Today’s topic is one of the more recent additions to the PowerApps family… -> Portals.
PowerApps developers can now create a “powerful” new type of a User experience: external-facing websites that allow visitors outside of the organization to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.
The full capabilities of Dynamics 365 Portals, previously offered only as an add-on to model-driven apps in Dynamics 365, are now available completely standalone inside of PowerApps.
These capabilities feature a revamped end-to-end experience for solution designers to quickly create a website and customize it with pages, layout, and content. Makers can re-use page designs through templates, add forms and views to display key data from Common Data Service, and publish it to the User community.
One area where this new feature can be a potential game changer is the Public Sector and related enterprises. One of the missing pieces of a public sector ERP implementation has been the lack of out of the box or low code portals in order to allow the public community to interact with services offered by the organization. Often, this would be an expensive affair with a standalone web project typically required to meet these requirements, followed by costly integrations soon thereafter.
PowerApps Portals looks poised to disrupt this market and this example will showcase some of the possibilities.
Take an example of a State or local natural resources department issuing licenses for recreational hunting, fishing etc.; the need for a public facing portal to collect the necessary details for application processing, approval and issuance is a typical requirement.
PowerApps portals is able to help cater to that need by allowing authenticated or anonymous access to the form, along with out of the box verification, to help submit such an application. The application can then be forwarded to the corresponding agency through CDS (Common Data Service).
To begin setting up a portal, go to make.powerapps.com and click the create portal from blank, fill in the fields and click create.
Next, set up the website interface with the necessary pages, components, and content.
After the interface has been set up, the portal settings can be configured with the necessary security settings and access requirements.
Portals uses the standard CDS entities to record and store information. This can be utilized for the website or custom entities can be created for specific use cases. In the example below, a license entity has been created to collect and store the information from the User.
Next, the form to collect information is designed and linked to the page in the portal.
Once completed, the website is ready to preview and test. Notice the tabs on header.
A User can register and sign in or use existing credential from a third party authentication provider.
Once the User has been authenticated and logged in, the header has been refreshed to show security context specific content.
The User can then proceed to fill the Fishing license application and submit it for processing and approval.
This same requirement can be accomplished for unauthenticated Users as well, if anonymous access is enabled. Once the form is submitted, the data can flow through CDS to reach the necessary approval authority.