As of 2020, we can assure that every organization is involved in the development of the applications based on user requirements. However, there would be programmers and non-programmers as well who are involved in software development. Hence, there are some of the platforms that make the work easier for non-programmers. Powerapps is one of the platforms that we are going to discuss in this article. In this article, you will gain an understanding of what is PowerApps, its importance, terminologies, advantages and disadvantages of using PowerApps, etc.
What are power apps?
Powerapps is referred to as a collection of programs, services, applications and data platforms that helps in the rapid development of the applications. By using the Powerapps, you are allowed to build and personalize the business applications quickly, without depending on the IT professionals and programmers. The Applications that are developed through PowerApps are providing abundant workflow and business logic abilities to ensure that the manual business is automated. Users are allowed to subscribe to Microsoft Powerapps in office 365, an independent product, Dynamics 365.
Powerapps is introduced by Microsoft to make way for non-programmers which helps them to use and also build mobile apps. Powerapps was first released in April 2016, and around 1,24,000 people from different countries have started using the Powerapps.
In simple terms, PowerApps is considered as a drag and drop formula based app building platform which has come up from Microsoft. It will help you in developing useful business applications which makes use of an intuitive visual builder that does not need any traditional coding. All this is purely based on the formula. You are not required to be a professional developer to build some useful apps. It’s been built keeping an Excel user in the mind and actually has a lot of formulas in common with Excel.
Do you want to Master PowerApps? Then enrol in "PowerApps Training" This course will help you to master PowerApps
Significance of Powerapps:
Microsoft introduced Powerapps in order to overcome the below set of problems.
- Expansion of business data: The business data is expanded across different systems and exceeded the firewall and SaaS cloud. As data is stored in various systems, we are not allowed to access the data from the application.
- Lack of professional mobile app developers: As per some of the recent survey analysis, it is found that the demand for mobile app developers would increase at least five times when compared to the IT organization's ability to deliver. The primary reason for this situation to come across is the deficiency of professional mobile app developers who are capable of meeting the requirements.
- App sharing and IT Activities: We all know that Mobile apps are distributed through app stores and mobile devices. This has come up with the establishment of an inheritance methodology to get the app onto the mobile device.
Categories in Microsoft Powerapps
As mentioned earlier, by using the Microsoft power apps, the users are allowed to build and personalize the business apps quickly, without depending on the IT Professionals and Programmers.
Powerapps can be divided into three different categories. They are:
- The App itself
- Connections to your data.
- Flows: Workflows thrown by apps.
The App itself:
Through Powerapps, there is flexibility where the users are allowed to create applications for mobiles, tablets or desktops. The apps are developed in such a way that they perform some general functions based on the template. The customization of apps can be more specialized and specific. PowerApp studio allows you to create and modify the layout the same as with the App. In addition to templates, it also helps you in developing the apps from scratch to get more adaptability that is concerning the application’s flow.
Connectors to the data:
Whenever you are creating an app through a template, Powerapps queries about data source that you would like to use for your App, some of the accessible data sources are:
- Dynamics 365
- Sharepoint list
Let us take an instance where we would like to develop an application that is capable of performing some operations on the contacts of the client, then we will need to develop the application on that SharePoint.
In order to develop mobile applications through Powerapps, it will just take only a few clicks. In order to customize and prioritize the data, we can make use of the drag and drop mechanism. Once the app is created, you will have separate screens for browsing the records and displaying the details of documents.
Microsoft flow is referred to as the primary engine that will be running behind the apps you run. An app refers to the collection of many automated processes or workflows. An app is created to perform certain operations on the data. The flow will make us understand how our apps should perform these operations. In order to run our app on our device, we will need to install a Powerapps app in our system or machine.
Microsoft Flow is responsible for automating the various repetitive tasks, which will enable you to dedicate more time to essential tasks. Apart from the automation, you are also allowed to establish API connectors and gateways for traditional solutions through the sophisticated integration tools of Powerapps. Microsoft Powerapps is now being used in various industries like Manufacturing, Pharmaceuticals, Information Technology(IT) as it can automate any routine task.
Below listed are the primary functions of Powerapps:
Powerapps Search Function:
Powerapps Search function is used to identify or locate the records which would contain the required string. The string might occur anywhere in the column.
The syntax of the search function is represented below:
Search( Table, RequiredString, Column)
- Table: The table field refers to the table to be searched.
- RequiredString: The RequiredString field refers to the string to be searched.
- Column: The Column field refers to the column within the table to be searched.
Powerapps Filter Function:
The Powerapps filter function helps you to locate the records which are capable of fulfilling a particular Formula or a condition.
Syntax: Filter(Table, Formula)
- Table: The table field refers to the table to be searched.
- Formula: The formula field refers to the field by which each record of the table is assessed.
Powerapps Lookup Function:
The Powerapps Lookup Function will be first responsible for identifying or locating a record based on the formula, and then it makes use of a reduction formula in order to reduce the record to a single value.
Syntax: Lookup(Table, Formula, ReductionFormula)
- Table: The table field indicates the table to be searched.
- Formula: The formula field gives the formula to be applied to the table.
- ReductionFormula: The reduction formula field reduces the returned record to a single value.
Different Types Of PowerApps:
There are two different types of PowerApp called canvas apps and model-driven apps that are based on the common data service. They are mostly the same, however, they make use of the same builder UI and they also include the same objects that are available inside the builder. The only difference that exists between them is how you will start creating the app and the PowerApps pricing plan needed.
Canvas apps are those apps that can be created with the basic plan.
Below are the different ways in which you can create a Canvas app.
- You will need to start from scratch by creating a blank app. This may also require you to create everything in the app.
- You will need to start from a template. We have at least a dozen pre-built canvas app templates that are now available. You are allowed to start working from any of these and customize them as needed.
- You will need to start from a data source. This will allow you to build a simple application to view, add or edit data in a single table from almost any data source.
The last two options will build fully functional apps for you and are considered a great way to learn how things work so you can eventually build your own apps from scratch.
Model-driven apps are those apps that are based on the common data service and this will require you to plan 2 pricing tier. A model-driven app comes into existence when there is a need that you will need to depend on the CDS, which requires the business logic.
How Can You Use A PowerApp?
As of now, only people inside your organization will be able to use your PowerApps. A PowerApp is not allowed to be used by anyone outside your Office 365 tenant.There are many different options to use PowerApps for anyone who works in the organization.
- PowerApps is allowed to be used from any browser either desktop or mobile.
- It consists of an Android and an Apple PowerApp app. You will be allowed to launch and use any app you have access to from these apps.
- PowerApps can either be embedded and can also be used in SharePoint, Dynamics 365 and Power BI.
How to build Powerapps?
Below are the steps involved in Building your Powerapps.
- You will need to click on the Connect button -> this button is present in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Let’s begin with the Powerapps studio-> open the Powerapps -> Signup
- Navigate on to the new menu-> select the layout template, if you do not find the suitable data template -> choose the blank app template -> try to build it from the scratch -> Select the Share point.
- You will find two different options available -> select connectivity directly or cloud services options -> click on the create button to process further.
- Provide the SharePoint URL -> to get the data -> from the respective list -> click on Go.
- In order to build powerApp Builder-> you will see the window as shown in the data source -> Quick tour window -> to get started.
- You will see that the screen is divided into three parts -> Screen will be available on the left -> in the designer area -> modify the forms -> Select the right templates -> Start with building your first ever Powerapp.
- Now you will be able to view details, share; update setting -> Run -> Edit the app.
- To save your app -> click on the Save as button ->‘Save the location -> Then click the Save button.
- Select the file menus from the app builder-> go to App settings-> configure the elements that are available on the screen to your liking.
- You will need to then test and save your app-> by pressing the play button -> on the right of the screen -> check it properly -> if you are happy with the app -> save it anywhere on your local computers or the cloud.
- You can add the search box -> by default you can update ->select it from item -> from the Browse Gallery Container.
- You can use a different number of icons in your app like this:
- You are allowed to add any kind of image/ video/ audio files-> you can even add a camera, barcode reader, Audio, etc.
- In the left-hand panel -> you will see three dots-> which will allow you to create new, delete or duplicate already existing -> you can move the screen either up or down
- To customize the app-> make use of the controls on the toolbar -> then select the advanced properties on the right-side panel -> there you can see the fields and other bits.
- To change the title -> select it -> go to the advanced setting that is present in the right side of the screen -> that you will see that on your edit Screen,
- To orders for your fields-> change the order by organizing the data source field -> that is available in the right-hand section,
- To add a Custom Card-> just click the '+' button -> you will be able to see screen fields -> then add a ' created by' field .
- Data sources-> you will be able to connect that is from multiple data sources -> you can select on any visual layout-> this makes it easy enough to check the authorized user’s work status -> this will allow you to quickly understand the type of work and users at the same time.
- Now you can access your app by sharing your names, email and user group details as shown in the figure,
- Now you need to change the Version tab-> you can check your previous app-> the restore from the version in the Apps settings.
Applications of PowerApps:
Powerapps consists of the azure app service which will help the employees to get the mobile apps quickly onto their device.
We can build new connections to the already existing business systems which will help in enabling any employee of the organization to develop their apps.
Powerapps ensures privacy and data security issues which will ensure to maintain data access and corporate policies.
Advantages of Microsoft Flow:
Powerapps Microsoft Flow is mainly developed to provide flexibility to perform data analysis and also integrate with business data applications. These Powerapps are capable of running on multi-platforms such as Mobile devices and web development applications. Hence, by using Microsoft Flow, we can track and automate manual digital data. Below listed are the advantages of using Microsoft flow.
- It helps us in the Process automation for the entire automation with the flow.
- It allows you to Model the end-to-end business process that is available in different stages.
- Leveraged via an app built with PowerApps.
- It provides the first classed approval processes.
- It is considered as a Powerful mobile application that allows notifications and triggers
- Flows will be running entirely in the cloud and are fully secured and managed by Microsoft.
- It helps in automating the apps and automating response to matrices.
- It also helps in analyzing the data to find places to automate.
As of 2020, we see that every organization is involved in the rapid development of applications. Considering the non-programmers, Powerapps is one of the best platforms that will help in the development of the applications. As this is one of the booming technology or frameworks, it will be more effective to learn and gain immense knowledge on the subject. Hence, it is recommended to get trained and certified in powerapps which will help you in attaining a bright career. All the best!