The 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts of Getting Started with Power Apps
You’ll find plenty of articles discussing the benefits of Microsoft Power Apps and how this low-code app development platform can improve operational efficiencies and lead to better outcomes for your business.
Power Apps has undoubtedly proved beneficial for teams of all shapes and sizes. Power Apps enables organizations to become more data-driven and boost employee productivity by automating repetitive business processes and functions.
However, similar to all other technology tools, Power Apps will yield positive results for your organization only if you know how to leverage the platform correctly. Before you begin to create your first business app using Power Apps, here are some dos and don’ts to consider.
Microsoft Power Apps Do’s to Follow
1. Do leverage existing templates.
A common mistake that businesses make when using Power Apps is spending too much time building basic apps from scratch. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel unless it is absolutely necessary.
Instead, try to learn from others’ work and leverage templates for building apps that involve standard business processes. In many cases, minor tweaks to the template’s logic will get things done quickly.
2. Do understand the pros and cons of your data source.
It’s essential to have the right data source for the task you’re looking to process through your low-code app. Some common data sources might be an Excel spreadsheet, a SharePoint list, or Azure SQL in the cloud or on-premise SQL server. Each of these data sources has different capabilities.
You may be able to perform certain operations in Excel but cannot do it with SQL. Similarly, SQL can do certain things that Excel can’t. Knowing your data sources’ capabilities will help you select the best source for the goals you want to accomplish with Power Apps.
3. Do know the difference between standard and premium connectors.
The next important consideration is to have a clear understanding of the connectors you’re going to use when accessing your data. If you’re using a lower-tier Office 365 license, you can access standard connectors for Excel and SharePoint.
However, if you want to connect advanced sources such as Salesforce or Azure SQL in the cloud, you’ll need premium connectors. Before planning to invest in these premium connections, make sure you understand the impact it will have on your bottom line.
4. Do keep a consistent look and feel for all of your Power Apps.
Power Apps is popular because of its wide accessibility. Make sure this purpose gets fulfilled by using consistent colors, fonts, spacing, and other UI/UX features by leveraging variables to store these configuration values for all your apps. This will empower teams across your organization to feel confident when using your organization’s Power Apps.
Sharing your Power Apps configurations files also makes it easier to create a consistent branded look and feel across your organization. Defining these configuration variables makes editing easy.
For example, when there’s a need to change your app’s primary color, you won’t require making changes at several places in your app files. Instead, simply change the configuration values of your variables and see the change in effect across the entire app interface.
5. Do know your goals.
Power Apps platform has numerous features, and Microsoft keeps adding new features regularly. While these features make your task of building an app easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should use them all. Trying out all the features is a great way to learn about the capabilities of the platform.
But, don’t let these distract you when working on a project. Know the goals of your app and identify the features that you truly need.
Microsoft Power Apps Don’ts to Avoid
1. Don’t assume Power Apps is easy.
Advocates of Power Apps often brand the platform as easy-to-use. This statement is misleading to an extent. While it’s true that Power Apps is easier to learn, compared to traditional programming, there’s still a lot of hard work involved.
The platform has its complexities, and sometimes, addressing problems isn’t always as easy as resolving problems in traditional programming languages like C Sharp. You must rethink your solution from more of a Power Apps point-of-view to prevent failures.
2. Don’t ignore delegation warnings.
Delegation errors are difficult to troubleshoot and can even be intermittent. In many cases, these issues are identified directly by the end-user rather than the developer. When you learn about these issues, it’s already too late.
When working with large data sets, it’s important to delegate the processing of data to the data source instead of moving all the data to the app for local processing. By minimizing the movement of data, your app will perform efficiently, and all of your users will access the information they need quickly.
3. Don’t skip testing.
Some Power Apps developers skip testing and end up resolving errors on the live version of their apps. While the platform does take care of many things for you, it is still advisable to test your apps before launching them for the end-users to avoid spending more time fixing issues later.
Be sure to test from the Power Apps point-of-view. The types of errors you encounter during runtime will be different in nature than traditional programming languages. Adjust your testing to accommodate for PowerApps (and associated data sources) strengths and weaknesses.
4. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Failing at something just means you weren’t afraid to try something. Knowing your goals upfront is key. In many cases, after a few hours, you can assess if Power Apps is the right tool for the job. Power Apps solutions that require hacks and workarounds probably aren’t good candidates.
5. Don’t give up.
Power Apps is a new skill—it will take practice and determination. To support you on your Power Apps journey, there are plenty of great resources out there on the internet. Check out YouTube, blogs, Microsoft Learn, and of course…all of the resources we share here at CSG Pro.
The CSG Pro team is skilled in helping teams get the most out of Power Apps. Reach out to us if you’re looking for guidance.