Development tool suite
PowerApps is a development platform for low-code mobile and web programmes. It represents a more straightforward way to create custom business apps without high-end development tools.
Unlike its main competitors, including Appian and Salesforce App Cloud, this programme by Microsoft is relatively new. Still, it has all the features you’d need for building intuitive apps without coding.
Once you launch PowerApps, a straightforward window will greet you with a slick, minimalist UI. You can access all of your workflows and notifications from the dashboard.
To start building, you'll have to click the ‘Create New App’ button and choose whether you’ll use a template or a blank space. Microsoft gives you links to sample apps and video tutorials to show you the ropes and a library of work-related templates to get you started.
PowerApps will then send you to the visual designer with drag-and-drop thumbnails and toolbars, resembling more universal Microsoft programmes. Adding UI elements takes some trial and error, but they become intuitive rather quickly.
The most challenging part is databases. You’ll need to build one to connect the entities to the app. Luckily, Microsoft lets you use dozens of prebuilt objects. PowerApps stores your database info on cloud services such as OneDrive.
Once you finish and preview your creation, the programme gives you several options. You can send it via email, share it on Microsoft Teams, or publish it on the company’s internal app store.
There are two main pricing plans for this app. One is for business users without experience with coding. This is a bit more affordable than the alternative. The other includes more in-depth data modelling and programming features for developers.
You get a 90-day free trial before you have to choose either option. Microsoft doesn’t limit the number of apps you can create during this period.
A formidable platform
Although this app has a steep learning curve and the UI can seem overwhelming at first, PowerApps is easier to use than competitors with a similar level of available features. The sets of tools and integrations are impressive and make this programme a highly functional platform.