Organizations have a need to interact with other businesses and people from outside their organization. Power Pages, formally Power Portals, is Microsoft’s website solution which enables the power platform to meet this need and greatly reduce the development time and required coding/programming experience necessary to build a fully functioning secure public facing responsive website with out of the box authentication and identity management. In other words, it is a website for your power platform & Dataverse!
Let’s say a support process exists at your organization where website visitors click a link on your organization’s main website and are taken to a form that then sends the data to an email distribution list or simple ticket system to route the issue. The system responds to the submitter with a standard email that their response has been received. Individuals at the organization are assigned these tickets, research the issues, identify step-by-step resolutions and then initiate them or route them to an expert/escalation team, who then responds back to the submitter with the resolution or step-by-step directions if follow-up information is needed.
If Power Pages were used in the scenario above, the solution could enable visitors to click a link on the main website and be taken to a Power Pages Form. They then could have the option to login thereby filling out future forms faster for them and saving them time (win), if they choose this, they now will start to improve their records of their contact information as well as receive communications from this example organization if they opt in to do so (win). Once populating their initial contact details and other pertinent information or logging in the user could be taken to a form that matches the same experience they have always known (win), but behind the scenes this form has been powered up. The form is connected to their record in the org’s existing Microsoft Dataverse! (win)
In the first scenario your organization would need a representative to receive and determine the process based on the issue submitter’s account details, these account details are now collected and analyzed by the Power Platform Power Pages steps and conditions, it has been automated! This solution enables your representatives to be available to work on more interesting and high priority issues that are not so monotonous, and your issue submitter gets their issue resolved faster if not immediately. This whole Power Pages footprint could be expanded if needed into a personal dashboard for your visitors to track multiple issues, service interruptions and so on…
Additionally, the external user experience of interacting with your organization has been enhanced with more meaningful and improved connections, allowing them to receive communication and maintain their own contact records with your organization if they choose. This is what makes implementing or upgrading existing processes to Power Pages so worth it. This connection with the internal Power Platform and Dataverse lays a foundation for the future of your relationship. Any existing tables, forms, and views can be implemented into a pages site.
Everything in our example is available right out of the box and there are even more templates and starter concepts for any organization to utilize. Microsoft has created a variety of solution templates and layout templates to help organizations get up and running quickly and hopefully reduce some of the style and management complexity that exists when designing and administering modern websites. A solution template contains feature and process capabilities. For example, there is a solution template for scheduling and managing meetings, whether an organization is a school or bank, this might be a useful starting point for a Power Pages footprint. Think of layout templates as themes, it would be the look and feel components of the user experience for the website. There is also a “blank” custom solution template that allows an organization to creatively build any website they can imagine.
Power Pages are also part of the Microsoft no code/low code Power Platform so everything discussed so far is completely built and configured using a design studio within the core power platform maker suite. This also means many of the components, structures, and processes will be natively familiar to experienced power platform makers and administrators. The option to “code stuff” is there if desired, but it is also completely avoidable in most use cases.
Out of the box, Power Pages are ready to roll with a responsive design. This means, regardless of the device, whether it is a tablet, web browser, or mobile phone, the user experience should be functionally similar. Power Pages only require one collection of components to configure, one codebase to maintain and one place to apply changes. Additionally, the structure of Power Pages naturally supports multiple languages which can be particularly useful to meet the requirements and demands of specific projects or public facing facets of the organization.
Also, as the Power Pages processes run within the Power Platform tenant, all the power platform features are available. As you can see, Power Pages are very customizable (if desired), and administrators have a great deal of control and responsibility.
To begin, navigate to the Power Pages management center using one of the links listed below depending on your tenant type:
The management center will guide you through starting a trial power pages site for your chosen environment.
Tip: You should have your environment prepared in advance, prior to setting up a Power Pages trial. All Power Pages sites will start as trials and then can be converted into a licensed site depending on the need. It is best to prepare this mindset now that all Power Pages will start as ideas, like a sketch.
After completing the template, layout, and brief detail form for the Power Pages site creation, your new site trial will be provisioned and afterwards you can begin configuring and customizing the look, feel, and features.
The Power Pages design studio is broken down into workspaces to help organize all the complexity of website management and design. The Pages workspace governs pages and page structures, the Style workspace governs styles and themes, the data workspace governs the power platform table components which the portal is interacting with, this includes forms and views as well as tables. The set-up workspace is the administration and deployment center.
Security for your Power Pages Site(s) and Dataverse should not be overlooked. Power Pages Sites are a two-way door to the outside world and must be well guarded. Be diligent in governing your Power Platform Environment’s security roles and the Power Pages security options. After setting up Power Pages, an organization will have an additional “layer” of security which is managed in a separate location, the Security section of the Set-Up Workspace within the Power Pages design studio.
There are some additional considerations to be mindful of when planning and developing a Power Pages project. You may already have a Power App Portal, either from a legacy product or a Dynamics offering such as the D365 Marketing App. If so, know that the Power Pages experience functions with the existing portals for your environment(s). If you are using an legacy Power App Portal you may want to check with your Microsoft representative regarding licensing updates, features and services during the migration to Power Pages.
Its important to note that after about 30 days, an Organization’s Power Page trial site will end unless extended or converted to a production Power Pages site. If a trial expires or is not renewed, the records, pages, and configurations stored within the Microsoft Dataverse remain so the idea can be revisited later if needed. For production Power Pages, licensing is based on anticipated unique visitor quantity per month and capabilities. Having this license flexibility is to an organization’s advantage and allows a pricing model that best fits the Power Page site’s purpose. Depending on the type of organization (EDU, gov, non-profit, commercial) licensing for different Power Pages sites can vary depending on their use case.
To get started you can create a sandbox environment and just experiment a bit with some trial sites to get a feel for the experience and features. What can it hurt? This capability should be included with your basic Power Platform tenant, after all, You Already Own It.
Power Pages Trial FAQ
Create a Site in Power Pages
As always, Planet is available to review and assist you in navigating Power Pages complexities and implementing best practices. We hope you can join us at our next cloud office hours to share your experiences with Power Pages and get your questions answered.