Back to all blogs

Power Apps

Power Apps Language: What Programming Language Does Power Apps Use?


Sam Mitrovic

Microsoft Power Apps is changing the landscape of app development, offering a powerful platform for building enterprise-grade applications. But what exactly is the programming language that Power Apps use? Let’s discuss.

Key Facts

  • Power Apps uses a unique programming language known as Power Fx.
  • Launched in 2021, Power Fx is an open-source, low-code language, designed to be user-friendly and accessible.
  • Power Fx’s syntax is similar to Excel formulas, which many people are already familiar with.

Power Fx: Power Apps Programing Language

Today, we’re going to dive into an exciting discussion about Microsoft’s Power Apps, a platform that has been making waves in the industry. More specifically, we’ll unravel the programming language that underpins this innovative solution.

Now, if you’re expecting to see a common language like Python or Java here, prepare for a surprise! 

Microsoft Power Apps does not use traditional programming languages in the way we usually understand them. Instead, PowerApps uses a unique formula language known as Power Fx [1].

Power Fx, introduced in 2021, is an open-source formula language for low-code development. It is akin to Excel formulas, which most of us are familiar with, making it quite user-friendly and easy to learn. 

However, don’t be misled by its simplicity. Power Fx is powerful and flexible enough to handle complex app development tasks with ease.

How Does Power Fx Work in Power Apps?

Power Apps is a low-code platform, which means it’s designed to make app development faster and more accessible to a broader range of people. Instead of writing extensive lines of code, you use simple expressions and formulas – and that’s where Power Fx comes in.

For instance, to filter data from a table, you might use a formula similar to one you would use in Excel, such as:

`Filter('Data source', 'Field' > 500)`

Here, Power Fx is working behind the scenes to execute complex tasks with user-friendly syntax.

But Power Fx doesn’t stop at being simple. It also provides a strong bridge to professional programming. 

The language is strongly typed, declarative, functional, and it allows for implicit and explicit variable declarations. 

Power Fx combines the best of Excel and traditional programming paradigms to create an inclusive language that allows everyone to express their logic and solve problems.

Moreover, Power Fx is open-source, which means it can be extended and improved by the developer community, enhancing its capabilities even further. 

Its open-source nature also provides a level of transparency and control that is appealing to many developers.

Further Reading: PowerApps Use Cases

What If You Want to Use a Traditional Programming Language?

But what if you want to use a more familiar programming language?

Even though Power Fx is the primary language used in Power Apps, it is not the only one. 

If you need to add more complex logic or features that Power Fx does not cover, you can use Azure Functions. 

Azure Functions lets you write code in a variety of languages, including C#, JavaScript, F#, and more, which can then be integrated into your Power App.

Where Can You Use Power FX?

Power Fx is the primary formula language for Microsoft Power Platform, which includes Power Apps. Here are a few areas where you can use Power Fx within the Power Platform:

1. Power Apps: Power Fx is primarily used in Power Apps for creating and customising app behaviour. You can write formulas to manage navigation, filtering data, controlling visibility of controls, data manipulations, and much more.

2. Power Virtual Agents: You can use Power Fx in Power Virtual Agents to define more complex bot behaviour that allows your bots to manipulate data.

3. Microsoft Dataverse: You can also use Power Fx in Microsoft Dataverse, which is a type of database created by Microsoft and used by Power Apps to store and manage data.

4. Other Power Platform Components: You can also use Power Fx across other parts of the Power Platform, including Power Automate and Power BI.


Is There Coding in Power Apps?

Yes, Microsoft’s PowerApps does involve coding, but it is predominantly a low-code platform. 

This means it allows users to create applications using a mostly visual interface, with coding required for complex functionality. 

Most of the coding in PowerApps is done using a built-in language called Power Fx, which is similar to Excel-like formulas.

Does Power Apps Use Javascript?

Power Apps does not directly support JavaScript. 

The primary coding language used in Power Apps is Power Fx. However, there are methods to use JavaScript indirectly such as by embedding a Power App in a web page and then using JavaScript on that web page. But in general, Power Apps does not natively support JavaScript.

Is PowerApps Object-Oriented Programming?

Power Apps is not strictly object-oriented programming (OOP). It uses a functional language called Power Fx for customization and logic, which is more like Excel formula language rather than an OOP language like Java or C++. 

However, Power Fx does have capabilities to work with records and tables, which might seem similar to working with objects and collections in OOP.

Does PowerApps Support Python?

Power Apps does not support Python directly. Power Fx is the primary language used for developing applications in Power Apps.

Can We Use jQuery in PowerApps?

Power Apps does not support jQuery. Power Apps has its own language for customising applications called Power Fx and does not natively support the incorporation of external JavaScript libraries such as jQuery.

Is PowerApps a Front End?

Yes, Power Apps is predominantly a front-end tool. It’s used to create the user interface of applications, which can then connect to various data sources and services for back-end operations.

Is Power Apps Really Low-Code?

Power Apps can be a low-code platform. It provides a visual design interface which allows users to build apps with little to no code. However, for more complex functionalities, users can use Power Fx, a built-in language based on Excel-like formulas.

What Is the Best Backend for Power Apps?

Power Apps can connect to a variety of data sources as its backend, such as SharePoint, Excel, Microsoft SQL Server, and more. 

The best PowerApps backend would largely depend on the specific requirements of the app being built, the existing data sources and infrastructure of the organisation, and the technical expertise of the developers. 

Microsoft’s own cloud service, Azure, is a common choice for many Power Apps applications due to its seamless integration.

Is PowerApps a PaaS or SaaS?

Power Apps is part of Microsoft’s Power Platform and is generally considered a Platform as a Service (PaaS). 

This is because it provides a platform for users to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with creating an application. 

However, considering that Power Apps itself is delivered over the internet and managed by Microsoft, it could also be seen as a Software as a Service (SaaS) in a broader context. The line between PaaS and SaaS can often be blurred, depending on how the service is used.

The Bottom Line

Power Apps primarily uses Power Fx, a unique, low-code, formula-based language. 

However, it also accommodates more traditional programming languages through Azure Functions for those who need to go beyond low-code.

Microsoft Power Apps and its use of Power Fx reflect the growing trend towards making app development more accessible, faster, and yet still capable of creating sophisticated applications. 

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a tech enthusiast looking to dip your toes into the app development world, the Power Apps platform and its versatile language are certainly worth exploring!

So, why not give Power Fx a try? You might just find it’s the perfect blend of simplicity and power you’ve been looking for.

Or if you are looking for help with building PowerApps, get in touch with us.

Sam Mitrovic

About the author

Sam Mitrovic is the Founder and Director at CloudJoy. Sam is a marketer, builder and IT consultant. He has consulted large government organisations, venture backed start ups and everything in between.