In the first Guided Learning topic you read about the main parts of PowerApps. Now we're going to provide a little more detail on each of the parts. PowerApps is a set of software services and apps that work together, and there are related technologies that help make this a powerful ecosystem. The PowerApps components are:
We don't expect you to take a ton of time just to learn what PowerApps is, but we think it's helpful to flesh things out a bit more.
If you build apps, this is where you spend most of your time. You learn from the sample apps and templates that are available here, and see all the apps you have created. You create apps in PowerApps Studio for web or PowerApps Studio for Windows, and share those apps with individuals and organizations. You manage data: connections, gateways, and entities (all of which we'll cover shortly.) And you see all the flows created in flows.microsoft.com, which you can integrate with your apps.
PowerApps Studio is available as a web application that you can use in any modern browser, and as a Windows application. PowerApps Studio has three panes and a ribbon that make app creation feel similar to building a slide deck in PowerPoint:
PowerApps Mobile for iOS and Android provides an environment where you can find and use apps. Instead of going to separate app stores, you stay in PowerApps and have access to all the apps that you've created and that others have shared with you. When you use apps in PowerApps Mobile, you get the most out of your device's capabilities like camera controls, GPS location, and more.
The PowerApps admin center is the centralized place to administer PowerApps for an organization. This is where you define different environments, which house apps, data connections, and other elements. The admin center is also where you create Common Data Service databases, and manage permissions and data policies.
The following technologies are often used with PowerApps to build and share robust apps across your organization. Your apps can integrate data from multiple sources and include workflows that automate tasks.
Microsoft Flow is a service for automating workflow across the growing number of apps and services that business users rely on. Microsoft Flow can accelerate your business so you spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks, and more time on what you want to do. Use Microsoft Flow in conjunction with PowerApps to build apps that trigger and respond to workflows.
There are many data sources that you might care about, and PowerApps uses connectors to make connections to these data sources. Some of the most popular data sources are shown below—many of them are cloud services, like Salesforce. Connectors might not feel like the coolest part of app development, but they are essential to working with data that you, your colleagues, and your customers care about. For data that is stored on-premises rather than in the cloud, you use a gateway to provide a reliable connection between PowerApps and your data source. The gateway sits on an on-premises computer and communicates with PowerApps.
Common Data Service makes it easy to integrate business data from multiple sources. The service features a common data model that includes many entities common to apps and business processes: entities like employees, customers, and sales. The service stores the data in a scalable and reliable way, and makes the data available so that multiple applications can use it. The applications can be apps that you build in PowerApps, other Microsoft applications, or third party applications. The image below shows a portion of the Contact entity in web.powerapps.com.
Dynamics 365 is a cloud service with purpose-built apps that enable you to address specific business needs like sales automation, operations, or customer service. In PowerApps, you share apps into AppSource, then users you share with view and run those apps in Dynamics 365, as well as on mobile devices. The advantage of having the apps in Dynamics 365 is that you have one place to run all your business apps-from creators in your organization, from Microsoft, and from third parties.
AppSource is the place to easily find and evaluate apps from your colleagues, and from Microsoft and our partners. When you share an app from PowerApps, you make it available in AppSource. You can choose to make it available just for people in your organization, or you can make it available publicly.
Now you have a little more information about all the parts of PowerApps and related technologies. Don't feel like you have to memorize the list, because we will continue to deepen your knowledge on each of the parts throughout this course. Next up is an introduction to the options you have for creating apps.