What is Microsoft PowerApps?

Microsoft PowerApps is a platform that allows you to quickly and easily build custom business apps. It is designed to build business apps that can be used internally within an organisation for specific business needs.

It connects to your business data stored in the Common Data Service, which is the underlying data platform for Microsoft, or in various online and on-premises data sources such as SharePoint, Excel, Office 365, Dynamics 365 or SQL Server. PowerApps also has connections with a number of other Microsoft-based and third-party applications such as OneDrive, Dynamics CRM, Dropbox, Google Docs, SAP and Oracle.

The PowerApp platform allows users to create, manage and share business apps to iOS, Android and Windows devices and the apps that are built and shared through PowerApps run seamlessly on mobile and browser alike.

No code expertise is needed in order to use PowerApps and create new capabilities through apps. Instead, it uses an intuitive visual design and a drag-and-drop functionality which makes it easy for anyone with hardly any developer expertise to design an app. Not only this, PowerApps is filled with a large number of templates to choose from if you don’t want to start from scratch. Any app that you build through PowerApps will have rich business logic and workflow capabilities that will help to transform your business processes from manual, to smart and efficient automated processes.

There are three types of app categories: canvas, model-driven and portal.

Canvas apps begin with user experience and crafts a highly tailored interface from scratch, using your data sources. It is highly flexible and gives you the ability to arrange the experience and interface in ant way you want.

Model-driven apps begin by taking your data model and progressively build up the shape of your core business data and processes in the Common Data Service. You can configure your forms, business rules and process flows this way.

Portals is a new capability within PowerApps that allows for users to make powerful apps to allow external users that are outside of an organisation access to perform a number of functionalities such as signing in, creating and viewing data stored within the Common Data Service. This feature had just been recently released in preview to the public (July 2019).

PowerApps integrates with Dynamics 365 applications such as Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Service, Dynamics 365 for Marketing as they use the same underlying data platform – Common Data Service. This makes it easy to build apps directly with core business data without additional integrations.