App making is really just following the basic steps outlined below; from identifying the business problem to solving that issue. Often it’s easy to fall into the trap of making an app for the sake of making an app rather than solving a business-critical issue.
The planning phase is arguably the most important part in the process. What is the problem you are solving (use case), who are the users involved, what objectives or goals will it meet for these users, and deeply understanding the business process are some areas to discuss in the planning phase.
Designing the app is important but it’s just as important to know where to start; the information gathered during planning will help prepare you for the specifications of design. Design is a two-step process: Conceptual and Architectural. The conceptual process will provide the overall blueprint of the design whereas the architectural process will specify how exactly you will use Power Apps to automate your business processes.
Power Apps has Four Major Components:
|Canvas Apps||Model-Driven Apps||Portals||Common Data Service|
|Highly tailored interface||Automatically generated user interface||Help create external facing websites for users outside your organization||Data platform for Power Apps|
|Connect data to over 200 sources||Start with your data-model and build up other components||Dynamics 365 Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, and Project Service Automation is on CDS|
|Create blank canvas apps for web, mobile and tablet||Use Common Data Service to configure forms, business rules, and process flows||Allows you to securely store and model business data|
This is the fun part where you get to make what you planned and designed. In Power Apps you can choose to build the app using canvas apps or model-driven apps. Below are steps for getting started with each method:
- Set up the data source
- Set entities, tables, or lists
- Create a new app
- Sample app (under all templates when you login to Power Apps)
- Template (Power Apps Portal, run default templates)
- Common Data Service
- In SharePoint
- In Teams
- With Excel
- Add connectors
- Create screens
- Home screen
- List view
- View form
- Edit form
- Create Power Automate Flows
- Create a solution
- Set up data models (define entities and fields)
- Set up security roles
- Create a site map
- Customize forms and views
- Set up business process flows
- Set up Power Automate flows
Now that your app is built, the next step is to start testing. There are various types of tests you can use to check whether a specific function or feature of your app is working as intended. Some of these tests include unit tests, end-to-end, and user acceptance tests (UAT). Depending on the type of app you have built there are other tools that can be leveraged as well such as Power Apps Test Studio, Azure Monitor (for testing performance issues), EasyRepro (Dynamics 365 and Power Apps for model-driven apps), and Solution Checker. The solution checker is a tool that checks whether the solution you’ve created is healthy. You can quickly review issues and see recommended fixes.
Deploy & Refine
Once you have tested your app it’s ready to get to the hands of its users. As soon as your app is ready to use you can either share it or publish it so that it is discoverable for people to start using. There are many ways to make this happen from QR codes, linking apps to one another, embedding it on Teams or SharePoint, connecting it to existing web apps or portals, or integrating it to Bing to appear in search results.
Here are some more details on how you can publish and share your apps:
|Model-Driven App||Canvas App|
|Publishing a model driven app||Publishing a canvas app|
|Sharing a model driven app||Sharing a canvas app|
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