Notes and Setting Context
PowerApps is a new product/service offering from Microsoft for building business solutions that connect data from a variety of services and locations – including SharePoint Online. It is targeted at ‘power users’ – which is a somewhat broad and undefined group of users. It’s safe to say that not all SharePoint users will be able to build solutions in PowerApps intuitively as it does require a different skill set – but it is not coding.
- PowerApps are available through an Office 365 account for users within your organization. Apps are not public-facing. You’re not creating a stand-alone app that anyone can download and run. It will only work for your tenant. The app owner determines who has access to the app: it could be a list of individuals or the whole organization.
- PowerApps is not a replacement for InfoPath… yet. It certainly has potential. Yes, it has forms – but it’s not going to be on par with what InfoPath had to offer in terms of complexity for now.
- PowerApps was not developed exclusively for SharePoint – so don’t expect a SharePoint-only kind of focus from the product. It integrates with a LOT more platforms and services. SharePoint is one of them and it already does do some cool stuff for the SharePoint platform.
- PowerApps is targeted at the mobile platform – specifically phone and tablet devices, but it will be surfaced in the browser as well. The mobile client lists out apps that the user has access to. Apps can also be pinned to the desktop of your device rather than having to open the PowerApps app first.
- Within SharePoint, PowerApps will soon have a presence within the new ‘modern’ SharePoint lists and libraries – more to come on that soon.
- PowerApps is built on Azure. So it’s cloud-based. PowerApps Studio is a local tool, but connects to PowerApps Portal – which is a cloud service and relies on the cloud for Connections.
- ‘Connections’ and ‘Gateways’ are how you get access to services and data. Which ones are available will be determined by licensing… which is still TBD. While currently in Preview mode, we have access to all available connectors.
- PowerApps is part of a broader effort targeting power users – so check out the other tools and capabilities as well.
Start here: https://businessplatform.microsoft.com
And here: https://powerusers.microsoft.com/
- If you are or were an Excel or Access ‘guru’ building complex formulas, spreadsheets, and/or Access solutions, you’ll probably be pretty confortable digging into PowerApps (and Flow).
- The documentation is fantastic for this point in a new product release. Seriously I can’t give enough kudos to the team putting this stuff together.
Where To Start
- Check out the tutorial found here:
- Go to https://powerapps.microsoft.com and log in with an account you use with Office 365.
Where To Go Next
Honestly, just dig in. It’s pretty easy. There definitely is a learning curve the deeper you get. But you’ll see a bunch of cool capabilities just by clicking around. You can have a mobile powerapp running on a SharePoint Online list going in minutes.
I’m putting my links and resources here: http://www.idubbs.com/blog/powerapps-and-flows/
So, without repeating all those links in this post, just check it out.