In a rapidly evolving world of how data is collected and processed, Microsoft has focused on a multitude of strategies to assist organizations to stay ahead of the curve. One such approach is the “Low code – No code” technology that empowers functionally oriented power users to build quality applications that can help rapidly adapt to the changing business requirements. PowerApps as a part of Microsoft’s Power Platform has been widely acknowledged as the leader in this market segment.
PowerApps is an application with services, connectors, and a data platform that provides a rapid development environment for constructing custom apps for business needs.
Apps built using PowerApps:
- Enable users to build feature-rich, custom business apps with no or minimal code (everyone is a Programmer – wink wink).
- Provide rich business logic and workflow capabilities to transform manual processes to digital, automated processes.
- Have a responsive design allowing the apps to run seamlessly in a browser or on mobile devices.
PowerApps has four major components:
- Canvas apps start with the user experience, creating a highly tailored interface with the power of a blank canvas and connecting it to your choice of 200 data sources. One can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications.
- Model-driven apps start with the data model – building up from the shape of your core business data and processes using the Common Data Service to model forms, views, and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across devices.
- Portals start to create external-facing websites that allow users outside of your organization to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.
- Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with PowerApps and allows users to store and model business data. It is the platform on which most Dynamics 365 applications are built.
This article will primarily focus on how to set up a canvas app and connect it with Dynamics 365 data.
Initially, a user will be required to possess the prerequisite licenses and security access in order to reach the PowerApps resources.
Sign into https://make.powerapps.com/
Click on Connections from Data -> Connections
Then click New Connection and select the Dynamics 365 for Fin & Ops option and click create.
A prompt to authorize connection to the Dynamics 365 connector will appear and once credentials are verified, the connection will be created. Please note that the credentials used must also have the requisite security privileges on the Dynamics 365 environment as well.
Next, Click create and select the start from data canvas app option.
In the next pop-up window select the new connection that was created earlier and choose the specific environment to connect to and the table.
This example will connect to the employees table to create a basic employee directory.
PowerApps should then auto generate the app and the content based on the data source and it’s built in algorithms.
To make this app functional, some tweaks need to be completed so that the necessary information for the directory app will be displayed correctly.
Click on Browse Gallery on the left pane and then click edit on the right pane’s Fields option to change the displayed info to the requisite fields.
Upon selecting the right fields, we can proceed to go into the Detail Screen and see if the information there matches requirements. If not, select the detail form element and edit he fields to include the necessary ones.
Next, review the code for the search box to ensure the searchable fields are correctly set up.
Finally once all the necessary changes are made, proceed to preview and test the app on the browser to confirm all the requirements are met and then save and publish to your organization’s environment.