In 2021 we will publish a monthly blog every month covering the webinar of the month for Low-Code Application Development (LCAD) for Azure solutions. LCAD on Azure is a new solution that demonstrates the robust development capabilities of integrating Microsoft Power Apps with low code and the Azure products you may be familiar with.
This month’s webinar is A deep dive into serverless applications in Power Apps and Azure. In this blog I will briefly summarize Low-code application development on AzureProvide an overview of serverless, reasons for creating a serverless power app and what to look forward to in the demos of the webinar.
What is low-code application development in Azure?
Low-code application development (LCAD) on Azure was developed to help developers build business applications faster with less code, leverage the Power Platform and especially Power Apps, and scale and extend their Power Apps with Azure services.
For example, a professional developer working for a manufacturing company would need to create a line-of-business (LOB) application to help warehouse workers track incoming inventory. It would take months to build, test, and deploy this application. However, Power Apps can take hours to build, which saves time and resources. For example, suppose the warehouse workers want the application to automatically place supply orders for additional inventory when the current inventory hits a certain low point. In the past, this required another heavy-duty effort by the development team to revise the previous application iteration. With the integration of Power Apps and Azure, a professional developer can create an API in Visual Studio (VS) code, publish it to their Azure portal, and export the API to Power Apps by integrating it into their application as a custom connector. After that, the same API can be reused indefinitely in the Power Apps studio for future use with other applications, saving the company and developers more time and resources.
You might be wondering what a serverless application is? Serverless is a cloud computing execution model in which the cloud provider dynamically manages the allocation and provision of servers. A serverless application runs in stateless compute containers that are event-driven, short-lived and fully managed by the cloud provider. This model, in turn, benefits developers and teams significantly as it reduces their workload by reducing the number of servers to manage. This model is much cheaper because the teams don’t incur the hardware and associated costs. A logical next question is, “In which scenarios do I go without a server?” You can select this option if you want asynchronous and concurrent tasks to run, when there are infrequent requests, prickly traffic, and you are not dependent on latency. If you want to quickly redo your development, create MVPs, modify your code, or change business needs to deploy that code right away.
You are now convinced of the benefits of serverless code, but how do you get started? The focus is on cloud functions that you can use to write code in containers. In response to an event, execution may be triggered from any of the managed services or custom sources that you may define that are important to your application. By permanent functionsyou can write stateful functions in a serverless computing environment. After all, serverless code is event driven and runs in response to certain triggers. This can be an HTTP trigger or a blob trigger when code is executed in response to uploading a file to a storage account number.
Serverless power apps
Building serverless applications in Azure sounds great on its own. But why bother building your applications with Microsoft Power Apps? Building business applications quickly is not easy when using different frameworks, hosting options, and complex integrations between systems. By using serverless technologies (Azure functions and logic apps), the building blocks for APIs can be provided in order to establish a connection to user-defined backends, services or a data model (Dataverse) in which data is stored in many applications. Use these APIs for full integration with Power Apps or Microsoft Power Automate and extend the most important data to business users with apps that are quickly created, managed and distributed. Additionally, with the development of ‘Fusion Development’ teams, a term coined by analysts, developers can create server-less backend APIs and import them through them Azure API management right in Microsoft Power Apps as custom connections. Citizen developers or those who are not professional developers can use these APIs in their Power App, reducing the overall developer’s work by eliminating the need to write front-end code. This saves you the time and resources saved by building applications without a server.
What can you expect in the webinar?
Simona, the host of the webinar, first explains how to create a web API that generates jokes. During this process she tests and debug her APIs. It will then cover the release of the API where it is available for testing at aka.ms/joke. Jokes are generated with random words. Lastly, she exports the API to Power Apps through the Azure portal and asks viewers to enhance their app with Power Automate AI chatbots that send jokes as text messages.
Join the webinar on February 25th to learn more about serverless APIs and how to export them to your Power Apps. In addition, the Azure Learn Live session during Ignite will feature low-code application development, data loss prevention and new governance guidelines for Power Apps at Ignite, and a webinar on SAP on Azure Power Apps in March.