The release plans for 2023 Release Wave 1 were made available last week. I wrote about highlights from my perspective in my previous post. As I was writing, I came to think about product news from a broader perspective. How can you stay updated? Is it enough to read the release plans? Where else can you find out what’s new and coming? I asked the popular ChatGPT how to stay updated, read on and enjoy the answer I got together with my own thoughts about it!
Staying updated according to ChatGPT
As many others have done, I have played around with ChatGPT. There are post and videos about this bot answering questions such as how to create Dataverse plugins (Thomas Sandsør), create apps and flows (Reza Dorrani) and there’s even content about the bot taking over our jobs (?) YT playlist from Shane Young. I also noticed Microsoft is doing a session about ChatGPT in Power Platform on February 9, Let’s get the best of OpenAI in Power Platform ! (yes, ChatGPT style).
I asked the simple question: How do I stay updated around Power Platform?
It is not a bad answer! Quite close to what I would say. The places are a bit more spread though. There are more official blogs you need to keep an eye on than just one, the same goes with social media accounts. There is so much more content out there than what’s on the Power Platform YT channel. Participating in online community and forums, yes! Attending virtual events and webinars, yes! Reading articles and tutorials and attending courses, good input too. The last point – there we have the release waves and related plans! (Why does it put a . in the end of the line for number 7?! Oh well.).
I was a bit impressed about how close it was. One thing that did not impress me though, was when I asked ChatGPT to make me a summary of Power Platform 2023 release wave 1 (after I had written my previous post, mostly asked it for fun). It was 2 days after the release plans were made official and ChatGPT told me that release wave had not yet been announced by Microsoft. 😁 A few days later it told me it was updated in 2021 (the bot that is) so it has no information about the latest release wave. Anyway, fun to play around with, this new bot!
Let’s dig in to some of these areas ChatGPT suggested for keeping oneself up-to-date with Power Platform. I’ll start in the bottom with the latest releases and updates since that is a hot topic currently.
History of the waves
How upcoming features and improvements are described and structured together in release plans, the plans as we know them today, goes back to “Spring 18”. You can find current and past plans in MS Learn, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform release plans.
Prior to 2018 we had spring and autumn releases but not documented in an equally structured manner as I recall. Even further back in time, when it was on-premises only, there were major releases, service packs, update rollups and articles describing what was new in each.
When I let my mind travel back in time like that to pick up memories from earlier product versions, I do see myself finding out news from reading Microsoft articles (and release plans when they were introduced). Fast-forwarding to today and news about new features and improvements are all around us every day it seems.
We have release waves with related release plans. We have service updates per different areas. However, just as ChatGPT mentioned, there are also many other sources to find out what’s new. Microsoft events and the official Microsoft blogs per product/service area, such as the Power Apps blog, are essential sources of information about product news today.
News in the official Microsoft blogs
ChatGPT suggested to follow the Power Platform blog. I would say you need to follow a few more. Here are some official blogs that might interest you.
- Power Apps blog
- Power Automate blog
- Power Virtual Agents blog
- Power BI blog
- Power Pages blog
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 blog
- Power Platform blog
- Microsoft Teams blog
- Microsoft 365 blog
- Power Query blog
Monthly summaries of what’s new
I may be biased (coming from the xRM/Dataverse side), but my favorite blog of the above mentioned blogs is the Power Apps blog. I want to mention a certain trend I have seen on that blog. It is something that could be good to pay attention to, if you want to keep yourself updated.
For the past few months we have seen “what’s new summary posts” from Microsoft on the Power Apps blog, similar to how other product areas present news (I’ve seen it on the Power BI blog for instance). The posts summarizes new features, highlights community work and lets us know what’s new in the official documentation.
- November 2022 Feature Update
- October 2022 Feature Update
- September 2022 Feature Update
- August 2022 Feature Update
- July 2022 Feature Update
These posts also give a summary of the key updates in Microsoft Learn. For instance, in the November 2022 Feature Update post, the following section was included, giving us an update about what’s new in the official documentation. That also gives us a hint about what areas Microsoft has been working with.
By the way, there is also the concept of dedicated what’s new posts for Power Platform Developer Tools.
Power Platform Developer Tools November update
Power Platform Developer Tools October update
Power Platform Developer Tools September update
Power Platform Developer Tools August update
News at Microsoft events
ChatGPT mentioned virtual events and webinars. Interestingly, a few days ago when I asked the same question it mentioned Microsoft Ignite specifically. Anyway, from my perspective, from reading Microsoft articles and digging into Release Plans to find out what’s coming, something changed as the word got more virtual. I’m sure big news were announced at the big Microsoft on-site events in the past, but I did not attend those. As more events were held virtual and for free, it opened up a possibility for anyone to attend lots of big Microsoft events throughout the year.
Expect the bigger Microsoft events to come with product announcements. New names, re-branding, deprecations (keep an eye here by the way – Important changes (deprecations) coming in Power Apps and Power Automate), totally new features and improvements to existing features… The news might be documented in release plans afterwards, pay attention to the Change History. New features can be taken in, features can be taken out or moved to another wave and included in a future Release Plan instead.
Power Platform features announced at events in the past
Here follows a few examples on events and Power Platform related announcements.
- Microsoft Ignite 2019, RPA in Power Platform / UI Flows was introduced (now Desktop Flows) and Power Virtual Agents became a fourth main building block in the Power Platform.
- Microsoft Ignite 2021 (Spring), Power Fx was announced. (We had had that before, but the formulas we had been using in canvas apps now had a name and there was a plan for Power Fx to be spread across the platform).
- Microsoft Ignite 2021 (Autumn), What we now know as Dataverse for Teams was announced.
- Microsoft Build 2021, Power Fx for model-driven commanding was announced as well as Power Apps Ideas.
- Microsoft Build 2022, the fifth major building block of Power Platform, Power Pages, was announced and Express Design/Image or Figma to App was introduced. PVA 💙 Azure Bot Framework Composer was announced too.
I think I have made my point, big announcements tend to appear at big events. Don’t miss the events. Dig into the news your preferred way, e.g. by attending the event (main keynotes, sessions of your choice), read the related Book of News, take part of summaries from the community. By the way, it’s always interesting to see how the new features are presented to us at these events, the intended use, and combine that with own thoughts and your customers in mind.
When can you expect a Microsoft Event?
You can always keep an eye at Events | Microsoft Learn as well as on the different event’s dedicated websites (see further down for links).
Having past events in mind, here is what you could expect in the future. Of course, only future will tell. Note that Microsoft Ignite 2023 has been announced for November, I have not seen a date for March. The below is just a general picture I made based on the fact that we saw Ignite e.g. in March 2021.
In March we’ve seen Microsoft Ignite to happen. In April, we usually see an event where the Release Wave 1 is presented. In May we usually expect Microsoft Build to be held. In July, there’s usually the big Microsoft partner conference, Microsoft Inspire. There we have another Release Wave Launch followed by the new kid on the block, Power Platform Conference. Followed by another Microsoft Ignite. These different events also have dedicated Twitter accounts, e.g. Microsoft Ignite.
As mentioned, always keep an eye of the Book of News, that’s where announcements are summarized. Also always keep an eye on the official blogs from Microsoft, announcements are to be found in there too. You’ll find a Book of News after Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft Build and Microsoft Inspire.
2023 Microsoft events with date announced
Of the events I have mentioned, I have seen 2023 dates for two of them so far. First the dates for the Microsoft Power Platform Conference (MPP), October 3-5, 2023. Last year’s MPPC was the first of its kind. NOTE! This is an in-person event which is NOT free of charge which might be good to know. I noticed that the registration for 2023 is now open.
The other event that I saw dates announced for is Microsoft Ignite, which will be held November 15-16, 2023. I noticed one can now sign up for an information mailing list and get notified when the registration opens, visit the event website for more information.
Content available on-demand
Many times you will be able to find content available on-demand (look at each event site) after an event and the event sites often offer the possibility to save sessions in your own backpack in order to be able to watch them later. It is not unusual to be able to download the presentation decks.
Sometimes you can also see YouTube playlists with sessions from events. For the previous wave launch event I noticed a YouTube playlist. That is “old news” now of course, now we wait for the 2023 Release Wave 1 launch event (if the concept of launch events will be here also 2023). Business Applications Launch Event – YouTube.
The Release Planner
Since the Release Plans are living documents, see them more as a planning tool. If we know what is coming, we can plan better what to implement and not at our customers. But wait a minute, a planning tool, shouldn’t there be more features for that? Well, it is, and it is called the Release Planner or “Release Planning Portal” is another name for it which can be seen in the first picture of this post. Note that in the picture it said (preview) behind. That is not in there anymore, which I assume means the Release Planner is now GA.
You can click on What’s new in order to get information about new features of the the Release Planner. Features mentioned are e.g. view the Change History of the Release Plan, retrieve Release Plans through API, filter and sorting capabilities, creating personal plans and share with others. Since I have not explored it that much, I can’t tell what’s been here for a while and what’s actually really new. Worth to play around with anyway, in order to better explore and plan for what’s coming in the future waves.
I noticed by the way that the Roadmap link https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/roadmap/overview/ now takes me to the Release Planner.
I did not dig that much further into what information ChatGPT has about about the Release Planner, but since this post is about product news and how to stay updated, I wanted to mention this tool.
Nowadays news about new features and improvements come to us on a regular basis and not only when release plans are made available. Release plans are living documents and there is a tool to help you plan for future work with your solutions, Release Planner.
Try to keep yourself updated with what’s coming so that you know what part of your solutions that needs extra care so that you minimize the technical debt and know what features you can expect in the near (and far) future and hopefully you will be able to plan your work better.
Pay attention when a Microsoft event has been held and read the Book of News. Follow the official blogs from Microsoft, at least those within the area of your interest.
ChatGPT has some advice when it comes to keep yourself up-to-date. I did not dig into the details about all suggested options. E.g. there are many user groups and lots of opportunities to exchange ideas with others working with Power Platform.
If you find all of this overwhelming, make sure to subscribe to a newsletters with curated news, such as PPWeekly and PPDevWeekly. I might be a bit biased, but I like to believe that would be a shortcut to take in what’s new and what’s coming. Read the headlines and go back to it later, when you need to find your way back to a certain product announcement, Microsoft or community article you remember having seen.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for reading!
Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash
4 thoughts on “Power Platform Wave Reflections with ChatGPT”
You are pretty much the only person I haven’t banned for mentioning “you know what”. This makes me wonder if I am really objective 🤔ChapLSD is trained on average data made by average people. Most people producing data aren’t brilliant. Therefore…
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Hahaha! Thanks for not banning me! I started the post without it, but because of the hype I had to try it out myself and then I felt it was fun to include it in the post.
I love your post! Your feature reviews are always great. Just hate myself for getting too excited at the beginning of the “you know what” madness. I tried it multiple times. It lie a lot. I am worried people may start using it as a learning tool
I see it more as an experimental, early stage, preview concept. But I do understand your worries and I don’t like the thought either that people will trust it too much.