Hello Tables, Columns and Choices. Goodbye Entities, Fields and Options. Getting ready for new names in the Power Platform

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.

Going to Preview to see new names

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.

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.

Tables in the Common Data Service

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.

Adding Columns to a Table

Optionsets become Choices

Now, creating an optionset (or picklist) means you now create a set of choices.

So many 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.

Project Oakdale – Power Apps in Teams

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?

Summary

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.

Cover Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Photo by Erik Binggeser on Unsplash

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

5 thoughts on “Hello Tables, Columns and Choices. Goodbye Entities, Fields and Options. Getting ready for new names in the Power Platform

  1. Hi Nick this is so helpful! I have been struggling between this new power apps and the classic version on s project I am working on. Being veteran as well I will have to get used to the new terms too! Thank you!

    Like

  2. It is Microsoft trying to standardise the naming of things. So often can you switch products to find different names for what effectively is the same thing. Which to me is a good thing. So many times and product groups have used different names to label the same thing.

    From a database point of view this makes perfect sense. From a end user perspective it does to. A most people know what a table, row and column are.

    Like

  3. Best quote of the article “Generally, after a few months, people adjust, and go with the flow, I mean Power Automate, no wait, I did mean flow.”
    Thanks, Nick, for making yet another MS name change a bit more palatable.

    Like

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