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LabDude
Level: Powered On

Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

So I have created a "database" for storing analysis data using SharePoint lists and using lookups for "relating" the data. I have built something similar in Access (which works as intended) but I need to move away from that to enable the use of Apps and online access and all the good modern things! I have been trying for a while to make things work just using SharePoint lists and a very basic Power App for data entry. But the end result so far lacks functionality. This is just as likely due to my inexperience with the platform so far, and possibly because my approach I have taken simply won't work. I would like opinion's on whether CDS is the only way to go, or whether it is actually achievable through the use of SharePoint lists, and I just need to learn some new ways of working with them and maybe some out of the box thinking? Below is what I am hoping to achieve;

The Database requires one group of people to submit requests for analysis via the Analysis Request register. Then based on the information in the register, the lab samples the appropriate vessels, ensuring it contains the right product (via the product code). The lab then performs analysis, recording results in unique analysis lists (the idea is to have all of one type of analysis recorded in its own list). The data in these lists are manually copied back to the register (this is fine to stay this way as it is a double check on data quality). In some instances extra analysis is requested that is not part of the Analysis Request register, hence why we don't just use the register and therefore have separate lists for each type of analysis.

 

The primary key linking the register and the analysis type lists is the RequestID number which is auto generated. This would then be used as the foreign key in all the Analysis Type lists, linking the analysis results with the vessel and product code information. Ultimately I want the ability to search back on the data to see results for specific analysis relating to a product etc. I would also like to auto populate the Vessel and Product Code fields that are on the Analysis Type lists based on the value of the RequestID (foreign key), to avoid double data handling - these fields need to be visible on the Analysis Type lists to make it easier to ensure the right sample is being analysed. 

 

Ideally I am setting all of this up using a range of apps for the different functions (Request submission, analysis entry, overview of current operations, history search) pointing to the same data source. 

So any help would be great - I have included a diagram to hopefully help understand what I am trying to put into words here. I have put a similar post on here before though trying to find a solution specific to using SharePoint lists. The reason I am asking all this now, is that based on what I have been reading and learning since, hasn't totally convinced me that CDS is the only way to go, and that with some ingenuity, it might be possible to achieve this between lists and functionality in PowerApps.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

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Eelman
Level 10

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

@LabDude 

This is 100% doable in PowerApps and SharePoint, imo. Prior to getting into Data Analytics, I worked in labs and also provided training back to many different types of labs so I have a reasonable insight into what you are looking to achieve.

 

There are many system solutions you could build but an example design could look like this:

 

- user opens Analysis Request register in PowerApps, enters requestID and analysis type/s, this could be an Edit form

- Vessel and Product Code info of this form could be collected using Dropdowns or ComboBoxes. Data for these could come from the separate Lists or the AnalysisRequest SP List columns could be LookUp columns to those lists

** I've setup something similar in my apps where I reference a Sites list inside my apps. This list is separate so I can manage when a site is offline/online, only online sites can be chosen by users

 

- depending on the Analysis types entered, when the form is Submitted you could also create new items in the various Analysis types Lists, using the requestID as your foreign key.

eg requestID requires Types 1 & 3, If( Type1, [ Patch to Type1 list ]...

- These new analysis items would then be setup to collect results - users would search for requestID in the relevant SP list in PowerApps, enter results then submit form to these lists

 

This could all be done inside one app or as you say multiple apps. If the latter, you could have an app 'dashboard' and use the Launch() function on buttons/labels to open all the other apps. There's many options here. Using a dashboard is something I'm currently considering for a very large digitisation transformation my company is looking at. Making smaller apps probably makes more sense because it's easier to drop/add/update apps when required.

View solution in original post

6 REPLIES 6
Eelman
Level 10

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

@LabDude 

This is 100% doable in PowerApps and SharePoint, imo. Prior to getting into Data Analytics, I worked in labs and also provided training back to many different types of labs so I have a reasonable insight into what you are looking to achieve.

 

There are many system solutions you could build but an example design could look like this:

 

- user opens Analysis Request register in PowerApps, enters requestID and analysis type/s, this could be an Edit form

- Vessel and Product Code info of this form could be collected using Dropdowns or ComboBoxes. Data for these could come from the separate Lists or the AnalysisRequest SP List columns could be LookUp columns to those lists

** I've setup something similar in my apps where I reference a Sites list inside my apps. This list is separate so I can manage when a site is offline/online, only online sites can be chosen by users

 

- depending on the Analysis types entered, when the form is Submitted you could also create new items in the various Analysis types Lists, using the requestID as your foreign key.

eg requestID requires Types 1 & 3, If( Type1, [ Patch to Type1 list ]...

- These new analysis items would then be setup to collect results - users would search for requestID in the relevant SP list in PowerApps, enter results then submit form to these lists

 

This could all be done inside one app or as you say multiple apps. If the latter, you could have an app 'dashboard' and use the Launch() function on buttons/labels to open all the other apps. There's many options here. Using a dashboard is something I'm currently considering for a very large digitisation transformation my company is looking at. Making smaller apps probably makes more sense because it's easier to drop/add/update apps when required.

View solution in original post

LabDude
Level: Powered On

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply! I have realised just recently that I have treated Power Apps as purely a front end to my system, which has limited my ability to progress. I still have a lot to learn to get things working as you have suggested, but for the moment I do have a quick question regarding the use of dropdown/combo boxes for selecting vessel and product code;

 

As it stands, there are upwards of 200 vessels, and possibly more product codes. So if I was to use a dropdown/combo, I want to avoid having to scroll through all the records. Is it possible to set it up so that I can start typing part of the code or vessel number and it predicts what I want, then I can hit the "tab" button to move to the next part of the entry?

 

I'm open to other opinions, but for now I will continue down this path as I am not yet confident I'll get the support to invest in using CDS.

Eelman
Level 10

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

@LabDude 

Yes, comboboxes and dropdowns are searchable. The difference is that comboboxes come with this already setup whereas dropdowns need a 'helper field' (a textinput field) to filter results.

 

If you already have Vessels setup as a SP List you can try this yourself in a blank PowerApp.

 

- Start a new blank app

- connect to the Vessels SP List

- insert a combobox

- set it's Items property to Vessels.VesselNumber, I've assumed here that your column in SP is called 'VesselNumber'

- set the IsSearchable property of the combobox to 'true', if it's not already

- click the dropdown arrow, start typing a vessel name/number and options will start getting filtered based on what you've typed

 

A dropdown is a little more work and comboboxes have a few quirks but this is the basics to get started. My understanding is that comboboxes have a limit of 999 items, but I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

 

This example is a direct link into your SP list but you can also create in-app collections of up-to 2000 records which can improve performance. This may not be necessary though if your connectivity is pretty good but is an option. 

LabDude
Level: Powered On

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

Thanks again @Eelman !

I have already come a long way in the last few days with my application by taking the approach of Power Apps being the bridge between data and front end functionality. I have managed to get the combobox working in my forms pretty much how you have suggested. I have other questions but will start a new thread if I can't find the answers elsewhere.

Really appreciate your help.

Eelman
Level 10

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

@LabDude nice work mate! 

 

Yes, there is plenty of helpful info on these forums and also on YouTube (Shane Young is always good!) and it's great to see you are making progress. Best of luck and I'll keep an eye out to help out in the future, if I can.

LabDude
Level: Powered On

Re: Power Apps using CDS or SharePoint List?

Yeah I have been watching Shane Young's videos flat out over the last few days.

Cheers

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