Tech Talk: "Getting started with Power Apps" mit Paul Bilcsik von Atos

Tech Talk: "Getting started with Power Apps" mit Paul Bilcsik von Atos

Hello everyone and welcome to my presentation! My name is Paul Bilcsik and I'm an application developer at Atos Microsoft Practice. I work with Dynamics and Power Platform on a daily basis and today I'm going to show you how to get started with Power Apps, which is part of Power Platform. First of all, I would like to give you a brief content overview of what we are going to do today. We will start with an introduction to Power Apps, then I will show you how you could create your first Power App on your own, and how to view the created app on your smartphone/tablet. At the end we will also cover Power Apps related technologies.

Let's start with a brief introduction to Power Apps, shall we? Whenever I tell someone about Power Apps, the first question I get asked is why should I use this? So I thought it would be best to answer this question right away – so why should you use Power Apps? You could build an app quickly by using the skillset you already have and connect to the cloud services and data sources that you are already using. It is also possible to share apps instantly so that coworkers can use them on their phones and tablets. A big plus is also that it's fairly easy to get started. You do not have to have a profound knowledge about coding or programming because you could create an app really fast without any problems – and I think that's great because the entry barrier is fairly low.

Now I would like to talk about the different building blocks that can be used to get the maximum out of Power Apps.

First of all we have Power Apps Home Page, it is your entry point to your apps – whether you build them from data, a sample app or a blank screen.

In Power Apps Studio you could develop your apps further by connection to data. Adding and arranging user interfaces and build formulas. Power Apps Mobile could be used to run your apps on Microsoft Windows, Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

In the Admin Center there you're enabled to manage your Power Apps environments and other components that you use through out your Power Apps journey.

Now that we have talked a bit about what Power Apps are and why it is so easy to start, I would like to show you how you could create your first Power App in pretty much no time at all. There are three major options you could choose to get started. The first one is to create an app from a predefined template. The second one is to create an app from a data source – that's what we will be doing in just a moment – and the third one is to build an app from a blank canvas.

And now I would like to show you how you could create your own Power App, in just a matter of a few minutes on your own. First of all you have to go to make.powerapps.com and then you could log in with your right credentials from your organization. Then I've prepared in Excel spreadsheet. I will show it to you.

So let's say we work for a flooring company and we want to promote our different floors so that we cloud help people building their homes. So we have a table with a few columns – the first one is name, then category, with a price, an image, an overview and at the end you can see we also have a Power App ID – this is auto generate for the database and it's stored in the database, I would suggest that you do not edit this Power App ID.

So, now we build an app! So, I go to make.powerapps.com, I log in and then I click on Excel spreadsheet as a data source. Now I have a few options – for this example, because it's fairly easy to get started – I will use the OneDrive for Business, so I've stored this Excel spreadsheet in the OneDrive for Business cloud and I connect to it. I have this folder SamplePowerAppsDataSource, I click on it and there is my Excel spreadsheet! And then I have to choose which table I would like to use as a data source.

We just have one table in this example so it's still loading – there are many different ways you could use Power Apps so this is just a simple example because it's so fast, but you could use any data source you would like. So we go on the FlooringEstimates and we click connect...

It's still loading – fancy loading animation!

So now you can see we have a lot of different screens now, we could see our components here, we could add new components, and this is our different screens, that we are able to use right now, and we could also zoom in using this here. And you can see there are lots of different floorings now with carpets and wood and something like that, so now we could add another floor if we want to and let's say I want to edit something so I click on play and then I go to the first one and I could edit it, I could say the price is now 27$ for example. And I save that. So now it is saved and we could also search for example for Bolivian Rosewood – and yeah, that's just a simple app that displays different floors but, as you see this was in 3 minutes achieved so it is pretty easy to get started. Now I will get back to my presentation.

So now we have created an app and we would like to view this app on our smartphone or tablet – so how do we do this? The first and pretty much only thing we have to do in order to achieve this is to install the official Power Apps app and log in with the right credentials of our organization, then we could view our apps – either we create it on our own or someone else shares it with us, for example a colleague. And when we click on it, we will see the app starting up and we are good to go. That's pretty easy as well.

Last I would like to talk about Power Apps related technologies, and why you can or should use them.

So in Power Apps most canvas apps use external information that is stored in data sources. A common example is a table and an Excel file that is stored in OneDrive for business – like we just did in our example. Apps can be accessed by different data sources using different connections. Some connections allow Power Apps to read and write stored data. In Power Apps you can add many data sources to your apps through builtin or custom connectors. And a few of the more popular data sources are for example SharePoint, SQL server, Dynamics365 or Dropbox. Many data sources are cloud services like Salesforce, even twitter can be a data source if for example you're tracking your company's hashtags – connections might not seem like the most exiting part of development, however they're essential when you work with data that you or your colleagues and your customers care about. When an app shows up with your data source for the first time you might suddenly find that they are in fact exiting!

For data that is stored on premise instead of in a cloud, you can use a gateway to provide a reliable connection between Power Apps and your data source. The gateway sits on an on premise computer and communicates with Power Apps. An advantage of building your business apps in Power Apps is being able to connect to many data sources in a single app. With the connection Power Apps you can connect to were your data lives.

An important data source option to explore further is Dataverse. Dataverse let's you store and manage data that is used by business applications. And data within dataverse is stored within a set of tables. A table is a set of records that are used to store data similar to how a table stores data within a simple database. Dataverse includes a base set of standard tables that cover typical scenarios, but you can also create custom tables that are specific to your organization. And then populate them with data by using Power Query for example. App-makers can then use Power Apps to build in applications by using this data. Some good reasons to summarize and to sum up why you could use or should use Dataverse are both the metadata and data are stored in the cloud and you don't need to worry about details of how they are stored. Data is stored so that users can see it only if you grant them access. So role based security allows you to control access to tables for different users within your organization. And data from your Dynamics 365 applications is also stored within Dataverse, which allows you to quickly build apps that use your Dynamics 365 data and extend your apps by using Power Apps. Data types and relationships are used directly within Power Apps, and you could define calculated columns, business rules, workflows and business process flows to ensure data quality and thrive business processes.

Tables are available within the add-in for Microsoft Excel to increase productivity and ensure data accessibility – and that was also a part of our little example.

This leads me to the end of my presentation. I hope you gained a better understanding of Power Apps today and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! Either on my mobile phone or email.

Thank you for your attention!

 

 

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