Power Apps is a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for your business needs. Using Power Apps, you can quickly build custom business apps that connect to your business data stored either in the underlying data platform (Common Data Service) or in various online and on-premises data sources (SharePoint, Excel, Office 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and so on).
Apps built using Power Apps provide rich business logic and workflow capabilities to transform your manual business processes to digital, automated processes. Further, apps built using Power Apps have a responsive design, and can run seamlessly in browser or on mobile devices (phone or tablet). Power Apps democratizes the custom business app building experience by enabling users to build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code.
PowerApps provides a nice drag-and-drop user interface to allow you to add different controls (i.e. text field, choice field), media (images, video, camera controls for your phone), forms, and screens to construct a mobile app.
It also allows you to connect to external data sources or store data directly inside the app. Once you have created an app, all you have to do is publish it and share it with your organization.
Power Apps also provides an extensible platform that lets pro developers programmatically interact with data and metadata, apply business logic, create custom connectors, and integrate with external data.
Power Apps and Dynamics 365
Dynamics 365 applications, such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Marketing also use the underlying data platform (Common Data Service) used by Power Apps to store and secure data. This enables you to build apps using Power Apps and Common Data Service directly against your core business data already used within Dynamics 365 without the need for integration.
- Power Apps Studio is the app designer used for building canvas apps. The app designer makes creating apps feel more like building a slide deck in Microsoft PowerPoint.
- App designer for model-driven apps lets you define the sitemap and add components to build a model-driven app.
Using Power Apps, you can create three types of apps:
- Canvas apps start with your user experience, crafting a highly tailored interface with the power of a blank canvas and connecting it to your choice of 200 data sources. You can build canvas apps for web, mobile, and tablet applications.
- Model-driven apps start with your data model – building up from the shape of your core business data and processes in the Common Data Service to model forms, views, and other components. Model-driven apps automatically generate great UI that is responsive across devices.
- Portals start to create external-facing websites that allow users outside your organization to sign in with a wide variety of identities, create and view data in Common Data Service, or even browse content anonymously.
- Common Data Service is the data platform that comes with Power Apps and allows you to store and model business data. It's the platform on which Dynamics 365 applications are built; if you’re a Dynamics customer, your data is already in the Common Data Service.
You can run apps that you created, or that someone else created and shared with you, in browser or on mobile devices (phone or tablet).