Welcome to our continued series on the the Power Platform. This article focuses around the product – Power Apps, and more specifically Model-Driven Power Apps.
First of all, Power Apps has two distinctive flavours
- Canvas App
- Model-Driven App
Both applications utilise the Common Data Service (centralised database) focused around the core fundamentals of a CRM System – i.e. Accounts, Contacts, Activities (Emails, Phone Calls etc).
What is a Canvas App?
As the name suggests, It is a Blank Canvas on which you build the application from scratch (i.e. drag and drop fields, buttons onto a form for data entry).
A Canvas App isn’t accessible via a URL as such – and is launched from within the Power App that you install on your mobile phone. This makes it a great choice to provide a mobile app for users out in the field or for those who use a mobile device as their primary work tool.
What is Model-Driven Apps?
Model-Driven Apps is distinctively different, in the fact that they are built out on a pre-defined, and well established framework (Dynamics 365 resides on top of this framework).
A Model-Driven App includes;
- Responsive & familiar interface (mobile first)
- Forms, Fields
We also have native integration with other Microsoft Products – i.e. Exchange Online (Email), SharePoint (Document Libraries) and soon to come Microsoft Teams.
You also have the ability to export to Excel, Word Templates and even edit within Excel Online and re-import with minimal effort. We can even embed Power BI charts within a Model-Driven App too.
Can we add our own branding, look and feel?
Absolutely. We can add a theme to the Model-Driven App with logo, header colour and font colours.
What we cannot change is – the font face, font size, line spacing etc. Nor can we remove elements from the header such as Search, Advanced Find etc.
What can I do inside the Model-Driven App framework?
As part of the Common Data Service – there are already some underlying tables that are already pre-built as Out of the Box.
What are these pre-built tables?
There are a number of tables inside the Common Data Service, however the fundamental tables applicable to most scenerios are;
- Accounts – i.e. Customers, Businesses that you interact with
- Contacts – i.e. Contacts relate to Accounts (they could be staff, contractors)
- Activities – i.e. Email Messages, Phone Calls, Appointments, Meetings and Notes. These are already linked to Accounts, Contacts out of the box.
Can I add more tables?
Absolutely. You can build out the system to do anything that you want it to, and best of all it’s relational (which means you can link records together to see a 360 degree view of your customer or operations).
Examples – Property Management, Compliance, Support etc.
Can I change the navigation?
Absolutely. You can add & modify the navigation down the left hand side, and those items could be links to forms, dashboards or external URLs. We can segment those items into groups, and also into separate sections within a Model-Driven Power App.
Can I integrate a Model-Driven App with Third Party Systems? (i.e. Accounting, Operations)
Absolutely. As part of the Power Platform – there is another product called Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) that allows us to connect to over 327+ third party systems, which allows us the ability to push & pull data between systems.
What happens if my system isn’t listed as a connector?
No problem. As long as the third party systems grants access, Vinergy can build a custom connector that allows connectivity with that third party system, or if it resides on a server internally and it was a SQL Server then utilising a Gateway Connector to pull/push data.
Power Automate we will discuss in another post in the future.
Can I access a Model-Driven App from any device?
Absolutely. Model-Driven Apps are built using a common interface called the unified interface. This interface is built and designed to be mobile compatitable and responsive. That means whether you’re on a Desktop, Mac, Tablet, iPhone or mobile the look and feel remains the same.
The screen will scale to your device, meaning that you can read and enter data the same as if you were on your desktop. It works with majority of the major browsers and makes the most of todays standard.
Could Vinergy help us build a Model-Driven App?
Absolutely. This is what we at Vinergy are passionate about. We live and breathe Model-Driven Power Apps, and there is no problem too complex or too small that utilising this framework can help.
If you have a legacy product that you use in-house that is not fit for purpose, scalable or is well past it’s due by date please contact Vinergy via our contact form , firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1300 974 622.