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Show all references to a collection

There is currently no way in powerapps to display or search where collection is either defined, used or indirectly used. This can make debuging an app with many objects very difficult. This Idea is to have a feature which will display all references to a collection in the same way that is currently available for global variables. 

 

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Status: Under Review

@GregLi added as FYI

Comments
Power Automate
Status changed to: Under Review

@GregLi added as FYI

Resident Rockstar

Great Idea to do so. I have cases that I want to change/delete a collection at all places off my app for example when I want to rename a collection to a more descriptive name.

 

It would be easy to do this when you can change the name at the ClearCollect formula, then go to the collection screen, select the old collection, go to each instance off where the collection is used, change the collection name there and done Smiley Wink

 

btw, this is what I do when I want to change a local or global variable.

 

Greatings,

 

Paul

Advocate III

Any update on this, it has been under review for over 6 months.

Helper I

I also have this exact problem at the moment. any updates?

Frequent Visitor

I would like to see this update as well. It's very difficult to change the schema of a collection, when you need to manually rename all its references throughout the app. The ability to see all collection references would also allow developers to easily drop and recreate a collection.

Anonymous
Not applicable

This is needed. You forget where all the code is, such is the nature of PowerApps

Frequent Visitor

I'd like a more general approach to searching within the codebase of a PowerApp. If the code that is hidden behind the properties of all UI controls and could be dumped to a single file, the code within the file could then be searched for any objects of interest such as collections or anything else within the code. It would also provide a means for tracking deltas between different versions of a PowerApp. Right now, the inability to search easily within a PowerApps codebase is a major inhibitor to serious adoption as it means maintenance of a PowerApp is already impaired before a line of code has been written. The problem only gets worse as the number of screens within a PowerApp increases thereby increasing the search-space. [Update 31st Oct 2019]. I've found that it is possible after all to edit the code outside of the PowerApps studio. See https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Building-PowerApps-Formerly/Search-code/m-p/135849

 

Regular Visitor

I have a Collection1 and no idea where it's defined. Searching for Collections would be really useful!

Frequent Visitor

Hi, curious if there's an update to this. Thanks!

Advocate IV

This irritation keeps popping up. 

 

"I feel your pain." - President Bill Clinton

 

So, until the PowerApps team gives us that capability, an alternative "workaround" when you've reached your wits' end is to save the app locally (aka Save as to "This computer") as an .msapp file.  Then change the downloaded file's extension to .zip.  Next unzip the file.  Finally, using the power text editor of your choice (e.g. Notepad++, Visual Studio Code), search against all files in the unzipped folder's contents for the name of your MIA collection.

 

It's a bit esoteric to dig through the "compressed" JSON and junk in the search results, but with a bit of turning your head sideways and using Google Translate to go from geek-speak to the (human) language of your choice, you can zero in on where the collection shows up in your app.

 

I can't find the original post of the person who taught me this trick, but credit goes to him/her. Just trying to share the knowledge.  It's possible it was the post @flarebear references (i.e. @TML  in  https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/Building-PowerApps-Formerly/Search-code/m-p/135849 )

 

Here is a screenshot of me hunting down a collection I had replaced with a newer collection but couldn't locate to cull.  I.e. I'm using VS Code pointed at the folder that came from the unzipped .msapp file/archive to search for coll_AllQuestions.  And another showing the actual entry in PApps studio...

Hunting Collections and Formula Text with VS Code.pngHunting Collections and Formula Text with VS Code pt2.png