Microsoft just released a “Preview” of PowerApps. PowerApps allows users to develop phone and tablet applications for various types of data sources including SharePoint and Excel. Additionally, Microsoft is going to add PowerApps directly to SharePoint Lists so that a PowerApp can be develop for a List just like a SharePoint List View.
I decided to give it a try by developing a Phone App for my blog post Example Employee List from QuickBooks. I wanted the app to show the employee name, email, work phone #, cell phone #, and home phone # so a user could look these up easily from their cell phone and also be able the edit the email address and phone #s if necessary.
Microsoft claims that PowerApps allows users to develop applications without programmer support. Based on my experience, I agree with that statement. A power user that can develop SharePoint and Excel formulas should be able to develop a PowerApps tablet or phone application.
In order to compare my app to a SharePoint View, I defined a mobile View with the same List columns as the app. Below are screen shots of the “Staff Contact List” mobile app and the related SharePoint List View.
PowerApps comes with three different types of screens. A browse screen like the one below that allows you to browse the data.
A Detail Screen that gives you more information about the item and lets you delete or select the item for editing.
An Edit Screen to edit the item. I decided not to allow the user to edit the staff name but all the other items.
Here is the screen shot of the corresponding mobile List View. I called this view “PowerApps.” For those of you that have not used a mobile device to view a SharePoint List, the view below is what you would see when going to that View’s web page.
If you clicked on the Edit icon in this View, you would get all List columns for editing.
The advantages of a PowerApps for mobile and tablet devices are:
- You don’t need to go the SharePoint page in your browser. You can click on the PowerApp directly from your device.
- The layout is much cleaner and friendly to use.
- You can choose the items you want the user to edit or not edit.
Overall my first impression of PowerApps is very favorable and some great applications can be developed by a user in your business that is familiar with Excel formulas. This is a big plus for small business that cannot afford or do not need an IT staff person. Because this a “Preview” version of PowerApps there are still some kinks that need be to worked out but I’m looking forward to full product release.