Microsoft PowerApps is a developmental platform anyone can use to put together mobile and web applications. The following Microsoft Power Apps 101 guide will shed light on some of the biggest essentials that anyone making their first steps with the platform should know.
Microsoft Power Platform and Power Apps: A Quick Overview
PowerApps is a part of the Microsoft Power Platform . This is a collective name that brings together PowerApps, Power BI (an analytical platform displaying business data in real time) and Flow (an automated workflows system).
All of these applications process data via the Common Data Service (CDS) by Microsoft.
Power Apps is the tool to use when developing apps. Whenever someone wants to build an app on the platform, they’d be taken to the PowerApps Studio. Here, a functional canvas will be generated by the system for your intended purpose.
There are several benefits of using Microsoft Power Apps. The platform allows the quick and effortless development of apps. Many of the time consuming elements are eliminated from the process to be replaced with intuitive drag and drop functions. This obviously saves a lot of time, especially for those who are relatively inexperienced.
In addition, Power Apps has
- streamlined development (all of the needed elements are already within the platform)
- effortless data connection
- built-in Office 365 integration
- mobile readiness
- cost efficiency
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Microsoft Power Apps 101: The Development Process
The process used for the development of an application on the Power Platform is fairly simple.
The sequence of steps includes the following:
1. Select “Create an app” from the PowerApps menu.
2. the PowerApps Studio will open, featuring a canvas for app creation that is generated by the system.
3. Select the PowerApps environment (site PowerApps, PowerApps studio, PowerApps mobile or PowerApps admin center).
4. Select the application type.
5. Select the storage type.
6. Choose the data source that the app in development will be connected to (some of the supported data sources include SharePoint, SQL Server, Oracle, Informix and Filesystem with the potential for the addition of new ones.
The Microsoft Power Apps Documentation is available and should be examined carefully before getting the development process started.
Tons of Customization Available
Once the initial setup has been handled and the app development commences, Microsoft PowerApps will enable a wide range of customization possibilities.
The available controls in the PowerApps toolbar and the advanced properties in the right-side panel can both be used for customization. Everything from a title change to the addition of custom cards is possible.
Some other customization options include the addition of images, videos and audio files, the creation of various icons, search capabilities and formula customization.
PowerApps also enables the extensive testing of the app before it gets launched.
A final interesting feature is that the finalized app is easy to share with others within the Microsoft Power Platform. The addition of a name, an email or a user group allows for effortless sharing and collaboration.
There are tons of resources for those interested in getting started with Microsoft PowerApps. It’s best to get started with the official tutorials and learning opportunities put together by the Microsoft team (like this one, for example).