer that will probably be addressed by the time this become available to the general public, or at a later data and features that are missing. You can see those by navigating to the link below:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/model-driven-apps/app-designer-overview

Additional posts related to the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2021 Release Wave 2 will be posted by following the link below:

Power Platform 2021 Wave 2 Release Posts