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Functions are a right, not a privilege.

If you truly want to make PowerApps usable, you have got to provide users with a way of creating user defined variables. Too much time is spent coming up with hacks to implement reusable chunks of code (sorry, components just doesn't cut it and are clunky to use anyway). I've had easier times creating procedures in COBOL than in PowerApps. Come on people, it's time to stop this foolishness and provide us with some real programming capabilities...

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Sorry, I meant to say user defined functions, not variables.

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If you externalize storage of your application's data, you can functionally accomplish this in a lot of cases using Flow, by building a Flow that does whatever thing you need, then calling it from PowerApps and subsequently refreshing your data source.  It feels a lot like your own created function, as it's called very similarly to a PowerApp function, and you can pass in parameters.  Obviously it's a bit cumbersome, and not a great long-term solution for this problem in PowerApps, but it can get things done in the meantime.

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Like everything else in PowerApps, it's a workaround and a kludge.


Anonymous
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I guess I want some examples. Would you be able to write these functions with no/minimal code? Are we talking about something you can already do with Flow, but less accessible for powerusers and that require you to be a developer with advanced coding knowledge? Because that's not really what this product is about - although, if you insist on integrating code, there are ways. For example, you could write whatever you want in whatever language you want, and expose it in an API you call through an HTTP request from Powerapps. Then you pass back whatever you want and use it in your app. For an advanced poweruser with no coding knowledge, you could create a custom fuction with Flow - and you don't have to do what @aabrin said and run the Flow on your data, then refresh the data. You can create a Flow either with an HTTP trigger or a Powerapps trigger to pass data to the Flow, Flow runs the function, then passes the output back via HTTP response or the 'Respond to Powerapps' action. No middle man required.

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If I have to explain the issue further, than I would guess you aren't a programmer. As far as your comment about 'that's not what this product is about', explain to me what this product is about. There is absolutely zero reason not to provide the capability for user defined functions for re-use and maintainability. Even in Excel you have the capability for VB macros and this product was 'supposedly' designed to be like Excel.

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As much as I'm also frustrated by a lot of the limitations and questionable design choices in the current state of MS's Power Platform (PowerApps, Flow, Power BI, etc.), I actually do think it makes a lot of sense that PowerApps include minimal function coding. 

 

Microsoft's goal here seems to be abstracting each element of application development into their own separate non-developer-user-friendly solution.  You could imagine Flow having closer integration with PowerApps in such a way that creating a Flow "function", then using it in PowerApps, wouldn't take quite so many steps, or be so fragile when making changes, rather than trying to duplicate effort to implement that sort of functionality directly in PowerApps.  You could then use that functionality in PowerApps, or individually in Flow for stand-alone drag-and-drop "scripting".

 

From an outside perspective, it just seems like there's not enough conversation going on between the teams developing these individual services to work toward that end.  But conceptually it seems it would make a lot more sense than duplicating implementation in multiple places in the same "platform".

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Everything you do in PowerApps is based on function calls, albeit system defined functions. There is absolutely no good reason not to allow us to write our own functions. It simplifies debugging (write once, use many), allows loose coupling within PowerApps itself without having to use Flows, and increases productivity immensely.

Anonymous
Not applicable

You're correct, I'm not a programmer, and although I have a lot of frustrations with Powerapps and Flow, I've been able to do a lot of things with them I never would have thought possible (since again, I'm not a programmer). I like that these products are geared toward people like me.

I also think it's a practical necessity for these products to be most useful. Every company will have people in their IT department capable of creating custom solutions, but they develop relatively few of those. Most departments wouldn't even know what to ask for. So the fact that I can develop something that dramatically streamlines the work flow of my department without any programming knowledge is pretty fantastic, and something I never would have reached out to IT to do for me.

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I agree totally. But this is a platform that also makes developers like me so much more productive to provide internal apps for our users who can not create applications for themselves. I can design and implement a complete data model in Azure SQL with stored procedures being accessed by Flow. Powerapps saves me a lot of time writing user interfaces that I would normally have to create web services for and write browser based apps using time-consuming platforms like Reactive and/or Angular. But based on where PowerApps is today and all of it's quirky design considerations I wouldn't roll anything out to a large base within my company.