Microsoft Dynamics Profile: New MVP, Developer at Heart, Embraces Power Platform Ethics
Diana Birkelbach has been nominated twice for the Microsoft MVP award. She didn’t receive the award the first time around, and as the second nomination came and went without that congratulatory email, she started to lose hope.
But Birkelbach’s efforts to share knowledge about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform, such as on his blog and at events, she paid off as she received the honor in January. MSDW met Birkelbach, from Saarland, a state in southwestern Germany, to talk about her career working with Dynamics CRM / 365 and Power Platform tools, her involvement in the community and the importance of being an MVP.
MSDW: What is your role at ORBIS AG?
Diana birkelbach: At ORBIS I am the main developer. I do development, but I also take care of everything related to software architecture on Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform. I am a technical manager in the development of the competence center. I try to stay “on the cutting edge” of technology and help my fellow developers improve. I contribute to the core components we develop, help write guidelines, and collaborate with solution architects and technical consultants. I preferred to stay on the technical track and I am happy to work with great developers. Nobody knows everything; we are a great team, learning from each other and helping each other. When I think about it, in some ways my job is similar to what I do for the community.
When and how did you start working with Power Platform and Power Apps?
For me, Power Platform is an evolution of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365. I started at the very beginning of Dynamics CRM 1.2 – sometimes in 2003, think. I have seen all these stages of evolution. At first we didn’t have any plugins, so we used SQL triggers. And we didn’t have custom entities, so we anchored our own apps to CRM and targeted lists and forms (which, by the way, we already had generically customizable).
On the server side, I saw legends in Dynamics CRM 3.0 then plugins (CRM 4.0+), and low-code possibilities at the time: workflows, which changed the engine once from CRM 3 to CRM 4. I consider the Power Automate (Cloud Flows) the next level in evolution.
On the client side, I saw the changes to the client SDK and the possibility of making HTML WebResources. I did a lot. I worked on a basic library, I created a generic editable grid based on HTML WebResources in CRM 4.0+. Business rules were a first (small) step towards low code for the front-end. The Canvas (and PowerFx) apps are a big step in that direction, like switching from riding a bicycle to driving a car. If we focus only on Canvas Apps and Flow, I built my first app in March 2019, when ORBIS organized a hackathon.
How do you see your career evolving as a developer of PCF (Power Apps Components Framework)? Are your employer’s or clients’ needs changing thanks to Power Platform?