To better manage your activity, monitor or supplement your data and make informed decisions, you can deploy ergonomic tools, which are fully in line with your daily habits. This is precisely the role of PowerApps, an interactive business application design platform that you will then use on your smartphone, tablet or PC. With more than 73% of people having a smart phone in 2018 according to a Credoc study and 67% of web access now taking place through a mobile device, we can no longer dispute this reality: smartphones and tablets are part of our daily habits. This is all the more true in the professional sphere, where services in the cloud and the many innovations in web languages allow decision-makers and entrepreneurs to continue their activity anytime, anywhere. Working as a perfect nomad, carrying your desk and tools with you, is more than ever a reality today. But these devices and these habits of a new type also call for a profound change in the tools and means of accessing data.
What is Microsoft PowerApps?
This is precisely where Microsoft PowerApps comes in, a powerful platform for developing business applications tailored for these mobile devices. In just a few steps, you can prepare a real application dedicated to your activity and your needs: you connect your data to it and you consult, manipulate or enrich it interactively, taking advantage of great flexibility and access perfectly intuitive.
Thanks to Business Intelligence: create a mobile application adapted to your needs
The first part of our series of tutorials devoted to this new way of integrating Business Intelligence into your activity, this file will guide you in getting started with the PowerApps platform. By following and adapting our examples you will be able to How to make an app to tailore to your needs thanks to which you will be able to better manage your activity. So remember the essential concept that governs the use of your mobile app: it will help ensure the convergence of data towards Power BI. You will thus integrate new information in an intuitive way that you can then use and analyze through the range of Power BI tools.
Prepare and access data in Microsoft Power Apps
To discover the PowerApps platform, first go to the official Microsoft website and click the “Get started for free” button. Included in Microsoft Office 365 Business and Dynamics 365, PowerApps is also subject to an individual license starting at € 5.90 per user per month. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the free 30-day evaluation version to discover the tool and its possibilities. To prepare the ground, start by entering your e-mail address in the field provided, and then click on the “Register” button. You will then be invited to complete the registration form and then validate the procedure by entering a confidential code, automatically sent by e-mail. You will finally access your PowerApps dashboard, which opens with a series of sample applications that you will be able to create through it’s we saw in the preamble, PowerApps does more than create a series of “frozen” screens for your smartphone or tablet: data access is at the center of your future applications and these allow you to monitor their development in real time. For this, the platform has nearly 200 “connectors” through which you will link multiple types of data to the views you prepare. Lists:
OneDrive for Business
Database, OneDrive or Outlook tasks: all these ready-to-use connectors facilitate the integration of data into your application and you create, by simple drag and drop, all the views necessary for your activity.
Here is an example of Business use of PowerApps:
In the context of this example, we are going to build a simple tool for supervising the leave of employees of a VSE / SME. You can obviously adapt it to any type of data; this is one of the great strengths of PowerApps. We will therefore start by creating a new workbook in Excel 2016, before saving it in OneDrive in order to update it dynamically from any Internet connection, thus eliminating the need for the frozen user station. Prepare your data by indicating the nature of the columns on the first line: we will thus enter the name of the employees, the start and end date of their leave, their nature (sick leave, vacation, etc.) and their status (“leave in course ”,“ leave ended ”…).Select all the data ranges, refer to the “Insert” tab of the upper ribbon, then click on the “Table” button. You transform all of these elements into an array. Save your document in OneDrive, the cloud-based data sharing service.
Creating your first views
Back in your web browser, click “Start from Data” on the PowerApps home screen, and then click “Develop this app”To make it easier to adapt our example to your own needs, we will start from a blank template: click on “Phone mode”, under the “Empty application” section. Many ready-to-use application templates are also featured on this screen; we will use them in future tutorials in order to achieve more complex applications.
Discover PowerApps studio
This gives you access to PowerApps Studio, the powerful editor with which you will build the various screens of your application. In the manner of the software interactive prototyping, you simply drag and drop a series of checks on the multiple views of your application, and their associated data and parameters, to achieve a fully interactive tool. First, click on “Connect to data” in the center of the screen. The right panel unfolds to allow you to integrate a first connector. Click “New Connection” then choose “OneDrive” from the list and authenticate with the service. You browse the list of documents supported by PowerApps: among these, select the workbook you created previously. At the top left of the interface, pull down the “New screen” menu and choose “List Screen”. The left pane of PowerApps Studio is completed with many controls and interface elements (search icon, title, separators, images, subtitles, labels, etc.) and the central area of the screen displays a series of texts from example.
PowerApp: an intuitive tool
Now you discover how intuitive PowerApps behaves: you just have to click on an element of the interface to modify it, directly entering the text of your choice and adapting its parameters on the right pane. By clicking on the title of the view, for example, you adapt its label and you change the font size or the background color. Convenient! But the best is yet to come with the data connection. On the left pane of the interface, click on the “BrowseGallery1” block which encompasses all the elements in the center of the view. Then refer to the right pane and in front of the “Data” field, click on “CustomGallerySample” to select the Excel workbook that you imported previously. All the example labels are immediately replaced by the “concrete” data, which appeared in your own document: in this case, we find the name of each employee as well as the “status” of their leave, that is – say the first two columns of the workbook. But as you have seen, there is more data worth including in your app view. Click on the “Insert” tab, at the top of PowerApps Studio, then on the “Label” button, taking care to always select the “BrowseGallery1” block. The same caption will thus be duplicated as many times as necessary, to appear in each “sub-block” of the component. Reposition it under the previous labels, all corresponding occurrences will also change accordingly. Select it then pull down the “fx” menu, in the top bar, to choose “ThisItem.Type” for example. You will thus replace each occurrence with the value associated with the “Type” column. Use the mouse to enter the separator between two records: by moving it downwards, you enlarge the area provided for each of them and thus free up space. Repeat the operation by adding new labels, as before. In our example, we thus associate labels with the other data columns, namely the start date of a holiday (ThisItem.Start) and the end date (This Item. End). We don’t really need the “placeholder” that is used to host an image, at the start of each line: select the entire block again, by clicking on “BrowseGallery1” in the left pane, then click on “Layout” on the right. You will find in the right pane all the labels you have created, with the potential columns to which you can associate them. Pull down each of the menus to check that the correct values correspond.
How to share and publish your app?
Click again on the “Save” button in the left pane to validate your changes, then on “Publish” and on “Publish this version”. Finally, click on “Share this application”, then possibly enter a series of e-mail addresses corresponding to as many people as you wish to authorize. Check the “Send an invitation by e-mail” box then validate. Using the link in the automatically sent email, all these users will be able to browse the screens of the application you have just created. On iOS or Android, you can also install the official “Microsoft PowerApps” application to improve ergonomics. Refer to the Apple Store or Google Play, depending on the type of smartphone, then search for this free app and install it on your smartphone or tablet. When launched for the first time, Local SEO Services Sydney you are prompted to authenticate with your Microsoft PowerApps account. You will then find the complete list of all the applications that you have developed using PowerApps Studio. By pulling down the menu at the bottom right and then choosing “Pin to home screen”, you will even be able to “extract” the application from the platform and thus launch it autonomously, in the same way from any native mobile app. In our next tutorial dedicated to PowerApps, we will complete the views of the application in order to add a series of forms, to enrich the data from your smartphones or tablets.