Introduction to PowerApps

As you may or may not have heard PowerApps from Microsoft is slowly being rolled out to people for testing. If you have not hand chance to see it or even know what it is, then I will walk you through how to use it.

Once you have got your invite and connected everything, you are presented with a wizard that will guide you through using the basic templates.

For this demonstration we will use “Twitter“. Once you select the item you wish to you, a popup will display asking you to “Add Connection“.

You are then able to create the connection, using “OAuth” as you would normally.

Multiple connections can be added at this screen, as you can see the only one we have is “Twitter” right now.

Next we need to install PowerApps for Windows or iOS depending on what we need.

I am going to install it for Windows. As I am using Windows 8, it redirects me to the Windows Store to install the App.

Now that we have it installed, we can launch it and start to create an actual app. The Web site allows you to see any created Apps, Logic Flows and data Connections like the Twitter one we created earlier.

Once the App is installed you will need to login with the account you used to activate your subscription.

Once logged in we can open any existing applications or create a new one. We can use the “Create a PowerApp” button or access it using the “New” option which will ask us to choose the type of App we wish to create.

For this we will choose the “Start from a template” option. As you can see there are quite a few templates that cover most of the common ideas.

We will choose the “Contacts” template. We will need to add a new connection for this to work, similar to the one we added for “Twitter” earlier. This connection will be so the template can create an Excel file in the cloud and reference it in the App.

I chose “OneDrive” as my connection, the message at the bottom of the App lets me know the connection is valid.

Choosing the “Use” button, then starts to generate all the components for the App.

Once this process has finished you should be presented with an App on the Canvas.

As you can see on the left there are separate screen for the function that you are performing, such as “New Contact” etc.

To see the App in action simply click the “Play” icon at the top of the screen.

Clicking the person will take us to the details page for the item.

New items can also be added as you would expect.

As you can see it has some great basic functionality just by using the template. While in the core canvas you are able to modify all aspects of the App from inserts and designing controls, to using the quick tools to style with a new theme or content.

As you can see there are some great options available for customizing the Apps.

The last step is to save the App and set some basic properties for it, when it is made available on the mobile device.

Once the App is saved it will then be available on the Windows Device and the iOS Device if the App is launched.

Windows PowerApp Application

iOS Phone PowerApp Application

This is a great tool for rapid development of Applications that can connect to cloud services like SharePoint but allow Mobile Rendering and use.

One of the great features is the ability to create “Logic Flows” which bring no code power to the Apps, based on a type of Excel Spreadsheet type function syntax. We will look at this in the next post, along with using other connections like the “Twitter” one we created earlier.

Liam Cleary

I work as an Associate Director for Protiviti in Virginia. My main focus is to ensure that SharePoint can either natively or with minimal customization meet the business requirement securely. I am currently a SharePoint MVP focused on Architecture but also cross the boundary into Development and Security. I am often found at user groups, conferences speaking, offering advice, spending time in the community, teaching my kids how to code, raspberry PI programming, hacking the planet and sometimes building Lego robots.

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