Microsoft’s business-centric IFTTT competitor Flow and its ‘low-code’ PowerApps platform are both getting major updates today. While these are obviously different services that solve different issues, both aim to help non-developers make better use of their existing data and services without having to write their own code. While Flow, at its core, uses the if-this-then-that model, PowerApps allows you to build your own desktop and mobile applications from scratch.
Out of those two services, Flow is still the more approachable one and with today’s update, Microsoft is adding a number of new features that make it more useful for building integrations that streamline the kind of approval workflows that are still the bane of many enterprise users. To help users build these approval processes, Flow is getting new templates and a streamlined design experience for them in this update (though it looks like this feature may not go live before the end of the week).
Flow is also getting better support for workflows that touch multiple team members. You were already able to share and maintain a flow with multiple people (this feature is now out of beta and generally available), but this update also adds sharable buttons that allow you to trigger a workflow for the Flow mobile apps and Microsoft Dynamics 365. In addition, Flow is getting support for instant actions based on button shortcuts that can appear on your phone’s home screen (with Android support launching today and iOS support coming “soon”).
As for PowerApps, this update adds better support for SharePoint lists. allows users to integrate their apps into Power BI dashboards and now features support for contextual in-app push notifications. In addition, the service is adding support for more data sources, bringing the current number to over 100 integrations.
PowerApps is also adding a tighter integration with Azure Functions, Microsoft’s “serverless” computing service that allows you to kick off more complex integrations and manipulate data from various sources.