PowerApps in the real world – Ways to improve, manage and utilise PowerApps in conjunction with O365 with a two part blog series.
Click here to visit Part 1.
PowerApps is growing, more people are using PowerApps and businesses are starting to understand when to use PowerApps. Because of this greater awareness from business more and more apps are being created. And this creates a problem – how’d do you manage all these apps and build them in such a way that they are efficient, easy to maintain and easy to use. Well this article hopes to provide some tips and tricks I’ve implemented (by learning the hard way) over the past year.
In PowerApps each control (button, text box and others) and screens are each given a name by default. These default names can be a little repetitive after you start creating multiple screens and using the same controls over and over.
An example of this would be that the same data source is used for two display galleries. Maybe the galleries have a different filter or show different fields. However, by default the name of the controls can get very repetative. By just incrementing by 1.
Example: Gallery1 and Gallery1_1.
Now, when trying to reference either a field, or the selected item from the gallery it is very easy to slect the incorrect gallery. A way to mitigate this is to name controls that you want in a semi-descriptive way. In some ways similar to how developers name variables. An example could be for the two galleries in the image above:
[gal]_[projects]_[all]_: Breakdown: [gal] = control type, [projects] = data source, all = filter – in this instance it shows all items,  = screen number
[gal]_[projects]_[dur2]_: Breakdown: [gal] = control type, [projects] = data source, [dur2] = filter applied – in this instance being duration = 2,  = screen number
This makes understanding what the gallery is doing slightly easier using this control in a seperate screen. Some examples of controls and how I name them are below:
- Label = lbl
- Text Input = txtbx
- HTML text = txthtm
- Rich text editior = rchtextbx
- Pen Input = penin
- Button = btn
- Drop down = drpdwn
- Combo box = cmbobx
- Date Picker = dtpkr
- List box – lstbx
- Check box = chkbx
- Radio = rad
- Toggle = tgle
- Slider = sldr
- Gallery = gal
- Data table = tble
- icons = icn
- image = img
On top of naming controls naming screens is useful. Adding a screen number helps as controls may be reused on different screens. An example may be two buttons that submit data. A name for those buttons may be:
However, if multiple submit buttons were used in the app then appending a screen number to the end makes the control unique.
this would make those buttons:
Using Template Apps
PowerApps has lots of example apps ready built. These applications can give you a great starting point for an app that you potentially have a requirement for.
These applicaitons also help introduce you to the formula language that PowerApps uses, the different connections a PowerApp can have and the different ways that controls and layouts can be utilised.