As I revised for the MB2-715 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Online Deployment) I am creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this posts I will review Power Apps .
You can see below that PowerApps are mentioned in the skills measured statement. Specifically the statement says “obtain access to additional apps through … PowerApps”. This suggests a deep understanding on how to build Power Apps won’t be required but we’ll need to understand what PowerApps are and how to access them. Although this is simply my assumption, I don’t set the questions! In this post I will attempt to provide a solid overview of PowerApps, I do however encourage you to dive deeper to understand them as much as possible. (If nothing else because learning about stuff like this is fun!)
PowerApps allows you to create simple to use custom applications which can connect to Excel, SharePoint, Dynamics 365 and more. You use a visual designer to create entire apps without the need to write any code. PowerApps can even be built from templates. Once created and published people in your organization can run the app in a web browser or on mobile devices, including iOS, Android and Windows phones / tablets.
The aim being to accelerate the development of business apps from weeks to minutes, which once created can be shared with your other team members. In theory PowerApps can be created by Power Users who have an understanding of the system but no technical development skills.
Users are able to pull data from both cloud-based and on-premise data sources into their apps.
PowerApps is a free application for anyone who has an Office 365 or Dynamics 365 online license. You can access PowerApps from the app selector in Office 365.
PowerApps is free for Office 365 and Dynamics 365 users. However, you may need to be aware that there are also two paid plans for PowerApps. A comparison of the key differences is shown below. Essentially the paid plans give access to the common data model, greater capacity and connectivity to premium services. (Notice that you can trial the premium plans before purchasing.)
Once you have created and shared your PowerApp users can run it from the Dynamics 365 home screen, just like any of the other 365 Apps.
Or alternatively, as you can see below you can run the PowerApp from a mobile device. Below I am running the PowerApps app, which I downloaded from the store on my phone. Also notice that I could opt to pin the app to the home screen on my phone making it easy to access.
Running a PowerApp
I have created a super simple example PowerApp that when run gives me a list of accounts. I can open the account record by clicking “>” or alternatively I can click “+” to create a new account.
Clicking the “+” button will allow you to create a new account. You can see in my simple example I have just configured the entry of an account name and address.
Creating a PowerApp
In this post I am not going to attempt to cover the full details of creating a PowerApp, however seeing an overview might help you appreciate the process and therefore understand the basics you’ll need to know for the MB2-715 exam. If you want to learn more about PowerApps and start to build your own you will find some great content published by Microsoft that will help you get started. (https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/guided-learning/learning-introducing-powerapps/)
When you create a new app you typically start by selecting the data source. I will select “Dynamics 365” but many other possibilities exist. In fact you can connect PowerApps with something like 90 different services. Including, the common data service, Salesforce, Office 365 Outlook, Yammer, WordPress, Trello and many many more. (Additionally developers could create a custom API for any service not currently supported.) Notice that some premium data sources like the common data service and sales force will need a PowerApps plan.
You will first select the connector needed to link to Dynamics 365 and then the instance you want to use. You can then select the table (entity) for your application. The entity list will include all system and custom entities.
Tip: Connections are used to link to online services, such as Dynamics 365 online. It is also possible to create “Gateways” which connect to your on-premise data.
Tip: I selected the phone layout option which gives me a single column that will work well on phones. You could also create an app using the blank app option and select a tablet layout.
Having selected your entity you will be presented with an initial template that can be customized. Typically you will see three screens, a browse screen, detail screen and edit screen. (Or you could create you app from scratch using the blank app option and build whatever screens are required from scratch.)
Whilst no code is involved you will often find the need to enter “Excel style” formulae. For example, below you can see that I have selected my account name field in the designer. In the right hand column you can see a number of properties that can be used to control all sorts of attributes about the name.
Another concept worth knowing about is that you can link PowerApps with Flow. Meaning you might prompt for data ion you PowerApp and then trigger a flow which will insert a CRM record, send an email etc etc.
If you want to dive deeper into PowerApps you’ll need to put some time aside to experimenting with them! With this post I set out to explain the basics of PowerApps so you could be prepared for possible questions in the MB2-715 exam. I hope I have achieved that goal and also maybe wet you appetite enough to experiment with them further. Enjoy!