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AnnaChu
Microsoft
Microsoft

Power Automate Designer - Low Code, Novice and Citizen Developer Feedback

The Power Automate Designer team would love to hear feedback from the perspective of novice Power Automate users, citizen developers and low coders on their experience with Power Automate Designer. When designing flows, what do they struggle most with? If this sounds like something you’ve heard someone mention, please forward them this pre-screening survey to complete: https://aka.ms/MPA_DesignerFeedback

 

@kishbuy238 and team are interested in hosting a screen-sharing session to identify opportunities to improve the experience. This survey will be open through to August.

30 REPLIES 30
RogerG_TRADOC
New Member

Hi Anna, I work for the US Army as a government civilian and am new to Power Automate and Power Apps. I have a macro-enabled Excel file that I can no longer use due to Army policy as a result of upgrading from Office 365 to Microsoft 365. We are no longer authorized to run macro-enabled files on our shared networks or our desktops. The Excel file has a worksheet with a form that users in my Army enterprise fill out on their desktops, with other worksheets used to auto populate the main form when the user choose when they click on a cell in one or two worksheets containing the data that auto populates the form. There are also pop-up windows that guide the user through filling out the form. VBA code was used to open and close pop-up windows,  open and close the worksheets the user will click on to select the record with the data used to auto populate the main form, and auto  populate the form with the select data. I do not have Power Automate Desktop. I only have the App. Can I replicate the Excel file using Power Automate or other Microsoft 365 Apps without using macros? I will search this Community, but if you can help point me in the right direction, I am available on Teams at https://dod.teams.microsoft.us/l/chat/0/0?users=roger.s.grayson.civ@army.mil. Thanks in advance for whatever help you can provide. Sincerely, Roger 

 

 

 

RogerG_TRADOC
New Member

Correction on the second statement. We upgraded from Office 2016, not Office 365, to Microsoft 365.

David-
Solution Sage
Solution Sage

Sending e-mails to a SharePoint group is a struggle and should be as easy as it is with SharePoint Designer workflows. However, Power Automate requires you to go through what is outlined in this video to achieve the same result: (1) Power Automate get SharePoint Group Members & flow... - Power Platform Community (microsoft.com)

Shuvam-rpa
Super User
Super User

It will be better if owner of the flow can lock specific flows with the password or pin.

AnnaChu
Microsoft
Microsoft

Hi @RogerG_TRADOC I'm trying to find the right person to help you at Microsoft - stand by!

MarrinerDev
Advocate III
Advocate III

Fix your f*cking ALM. We are so sick of it. It has cost us tens of thousands fighting this crap. No-one is assisting and we are about to abandon the Power Platform because of your disgraceful ALM.

Promoting the most basic of connections from Dev to Test to Prod environments DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For SharePoint, SQL, etc it is so fragile as to be useless. Error after error after error..............

David-
Solution Sage
Solution Sage

The documentation Microsoft provides for Power Automate is often confusing and does not provide enough details or give examples of how various settings or connectors should be used. For example, there is an action named Get Connector, it's description on docs.microsoft.com is, "Get the given connector in an environment." The scant information provided is of no use to a beginner and forces them to do a lot of web searching just to find out the exact purpose of a function, action or connector.

David_0-1657108407717.png

 

David-
Solution Sage
Solution Sage

Dealing with Time Zones

A Bing search of "dealing with time zones in Power Automate" returns over 2.3 billion results. 

David_0-1657388791917.png

The first result describes how to deal with this issue on an individual basis, which is great if you are creating a flow just for yourself. But it is not helpful for a problem I have, which I will describe. 

 

I am developing a solution for our sales people to book appointments in our virtual design centers. The sales people, as well as our customers are located around the world. We have virtual design centers in multiple countries. All this leads to dealing with multiple times zones for one request. We might have a salesperson in California who needs to book a session in the Chicago design center for a customer in Hawaii, and the credentials of the person in IT who developed the Power Automate solution is in Germany. Four time zones for one request.

 

When a request is submitted the sales person chooses the date and time for the virtual meeting. The flow kicks off and checks the shared calendar of the specified design center for conflicts. If there are no conflicts, it adds the meeting to the shared calendar, and then sends a notification to the salesperson, the design center and the customer that the meeting has been booked. How do we send an e-mail so each person sees the date and time of the meeting in their time zone? And what time zone should be specified in the create event action?

 

Digital computers have been around since 1945, so it is time for big tech to come up with a solution for dealing with a global economy where people interact with one another from around the world. My suggestion would be that all dates are saved behind the scenes in UCT (Universal Coordinated Time) but are displayed everywhere (e.g, Word, Excel, Outlook, Edge, etc.) in the time zone of the user based on the time zone of their device. We shouldn't have to do any conversions of time zones, it should be seamless and automatic.

As a total Power Automate novice, I wholeheartedly agree.

 

  • Please do a better job of explaining in simple, non-programmer English about the differences between Power Automate Desktop, Power Automate when accessed through MS Teams, and Power Automate when accessed from Office.com.
  • Please give clearer examples of what types of projects each is appropriate for.
  • Please more clearly identify which of these ... versions?  applications? ... is being discussed.  I try following steps but find the material doesn't apply to what I have open.  (This problem isn't limited to MS resources; most other sources don't make it clear which flavor they're discussing.)

I've written command procedures, Excel macros, rudimentary PowerShell scripts, but I can't get off Square One with this application.  I haven't found a reference yet that matches what I see on the screen.

Careless
New Member

Hey, I'm super new to this, so pardon me if I am missing something, but I can't seem to find a way to skip the undeletable files when trying to delete files from a folder, here is a screenshot to understand better: 

Careless_0-1658371960692.png

 

These are the files I want to skip: 

Careless_1-1658372015562.png

 

Also, I called them undeletable files in the sense that they are running in the background. hence I can't delete them without disturbing my work, thanks! and sorry If I'm being super silly. 😛

LebogangMaubane
Advocate II
Advocate II

Definitely will share this survey with colleagues of mine, I strongly believe that power automate needs to be improved to compete with other automation tools out there. Looking forward for the screen-sharing sessions

thepenguin
Frequent Visitor

Thanks for asking for feedback. I'm quite enjoying exploring the ecosystem. There are a few things that would make life easier, particularly with cloud flows...

 

The implementation of more complex data types like array and object seems a little underdeveloped when coming from scripting languages. You can't append an array to an array (even though Graph API endpoints often require 2D arrays in the request body) and you can't check if a key exists in an object, or even get a list of keys in an object.

 

Some properties are hard to get to. When looking at planner tasks, to get the name of the bucket that the task is in you have to get the buckets for that plan, make a lookup object with ids/names and then find the name by looking up the id. The situation gets worse with plans. To get the name of the plan that a task is in, you have to get the plan id from the task, look that up with a Graph call and then parse the JSON response. If you want to get the text that a task has been tagged with (not just the colour of the tag) it is similarly complicated.

 

It doesn't seem to be possible to access excel table cells by index - the data that gets returned in "get rows" is an un-iterable object. We can't add rows by index or to the start of a table, but again both of these are possible when using Graph.

 

It may be easier to do those things somehow, but I can't see how.

 

I hope that you are building more of the Graph API functionality into Flow as there are some very handy things in Graph that do not exist in flow. Making an HTTP request is not a big deal but it does add extra steps.

 

That's all I can think of for the moment. Thanks again for your work 🙂

CamiloLuque
Advocate I
Advocate I

Hi @AnnaChu, the clipboard actions usually doesn't work and a help (autocomplete or something like that) to build expressions.

Tks.

eyau
Helper II
Helper II

Hi Anna!

 

One of the biggest issues I face is using loops within loops. Accessing dynamic content within a loop within a loop is impossible without initializing a million variables or parsing through each string. I'm fairly new to Power Automate, so there may be workarounds for loops within loops, but I have to solve it on a per project basis. I also just don't know why I can't access dynamic content or compose strings from apply to each items inside of loops. 

QuintonR
Frequent Visitor

As a novice to the Power Apps, I would appreciate (in addition to the Learning Center program on this) an easy, simple video explaining when to use what Power app and the differences in purpose between the apps.

jacquimuller
Helper II
Helper II

I'm probably not part of the ideal target audience but I train people who are so I'm going to share some of the feedback that I've received:
- Knowing what the actions are called can become tricky. Some are really intuitive, others aren't (especially for novice users): Possible fix - possibly adding more training to MS learn to explain how the naming conventions work and what to search for when the user isn't sure what exactly the item is called (switch is a good example)

- Knowing where the data is stored and following what can be used from actions further up

- Understanding when to use scopes

- Understanding how to deal with errors - although the feedback is quite intuitive but connection errors are notoriously tough to fix, even for experienced developers.

- Not necessarily a designer specific item but it definitely relates... The biggest pain point with scaling solutions (sometimes created by citizen devs or novices) is the licensing impact because it is not the responsibility of beginners to know what standards and best practises are essential to reducing licensing costs. Licensing is unnecessarily complex and fixing that would fix a lot of problems and encourage more people to actually scale on this platform

drummer
Helper II
Helper II

Seems like just having a few examples for dynamics 365 users would be helpful. I am trying to create a simple manual flow that for selected leads to create a contact. I can do it in minutes with workflow but flows I don't even know which flow to start with?

I solved this so if you want a flow to add to your templates I now have a Create Contact from Lead.  Could you help me solve the null Source Campaign lookup though...bc it looks up logical name the "get row by id" doesn't help with that critical lead/contact field....sincerely...new D365/M365 poweruser!  Oh and give me automated emails with sequences for contacts pls.  

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