If you are like me, chances are you have been using the new Power Apps maker portal to create new model-driven Power Apps or to modify Dynamics 365 apps. By default, I like to go to https://make.preview.powerapps.com instead of https://make.powerapps.com as I can see new and upcoming preview features and try them out. If something goes wonky, I always have the option (or choice*) to go back to the stable version.
This past week I started to notice some changes in my preview maker portal that I had originally seen in my Oakdale preview.
Entities are now Tables
Entities, which are Common Data Model items that represent a business object (account, contact, etc) are now known as “Tables”. Like custom entities, you can now also create custom Tables.
Considering that essentially most entities in the Common Data Service are directly linked to an Azure SQL table in the backend, this isn’t a huge leap. Anyone who comes from a Database Administration background or has built Microsoft Access applications, calling these “tables” makes sense.
Of course, for folks like me who have been working with Dynamics CRM (and many folks still call it that) have been used to calling these assets entities for close to 18 years. Its will definitely be an adjustment.
Fields now become Columns
Of course, in database and Excel terms, fields are sometimes referred to as columns. (really more a set of fields, but I digress). From an Oakdale point of view, the data designer allows you to setup an entity, I mean table and add fields, whoops, columns in a interface very similar to Access or Excel.
Optionsets become Choices
Now, creating an optionset (or picklist) means you now create a set of choices.
Choices sounds slightly less technical than Optionsets. They could have changed it to just Options and no one would have blinked. The subtle thing is now you have Choice and Choices fields, which is single optionsets vs multi-select optionsets.
Microsoft’s Renaming Addiction
Microsoft has been renaming products, features and assets for years, and doubtful they will stop.
Generally, after a few months, people adjust, and go with the
flow, I mean Power Automate, no wait, I did mean flow.
At times, it backfires, and the data behind a renaming flex sometimes requires a regroup and a rethink.
Sometimes, we know a change is coming specifically if there is a codename involved, as we eagerly await the official name of “Project Oakdale” will be.
I don’t know the rationale behind the latest renaming blitz, but I suspect its to appeal to a broader app builder audience. As much as us veterans of the platform might grumble about it (and by veterans, anyone working over 6 months with the platform) , we will soon adjust and either keep calling it what we know or adapt to the new terminology.
My main concern is folks just learning the platform and already confused by the firehose of names, techniques and technologies and having to take a step back to figure everything out again.
My other concern was the 18 years of blogs, documentation, videos and content that refers to the “old way” of naming things, but in reality, with the platform evolving so fast, do we even refer to articles/posts older than a year or two?
At the end of the day, you can call it entities, fields, optionsets or objects, elements and lists; the Power Platform (or whatever it will be called next week) continues to provide a great way to build some pretty neat business apps, programs or packages.
Nick Doelman is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP (aka Microsoft Business Solutions MVP, aka Microsoft CRM MVP) and sometimes runs out of ideas to blog about, and thanks Microsoft for changing things up to create new topics. Following Nick on twitter https://twitter.com/readyxrm