Alongside PowerApps’s introduction, a new designer portal (PowerApps Maker Portal) was released, allowing you to customize and extend all Dynamics 365 apps within a Common Data Service.
As Microsoft is carrying on its mission to unify Dynamics 365 with PowerApps, they made it possible to configure and customize Dynamics 365 CE environments through this new portal. This comes as an alternative to the “Classic” solution explorer, where, thus far, most of the system customization took place.
It surely is a significant revamp when you first look at it; It’s a way more enjoyable and user-friendly interface, especially considering how old-fashioned the “Classic” one is, which virtually hasn’t changed in the almost 10 years since it launched.
Following its release, Maker Portal has been constantly improving, but how does it stack up against the “Classic” solution explorer, feature-wise? Well, as of right now, you can surely do most of the work using the new portal, from managing solutions to entity customization and configuration.
However, it’s not perfect yet, as there are still some loose ends: some features, such as creating option set fields, are not possible – yet. Microsoft is perfectly aware of that, and for that reason they have placed a “Switch to classic” button on the top ribbon, that’s always present for whenever you stumble across a limitation. When clicked, it opens a new browser tab with the “Classic” interface for you, lessening the impact on your work.
On the other hand, besides the way better user interface and an overall more intuitive navigation, PowerApps Maker Portal offers you features that surely make it worth using. For instance, while customizing an entity form, you have a real-time preview that allows you to see exactly how it’s going to look like when published.
When customizing an entity view, the same applies. In addition, there’s even real data displayed, for a more realistic preview.
PowerApps Designer also allows you to easily setup Autonumbering with just a few clicks. Its as simple as creating a new field for the entity. It’s safe to say that is very flexible when it comes to configuration, allowing you to build an Autonumber that best fits your needs. This way, there’s no need to go for hardcore customizations – PowerApps has you covered.
There’s still a big part of the community that is reluctant to switch to PowerApps Designer, some because of its temporary restrictions, others because of unawareness of its actual capabilities and many simply because of the resistance to change. Well, change can be great, and as of right now, switching to Maker Portal definitely is. It still has some limitations, but given the fact you can easily switch to classic at any time, they are outshined by the clear advantages the new interface brings.