Developing PCF code components using cross-platform dependencies without the need for Visual Studio

If you are building code components for Power Apps (PCF) you might be using msbuild to build cdsproj projects:

msbuild /p:configuration=Release

This works well on windows, and requires either Visual Studio or Build Tools for Visual Studio with the .NET build tools workload installed.

What about if you didn't want to install Visual Studio, or you were not running on Windows? The good news is that you can still develop and build code components (or run a build inside a non-windows automated build pipeline) using the .NET core equivalent:

dotnet build -c release

To get developing cross platform you would use the following:

  1. Power Platform Extension for Visual Studio Code (This is in preview right now, but is a cross platform alternative to the Power Platform CLI MSI installer that only works on windows)
  2. .NET 5.x SDK

Once you have installed these, you can use both the pac CLI and dotnet build from a terminal right inside VSCode.

Happy cross-platform PCF developing!

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