So, this past week Microsoft announced that PowerApps was now available for all to use within Office 365. This is a huge milestone in products being released into Office 365. The official post from Microsoft can be found here. Now you know it is available, what is it all about?
PowerApps has been a long time coming and has some great features. The idea here is that you are able to build forms, specifically for mobile devices and of course the web, that can front your SharePoint data or other line of business applications. In fact, it can be used for more than just SharePoint Forms, as long as the Office 365 cloud can see your data via Data Gateways, then you can actually create applications that can edit not just SharePoint but other lone of business data.
The core tool is really the design studio that is available either in the browser or as a desktop installation. This allows for applications to be created easily and then made available for mobile devices or the web. You can see from this example that PowerApps is also tied to Dynamics CRM.
Clicking “Enter to Win” takes you to the form which was built with PowerApps and made available to anyone that has access to the Office 365 tenant or PowerApps.
The form creation process is great and offers a rich experience. PowerApps gives you the ability to connect all kinds of Data that is not only available with you Tenant but connected to it via the Data Management Gateways.
Once you have determined the data that will be used, you can then start to generate the application as needed. This is great however I would refer to this as an out-of-bounds creation process as we are not directly within SharePoint. The new announcements made recently now put PowerApps and Flow directly in the SharePoint Online lists and libraries.
This changes the purpose of PowerApps and Flow for anyone that is now using the Modern List and Library view within SharePoint Online.
Once we give the PowerApp a name we can then start to create rich forms for adding content to the SharePoint List we are in. This more powerful than simply creating an out of context one, though useful and can connect to other connect, the key here is context. Allowing you as the end user to create rich forms and then combine that with Flow for automation brings a whole new level of power to users.
The creation application wires everything together for you automatically.
Once you have completed the form you can then save and publish it back and make it available as pone of the views. The new PowerApp you created will be listed underneath the view menu.
Clicking the view will launch the PowerApp in full use mode.
You then have full create, read, update and delete functions based on how you modified the out of the box design. Adding new ones is as simple as selecting the “plus” sign and completing the details and saving, which will in turn write directly to the list in SharePoint.
Whether using the Desktop tool or the Web, the design canvas allows for objects to be laid out easily and quickly, allowing for rapid development.
Each component added to a form or screen has properties and associated actions that can be used.
The desktop application allows for forms / applications to be built without having to be in the site and then publish them back to the Office 365 tenant. All in all, PowerApps is great for not only SharePoint but also for any other data that you wish to connect to.
Of course, the real win is the ability to make those forms / applications that are created mobile ready and available outside of the organization easily.
PowerApps truly is the future of building custom forms and then making them available on mobile devices for your organization.