The Potential of PowerApps with SharePoint

Many business organizations utilize SharePoint in order to access, collaborate and share data with people of the company. In the past 5 years, Microsoft has shifted its focus towards increased productivity for end users and it launched PowerApps in the year 2015 and slowly added SharePoint integration capabilities, which is one of the most popular as it allows the users to display SharePoint data that are integrated within their apps. It enables the users to manage organizational data by using an app that can be created by professional application developers or users who share it with you. These apps run on mobile devices or can be run on browser.


Understanding PowerApps:

PowerApps is the only cloud solution with an iOS app and Windows store app and a browser enabled web application. It has some great features and the best part is that you are able to build forms, especially for the web and also for mobile devices that can front your SharePoint data or other business applications.  It can be used for more than SharePoint forms as long as your Office 365 cloud can get your data through Data Gateways, and that you can create apps that can edit not only SharePoint but also other business data. The core tool is the Design Studio that is available in the browser or as a desktop installation and this enables applications to be built easily and then made available for the web and the mobile devices.

How to Create PowerApps from SharePoint Online List in the Browser:

The new SharePoint modern list will allow to create an app for a list directly from the SharePoint list experience. With the new SharePoint list view menu, users can now be able to have an option to create a PowerApps for the list.

Once you select the “Create” PowerApps option for the SharePoint list, the web designer of your PowerApps will open in your browser. Since the web designer is aware of the context of the SharePoint list that you came from, it will now create a default app automatically for you in the web designer based on the data and schema of that list. You can use the web designer to customize the app so that it meets your specific business needs as it will share similar capabilities that are available in the PowerApps Studio.

Applications that are created in this manner will show up as views that can be launched and shared from the new SharePoint modern list experience. This will enable you to leverage the PowerApps to create customized and mobile optimized views for your existing list and then share them with others. Since it offers a cross platform service, you will be able to use the apps on all devices that include iOS, Android, Windows and the web browser.

What does a PowerApps do and don’t do?

Creating a PowerApp can range something from simple to complex, but it can be created either through PowerApp Windows Modern App on a Windows 10 or windows 8.1 device or even through its web designer that can run through any modern web browser. They are designed for business mobile applications that are used internally within an organization. They are not created for consumer consumption due to their licensing model as well as some technical limitations when sharing with some external users.

All the functionalities on the PowerApps is of “no code and so the developers don’t have much to add to customize it. Though this sounds like a limitation, it is also a positive thing. Restricting the code allows the platform to maintain stability and also it becomes easy to use for the long term. In case, if you need customized business apps that PowerApps cannot provide, then you can link to any custom REST API to get the best solution. Since it is a cloud oriented service, Microsoft regularly releases new updates, enhancements and features and brings into new features and functionalities.