What is Microsoft Power Apps?

Microsoft Power Apps is a ‘low code’ application platform, and the building blocks for innovation, handing users the ability to develop solutions to task and role-specific scenarios.

Using Power Apps, you can build your own custom apps that are powered by your business data in the underlying platform, Microsoft Dataverse (formerly the Common Data Service), or data held within various applications.

Power Apps has connectors for many popular services and on-premises data sources, including Office 365, Dynamics 365, SharePoint, and SQL Server.
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Power Apps allow you to:

Quickly build apps to support business processes without extensive code
Integrate to a wide number of connectors already supported by the Power Platform
Share your apps for use on devices such as phones and tablets

Low code application platform

It’s important to remember that ‘low code’ application platform does not mean code free and does require some coding knowledge to build canvas apps from scratch.

Power Apps do however shelter developers from much of the complexity associated with developing software; enabling very rapid development and expanding the pool of developers who can use it.

With a drag-and-drop design, apps can be built in hours rather than weeks or months and controlled by your business without the need to spend and wait on custom software development.

You can start with a pre-built template with a ‘model-driven’ app or start from a blank ‘canvas’ app. Anything is possible.
Different types of Power Apps
Power Apps support different approaches to application development with apps for makers and creators.

There are three types of Power App; Canvas (‘traditional’ mobile/tablet apps), Model-driven (CRM-style) and Portal (website).

Whilst Canvas apps can use Dataverse or data pulled straight from external data sources via custom connectors (API’s), model-driven and portal apps must use the Dataverse.

Power Apps Examples
Some of Microsoft’s own templates provide great examples of apps. The ‘Help Desk’ canvas app is mobile app with a neat, simple UI, allowing users to create and view support requests.

How could we expand on this solution?

We could create a model-driven app, allowing administrators to manage requests, and integrate a business process flow to help track the different stages of the request process.

We could also create a portal app for support users and administrators, and tailor the design around the user type.

As a Microsoft Power Apps Partner, we’ve designed all types of apps for all types of users:

Proof of delivery apps for warehouse employees
Customer relationship management apps
Sales staff, requisition apps for bar managers
Plus, each app utilizes native functionality as well as custom connectors and components to provide a complete solution.
Power Apps and Power Automate
As well as a stand-alone product, Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) can be triggered from Canvas, Model-driven, and Portal apps.

Synchronize data, send emails, trigger approval processes – the full range of Power Automate functionality is a button click away!

Author's Bio: 

Terrance is a business consultant and financial advisor.