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Append comments Field

Please consider adding a feature to get to the appended comment history from a sharpoint list comment filed with append and versioning turned on to appear in a power app card?

 

https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/PowerApps-Forum/Append-comments-Field/m-p/34968#M14383

 

Status: Under Review
Comments
Regular Visitor

@AIUYM19

It's very disappointing that MS so actively encourages PowerApps based forms for Modern Lists but then doesn't support such a core SharePoint feature. We have several long-standing core business workflows using append-only columns to track comments on a list item. Building a new list to hold comments doesn't let users see historical comments on older items which is a very common use case for us, and it seems perverse to put resources into maintaining a Flow when the functionality should have been OOTB from day one. I think we'll need to stick with the existing InfoPath forms for a couple more years at least.

 

 

New Member

Agree with all others - this really needs to be present in powerapps as we use append changes to existing text quite extensively.  Can't believe this has been an outstanding issue for as long as it has...

Regular Visitor

Terrible lack of support for basic sharepoint field type

Helper I

I agree - how utterly disappointing that MS PowrApps doesn't work with all the fields in a SP List.  We have several columns with append text to track comments, which is a must in our process.  I took the time to learn PowerApps and develop the new wonderful list view only to find out during testing that it doesn't support the column types??? 

 

Mine don't even show the last update made, they're totally blank! I've used Edit Mutliple Lines as well as Edit Rich Text for the data in power apps and nothing .... anyone have any ideas why mine are blank?

 

Would be good to know when this will be corrected in PowerApps since it's been kicking around from 2017!! come on!

Helper II

@LC1Ama 

Do you have any attachment-type fields to store files in your SharePoint list items? SharePoint handles the attachment field type separately from the other types. When you modify the contents of an attachment-type field (e.g., by uploading and attaching a file) and the value of another field before performing calling the Patch() function in Power Apps, SharePoint will first update the value of the non-attachment-type fields, and then update the attachment-type fields one at-a-time. Since there were no modifications to the field you're looking at in the latest version—because the latest version includes only the attachment-type field update—your other version-dependent fields will appear blank.

The way I've found to get around this is to create a flow in Power Automate that is triggered by an update to the SharePoint list. The flow finds the blank version-dependent field, and fills it in with the previous version's value. You can read a brief explanation about that here.

Helper I

@AIUYM19 

 

Thanks for the information about the attachment column interaction.  I do have one column for attachments on the form so maybe what was causing it to set to blank?? In any case, blank or not blank it wasn't working for my appended text anyway so had to come up with a work around.  My work around for appended text columns is as follows:

  1. I created duplicate columns in the SPList called "Last XX Comments" for each column Comment that I have appended text turned on.  (so hideous because it adds 13 new columns to my SP list which is already very big, just because PowerApps doesn't support their own SP column type!).
  2. I add the Last XX Comment datacard without append turned on to the edit form (I leave this visible and put it next to the actual Comment Column data card.  I set it to view mode only.
  3. In my edit form for the actual Comment Column data cards, I hide the actual Comment Column rich text editor, insert a new "CommentXXEditor" rich text editor box in the datacard with default blank and make it visible over the position of the hidden original comment editor.
  4. I set the parent default datacard with the formula: If(Not(IsBlank('CommentXXEditor'.HtmlText)),User().FullName & " " & Now() & " " & 'CommentXXEditor'.HtmlText & Char(13)) & ThisItem.'LastXXComments'   
    This makes the datacard value the last comments with the appended new comment if the user types in a new comment in the editor rich text editor box I created.
  5. Visually in my edit form, I now have one datacard that says "Last XX Comments" and the another datacard next to it that says "Add a new XX Comment" (yea, ugly, but....works).
  6. I then created a screen with a master form of all datacards (because on my edit screen I have chunked the data into 3 forms for easier use and yet again have to add complexity because PowerApps doesn't support submitting 3 forms to a single datasource!). I set the datacardvalue of each card to be the value of the edit form datacard value. For the comment datacards I set the LastXXComment datacard value to be the datacardvaluexx.htmltext of the actual comment editor datacard with the formula, and I set the actual comment editor datacardvalue to be the "CommentXXeditor.htmltext" (the new one I added to the original datacard).

Complex & ugly solution, but works......horrendous that we have to have such a solution because of PowerApps limitiations for it's own SP List column type support though.  And just for the record, I guess I could now turn off the appended text option because I have created my own appended text history by using the LastXXComment column.

 

 

 

Helper II

@LC1Ama 

It sounds like you took a similar approach to mine, except you managed to do it within one SP list and without a Power Automate flow. I attempted something like that at first, but I couldn't figure it out. Well done. 😀 Both methods have their pros and cons. Your biggest con is that you now have a bloated table with redundant fields, and you have to be really careful which of those fields become visible in PowerApps. The con to my method is that instead of a single table in SP, I now need two tables and a Power Automate flow. And the Power Automate flow doesn't always trigger right away (which is weird, and MS engineers still can't explain why), so my users often have to wait ten minutes or more to see new data that was submitted.

 

I agree that the ability to read all versions of a SharePoint list should be something that PowerApps would have without needing to ask for it. Seems kind of silly to not have it, imho.

Helper I

Well, I'm not going to say implementing my solution was easy.... several evenings of you tube overdose, screaming, hair pulling, and a few Gin & Tonics to get me through it all.  

 

I didn't even think about the Power Automate Flow option, but I can see the timing issue could be an risk because we have different Flows pushing data from one SP List to another in our business process automation and we face the same thing - sometimes it takes up to 45minutes for it to complete! However, I must admit we have quite a few switches and such, so not the most straight forward flow either, but still...

 

 

Resolver I

@LC1Ama your post helped a lot, thanks! It's a really simple solution actually, not sure why I didn't think of it :).

 

I've previously tried the Flow method (HTML request to retrieve versions) but never seemed to work consistently in my case (intermittently timing out). I also tried another approach (thanks @PhilD - https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Power-Apps-Ideas/Append-comments-Field/idc-p/177212/highlight/tr...)) which I liked and worked well, although I have added complexity with row-level permissions which I needed to extend to this as well.

 

All in all, using the single list (albeit with a few extra fields) is a lot simpler and easier to implement. Definitely a good workaround which should keep us going.

 

If anyone's interested, I wrote a pig of a flow to extract all of the previous comments from the version history of the various fields, strip out blanks and duplicates, add HTML formatting, and then write back to the new history fields. The logic is a bit crazy and it took almost 8 hours to run in my case (80 items, 5 comment fields, some with up to 60+ versions), but it's worked a treat and now all my new fields have a lovely and formatted version history!

 

Seems like a bit of an epic journey for such a simple problem, but hey, things are finally working!

Advocate II

This a a huge part of any ticketing/tracking system.  We need this! It is disappointing that they haven't already implemented this.  I am building out a PowerApp for a department and they ask can we see all versions of the comments entered for this particular item, very valid request.  Ugh.... Yes and no.