Access and Feeds

Open Source: Microsoft’s Answer to Low Code

By Dick Weisinger

Low code applications based on Microsoft Excel have been around for years. Microsoft was a pioneer in the empowerment of users to create their own mini-application with Excel macros.

But that was then. Over the last two decades Microsoft has morphed from one of the biggest adversaries of open source into one of the biggest champions. Excel macros aren’t going anywhere, but Microsoft has been inspired by their history of Excel power users in the creation of a new low-code open-source language called “Power FX“.

Power FX is a general-purpose strong-typed, declarative and functional programming language. The inspiration was to make a programming language that followed the Excel approach for making the creation of spreadsheets easy. Power FX is based on the use of formulas.

Power FX will be the language that Microsoft uses in their ‘Power Platform’ and can be used for creating Power Apps and Power virtual agents. It will be editable in Visual Studio or directly in text editors. The open-source language will be available for community contribution from GitHub.

Arnal Dayaratna, an IDC research director, said that “Microsoft can absolutely accelerate low-code development. They already have it with their Power Apps platform. But they can move the market significantly by continuing to democratize access to developer tools, and they are in a unique position to do this because of their strengths both in enterprise applications such as the Microsoft Office Suite, as well as professional developer tools located within Azure and Microsoft’s larger cloud portfolio.”

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