Summary of Microsoft Ignite Spring 2021

Microsoft Ignite Spring 2021 took place last week from the 2nd to the 4th of March. As usual, many announcements happened that include new products and updates. So, I summarized them for you in this blog post.

Microsoft Mesh

Microsoft Mesh is the next thing in the Mixed Reality World. A new platform to deliver collaborative mixed reality experiences. It enables users to work together, connect  and collaborate regardless of the physical location. In other words, Holograms may become a reality sooner than what we (maybe just me) expected.  I will let you enjoy this video (duration: 2min27s), because words cannot give it enough credits.

Source: Microsoft YouTube Channel

You can learn more by reading the technical overview Microsoft Mesh.

Microsoft Viva

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform. It is the latest product of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise family. It was announced month ago, but already new announcements has been made during Ignite mainly availability and pricing. Microsoft Viva has 4 modules:

Microsoft  Viva Connections

  • Viva Connections focus on connecting employees across the organization
  • License and pricing: If you have M365 and SharePoint license, you will get it for free. In other words, free to Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Microsoft Viva Insights

  • The needed module for the Home Office Era where employers need some Workplace Analytics and take care of their employees work habits.
  • License and pricing: part of workplace and analytics

Microsoft Viva Learning

  • A central hub for learning and up-skilling courses
  • License and pricing: not announced yet

Microsoft Viva Topics

  • The smart module; it transforms content to knowledge using AI

You can get more information in the following links

How IT is transforming the employee experience at Microsoft – Microsoft 365 Blog

Introducing Microsoft Viva, the Employee Experience Platform in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Tech Community

Microsoft Viva: Empowering every employee for the new digital age – Microsoft 365 Blog

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Power Platform

Power Automate Desktop

It is an RPA tool that has been available for a while on Power Automate. Now it comes with Windows 10 without extra cost

Integration with Teams

The Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents studios are available on Teams. You can design on Teams without the need to open browser anymore.


Governance Controls
  • Endpoint filtering: you can restrict the access to connectors. It provides a granular access control.  
  • Tenant Isolation: it allows you to choose which tenants you can allow to communicate with your tenant (inbound isolation).
  • Tenant Wide Analytics: reporting capabilities across the tenant.
Data Loss Prevention
  • Connector Action Controls: you can filter connector actions. You can choose which actions can be used by your company from a given connector

Microsoft Information Protection Support (Later this year)

You will be able to label your data with sensitivities level. It will be synchronized with M365, and Azure.

Azure Networking Connectivity (Later this year)

It allows the creation of private endpoints to connect to Azure Virtual Network. That will leverage the use of Express Route, gateways and other networking features that you have on your Azure tenant. You will be able manage networking security from Azure without any compromise.

Customer Managed Keys (Later this year)

First class user interface experience to use your keys from Azure Vault Keys inside Power Platform apps.

Microsoft Power Fx

Open-source language for low-code programming. Basically, the same syntax that was used before in Power Apps (canvas apps). It is possible to write it in YAML files from now on. More new features will be delivered on June 2021 and by the end of the year.

For more details check Introducing Microsoft Power Fx: the low-code programming language for everyone | Microsoft Power Apps

Moreover, there is something for integration with Power BI too. Direct Query support for Dataverse in Power BI is generally available. For more details check Microsoft Dataverse support for Power BI Direct Query reaches general availability | Microsoft Power Apps

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Microsoft Teams

I have to say it is the star of the Microsoft Ignite 2021. Almost all other products announcements are related to Teams.  In addition to that, Microsoft Teams has tons of new features and enhancements (although not all of them are available yet).

Here is a selected features that I found interesting:

Presenter mode(not available yet)

This feature allows you to share your content and alongside your video stream. It has 3 modes called Standout, Reporter and Side-by-side.

PowerPoint Live

Microsoft Teams made use of the whole screen. Presenter can see the slides, the notes, meeting chat and participants at the same time. Also, attendees can go through slides at their own pace.

Live Reactions in Microsoft Teams meetings (like those of Microsoft Ignite Stream)

Webinars (not available yet)

Organizers can add a custom registration page to the webinars. Attendees will receive an email confirmation after registration.

As for attendees numbers, Microsoft Teams supports up to 1000  attendees in interactive meetings and webinars. For view only, Teams can accommodate 10,000 attendees in general and up to 20,000 attendees until the end of this year. Both features are available this month.

Microsoft Teams Connect (not available yet)

The struggle with collaboration between different organizations is “gone” (not sure, I didn’t try yet). It enables the interaction and collaboration on documents as an external user. Also, you won’t have to disconnect from your tenant and connect to the other one as a guest, the shared channel will appear as a team in your primary tenant.

And more..

The features list goes on and it covers Chat and Collaboration, Security and Compliance, Calling (operator connect), Device, and Management. You can find them in the announcement blog What’s New in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Ignite 2021 – Microsoft Tech Community

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Windows Server 2022

Windows Server 2022 is now available in preview.  The new release “includes advanced multi-layer security, hybrid capabilities with Azure, and a flexible platform to modernize applications with containers.”(source: Announcing Windows Server 2022—now in preview – Windows Server Blog ( )

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Windows 10

Windows Hello Multi-camera support

You can choose which camera to use for authentication with Windows Hello.

Universal Print (generally available)

IT Pros now have one hub to set printers in an enterprise environment. The feature was announced back in July 2020. For more details, check ) Announcing Universal Print: a cloud-based print solution – Microsoft Tech Community

Rest of the announcements are on this link Windows & Devices at Microsoft Ignite 2021: March edition – Microsoft Tech Community

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Azure Percept

The newest product in Azure. Azure Percept allows you to use Azure AI technologies on the edge by a combination of hardware and services. The hardware consists of Azure Percept Audio, Azure Percept Vision and a Trusted Platform Module. The platform offers also Azure Percept Studio to enable customers with less technical skills to use the product. You can read more about in the AI blog With Azure Percept, Microsoft adds new ways for customers to bring AI to the edge – The AI Blog.

Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate was released last year as a one-stop hub to ease migration to Azure. The recent update is new unified tools for discovering and assessing databases, .NET apps and VMs. It allows the discovery of SQL Server instances and databases in the VMware environment. In the new feature, it will cover IIS too.

Passwordless (Azure AD)

Microsoft has been working for a while on changing the authentication system by eliminating passwords. Azure AD support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environment is now available on public preview. FIDO2 security keys is supported as authentication method for signing into operating system and applications/services. You can find more details on Public preview of Azure AD support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environments – Microsoft Tech Community

I recommend watching the session Inside Azure Datacenter Architecture presented by , Microsoft Azure CTO, Mark Russinovich Inside Azure Datacenter Architecture with Mark Russinovich | OD343 – YouTube .

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Dynamics 365

Finally, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has something to offer too. It is offering a new application called Intelligent Order Management, and it is integrating Microsoft Teams to offer better experience for users of both products. You can read more about those capabilities in the official announcement Announcing new Dynamics 365 capabilities at Microsoft Ignite – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog .

Lessons learned from first experience with Power Apps

Source: PowerApps official site

Last months, I had the opportunity to create my first Power Apps application at work and it was also my first time working with Power Apps, I did not even try a hello world app before (well, I’ve seen demos before). However, I work with Power Automate (Flow) and O365 quite often. Therefore, I am used to the environment and the available tools.

Power platform is a low-code tool for citizen developers. Meanwhile, I am used to the traditional software development. This blog post is from a point of view of a software engineer.

Forget about DRY principle

“Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY) is a common principle we use in software development. This principle is hard to apply when working with Power Apps. It does not support macros or shared methods/ expression.

How to get around it? Use the select function of a button or any component to make a shared function. Then you call select(buttonName) to invoke the function. Don’t forget to hide the button.

This is not my idea, I found it when solving this problem in a blog post that I could not find anymore. Credits goes to the unknown who helped me :/ . However, here is a similar one that you can follow to apply DRY principle. Microsoft BI Tools: Power Apps Snack: Don’t repeat yourself ( .

Keep on mind that you will have to repeat yourself from time to time because there is no other way to get it done.

Error while Exporting  package

This error occurs when you delete a Power Automate flow that was used by the app. To solve the problem, you have to remove the “unused flow” from data section. Good luck with finding the flow in case you use multiple ones, Microsoft decided to show the GUID of the flow without the name, and reference flows by name only in Power Apps.

Saving the changes will not make the problem disappear; you have to publish it because the export applies only to the live version (published version).

Figure 1: Export Power App Package

Renaming/Updating Power Automate flow

The Power Platform team agreed on minimum integration and sync between Power Automate and Power Apps. When you rename a flow or add a new parameter, it does not propagate in the app. You have to remove the current one with the old name and then select it with the new name. It is a painful process, so try to name it correctly the first time.

Adding a Power Automate flow makes code disappear

It is like magic! When you add a new flow to OnSelect or any other function, it deletes the current code and it replaces it with flowName.Run( .I am not sure who thought that this can be a good idea.. Please copy your code before adding a flow. You will need this in case you renamed the flow or added a new parameter.

Figure 2: Add new flow to a Power App

Power Automate ToolTip

A product development goes through changes especially when working with Agile methodologies. You may have to add parameters to the flow. When using the flow in Power Apps, the tooltip does not support multiple arguments (I did not measure it, but I have to work with flows that have more than 6 arguments and up to 13 arguments). At one point, you don’t know which argument you are setting and you cannot call its name, because the tooltip will show non-clickable three dots.

Figure 3: Flow ToolTip

How to solve it? I did not find a concrete way, but it goes by FIFO order when creating the flow (populated with Ask in Power Apps). In other words, if you add a new parameter, it will be the last one to set its value in the flowName.Run(arg1,arg2,.., lastArg).

PowerBI visual

One of the great options of Power Apps is Power Apps Visual, a canvas in Power BI report. It comes with its limitations of course, but some of them are not listed and I discovered them while developing the app.

Not all metrics are refreshed

Metrics with data type Number are refreshed whenever you interact with the report. I used dependent dropdown lists that change when clicking on a table or a matrix.

I wanted to use another metric with data type Text that would be displayed on my app. The idea is to refresh the text same as the case of the other metrics. However, it did not work. I tried to solve it with the help of Power BI experts in our team, but we could not make it work. The verdict is that metric with data type Text cannot refresh its value in the Power App Visual.

PowerApps (visual) Data has size limit

I needed to use multiple hierarchies in the app alongside some metrics. At one moment, the app canvas does not load in the report and when editing it in Power App Visual Studio, it did not load the recently binded data. When I remove the recently added hierarchies, it works again.

What is the size limits? Well, who knows! I asked in Power Apps forum, but I did not get an answer. So, keep binding data until you achieve the limit or try to keep it clean and bind the minimum. Also, avoid binding hierarchies and such types because the report will take more time to load.

Figure 4: Power App loading forever


I hope this blog post will help you a bit. One last recommendation, save your changes so often with comments.

Good luck with your Power app.