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  • Sebastian Sieber

Create new Tables with an Entity–Relationship Model

Updated: Jun 3


Announced and show-cased at Microsoft Build, Makers of the world receive a new option to create their custom data model within the Power Apps Maker Portal - make.powerapps.com.

And that's all including an Entity Relationship Model.


 

Disclaimer: The feature is currently in preview and shouldn't be used in a productive setup.

 

First of all, glossary. (you know that if you attend my sessions 😎)

Table, Entity

Depending on whenever you got in touch the first time with the Power Platform / CRM both are the same. Microsoft decided at one point to rename Entites to Tables

Columns, Fields

Same story with Fields and Columns. Originally labeled as Fields, Microsoft now talks about Columns.

Maker Portal

PPAC

Power Platform Admin Center - aka.ms/ppac


Prerequisites

The feature is currently (June 2024) in preview. Therefore we have to enable the environment for new features.

Microsoft just recently updated that experience in the creation of a new Environment in the PPAC as displayed below:

Get new features early when creating a new Environment in PPAC

Enabling that option will allow the environment to receive updates slightly earlier.


Additionally, we want to use the preview version of the Maker Portal:


Create new tables (preview)

To create new tables navigate to the preview Maker Portal.

From here, double-check if the Try the new data experience is enabled.


Start by prompting the app and data model you would like to create.

In my example, I used the following:

"Hello, I would like to track my activities throughout the year, with properties like Dates and Categories. Also add properties for Users reached and the Type of the Activity. Thank you!"

Overview new create new tables view (preview), Entity Relationship Model, Power Platform

In the new interface, we can spot our new Activity table. On the right-hand side, we can see the Copilot chat experience to assist us.

The Activity table can be dragged around and we can navigate freely. This will be especially useful for more complex structures.


Selecting the newly created record or clicking View data in the top menu will expand the bottom section with sample rows and the requested columns from our prompt.

From here you can still edit the data, add or remove rows, add new columns, or define the ownership (Team or Org based).

 

The table is currently not created. However, the system considers the previously defined preferred solution and the related Publisher.

 

Now it's your time to shine and forge the data model according to your wishes. It's possible to add new tables with the help of Copilot or just start from blank.

SharePoint lists and Excel / CSV files can be imported on top.


Relationships between two tables can be established by simply connecting the dots between the two table blobs. Both options can be selected, Many-to-one and One-to-many.


The Copilot chat experience can also help and assist the Maker at any time.


In the current state, because the data model is not created yet, small errors are also excused. Like choosing the wrong relationship type 😇


Creating tables through the Copilot experience requires some back and forth. In some of my examples it did work out perfectly fine, even including the correct relationship - of course I didn't record that one.

As always when working with AI - double-check and verify the results.

Luckily it's possible to always revert changes made by the AI.


Once the data model fits the requirements, proceed with the application creation. Of course, it is possible to extend the structure later on.


General speaking, I like to address the current state of Copilot features as a "skeleton" - approach in Power Apps. The Maker has not to come up with all the details from the beginning.

Especially with the support of the new Entity Relationship Model view, the connections and dependencies on the table are much better visible.


Bonus: This perhaps replaces my efforts creating bulky Visio charts 🥳


General Interface

On top of the shown experience, there is a more general interface too. Where it's not required to start with a prompt. It's possible to start from scratch without detours.

General Interface without the need to generate a prompt

Despite the URL is a bit weird and you cannot open it directly. At least I didn't find the option. Same as I couldn't find an option yet to open existing tables.


Here is the URL for the general interface:


Just fill in your Environment ID after the e/



Hope you enjoyed today's blog post. Let me know what you think about this new experience. So far I like it a lot. Could imagine using it a lot for brainstorming new ideas and conceptions. 😊

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