Create Framework for PCF Project

Create a folder where you want to store all the files of your project. I have created a folder named DemoPCFProject. Open NodeJS Command Prompt and navigate to the newly created folder using cd command.

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Environment Setup for Power Apps Component Framework (PCF)

Below are the steps to Setup the environment to create PCF Code Components. You will be creating your first pcf code component.

System Setting when developing this component:

  • Machine OS: Windows 10
  • System Type: 64-bit OS
  • IDE: Visual Studio Code

Below are the steps to setup the environment. This is the one time setup and don’t need to repeat this again.

  • Install NPM:

NPM is Node Package Manager. npm is world’s largest Software Library. This is free to use. It includes CLI developers can use to download and install software. npm is installed with Node.js, which means we have to install NodeJS first.

Navigate to https://nodejs.org. Install the LTS version even if it is older then the latest version. The version keeps on changing. I will be using NodeJS version 18.13.0

Click on the LTS version. This will download the node-v18.13.0-x64.msi installer. Click on it and it will open the Installation wizard. The wizard is pretty straight forward. Click Next and install NodeJS. This installation will take a couple of minutes.

  • Install Power Apps CLI (Command Line Interface)

Click here to install Power Apps CLI. This will download .msi file. For me it downloaded powerapps-cli-1.0.msi. Click it and install CLI. It is a simple wizard, follow it and install it.

  • Install Visual Studio Code

I will be using Visual Studio Code for development purpose. It is free of code and you do not need a license for it. Download Visual Studio Code from here.

  • Power Platform Extension

Once you install Visual Studio Code, install Power Platform Extension. Open Visual Studio Code, go to Extensions, type Power Platform Tools. If you see 2 results of the same name, choose the one which is not in Preview mode. Preview Mode releases you can use for development/testing purpose, but they should not be used in Production. Click on Install. This will install the extension.

PCF Code Component Life Cycle

When we develop code component, we implement StandardControl interface and its methods. These methods helps hosting runtime to manage life cycle of code component.

Below are the methods that needs to be used when creating a code component:

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PCF Architecture

  • We use HTML, CSS and TypeScript to create code components.
  • Developers can also use ReactJS, AngularJS, Fluent UI. These are optional, but are preferred.
  • 3 areas in code component: Manifest File, Component Implementation and Resource Files.
  • Manifest File has properties about the component like Name, Description, Version, Resource Files etc. App Makers can statically set the value of these properties or dynamically bind it to any available data columns of the application. These properties help the application and component to communicate with each other.
  • Component Implementation has the code files like TypeScript/JavaScript files, User Interface details, functionality, business logic etc. This code file implements StandardControl interface.
  • Resource Files has static resources like libraries used, CSS files, Images used at various places etc.

PCF Overview

  • Microsoft Power Apps Component Framework (PCF) is used create reusable code components, when out-of-box components does not meet business needs.
  • These are used within the Power Apps applications that you create.
  • These code components are used to create visual controls and can also have business logic as per the business requirement.
  • It supports client frameworks like ReactJS and AngularJS.
  • Uses responsive web design principles so that users can use it on any screen size/device/orientation.
  • PCF Components can use device features like camera, location, microphone etc.
  • All files of this code component will be bundled into a single solution.
  • Below are the types of components that can be added
    • Dataset: This custom control displays the rows of data.
    • Field: This custom control is created for a field in a form
  • There are numerous examples for PCF Code components that people have already created. You can check in PCF Gallery.