From assembly-level programming to the high-level programming languages like C++ and Java, improving the coding experience for developers has always been the top priority for the tech world. This zeal of letting coders have ultimately low-code app building experience is taken to a different level of reality by Microsoft.
The company has announced its new solution, namely – Power Apps Ideas.
It will let you describe things in plain i.e. natural language for app creation and will build a solution as per your inputs. Interesting? Let’s dive in to know more about the Power Apps Ideas.
Microsoft launched its latest Artificial Intelligence enabled assistant for coders during its Build 2021 developers conference. Satya Nadella, the CEO of the organization, himself confirmed that this new efficiency is being integrated in the PowerApps Studio for the users.
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Trained with more than 175 million parameters, Power Apps Ideas is currently promoted as one of the most advanced natural language AI models by Microsoft (and rightly so!). The company has developed it in partnership with OpenAI and appears like a productive result of the strategic collaboration that started between these 2 organizations previous year only.
For your information, ‘Ideas’ utilizes OpenAI’s GPT-3 AI model (GPT stands for Generative Pre-Trained Transformer here). However, multiple AI technologies work together to make it as efficient as it is projected to be.
Coming to the functionality part about the Power Apps Ideas, here is how it will work for the community and users:
GPT-3, as we explained above, is the top AI model that has deep learning deployments and 175 million parameters to help it comprehend as well as create text in the natural language. Microsoft developers used GPT-3 by OpenAI in their product PowerApps to build this new solution.
To use the new implementation right, you must understand the concept of Power Fx formulas and how they are prepared. Let’s take an example of SQL queries.
If you want to see 15 latest orders with one product being ‘Lumia 650’, you will have to run a query like this:
FirstN(Sort(Search(‘Store Orders’, “Lumia650”, “ms_products”), ‘Purchase Date’, Descending)
However, in natural language, you can explain the creation of this formula as:
Show 15 orders that list “Lumia 650” among the products purchased and sort the result in descending order of purchase dates.
For PowerApps Ideas, this latter input in plain English will work fine.
Taking your input and comprehending the context of your input through tables and controls, PowerApps will render one or multiple Power Fx formulas in front of you. You may apply syntax-check filters to discard unnecessary suggestions. To move forward, you will have to choose a formula that is correct.
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When we want to explain something to humans, examples work the best. Similarly, there is a new practice that AI creators are utilizing these days. It is – PBE, i.e. Programming by Examples.
PBE enables users to prepare input-output examples for their applications. Using this AI-powered aid, users can better modify or manage their data tables and galleries through the application of filters/patterns/formulas on their data sets.
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This means, you don’t need to create complex formulas or logics for applying various conditions but use example models. As per your need, you may create one or more examples for your applications using PowerApps Ideas.
Let us explain the same through an example:
For your eCommerce store, you want to generate the usernames for your customers automatically. For this, you want to use the first 2 characters of their name, last two characters of their birth year, and the count (+1) number of this username’s occurrence.
So, for the user John Doe with birth year as 1970, the username could be Jo701.
Provide this example input to PowerApps Ideas and the tool will render a few code outputs in front of you.
Here is another example provided by the developers themselves (for changing John Smith’s name to John S. in data table):
It’s it an amazing way to save your time?! It surely is.
It might sound tempting for developers at first glance, but the tool surely will raise code security concerns the very next minute in your mind. Well, here is the good news for you:
PowerApps leverages the efficiencies of the PROSE SDK and GPT-3. While PROSE is Microsoft’s research team’s part, Open AI is the strategic partner to them. Together, they comply with Microsoft’s AI principles and ensure trustworthy and inclusive and fair security as well as privacy measures for all.
PowerApps Ideas is tested thoroughly and trained well to generate reliable outputs in order to avoid any harm for users. Also, it’s you who controls the final implementation of created formulas.
Overall, it is totally safe and extremely convenient to use PowerApps Ideas. With time, this tool will improve more and help you more, we hope. Even currently, it can save your efforts and time significantly.
For the formulas using functions like Search(), Sort(), Filter(), FirstN(), SortByColumns() and LastN(), the capabilities of Power Apps Ideas are available for users (in North America) from June 2021 itself. This feature supports the language English at present. Microsoft wants to see users’ reaction and feature’s utility to improve it.
The company expects to make Power Apps Ideas available for other regions soon. Most probably, all regions will have the said feature by the end of the year 2021.
PowerApps Ideas enables developers to automate the creation of Excel-like Formulas using its Power Fx formula creation capability. Using it, coders can save their time and skip the tedious process of syntax-checking and formula-building. However, simplifying the whole code writing process using plain language is still a far-fetched goal.
Microsoft has detailed its users thoroughly about PowerApps Ideas too – You may visit this link to know more.
For now, we can consider it as the first step in the AI powered app development domain. One day, we might see people using plain natural language to create fantastic applications, but it’s not very soon. So, if you want robust enterprise apps or Microsoft PowerApps related services, rely on experts at Stridely without hesitating.