As the name deduces, a combination of “Power” and “Apps” meaning it allows you to create powerful business application but that’s relative depending on what you want to accomplish. Though PowerApps is not a replacement for InfoPath, I have seen in many-a-times forms built on PowerApps and they are very functional but it’s not comparable to InfoPath. InfoPath forms were easy to build even when they were code driven, on the other hand PowerApps generally don’t require coding but the learning curve is stepper.
PowerApps were initially offered for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and very visible when you use the web player (which we’ll talk about shortly), but the curve has changed and incorporation to SharePoint is happening.
The strength of PowerApps is ability to start with data, based on vast number of data sources your form will be based on the fields in the source.
Other than Common Data Service, the others are self-explanatory, common data service allows you to bring data from many different data sources, figure below is a snippet of some which will grow over time. Thus we have ability to bring data from most of the data stores.
Power App is not limited to cloud data, it has the concept of gateway like most Azure applications allowing you to get to on-premise data. It also allows you to view, insert and update data in your sources.
My focus on this article will be from SharePoint perspective.
So where do you start with PowerApps?
PowerApps is available as
- An application download from Microsoft Store on your windows machine
- From Browser by navigation to https://web.powerapps.com/
- From a SharePoint List
- When using the browser or SharePoint list the application utilizes PowerApps Studio to get you started.
What to know prior to using PowerApps
- PowerApps are environment driven, created in PowerApps Admin Center https://admin.powerapps.com, publishing/sharing is determined by the environment.
- You are not limited to Mobile view, you can change your layout to fit your needs.
- It’s a shared application, for your users to use it, you have to share it.
- Publishing the app makes it available in https://web.powerapps.com,
- To add it to SharePoint you have to use embedded webpart
- PowerApps uses screens to move from one view to the next
- Your very first screen will be considered as the default screen or launch screen.
- There is version control… yeeee