Custom apps can make a huge difference for your business. However, if you do not have an in-house IT team capable of coding an app, like most small businesses, the cost of hiring a coder can be prohibitive. One answer to the problem is no-code development, and Microsoft has a fantastic solution with the Microsoft Power Platform.
What is No-Code Development?
No-code development allows for the development of apps by people who have little or no coding experience. Business owners and front-line workers can thus design and implement their own apps. It also allows experienced developers to deploy apps quickly.
The platform lets users describe what they want to achieve. It then builds it for them by putting together existing code built into the platform. This should not be confused with low-code, which is designed to provide tools to encourage and educate new developers and increase agility. In most cases, no-code platforms work by providing templates and modules. These can be dragged and dropped or otherwise selected to “build” an app from component parts.
How Do Power Apps Work?
Microsoft Power Apps is a drag-and-drop platform that uses pre-built templates to help developers and business teams create apps quickly.
As far as your data source – out of the box, Power Platform can easily integrate with over 200 different systems and data sources using connectors. Some of the data sources available are SharePoint, SQL, CRM solutions, and Azure DevOps.
You can also create your own custom connectors using your own API, Postman or OpenAPI.
This makes it a compelling platform for companies moving into the use of custom apps and learning about no-code development but already have data in other platforms, possibly in multiple places, which they need to leverage.
What Can you Do in Power Apps?
With Power Apps, you can create rich and automated business applications built on logic and workflows. Apps can be distributed to web and mobile users as well as external parties. There are four components to build an app with the platform:
- Canvas. By using the canvas, you craft a tailored interface and then connect it to your data sources. Canvas works using a drag and drop system where you grab modules and put them on the canvas. In that sense, it feels similar to WordPress or a similar content management system. You can also use a SharePoint list to start building your app. You can also create an app based on the one you made earlier or based on one of the sample apps found in Power Apps’ templates. These apps can be used as they are or adjusted to your business needs.
- Model-driven. In this case, you start with your core data, configuring various forms and business rules to build an app with a great user interface automatically.
- Dataverse. Previously called “Common Data Services” for a reason. PowerApps platform shared the same data backend with other Microsoft data services such as Dynamics 365. Dataverse makes it easy for Dynamics 365 consultants to build custom solutions based on Dynamics 365 and manage reusable business logic and rules.
- Portals. Also tied deeply with Dataverse. Portals allow you to create customer-facing websites to view related data and transactions.
Generally, you don’t need to code or involve somebody who can code. You can simply build the app through the available templates. It also contains an AppSource gallery, where all of the apps created by you or other people in your company are visible. You can thus take an app you already built and then alter it to fit the current use case.
There are significant benefits to using Microsoft Power Platform as your app development platform. The most significant is that it is a true no-code environment, allowing anyone in your company to make their own apps and freeing IT for more important matters. Additionally, it integrates very well with your other Microsoft solutions and with other data sources you are using.
Although Microsoft Power Platform is designed to be accessible, there is still a lot to consider. GOBI Technologies provide Power Apps consulting to help businesses leverage the platform to their advantage. Contact us to learn more.