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Emerging Technology

Microsoft PowerApps: An Introduction


With the rise in application development over the past decade, the need for developers has increased at an exponential pace.  In most cases, we simply cannot train developers fast enough to meet the needs of the business world.  In reaction to this, many software companies have attempted take the highly trained developer out of the equation.  PowerApps is Microsoft’s strategy on how to solve this problem.

PowerApps is a cloud-native, low code/no code, application development environment.  That description alone may scare you away but it’s not as hard to learn as it sounds.  It’s also included in the majority of Office365 service offerings.  By the way, get used to hearing the term “low-code/no-code”, as its becoming quite popular.

To dive in on an example of how this can be used, we wanted to build an app that we could use for visitor sign-in at our front desk.  This is a perfect use-case for PowerApps.  So, we built a couple of screens in PowerApps, which was surprisingly simple.

The 4 screens we built were:

  • Welcome Screen – 2 buttons, one for signing in and one for signing out.
  • Sign-in Screen – a simple form with contact information
  • Sign-out Screen – A simple list of signed in visitors
  • Thank You Screen

After building out these 4 screens in PowerApps, we then connected the data to a SharePoint list which was also in the cloud.  The great advantage to PowerApps is that you can build it up and tear it down without breaking anything in your existing environment.  After the app has been created and published, you can then launch from any device.

This example only scratches the surface on what’s possible within PowerApps.  You can also connect it to other applications via another Microsoft product, called Microsoft Flow.  With these components together, you can now build workflows and chains of events to complete very complex tasks.  Even if you took one basic programming course in college or high school, a lot of the same basic concepts will help you learn how to take advantage of PowerApps.

Microsoft has also published some excellent training to get you started that can be found here.

To learn more about this and other Microsoft products Thrive offers contact us today!