You are right. I have not worked in many systems. Certainly nothing like this. This is not a matter argument, but simple observations on the bitter-sweet nature of the Powerapps tools. Its certainly far more sweet than bitter. My statements are overwhelmingly in favor of Powerapps. Its just an interesting observation on how difficult it can also be in some circumstances.
The inconsistencies are likely a result of its vast breadth. The many controls, and variations in syntax, etc. lend to so much power. But, the many variabilities and flexibilities of the platform also makes it difficult to see patterns, so you can remember from one time to the next how to do something. Thats not a blast to Powerapps, but just the nature of its flexibility. I have done some incredibly cool things, and have to go back to a previous project to copy what I did, because there was just no retaining how I did it after I pieced together all of the details.
One of th inconsistencies I was referring is the use of ODATA (which has almost no useful google search hits) statements for Flow filters. Its basically an entire different language you have to understand just to filter data. In the same application, you have an expression builder, which is its yet another language, and then in a Variable actions, you can use yet anonther syntax, which can be a compbination of some conventional math statements, in addition to the expression builder objects. Unfortunately, the PowerApps command documentation is so not enough to explain all of the nuance in the commands statements and syntax. When you read a manual for "Basic" or "C", the command structure is quite definite. That is great for learning, and perhaps very limiting in capability compared to powerapps. The manual for powerapps, in reality, are these forums.
Dont get me wrong. I could not have ever produced anything in any other platform like I have in PowerApps. It is revoultionary, and the speed to which you can create an App is amazing. Its just funny how easy it is, but at the same time, so obscure it is at times where it can take literally hours to figure something out, using the forums exclusively to do it because the information is truly nowhere else.
I have a full suite of tools now that run my company's engineering change control. It is highly custom for exactly what our business needs, and its simple as heck for the users to use. It is integrated with many other systems, pulling data in from multiple sources. Its fully dynamic, and incredibly powerful. In six months time, to have a system up and running in production that was made from scratch, and by a user that had not heard of Powerapps before March 2018, nor had any in depth programming experience. Powerapps has its faults, which I was trying to explain, but its power and potential is absolutely something unique, and I'm not sure can even be measured.
35 years of developing on everything PDP11 to Android via Cray, iOS, DOS, X, LOOPS, C#, C, Java, VBA, assembly language, many server-client architectures, mesh… Any and every language and platform you can think of… I stand by what I said. The documentation is pitiful. The examples do not cover all of the [more useful] possibilities. I spend more time trying to figure out workarounds for deficiencies and limitations than I do designing the app. Basic applications are easy to create (great for amateurs). Anything more complicated and you are on your own. External data sources are inconsistently supported (even for MS products such as sharepoint, SQLServer, Azure… just try getting support for Postgres!). MS development support is terrible and peer-to-peer support is in its early stages. The editor sucks. There is no debugger. Worst of all, if I give you an app, maintaining it is really hard because the code “hides” in so many places (I have even had to remove some code comments because they were causing errors!?!). Code reusability… erm! I could go on but you get the picture.
@JeremyDIV so let's see what this amounts to. You need to get down to the shops to buy something. You want to get to the shops super fast, in a manner that includes a seatbelt, comfortable seat, music/radio, power steering - all the mod cons. You have a number of cars in your garage you can take, so you... hop on a bicycle. Then spend all your time on the way to the shops complaining that the bicycle doesn't have a seatbelt, comfortable seat, radio and so on.
That's essentially what you've said. If you have 35 years of developing on a range of languages, and you want an experience of a better code editor, debugger, flexible integration, app maintenence and so on, why on earth aren't you levereging one of those languages instead of complaining about the feature gap between those and PowerApps? They fulfil different roles. PowerApps is designed for the Excel power user type to rapidly build apps, it's not designed to be a part of a full CI/CD pipeline.
You can stand by what you said, but it's a flawed standpoint. Why complain about riding a bike, when you can just hop in the car instead? PS - I've not found the documentation lacking, nor have I found the support lacking. I develop in .NET and other languages as well, but I respect the differnet need that PowerApps fulfils, if I need something different, I'll use something different (or extend the functionality of PowerApps via Flow, Azure Functions, web APIs and so on).
Nope. You are welcome to make assumptions about my expectations but you are so far from the mark, and so sure of your view, that you are saying more about yourself than you are about me! ... I just expect the bicycle to have tires and a saddle, also it would be nice if the brakes weren't on all the time. If this product was delivered by any other company but Microsoft it would have failed already. Actually no other company would have released it before it was ready for prime-time but Microsoft have done that with PowerApps and PowerBI is even more premature! I don't have a choice of platform or it would certainly have been changed to something else by now.
If you don't have the choice to move to a platform that is designed for your or your businesses requirements, that's the fault of your business, not Microsoft. Microsoft provides more robust full stack development platforms (.NET, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Azure and so on) you're simply restricted to not using them for some reason. You mention that PowerApps is great to use for basic apps / by beginners. Congratulations, you just unearthed the reason PowerApps was created. To complain about the fact it's not one of the other platforms you've used in your 35 years, is to misunderstand the target audience of the product. If you can't switch to another development platform, you should try investing your efforts in changing the opinion of those whose opinion you need to change, rather than wailing on a product for missing features which are a) likely to be added / on the roadmap or b) not the target of the platform in the first place. These are only assumptions in so far as they are based soley on the information you yourself have presented. I don't have anything more to go off than what you've written, and what Microsoft themselves have stated is the intent of the PowerApps platform. Rock on, hope you find a platform that works for you. Might I suggest .NET Core? It ticks all the boxes you want, and it's largely platform agnostic.
Rarely have I met such arrogance and presumption. Surely you must work for MS... I am basing my assumption on the fact that you purport to know the reason why PowerApps was created. (For clarification, that was intended to be light-hearted not a personal attack).
Am I in a forum asking people what platform I should be developing on? What makes you think you can suggest another platform. What makes you think that your opinion is worth sharing or more informed than mine? Never mind... rhetorical.
Do you think I haven't tried to influence the development path of MS products. I have voted on many issues and emailed MS on many more...
Be careful you don't fall off that soapbox and injure your ego! Naive but amusing discourse, thanks.
I will not be drawn in to further discussion so feel free to have the last word.
If you check some of the recent videos posted by Microsoft employees (circa September 2018) in particular those around 'Taking PowerApps to the next level' you will find a clear preamble focused on expaining that PowerApps was born from Excel and designed for formula based rapid app development. It's not arrogance. It's called research.
This is an open forum. For you. For me. That's what makes me think I can suggest another platform. Just trying to make a helpful suggestion that if the platform doesn't work for you, and there are other platforms that do, why not use one of those? (Except for some arbitrary reason that you 'Can't'). You seem to have some fundamendal issues combined with a lot of anger. I'm sorry you're so angry, and that you confuse an informed and eduated opinion with 'ego' and the other ad hominem attacks. . I hope you find some peace and calm, and a platform that suits your requirements better.
I'm very new to Power Apps and obviously missing some integral steps here that I was hoping you could help with. I am trying to use two buttons to start and end a timer. What commands should be used for the start time button, stop time button, and timer? Also, is there any other important information to know here? I greatly appreciate the help as I fully recognize that this is a simple task, but I'm likely to spend hours trying to sort this out through trial and error. Thanks.
Do not worry... your journey through PowerApps will provide you with many "WoW! That was easy, and awesome!" and "That should have been so simple.." moments. This is one that is not entirely intuitive.
@Shanescows has some great videos for beginner, intermediate, and advanced PowerApps items. Here is one that is great for timer controls.
A KEY tip is that when you are in edit mode, you must "play" the app in order for the timers to work. Its the only control that I know of that wont actually function in the full edit mode. Just pick the "play" icon when you wish to test your app with timers working.