What is Power Apps?
Power Apps is suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that make up a section of Microsoft’s Power Platform. Microsoft’s vision for Power Apps and the Power Platform in general is create a suite of apps that empower a wider spectrum of personnel in the enterprise field. To do this, Microsoft has built Power Apps to allow a low-code to no-code development environment which Microsoft hopes will empower what Microsoft terms as the “citizen developer”, business personnel who don’t fit in the IT and professional developer space, to build their own line of apps.
The benefit of allowing citizen developers to develop their own line of business apps is these individuals tend to have the most experience and understanding when it comes to the business needs and requirements.
The Power Platform business platform is broken down into four main areas:
- Power BI – Build reports and dashboard to showcase data visually
- Power Apps – Quickly develop and publish mobile and web applications
- Power Automate – Create powerful automate workflows to handle various forms of business logic
- Power Virtual Agents – Intelligent virtual agents or chat bots that can help drive organizational productivity
All four of these apps and services sit on top of three main services (data connectors, AI Builder, and the Common Data Service) to aid in connecting to your data sources, storing your data, and intelligently analyzing your data. There are currently over 260+ data connectors that allow you to connect your apps to Office 365 and third party services with a click of a button (no need to build custom API layers!). Of course, if you can’t find a connector or want to use a custom API, Microsoft allows you to build your own custom connector.
If you are looking at implementing some intelligence into your app, for instance building an app that can count how many bicycles appear in an image or translate English text to German, then you’ll want to take a look at AI Builder.
Finally, using the Common Data Service (commonly known as the CDS) allows you to quickly implement a secure backend database that seamlessly ties into all the Power Platform products.
Lets Build an App
To help get you started and familiar with Power Apps, I’ve created a four-part video series. This video series is also great if you want to learn more about filtering Power Apps galleries and playing around with variables to handle logic in your app.
In the first part of the series we begin building our app. As it is with every app we need to define a problem statement before we begin constructing our app.
Problem statement: We need to build an eCommerce style app that helps showcase our product line at our company AccessOЯize and allow our end-users to add our products to favourites as well as purchase them. Our goal is to be able to develop this app in under a week with limited employee resources (just you!).
This is where you come in! You’re the developer and need to help build out this app for our company. So, what are you waiting for, lets get started!
In part 2 of the series we focus on building out the logic to our home screen, in particular the ability to filter our products and begin work on the logic to add our products to the favourites screen.
In part 3, we build out the favourites, product info, and cart screens.
Finally, in part 4 we wrap everything up by bringing everything together and publish our app!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series. Make sure you like, comment, and of course SUBSCRIBE for more Power Platform and Power App videos.