What is PowerApps

This PowerApps tutorial, we will disucss what is PowerApps? What are the various components of PowerApps? PowerApps pricing and capacity, and also we will discuss various advantages of using PowerApps over InfoPath forms.

Businesses nowadays require lots of forms to collect data from the employees as well as customers which are required for the business to function.

Previously for this specific need of form generation and designing Microsoft InfoPath was used.

Microsoft InfoPath is a software application for designing, distributing, filling and submitting electronic forms containing structured data. It was initially released as Microsoft Office 2003 family. And lots of organizations started using InfoPath within SharePoint to collect data from users.

As of now Microsoft has stopped working on InfoPath and has announced that the support cycle for InfoPath 2013 would end on July 14, 2026.

So as to keep continuing form development and designing Microsoft announced that InfoPath would be discontinued and be replaced by a more cross-platform solution called PowerApps, released in late 2016.

What is PowerApps

PowerApps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platforms that provides an application development environment to build custom apps for your business needs.

It is easy to use and very user-friendly. It is considered as a platform to create business mobile applications within minutes without worrying about the complexity involved in writing cross-platform applications that support iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows, and the web.

Also, PowerApps helps in building applications that connect to several data sources, including SQL databases, SharePoint lists, Excel Spreadsheets, JIRA, Instagram, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Dynamics CRM, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, GitHub, Trello, Power BI,  YouTube, Medium, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo and many more.

Further, apps built using PowerApps have a responsive design and can run seamlessly in a browser or on mobile devices (phone or tablet).

PowerApps allows us to add various controls like textbox, choice, radio button, images, videos, PowerApps camera control, forms, Gallery controls, screens to construct a mobile or tablet app. To work with PowerApps, it provides us a nice drag and drops user interface.

It also allows you to connect to external data sources or store data directly inside the app. Once you have created an app, all you have to do is publish it and share it with your organization. So that other users can use it.

Creating PowerApps

For creating PowerApps we use web.powerapps.com.

what is powerapps

We can either use PowerApps Studio (to download visit: https://aka.ms/PowerAppsWin ) or also use the PowerApps Web Studio (https://create.PowerApps.com ).

Main Components of PowerApps

PowerApps platform is made up of many components you will interact with, including:

  • https://web.PowerApps.com/ – Also sometimes referred to as the “Maker Portal”, it is the portal where application creators go to manage their applications, manage the Common Data Service (entities, and more), Connections, Gateways and more.
  •  https://home.dynamics.com/ – Also referred to as the “Consumer Portal”, it is the place where the end-users of the applications can go to find and run the applications, they have access as well as discover new applications that have been shared with them by someone on their organization in Microsoft AppSource.
  • https://admin.PowerApps.com/ – Also referred to as the “Admin Center” is the portal where environment administrators can go and manage environments and policies for them.
  •  PowerApps Studio – This is the rich application that provides the designer environment for building PowerApps apps for Windows 8 and above that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.
  •  PowerApps Web Studio – This provides the same capabilities as PowerApps Studio; however, it runs on any of the main Web browsers (such as Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and more) giving application creators access from any platform and any device.
  •  PowerApps Players – These are the Mobile players that allow users to run their applications on their mobile devices and the Web, including support for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows and Web.
  • Connectors and Gateways – Connectors provide connectivity to hundreds of SaaS services such as Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft OneDrive, Salesforce, Slack, GitHub, Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, and more, but also platforms and protocols such as Microsoft SQL Database, FTP, SMTP, RSS, and many more. Gateways allow you to connect to on-premises resources such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SharePoint.
  • Microsoft Flow – Provides a powerful business automation tool as Microsoft Flow to automate long-running processes in a simple point and click way, leveraging the same Connectors that PowerApps provide.
  • Common Data Service – This is the rich PowerApps business data platform that provides an implementation of the Microsoft Common Data Model giving you services to build applications such as a set of standard entities, ability to extend and create custom entities, picklists, and more, as well as features to protect, interact, import and export data, including an Excel plugin, and more.

Pricing and Capacity Limits of PowerApps

To use PowerApps we need to subscribe to either of the following plans:

what is powerapps in sharepoint

However, for learning and development purposes we can always use the community edition or take the Trial Version (for 30 days).

The capacity limits for the individual environment are:

Capacity  
Flow runs/month 750
Database size 200 MB
File storage 2GB

*The community edition can only be used if you have a Work or School Account.

Advantages of PowerApps over InfoPath

  • Unlimited Platform connectivity:

PowerApps enable the users of SharePoint to interact with all types of forms whether they are simple or complex using iOS, Android, Windows or Linux.

  • No Data Repository:

PowerApps don’t require data in the forms to store in SharePoint lists. Also, the user also does not need to navigate to SharePoint sites for accessing the forms. So, users can store their data in various other data sources.

  • Better Performance:

PowerApps forms have better performance as opposed to InfoPath forms.

  • No Advanced Skill Required:

Since PowerApps are user-friendly and easy to use, even business users can easily implement the forms that are required by them.

You may also like following PowerApps tutorials:

Conclusion

PowerApps are really user-friendly and can be easily implemented. So, they should be able to replace InfoPath easily in the near future. However, it is dependent on the business administrator whether they want to implement all the functionalities that are provided by PowerApps over InfoPath.

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