PowerApps – Time to Build

Time to build PowerApps. Fail to plan, plan to fail, considerations before you build:

Data Sources

Depending on Data Source, this will impact licencing. PowerApps has nearly 300 connectors, and more been developed by the day. A decision needs to be made on where you would like to store your data. Common storage locations are Dynamics 365, SharePoint, and Common Data Service (CDS). The data source could also determine what type of app you can build (see my previous blog: PowerApps – Canvas Apps vs Model-Driven Apps). With the Common Data Service, you can build model driven apps which are designed around business functions and business processes. 


While Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow, and PowerApps offer over 180+ connectors to connect to Microsoft and non-Microsoft services, you may want to communicate with services that are not available as prebuilt connectors. Custom connectors address this scenario by allowing you to create (and even share) a connector with its own triggers and actions. With a custom connector, you will be able to bring data into your PowerApp just like the out of the box connectors.


Depending on what connector you need for your data, you can use PowerApps for Office 365, PowerApps Plan 1, PowerApps Plan 2, or Dynamics 365 licensing.

If you have O365, you will be able to use PowerApps at no additional cost if your connector is on the list of free 180+ connectors. If you are an end user that needs to connect to a premium data source, such as Common Data Service, you will need a PowerApps Plan1 License. If you are an app builder that needs to connect to a premium data source, such as Common Data Service, you will need a PowerApps 2 License. If you are already using Dynamics 365, you will inherently have a full PowerApps license for no additional cost. The tables below highlights the different plans.


The decision here is an important one for usability and user experience. If most of your users are out in the field and will be using the app on their iPhone, Android, or tablet, you should build the app in “portrait” mode. If users will be accessing on their desktops, you should build the app in “landscape” mode. User experience is key to any technology adoption and ultimate success of the solution.


On the Power Platform, Flow. Flow is the preferred choice for running any workflows based upon data in Dynamics 365, PowerApps, and Office 365 in general (and my personal favourite). Make sure to document these workflows as part of the beginning stages of any project (check out Visio to help you document process flows during planning). With Flow, you will have access to the same180+ connectors as PowerApps, plus handy connectors like approvals, which are easy ways of generating email approval workflows.


Another offering from the Power Platform, PowerBI. If you need to report on your data, PowerBI empowers the user to create powerful visuals based on the same connections that you have used to create your app. Powerful insights and analytics.


The Power Platform and in particular, PowerApps, has incredible cadence in development and limelight. Staying informed of what is coming, changing and deprecating will enhance your solution. Follow the latest from Microsoft by following the release plans.

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