Microsoft’s Power Apps low-code development offering was among four market leaders identified in a new report from research firm Forrester.
The report, in the company’s trademarked Forrester Wave format, places Microsoft among Mendix, OutSystems and ServiceNow in the “Leaders” part of the wave, ranking third on an index measuring the strength of current offerings. Fourteen vendors were included in the “Low-Code Development Platforms for Professional Developers, Q2 2021.”
The low-code/no-code, rapid application development market in recent years has exploded in the face of increased demand for enterprise applications amid a dearth of experienced professional coding talent able to harness the greater power of more advanced tools like Visual Studio and VS Code.
The global pandemic served to further that growth, Forrester indicated.
“As the COVID crisis proved, rapid app development and constant iteration in software have become table stakes. Thus, low-code platforms are now a first-class development approach. At the same time, vendors from more specialized segments are maturing their capabilities across a wider range of use cases and developer personas — leading to a convergence in the digital process automation (DPA) and low-code markets,” Forrester said.
Power Apps is the low-code development component of Microsoft’s larger Power Platform, which also includes offerings for Business Intelligence and other functionality.
The product enables users to create their own applications typically for specific business functions, while also providing professional developers with a simple and quick development route, the latter being the focus of this report.
Professional coders are among several different constituencies targeted with the product:
Power Apps offers options for developing canvas apps (starting with a blank slate to which components are added), model-driven apps, web portals or Dataverse-based apps (business data repositories). It also includes services and data connectors.
Last year, Microsoft announced Power Apps enhancements including mixed reality, canvas/model support in a new mobile app, UX improvements and more.
These and other moves have resulted in a glowing review from Forrester.
“Ubiquitous in enterprise, Microsoft’s Power Apps is fast becoming a standardized low-code platform of choice,” the report says. “The software giant’s aligned technology strategy — from Azure to Office, with Power Apps as the low-code lingua franca at the center — is powerful and unique.”
The report also references the open source PowerFx programming language that Microsoft introduced to the platform in March, based on Excel spreadsheet technology.
“The product is comprehensive, with good features across the breadth of our assessment and several great ones,” the report said. “Integration capabilities are a standout, and one customer said that the product’s ‘growing ecosystem of connectors’ was helpful in automation projects. Other high points are the Excel-style Fx development language, AI features designed expressly for citizen developers, and tooling for UX and mobile development.”
However, the report also mentions weaknesses.
“A key weakness is the portfolio approach to adjacent Power Platform capabilities (such as Power BI) and useful Azure services (such as Azure DevOps), which must all be separately licensed and can cause confusion. Also, Power Apps is only available through a traditional PaaS model — a mismatch for customers that must deploy their apps on-premises or to another cloud provider.”
Microsoft yesterday (May 11) published a blog post noting its inclusion as a leader in the report.
Seizing on the opportunity for more PR, the post listed five reasons the project is popular:
“Microsoft is a logical fit for customers wishing to launch their pro coders and technically minded Office users together into the low-code age,” Forrester said in concluding its Power Apps profile.
Such reports from research firms are often provided to the public in licensed-for-distribution formats from leaders, as is the case here. A simple web search for this report will find multiple such offers, which sometimes require registration information.
About the Author
David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.
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