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  • Writer's pictureSofia Ng

Power Apps in the spotlight

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Power Apps is the next member of the Power Platform to get the spotlight in one of our blogs. But what is it and why do we care?

Power Apps' major goal is to make it possible to construct low-code apps, mostly for business purposes. In comparison to traditional coding, non-professional app developers can construct apps via an interface significantly more quickly than previously done. PowerApps gives freedom to non-technical staff members like business analysts to create applications in addition to developers. (Please see our blog on Power Platform governance to gain insight into how your business can remain in control).

With the help of PowerApps, a non-technical audience is successfully introduced to the power of process automation. However, users will, in all likelihood, need to have some technical knowledge of the tools and data they are using, and in cases where more than basic logic is needed the business will likely still need to reach out to a developer.

Power Apps presents itself as a great tool for creating customised apps that are tailored to your data and systems to satisfy the needs of your teams. With the help of this suite, programmers can construct expert apps that can be enhanced with Machine Learning to make them more effective, imaginative, and intelligent. With Power Apps, you can create mobile apps by adding various controls (such as text fields and choice fields), media (such as photographs, videos, and camera controls for your phone), forms, and displays. You can even read the contents of a pdf.

Are JavaScript, HTML, or C# coding skills required? Not for internal Power Apps, such as Canvas apps or model-driven apps. If you plan on building Microsoft Power Pages (the evolution of Power App Portals) then coding knowledge becomes more important. While the user interface for both Canvas apps and Model-driven apps is a simple drag and drop you do need to be able to describe your data using formulas. Power App formulas closely resemble those available in Excel and as such are not difficult to pick up. This does not mean that Power Apps cannot become quite complex, things like message boxes, etc. quickly add to the logic needed. We would highly recommend making a plan of what the application needs to do for your business as well as evaluating your existing applications. You may already be paying for an application that serves your requirements or one which can be added to an existing license.

There are three different types of Power Apps; Model-driven, Canvas, and Microsoft Power Pages (which will soon replace Power App Portals). Canvas apps and Model-driven apps are both internal-facing while Power App Portal is a different beast. Microsoft Power Pages is a low-code hosting and development platform that is used for creating contemporary, secure, and data-driven commercial websites. Power Pages gives you the ability to quickly build, configure, and publish your web pages to engage with customers, partners, and communities whether you're a low-code maker or a professional developer.

Power Pages is based on Power Apps portals and offers the same features and professional developer experiences in addition to a new low-code creator experience and pre-built templates to construct contemporary commercial sites. While Canvas apps and Model Driven apps are quite limited in terms of customisations Power Pages offer the ability to extend the functionality using Visual Studio Code and the Microsoft Power Platform CLI.

Being a member of the Power Platform all three offer great integration with the other parts of the platform such as across other Power Apps, Dataverse, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agent. While Power Pages will be taking over from Power App Portals it appears that Microsoft is also separating the product to be a separate part of the Power Platform. This makes a lot of sense as Power App Canvas apps and Model Driven apps are very closely related Power App Portals always felt more like a cousin than a sibling.

Let us know if your business would like to discuss how Power Apps can help.

Note: PowerApps are available if you have an Office 365 Enterprise E1 or above subscription.

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