What is Power Apps

Did you know that even beginners can become acquainted with the concept of Power Apps? Yes, you read that correctly. Take a look at this "What is Power Apps" blog to learn more about Power Apps along with other crucial factors.

Table of Contents

  • What is Power Apps?
  • Microsoft Power Apps Features
  • What is a Power Platform for Power Apps?
  • How does Power Apps Work?
  • How to build an App with Power Apps?
  • Power Apps Limitations

Microsoft Power Apps is a popular choice for developers to build low-code apps. Leading IT research firms like Gartner and Forrester also ranked Power Apps as a leader for low-code application platforms in its recent release.

It is the only solution of its kind in the industry that brings together low-code/no-code app development, self-service analytics, and automation into a single, comprehensive platform. This What is Power Apps article will cover what Power Apps is, its features, how to build apps using Power Apps, and more

    What is Microsoft Power Apps?

    Power Apps is an initiative by Microsoft that lets you quickly build and share powerful low-code applications. It’s a suite of apps, services, and data platforms that enables rapid application development to build custom apps based on business requirements.

    You can quickly create custom business apps that connect to your business data either on-premises (Excel, Office 365, SharePoint, and more) or data platform (common data source for apps) or 

    Power Apps at its core is a platform as a service that enables you to create applications that run on any mobile device or browser. The purpose behind developing Power Apps is to make users build applications with new capabilities without having coding expertise. Microsoft touts an initial visual design for PowerApps, with drag-and-drop functionality.

    Power Apps has connections with various Microsoft-based and third-party applications, including SharePoint, SQL server, and OneDrive in the Office 365 productivity suite and Google Docs, Dropbox, Dynamics CRM, and Oracle.

    What sets Power Apps apart from other offerings is both developers, and non-technical teams can use it.

    Microsoft PowerApps Features

    Power Apps comes with features that allow you to build apps without coding. Below listed are the powerful features of Power Apps:

    • Easy integration with other Microsoft services: One of the primary reasons for using Power Apps is that it’s easily connectable with other Microsoft services like Excel, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.
    • User-friendly Interface: Power Apps supports a user-friendly interface. With this, you can build an app easily, even if you don’t have any development experience. Create interfaces that can perform CRUD operations
    • Canvas Apps and Model-driven Apps: There are two ways by which you can develop apps in Power Apps - Canvas and Model-driven Approach. You can design an app just by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas. With model-driven apps, much of the layout is determined and designated by the components you add.
    • Cloud Connectivity: It’s extremely easy to connect to cloud services like SQL, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc., with Power Apps.
    • App creation and sharing: Supports an easy drag-and-drop interface for the creation of apps.  You can easily share with anyone you want with Power Apps.
    • Cost-effective: If you want to develop rich business applications but can’t afford developers, start using this fantastic tool. Power Apps is cost-effective.
    • DataVerse: DataVerse allows you to store and manage data securely used by business apps. Data within DataVerse is stored in the form of entities. An entity is a set of records that stores data similar to a table in a database. DataVerse for Apps contains a set of legal entities that cover typical scenarios. You can still create custom entities particular to your company and populate them with data using Power Query. Developers use Power Apps to build rich apps using this data.

    What is a Power Platform For Power Apps?

    Microsoft Power Platform comprises the Power BI, Power Apps, and Flow. These three services provide tools to manage the data of any enterprise process.

    • Power BI is used to display and analyze the data. It’s a real-time, interactive data visualization BI tool.
    • PowerApps are used to modify data. It builds apps with less code in no time for the web, Android & iOS devices.
    • Microsoft Flow is used to automate data. It offers powerful workflow automation with the no-code approach and easy integration.

    How Does Power Apps Work?

    PowerApps facilitates app creation by offering various templates, connectors, and third-party apps for business users. 

    The primary reason that makes it popular among developers is connectors. It allows you to perform CRUD operations and supports the majority of on-premises data sources.

    How to Build an App with PowerApps?

    The easy way to build an app with Power Apps is to start from the data source.

    • First, start from the SharePoint list that store the consulting interventions.
    • Next, select create an app option in the Power Apps menu as below:
    • It takes us to a Power Apps Studio as shown below:

    The below steps guide you on how to build an app using Power Apps:

    Step 1: Select Your Environment

    There are four environments that you can work with Power Apps, and they have their capabilities.

    1. Power Apps Website: This is where you can create and manage apps.
    2. Power Apps Studio: It allows you to design and adapt apps that you create to specific business needs.
    3. Power Apps Mobile: This is available handy on both mobiles and tablets and enables you to execute all your Power Apps apps.
    4. Power Apps Admin Center: Admin.powerapps.com allows you to create and manage environments, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies, and user roles.

    Step 2: Select your Power Apps Application Type

    PowerApps supports two types of apps - Canvas and Model-driven.

    1. Canvas apps allow you to interface easily with positioning controls and fields in a “pixel-perfect” user experience. It targets lightweight apps. 
    2. Model-driven apps are built on top of CDS (Common Data Services) to rapidly create processes, forms, and business rules. It focuses on building heavier apps.

    Step 3: Select your Storage Type

    Choosing the right data source is impactful while designing an app.

    Step 4: Connect the app to on-premise Data Source or online

    PowerApps is born in the cloud and can connect natively to any cloud data source. For that to happen, you need to configure the on-premises data gateway. For this, you need to use a data source from one of the following - SQL Server, Oracle, SharePoint, Informix, Filesystem, and DB2.

    Now that you understand how to create an app using Power Apps. Now, let’s see which companies trust Power Apps to modernize their app development.

    Companies using Power Apps to modernize app development:

    • Standard Bank
    • Leonardo Global Solutions
    • TransAlta
    • SNCF
    • Autoglass
    • National Trust
    • IPS (Integrated Power Services)
    • DriveTime.

    Power Apps Limitations

    • With Power Apps, you can retrieve a max of 500 items by default, but extendable up to 2000 (performance reduces).
    • Only one developer can work at a time if operating on the Canvas Application.
    • If SharePoint runs in the back end, attachment control will work fine. But if custom SQL runs in the backend, then attachment control will be disabled.
    • JavaScript integration is not possible in Power Apps forms.
    • Power Apps cannot be shared with external users of your organization. It is designed to be used internally for your business purposes.


    Microsoft Power Apps has bought a revolution in the low-code app development space. The software’s simplicity allows each user from technical to non-technical backgrounds to build apps without compromising quality. If you have any queries in this article  "What is Power Apps", you can share them via comments below and help us make this post a good read for Microsoft Power Apps.

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