Yesterday we announced our new product, SalesSpark, the Sales Engagement platform built natively upon the PowerPlatform 🚀 I've been working on this product for the last few months and have been really impressed with what the Power Apps Component Framework (PCF) can do for Model Driven Power Apps. In the past, the only way to extend Apps was to include custom HTML Web-resources. My open-source project SparkleXrm made this easier by including libraries for building grids, and controls that acted like the out of the box controls. With the availability of PCF, the landscape has shifted and so will the direction of SparkleXrm.
To build SalesSpark we have used the power of the office UI fabric which is built upon React. Just like SparkleXRM, we use the MVVM pattern to create separation between UI rendering logic and the ViewModel logic.
In this post, I wanted to share just a few features of SalesSpark that I'm really happy with! 😊
PCF means breaking free from IFRAMEs!
At the heart of SalesSpark are Sequences - these are a set of steps that act as your 'Virtual Assistant' when engaging with prospects. SalesSpark connects to your mailbox, and sends and replies to emails directly inside Office 365. We had to build a Sequence Designer that allows adding emails using templates. One of the user experience patterns that has always been impossible when using Html Web-resources was the popup editor. This was because you were never allowed to interact with the DOM. Since the PCF team now support the office UI fabric, those constraints have gone away, allowing us to create a really cool sequence editor experience:
PCF allows Drag and Drop!
These days, everyone expects things to be drag and dropable! This again has always been a challenge with 'classic' HTML Web-resources. With PCF we were able to create a variety of drag and drop user experiences:
Not only can you drag and drop the sequence steps, but you can also add in attachments to emails. The attachments can be 'traditional' email attachments or cloud download attachments that allow you to monitor who has opened them from your email. Also, notice how the email can be created without saving it, the attachments are then uploaded when you are ready to send or you save the email.
PCF is great for Visualizations
In addition to the user experience during data entry, PCF is great for introducing visualizations that make sense for the data you are monitoring. With SalesSpark, when you add contacts to a Sequence, you then want to monitor how things are progressing. We made the sequence editor not only allow you to build sequences but also monitor the progress - allowing you to make changes as it runs.
PCF and the Data Grid!
I think the most exciting part of PCF for me is that it allows extending the native Power Apps experience rather than replacing it. With HTML Web-resources, once you were there, you had to do everything. Using PCF fields on a form means that you don't have to worry about the record lifecycle or navigation. Adding a PCF control to a view means you get all the command bar, data loading and paging for 'free'.
The SalesSpark data grid control implements lots of additional features to extend the native data grids. You get infinite scrolling and grouping, as well as custom filtering experience.
And of course, because it's a Grid as far as Power Apps is concerned - you can use the Chart filtering - here I am using a Chart to filter the list to show contacts that have no stage set on them so that I can add them to a Sequence:
I hope you'll agree that the PCF unlocks so much potential in Power App Model-Driven Apps that we simply couldn't access before!
Watch this space for some more exciting things to come! 🚀
Learn more about SalesSpark
P.S. If you've any questions about the PCF, just head over to the PCF forums where you'll often find me hanging out with other like-minded PCF developers like Tanguy, Andrew, and Natraj - and what's more the Microsoft PCF product team is always available to answer those really tough questions!