Microsoft Power Apps Explained

explaining the types and benefits of microsoft power apps

Low-code technology helps bridge the gap created by the ever-increasing demand for software resources. Similarly, tools like Microsoft Power App allow both developers and non-developers to build software solutions without writing a single line of code with its low-code/no-code solution. Not only is usability improved for all, but Power Apps also mean productivity for all, increasing business efficiencies for organizations that scale their automation efforts. 

This article will cover everything you need to know about Microsoft Power Apps to help your business reap its benefits.

What is Microsoft Power Apps?

Microsoft Power Apps is a low-code or no-code tool included in the Microsoft Power Platform technology. The solution has been recognized as a leader in the low code category by both Gartner and Forrester. It is a powerful tool for developing business applications and data-driven websites by connecting them to APIs, connectors, and data sources. One of the incredible features of Power Apps is that it allows businesses to build business applications from their existing data sources like Microsoft Excel and SharePoint List with minimal effort. In addition, Power Apps also allow you to easily connect to Microsoft 365 technologies and external services.

Microsoft Power Apps is a tool for everyone, whether you are a developer or a non-developer. With this tool, everyone can quickly build applications tailored to their business needs. You can access Power Apps via Power Apps Mobile, Power Apps Desktop, and your browser.

Types of Microsoft Power Apps

There are three types of Power Apps – Canvas Apps, Model-driven Apps, and Power Apps Portal. Recently, Microsoft changed the Power Apps Portal to a standalone tool in the Microsoft Power Platform named Microsoft Power Pages. Let’s understand the distinct types of Power Apps.

Canvas App

Canvas Apps give makers complete control and freedom over the design and development of the application without writing code in a language such as C#. As the name implies, the canvas is a blank canvas on which makers can easily drag and drop components and edit, resize, and move pieces. In addition, you can build the Canvas App in either a landscape or portrait layout.

Though you can build a canvas app on a blank canvas, there are few other ways to approach app creation:

  • Blank: This is where you build your Canvas Apps from a blank screen and add components and data sources or connectors directly in the Power Apps studio.
  • Data sources: Here, the app is created directly from the data source and has a three-screen view. A few examples of the available data sources are Microsoft Dataverse, Excel, SharePoint Online, and SQL Server.
  • Template: The app is created from the different templates in the Power Apps environment. It allows you to use an already prebuilt App. Some templates are an Onboarding task, help desk, and budget tracker.
Microsoft Power Apps Overview

Benefits Of Canvas Apps

Here are a few benefits of Canvas Power Apps:

  • It connects to different data sources: Canvas Power Apps gives makers and developers access to 600+ connectors. You can easily connect your application to different data sources and external services. There is an opportunity that when a service is unavailable, you can easily connect to it with an API.
  • Easy to design and use: The interface is easy to access and understand, which makes it easier to control and build your application. What you create is what you see.
  • Building with code: This allows you to develop your application with code if you desire additional functionality.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence: You can efficiently train and add Artificial Intelligence (AI) into your application. This allows makers to add AI functionalities, like detecting an object or scanning a receipt into your App.

Model-driven App

Model-driven apps are built on your data model. The data type you work with determines how the application looks and functions. Hence, you need to set your data before creating Model-driven apps. The only data source allowed on a Model-driven app is Microsoft Dataverse.

Model App Sample

Benefits of Model-driven App

Model-driven App focuses on adding components such as forms, views, charts, and dashboards to tables using an app designer tool. Let us take a closer look at the benefits of using model-driven apps.

  • Build Quickly: Due to no-code designers and a rich focus on components, the build process is rapid once the data model and relationships are created.
  • Responsive: These apps are responsive by design, rendering to the device in question and come with multilingual label support. In addition, offline capabilities are native for such apps, making them usable for all.
  • Secure: The platform is reliable, and this method has tried and tested lifecycle management options.
  • Elevate Business Processes: Logic can be introduced to ensure columns adhere to business rules. It enables business process flows by allowing users to update records in the right order.

Power Pages

Power Pages, formerly known as Power Apps Portal, is used to build external-facing websites using the low-code/no-code method. It has its database sitting on the Microsoft Dataverse, which developers can use to connect the data sources to the built website. It offers the developers security and the ability to access as much data as possible. An example is a self-service portal where customers can log complaints and get feedback.

In addition to the name change, more low-code features have been added. Thus, by utilizing one of the templates, website building is much more straightforward for individuals with no designing and coding skills.

Power Portal Apps
Power Pages

Benefits of Power Pages

Here are the benefits of leveraging Power Pages to build websites:

  • Seamless Design: It is easy to build modern, data-centric models with a no-code/low-code solution like Power Pages that supports responsive and customizable templates for business solutions.
  • Enhanced Security: The new governance updates include turnkey integration with Microsoft Azure Web Application Firewall, Content Delivery Network (CDN) support with Azure Front Door, and support for custom domains.
  • Pro-Developer Tools: The advanced pro-developer capabilities allow makers to extend web pages as needed.

Business Benefits of Microsoft Power Apps

Earlier, we mentioned that Power Apps allows users to build business applications from their existing data sources without writing code. But that’s not all that the platform has to offer, there is much more to the solution, such as:

  1. Seamlessly Integrates Across Platforms: Power Apps allow easy data access and connectivity to tools in Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other external sources like Salesforce, Amazon Redshift, Adobe, and Dropbox.
  2. Solves Business Challenges: It helps in addressing workplace issues and boosting productivity. Organizations can enhance the workplace experience for their stakeholders with custom apps for onboarding, inventory, and more!
  3. Business Process Automation: As part of the Power Platform, Power Apps have access to Power Automate. Through this link, Power Apps can trigger the workflow engine to enable developers to add automation functionality based on end-user behavior.
  4. Cost-Effective: Power apps are affordable to use, and the development cost of application is much lower. From a licensing perspective, all Microsoft 365 subscribers can access Power Apps with a limitation to non-premium connectors.
  5. Significant Timesaving: The time taken to plan and build an application with Power Apps is faster and more efficient than it is when applications are created with alternative solutions.

Leverage Microsoft Power Apps for your Organization

Power Apps play an essential role in an organization regardless of size. While you can build internal business applications to simplify your operations without codes, we can help you with custom solutions that fit all your organizational needs. You can leverage CollabPoint’s extensive expertise in the Power Platform and other Microsoft Platforms to yield better ROI on your technology investments.

Check out the CollabPoint blog that explores an array of Microsoft 365 solutions and services, including CollabPoint today.