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Helper I
Helper I

Why I have given up on PowerApps for Planner

Hi. This is a cautionary tale.

Today I finally gave up on the idea that a PowerApp could help remedy the gaps in functionality in the Planner app. I have spent weeks working around the various road blocks. I wont bore you with all the details but here is the summary.

Why the Planner app is a good idea: It is integrated into the rest of Office 365 and all indications are that over time it will be even more so. It is simple enough that basic users can quickly get up to speed. The integration into Teams makes it very useful for all the reasons Teams is also useful.

Why the Planner app is deficient (just the most important reasons): 

  1. It has no search by keyword functionality. There are nearly 5,000 UserVoice requests for this and there has been for a long time. I do not need to explain why that is such a problem. Just think about scrolling through potentially hundreds of tasks. Filtering only partially helps.
  2. The Board view works kind of ok if you only have 3 or 4 buckets. When you use the buckets as stages, as we do, and there are 7 stages in the life cycle of a task in our situation, the drag and drop is a pain.
  3. There is no "review" / "reporting" option. Yes, in the web version you can download a spreadsheet but not all the data is returned (especially the Task comments which we use to keep each other up to date). That means at a meeting we have no way of reviewing the task status / stage apart from scrolling through the boards then clicking the task to be able to read the comments to work out where the task is up to. 
  4. There are other issues, but you get the idea.

Why a PowerApp and Planner Connector did not help: To give us the basic functionality we needed to be able to review and manage our tasks we started building a PowerApp which initially looked like it would help. Alas, this was not to be:

  1. Yes, I could build a Search bar to find tasks by keyword. Win.
  2. Yes, I could filter and list the Tasks in a gallery and build some derived fields in the template which enabled more tasks to be visible in a list and to get a better idea of status, thus helping the review process. Win.
  3. Yes, I could use the UpdateTask action to change some task items, BUT not ones that were necessary for us. One example is to change the bucket (stage) of a task. The bucketId is not one of the properties included in the Planner.UpdateTask_v2() options. Partial Win.
  4. No, I could not add a comment to the task via PowerApp. This was essential for us, and not even completely possible with a Custom Connector.

Why a Custom Connector did not help either:

  1. Yes, I could use my Custom Planner Connector to change the bucketId and so move a task to a different bucket. Win. See this post for how.
  2. No, I could not get the buckets sorted in the same order as in Planner (left to right). If I spent more time I could probably have come up with a work around. See this post.
  3. While it is possible to post a comment to a task if there is already a thread started on that task, it is not possible to START a thread. See this post.
  4. In order to be able to update a task using a Custom Connector you need to manage the odata.etag yourself. The standard Planner connector does that behind the scenes which is great. Doing it yourself, especially in the absence of the ability to create custom functions in PowerApps, requires lots of repeated code. See this post.
  5. The standard Planner connector returns some helpful derived fields on tasks eg _assignments which does allow you to filter by who the task is assigned to, and to fetch their image to display, etc. Cool. However, when you make a custom connector you do not get those derived fields, of course. You need to make them yourself in the PowerApp. More work.
  6. To get around point 5 I thought I could use a combination of the standard connector and my custom connector. That worked, except that the standard connector does not return the odata.etag which is required to be able to PATCH via the custom connector (point 4). Snookered!

Finally, the cost:

Even if you manage to get a PowerApp with Custom Connector to work for you, the licensing cost of the Power Plan means that our Office 365 license costs would triple. All just to be able to add functionality to Planner that should have been there from the start. If I could have built what we needed, perhaps we could have lived with that. As it turned out, the road blocks saved us that money because we have simply abandoned the project altogether. 😞

A very disappointed user.

2 REPLIES 2
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Community Support
Community Support

Hi @murrah ,

I regret that PowerApps not meets all your requirements.

PowerApps is still a new product which is in the process of rapid development. It indeed has many deficiencies now. However, I believe it will become better in the future with the efforts of all Microsoft staff.

Anyway, thanks for your sharing!

You're welcome to come back in the future!

 

 

 

Best regards,

Community Support Team _ Phoebe Liu
If this post helps, then please consider Accept it as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly.
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Thanks Phoebe. I will keep an eye on it.

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