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How to Create a PCF control

By Ishaan Sheikh on 12/21/2020

What is PCF?

Power Apps component framework empowers the developers to create code components for model-driven apps and canvas apps. With PCF, you can replace a field with some extra features like a rich text editor, a dial, a slider, etc. You can also replace a simple list with an interactive chart or Map.

In this blog, we will build an essential input control that shows the year without the comma-separated. This control provided by Microsoft separates numbers with a comma for a whole number field. We’ll replace it with our custom control.

 

Prerequisites 

·         Node.js or NPM

·         A Code editor, preferably VS Code

·         Microsoft PowerApps CLI

·         Basics of TypeScript (recommended but not required)

Creating a basic PCF control

To create a basic PCF control, follow these steps –

Step - 1

Install all the prerequisites, i.e., Node.js, a code editor, and Microsoft PowerApps CLI.

Step -2

Open the command prompt and create a new folder by executing the following command.

1.  D:/Tutorials/PCF>mkdir YearPCFControl
2.  D:/Tutorials/PCF>cd YearPCFControl

 

 Step-3

Create a new PCF using the following command

1.  pac pcf init --namespace <specify your namespace here> --name <Name of the code component> --template <component type>

For example –

1.  pac pcf init --namespace YearPCFControl --name YearComponent --template field

 

NOTE: Currently, Power Apps CLI supports two types of components: field and dataset for model-driven apps. For canvas apps, only the field type is supported for this experimental preview.

Step 4

Install the dependencies for the control using the following command

1.  npm install


It will install all the dependencies required to build PCF control. The folder structure should look something like below

Step 5

Open the index.ts under YearPCFControl folder inside your root folder in a code editor of your choice (VS Code preferable).  In this file you can find a class named YearPCFControl, this is the base class for you PCF control. Add some variables in the class as shown below-

1.  import {IInputs, IOutputs} from "./generated/ManifestTypes";
2.   
3.  export class YearPCFControl implements ComponentFramework.StandardControl<IInputs, IOutputs> {
4.   
5.    private _value: number;
6.   
7.    private inputElement: HTMLInputElement;
8.   
9.    private _refreshData: EventListenerOrEventListenerObject;
10.  private _notifyOutputChanged: () => void;
11....
12....

 

Step 6

In the init method add the following code

1.  public init(context: ComponentFramework.Context<IInputs>, notifyOutputChanged: () => void, state: ComponentFramework.Dictionary, container:HTMLDivElement)
2.    {
3.           // Add control initialization code
4.           this._value = context.parameters.value.raw || 0;
5.   
6.           this._notifyOutputChanged = notifyOutputChanged;
7.           this._refreshData = this.refreshData.bind(this);
8.   
9.            this.inputElement = document.createElement('input');
10.         this.inputElement.setAttribute('class', 'year_control');
11.         this.inputElement.setAttribute('type', 'number');
12.         this.inputElement.addEventListener("input", this._refreshData);
13. 
14.         //@ts-ignore
15.         this.inputElement.value = this._value;
16. 
17.         container.append(this.inputElement);
18. 
19.}

 

The above code will create and append a new input element to the container element provided by the framework, replacing the control in CRM.

Add a method named refreshData which will triggers an event whenever a field has changed.

 

1.  public refreshData(evt: Event): void {
2.          this._value = (this.inputElement.value as any) as number;
3.          this._notifyOutputChanged();
4.      }

 In the ControlManifest.Input.xml file add the following property

1.  <property name="value" display-name-key="value" description-key="value to be entered" of-type="Whole.None" usage="bound" required="true" />

 

Using this framework will bind the CRM field value to our custom control.

 Update the getOutputs method with the following code

1.  public getOutputs(): IOutputs
2.    {
3.           return {
4.                   value: this._value
5.           };
6.    }

 

This method is called by the framework prior to a control receiving new data.

Add the following code in the updateView method

1.  public updateView(context: ComponentFramework.Context<IInputs>): void
2.    {
3.           // Add code to update control view
4.           this._value = context.parameters.value.raw || 0;
5.   
6.           this.inputElement.value = String(this._value);
7.    }

 

This method is called when any value in the property bag has changed.

Now we’ll add some styling to the custom control to make it look good. Create a new folder named css and a new file named YearPCF.css to it and add the following code to it.

1.  .year_control{
2.      width: 90%;
3.      padding: 6px;
4.      border-radius: 0;
5.      border: none;
6.  }
7.  .year_control:active, .year_control:hover{
8.      border: 1px solid;
9.  }


 Now in the ControlManifest.Input.xml file add a new css resource to let the CRM know to load the styles for our custom control.

1.  <resources>
2.        <code path="index.ts" order="1"/>
3.        <!-- UNCOMMENT TO ADD MORE RESOURCES -->
4.        <css path="css/YearPCF.css" order="1" />
5.      
6.  </resources>

 

Now to debug or test it, you can run the following command

1.  npm run start

The above command will build the code and opens it in a new browser window. If your code does not have any errors, you’ll see the following screen in your browser

Packaging your component 

You can build and import these components in different environments.

To build your component follow these steps –

Step – 1

Run the following command to build your assets

1.  npm run build

 

Step – 2

Create a new folder inside your root directory, for example named YearControlSolution and cd into it.

Now create a new solution project using the following command

1.  pac solution init --publisher-name developer --publisher-prefix dev


 for example,

1.  pac solution init --publisher-name XRMLabs --publisher-prefix xrm


 Step – 3

Now refer the solution folder to the location where the create sample project is located. Use the following command

1.  pac solution add-reference --path d:\Tutorials\PCF\YearControlPCF

 Step – 4

To generate a zip file run the following command from your solution directory.

1.  msbuild /t:build /restore

 

The generate zip files is located inside \bin\debug\ folder. 

Now you can import the solution file to any CRM environment. The component will look something like below in CRM.

To add the custom control to your field, go to your form and open field properties. Now go to the controls tab and add the newly added custom control as shown in the image.


Now save and publish your form and refresh you page, now you can see the year doesn’t contains comma anymore.

 

CSS
Javascript
HTML 5
Dynamics CRM
Dynamics 365
Javascript
pcf-control
powerapps
powerapps-component-framework
TypeScript
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