Use Power Apps to build custom apps for your business


Power Apps is a cloud-based suite of apps, services, connectors, and data platform. It provides organizations with a rapid application development environment to build custom apps that address their business needs. By employing Power Apps, users can quickly build custom business apps. These apps can connect to business data stored in the underlying, built-in data platform (known as Microsoft Dataverse). They can also connect to various online and on-premises data sources (such as SharePoint, Excel, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and so on).

How does Power Apps affect businesses?

Power Apps dramatically accelerates how business apps are built. It can reduce time to solution from weeks or months to minutes. It also balances power between IT and business users. It arms those users closest to the business with the tools and services necessary to envision and implement the solution.

Power Apps "democratizes" the custom business app building experience. It does so by enabling users to build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code. Power Apps also provides an extensible platform that lets professional developers:

  • Programmatically interact with data and metadata.
  • Apply business logic.
  • Create custom connectors.
  • Integrate with external data.

Types of Power Apps

Power Apps can be used to create the following types of apps, each of which is suited to different scenarios:

  • Canvas apps. This type of Power App focuses on the app creator’s development experience. Users can design and build a business app from a canvas in Microsoft Power Apps without writing code in a traditional programming language such as C#. Apps are designed by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, just as you would design a slide in PowerPoint.

    ‎Excel-like expressions can also be created for specifying logic and working with data. Canvas apps can integrate business data from a wide variety of Microsoft and third-party sources. They can be run by users in a browser or on a mobile device. They can also be embedded and run in SharePoint, Power BI, and Microsoft Teams.

  • Model-driven apps. This type of Power App uses Microsoft Dataverse. Model-driven apps require a Microsoft Dataverse database and are built on top of the data modeled in that database environment. The app creator can determine the components (forms, charts, views, dashboards, and so on) to include in the app. However, the app layout and the views and detail screens are determined by the components and based on the data structure.

    ‎Based on this design, model-driven apps offer users a more consistent look and feel from one screen to the next without much effort by the creator. Power Apps can build a great looking, fully functional app to act upon and interact with this data. With model-driven apps, there's no need to worry about choosing the app size. It runs on mobile or tablet devices with no extra work.‎

    ‎So how do model-drive apps compare to canvas apps? Model-driven apps are built exclusively from the data on the Microsoft Dataverse database. Their layouts are determined by the data structure of the chosen components. In contrast, Canvas apps are fully customizable. Their data can come from various data sources (including the Microsoft Dataverse database).‎ For more information, see: What are model-driven apps in Power Apps?

  • Portals. This type of Power App brings the power of no-code solutions to building externally facing websites. Through the Power Apps interface, app creators can build both anonymous and authenticated websites that enable users to create, view, and interact with data held in Microsoft Dataverse. Portals are built using the same type of drag-and-drop experience employed when building canvas apps.

Power Apps mobile app

Power Apps applications on Android and iOS devices are now integrated with Intune. They support Intune policies for mobile application management, enabling customers to have better control and security over their data.

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As Contoso's Enterprise Administrator, Holly Dickson is interested in implementing Power Apps. However, Holly wants Contoso's users to create apps where the app layout and the views and detail screens are determined by the components and based on the data structure. Which type of Power App should Holly use?