Power Platform – Introduction of Model-Driven Apps

Hi Everyone,

There are three ways to create apps in Power Apps – Canvas, Model-Driven Apps and Portals. We already discuss about Canvas Apps in our previous articles.

We have very good amount of articles on Canvas Apps, please have a look once

In this article we are going to discuss about Model-Driven Apps.

What is Model-Driven Apps?

  • Model-Driven Apps provides a no-code or low-code component approach to app development.
  • Model-driven apps provide a responsive accessible design running in browsers and on popular mobile devices.
  • This app type composes multiple component types including dashboards, forms, views, charts, and business processes which together form a great UI which is discuss below.
  • 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.
  • Model-driven apps are built and managed from the PowerApps Portal similar to how canvas apps are built and managed.

Model-driven app design provides the following benefits :

  • Rich component-focused no-code design environments
  • Create complex responsive apps with a similar UI across a variety of devices from desktop to mobile
  • Rich design capability
  • Your app can be distributed as a solution

There are three main approach for making Apps are as follow :-

  • Modeling business data
  • Defining business processes
  • Composing the app

Modeling business data – To model business data you determine what data your app will need and how that data will relate to other data. Model-driven design uses a metadata-driven architecture so that designers can customize the application without writing code. Metadata means “data about data” and it defines the structure of the data stored in the system.

Defining business processes – Defining and enforcing consistent business processes is a key aspect of model-driven app design. Consistent processes help make sure your app users focus on their work and not on remembering to perform a set of manual steps. Processes can be simple or complex and often change over time. To create a process, from the PowerApps.com then in Model-driven area select -> Setting icon->  Advanced customizations -> Open solution explorer. Next, on the left navigation pane in solution explorer select Processes, and then select New.

Composing the app – After modeling data and defining processes, you build your app by selecting and configuring the components you need using the app designer.

 Power Platform - Power Apps - Model-Driven Apps app designer page
Fig.1 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Model-Driven Apps app designer page

Modern-Driven Apps Components

A model-driven app consists of several components that you select by using the App Designer. The components and component properties become the metadata. To understand how each of these components relates to app design, they’re separated here into dataUIlogic, and visualization categories. Let’s look more closely at these components.

Data

The data components determine what data the app will be based upon.

ComponentDescriptionDesigner
EntityEntities are items with properties that you track. Examples include contacts and accounts. Many standard entities are available. You can customize a non-system standard entity (or production entity). You can also create a custom entity from scratch.Entity designer
FieldFields are properties that are associated with an entity and help define that entity. A field is defined by a data type, which determines the type of data that can be entered or selected. Examples of data types include text, number, date and time, currency, and lookup (which creates a relationship with another entity). Fields are typically used with forms, views, and searches.Entity designer
RelationshipRelationships define how entities can be related to each other. There are 1:N (one-to-many), N:1 (many-to-one), and N:N (many-to-many) relationships. For example, adding a lookup field to an entity creates a new 1:N relationship between the two entities and lets you add that lookup field to a form.Entity designer
Option set fieldThis type of field shows a control that lets the user select among predefined options. Each option has a number value and a label. Option set fields can require either a single value or multiple values.Entity designer
Table – Power Platform – Power Apps – The Data components

User interface

The user interface components determine how users will interact with the app.

ComponentDescriptionDesigner
AppApps determine the app fundamentals, like components, properties, the client type, and the URL.App designer
Site mapA site map specifies the navigation for your app.Site map designer
FormForms include a set of data entry fields for a given entity. This set of data entry fields matches the items that your organization tracks for the entity. One example is a set of data entry fields where users enter relevant information to track a customer’s previous orders together with specific requested reorder dates.Form designer
ViewViews define how a list of records for a specific entity appears in your app. A view defines the columns shown, the width of each column, the sort behaviour, and the default filters.View designer
Table – Power Platform – Power Apps – User Interface components
Power Platform - Power Apps - Form Designer
Fig.2 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Form Designer

Logic

The logic components determine what business processes, rules, and automation the app will have. Microsoft Power Apps makers use a designer that’s specific to the type of process or rule.

Type of logicDescriptionDesigner
Business process flowBusiness process flows walk users through a standard business process. Use a business process flow if you want everyone to handle customer service requests the same way. Or you can use a business process flow to require staff to gain approval for an invoice before submitting an order.Business process flow designer
WorkflowWorkflows automate business processes without a user interface. Designers use workflows to initiate automation that doesn’t require any user interaction.Workflow designer
ActionsActions are a type of process that lets you manually invoke actions, including custom actions, directly from a workflow.Process designer
Business ruleBusiness rules apply rules or recommendation logic to a form to set field requirements, hide fields, validate data, and more. App designers use a simple interface to implement and maintain fast-changing and commonly used rules.Business rule designer
FlowsPower Automate is a cloud-based service that lets you create automated workflows between apps and services to get notifications, sync files, collect data, and more.Power Automate
Table – Power Platform – Power Apps – Logic components
Power Platform - Power Apps - Designer-mash - Workflow, action, and business process flow designers
Fig.3 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Designer-mash

Visualization

The visualization components determine what type of data and reporting the app will show.

ComponentDescriptionDesigner
ChartCharts are individual graphical visualizations that can appear in a view or a form or that can be added to a dashboard.Chart designer
DashboardDashboards show one or more graphical visualizations that provide an overview of actionable business data.Dashboard designer
Embedded Microsoft Power BIPower BI adds embedded Power BI tiles and dashboards to your app. Power BI is a cloud-based service that provides business intelligence (BI) insight.A combination of chart designer, dashboard designer, and Power BI
Table – Power Platform – Power Apps – Visualization components
Power Platform - Power Apps -Dashboard - Sample dashboard
Fig.4 – Power Platform – Power Apps -Dashboard

Advanced model-driven apps

Solution Explorer is used to make advanced model-driven apps. By using the navigation pane on the left side of the tool, you can navigate a hierarchy that consists of all app components.

To access the classic Solution Explorer, you must first select a Solution then select Switch to classic.

Power Platform - Power Apps - Switch to classic - Classic Solution Explorer
Fig.5 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Switch to classic
Power Platform - Power Apps - Entities
Fig.6 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Entities

To open solution explorer,

  1. On the PowerApps Home page, select Settings, and then select Advanced Settings.
  2. On the Dynamics 365 Business Management page, select Settings, select Customizations, and then select Customize the System.
Power Platform - Power Apps - Solution explorer
Fig.7 – Power Platform – Power Apps – Solution explorer

Next article – In next article we will discuss about how to create our first Model-Driven Apps

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