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whitekn3
Level: Powered On

What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

I have a lot of experience with Access VBA, C++ development, and limited experience with C# and XAMARIN Forms.  I am brand new to PowerApps.  I am interested in learning more about PowerApps and have a project that would involve about 10 lookup  tables, 4 or 5 main tables, Two moderate forms  (Sub forms, simple code), and several single table minor forms for maintaing the lookup tables. 

 

Does this sound like something  PowerApps could handle?

 

Any limitations? Gotchas? I ought to be aware of before using PowerApps?  At what level of complexity does it choke?

32 REPLIES 32
mx
Level 8

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Keep in mind that PowerApps are geared for Smart Phones ( mobile) and Tablets. So, those screens are only so big ... and you can basically only view one screen at a time.

I've been working with Access 24x7x365 since 1992. I've built some rather complex 'apps'. Most of these would not even remotely be doable in Power Apps, although some 'subset' of an app might be.

 

Also condsider that at this time, there is a 500 record limit that can be returned directly from a data source. Wherein there are some ways around this using 'Delegation', this may be a big limitation. But then again, mobile are not nearly as fast as laptops (etc) in this context.

 

===

DatabaseMX ('mx')
Microsoft Access MVP
Highlighted
Meneghino
Level 10

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Hi @whitekn3

I have a different view to @mx

I've used PowerApps extensively in the last year or so mainly as a desktop application builder, basically I just use the tablet view opened it in Chrome.

How the app performs depends on where you store your data (reference)

There is a lot that you can do to improve performance (reference)

And you can build very flexbile forms once you abandon the built in forms (reference)

My largest application uses Azure SQL Database as a back-end (given your Access experience, this should be a doddle for you but here is a tutorial), with about 20 tables in hierarchies, as well as 3 SharePoint libraries for pdf storage.  Largest tables have about 30,000 rows, but much more is not a problem.  It is all about indexing and proper filtering syntax, but you have to understand delegation.

The great advantage of PowerApps is that you can build many different single purpose apps connected to the same database.

The other great advantage is that you don't have to worry about managing identities and security, hopefully MS has your back covered on the last one, but I trust them more than myself on this.  Basically you can concentrate on the business logic.

Yes, the product is still a little immature, but making steady progress.

 

whitekn3
Level: Powered On

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Both replies have been informative, but the comment about using Chrome on a desktop sounds like a workable plan. 

 

I was aware of the 500 row limit, but the field (phone) app should only need to send/retrieve one header and a few detail rows at a time.  The office app, calculated summaries (queries, reports.)

 

I have not looked much, but all of the samples I've seen were pretty trivial.  Is there a more complex sample app available?  (Kind of like the Northwind or Adventure works (SQL) databases, though I think both of those are way beyond Powerapps capability.)

 

Also, is there way to call back end  procedures?  Queries?  (I saw a message that indicated you could not in 2016.)

 

 

 

Meneghino
Level 10

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

You can call stored procedures via Flow.

If you intend to use SQL Server/Azure SQL Database, then please have a look at this:

https://baizini-it.com/blog/index.php/2017/09/28/powerapps-and-azure-sql-database-current-issues

No queries yet, but have been hinted for the end of 2017 / beginning of 2018.

I wouldn't bother too much with the sample apps, since PowerApps itself is evolving, the sample apps may not include the best solutions given the current capabilities.

Better to write on the Forum with specific questions.

mx
Level 8

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

 

Meneghino has some great points and has certainly spent a lot more time that I have (available at the moment) with PowerApps.

I failed to mention that I too have used Flow with the two apps that I have created so far. They are pretty simple .... just sending an email to a couple people in our O365 environment when a Submit button is clicked, indicating that a record has been edited or a new record created, and some info about that record. Yes it is a form of a 'stored procedure'

 

PowerApps is the only platform that Microsoft offers to build mobile apps per se. However, I agree that the tablet format in a browser is probably more 'robust' at the moment.  My initial goal was to build a smart phone app.

 

Here is another app that we are going to pursue.  We have Life Safety Coordinators in each org at our company. These people are responsible for getting people evacuated from buildings in case of emergency.  Currently, there is a laptop version of this program connected to an Access database. In a panic situation, the laptop is kind of bulky to carry around and manipulate.  A mobile phone would be much simpler. And the app is not that complicated either.  Mainly need to check off a list of people as to whether they have been safely evacuated or not, etc.  So ... PowerApps should fit the bill - and connected to an SQL Server back end btw.

DatabaseMX ('mx')
Microsoft Access MVP
Meneghino
Level 10

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Thanks for the follow up @mx

Just wanted to clarify that by 'stored procedure' I really meant an SQL Server / Azure SQL Database stored procedure being called from a PowerApps app and being able to pass parameters to it.

This is done via a Flow action, please see screenshot below.

__.JPG

 

mx
Level 8

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Very interesting. So, that Flow can actually execute a Stored Procedure in an SQL db?

Can you expand the Execute stored procedure part and sccreen shot it ?

 

I looked over and bookmarked the References you listed above ... VERY helpful!

DatabaseMX ('mx')
Microsoft Access MVP
Meneghino
Level 10

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Actually I only work with Azure SQL DB, and I have seen somewhere that you cannot call stored procedures in on-premises SQL Server, but that may be resolved by now.

Here is a screenshot:

__.JPG

mx
Level 8

Re: What types of apps is PowerApps appropriate for?

Cool.  Yes I'm currently using an On Prem SQL Server db via the Business Gateway. 

I'm about to setup my own personal Azure SQL Db, as I have a couple of PowerApp apps I need to build for personal use.

 

So in theory (Assume Azure for the moment based on what you said about On Prem) ... could PowerApps pass an O365 organization's User Name to and SP via Flow, execute the SP ... and the SP return back a result via Flow ?

DatabaseMX ('mx')
Microsoft Access MVP

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