Essentially, PowerApps is a Microsoft-based service that allows technical and nontechnical users to build, manage, and share web and mobile apps. Its intuitive design and wide selection of templates allows people without coding experience to build apps that empower and drive business. PowerApps also integrates with Microsoft and Office 365 services.
In this Collab365 Live Show, hosts Nick Brattoli and Andy Talbot chatted with Darshan Desai and Ashlee & Paul Culmsee to learn about what’s new with Microsoft PowerApps.
Here were some of the key takeaways:
- PowerApps makes up a third of the Power Trio, which also includes Power BI and Microsoft Flow. Whereas Power BI focuses on gathering and viewing insights and Flow focuses on automation, PowerApps allows users to build actionable applications.
- You can package apps together to sell as a product by exporting the package. This puts all of your apps, connections, flows, etc. in a .zip file and allows you to move it around within your tenant or give to a client.
- PowerApps is the successor for InfoPath. Anything you used to do in InfoPath you should be doing in PowerApps, which has all the same functionality—and more.
- You cannot use PowerApps unless you’re using a work or school account.
- http handling is a hidden capability in PowerApps. Paul Culmsee found that a photo he wanted to use couldn’t be handled by the native PowerApps and Flow integration. He used Flow to enable an http request trigger function, which turned Flow into a general web service. This made it easier for him to send the photo from PowerApps to flow without having to use a sophisticated development solution.
- Flow and PowerApps share an admin center, so the same governance policies apply to both.
- There are currently 158 supported connectors, but Microsoft is always adding more. You can also build a custom connector by describing the service and documenting end points and responses.
- PowerApps now supports “kiosk plans” for users who don’t want to create apps but want to use already-created apps with standard connectors.
- The new Community Plan gives users all the premium capabilities that come with paid plans, but you can’t share any apps you create. It’s a good way to explore the service.
As far as what we can expect from PowerApps in the future, Darshan promised we’d get the scoop at this year’s Ignite Conference…but he did give us a few hints:
- Increased app launch speed (especially on mobile)
- Ability to embed within SharePoint lists/forms
- Support for additional files and pictures so users don’t have to learn workarounds
- Reduced learning curve for easier app building
- Sharing apps outside of an organization