Microsoft PowerApps – A Beginner’s Guide

Are you looking into PowerApps developing to drive your productivity?

Microsoft PowerApps belongs to the Microsoft Power Platform. Businesses rely on them to create unique applications. As a business owner looking to build a unique application to support multiple workplace functions, PowerApps can help you build a customized application with its drag-and-drop functionality.

What Is PowerApps?

PowerApps is Microsoft’s formula-based application building platform that allows you to rapidly build useful business applications via a user-friendly visual builder. This way, you don’t have to rely on conventional coding – everything is about formulas. Therefore, it eliminates the need for professional developers for application development. PowerApps has been designed particularly to aid Excel users, which is why you will find some common formulas too.

You can connect PowerApps to various data sources, such as Outlook, Azure SQL, SharePoint, Excel, and others for reading and writing data. Furthermore, you can connect to Google, Dropbox, and other third-party applications.

PowerApps for Office 365

To get the standard PowerApps plan, reach out to us. It comes with the Office 365 Business plans, which offer a free trial. We will help you with the installation, configuration, and development quickly.

How to Create Applications?

PowerApps is an online platform, so you can just visit https://powerapps.microsoft.com/ to access it. After logging in to it, you can see the Home screen.

  1. Go to the top right corner for information on the build environment and account settings.
  2. On the left side, you will find the main menu.
  3. You can select the design mode to create model-driven or canvas apps.
  4. The interface includes a training functionality, so you can navigate through the interface and do basic tasks, such as how to create a connection to a data source.
  5. All the recently built apps will be shown here.
  6. You also check pre-built application templates and build your app by choosing any of them.
  7. You can go through a list of apps you designed or the ones shared with you.

Types of Apps

You can create two forms of PowerApps, model-driven and canvas apps, depending on the data service. Both share the same user interface and objects, but the only difference is in how you create the application.

Model-Driven Apps

You need the plan 2 pricing tiers to build model-driven apps with the data service. If the app you build collects data from CDS and needs sophisticated business logic, then you should use a model-driven app.

Canvas Apps

You can use the basic plan to create a canvas application. There are many ways to create it.

  1. Use a data source to build your application. This is ideal for users who want to create a basic app to view, edit, or add data in a single table.
  2. Use a template to create the application. You will find a number of pre-built templates available.
  3. Start from scratch. This involves building every component.

It is recommended to experiment with the first two options. This way, you can learn how PowerApps work and use that knowledge to build your applications from scratch.

Formulas and Attributes

There are plenty of formulas and attributes that you can select in PowerApps. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that formulas are used with attributes because attributes depend on your selected objective.

For instance, a screen can have multiple attributes, such as loading spinner color, background image, image position, loading spinner, and fill. They help you to build your application based on personal design preferences.

Some objects will provide options to pick from attributes, like On Select. This can let you define what happens once an object is clicked.

Formulas

You can use more than 150 formulas in PowerApps. Here are some of the most widely used ones.

  • Search – Allows users to look for records after providing a search query.
  • Update Context – Offers the option to store values that can be used with a context variable.
  • Sort – Sorts a table for a specific formula.
  • Update If – If a condition is true, it adds an updated value.
  • Clear Collect – Deletes all the records from a collection. Besides, it adds a varying selection of records to the same collection.
  • Lookup – This formula goes through the table to find the first row and compares it with the given formula.
  • Filter – offers the option to filter from a set of records, depending on the given formula.
  • Sort By Columns – Allows you to sort a table by column.

External Business Data

PowerApps offers reliable support to users, so they can connect data with other systems. By creating custom connections and pre-built connectors, you can use the following:

  • Power BI
  • OneDrive
  • SQL Server
  • Office 365 Users
  • Dropbox
  • Office 365 Outlook
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Dynamics 365
  • Common Data Service
  • SharePoint
  • OneDrive for Business

On-Premises Data Sources

You can also access data that is stored in your on-premises data stores via a gateway. To configure a gateway, you are required to use the following:

  • Oracle
  • Informix
  • SQL Server
  • SharePoint
  • DB2
  • Filesystem

Common Data Service

Another feature of Microsoft PowerApps is that it enables you to utilize data Common Data Service now renamed to Dataverse. This service lets users store and handle data, allowing them to work with business applications in a secure environment.

Final Thoughts

PowerApps can be the key to enabling your organization to automate and enhance processes efficiently. It has made it a lot easier for non-tech businesses to create applications and boost their productivity to the next level.

If you are looking for a Microsoft Cloud Service Provider for PowerApps development, get in touch with us ASAP.

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