Power Platform – Creating Model-Driven Apps for beginners Part-1

Hi Everyone,

In previous article we explore basic introduction about Model-Driven Apps https://knowledge-junction.com/2020/07/31/power-platform-introduction-of-model-driven-apps/ .

In this article we will create our first app using Model-Driven apps.

As an App Maker, before you begin building your Power Apps solution, it’s recommended to go through a design process. When designing your Power Apps solution, there are several different factors to consider:-

  • Business requirements
  • Data Model
  • Business Logic
  • Output

Here is a quick look at the App Designer for an example Model-driven app called “Fundraiser.”

Model driven app layout in studio.
Fig.1 – Power Platform – App Designer

When the app is put into Play Mode, it looks completely different.

Model driven app in play mode.
Fig.2 – Power Platform – Fundraiser Dashboard

Understand the needs of the user

Model-driven apps are created using the App Designer. You will choose the entities, dashboards, Business Process flows, forms, and other components that you want to make available in your app, and then the app will be created for you. This means you will need to spend more time understanding what your user needs than how it is going to look.

Business Requirements

  • The first step in the process is to understand your business requirements. Work with the app stakeholders to consider your security, accessibility, data, and design needs.
  • For security, the Common Data Service has a robust security model. You will want to consider how securing your app’s data affects your app and what security model best supports your business needs. There are lots of options available.
  • Finally, does your app need to be available when the user is disconnected from the internet? This is called Offline Mode and is supported by the Common Data Service and Model-driven apps when using iOS or Android clients.

Data Model

As you begin the data modeling process, there are a couple of important questions to ask yourself:

  1. What type of data will your solution be storing and or collecting?
  2. How will this data relate or coincide with the other data you are working with?
  • These questions are important when designing a model-driven application because of how model-driven applications function. Remember, model-driven applications use a metadata-driven architecture.
  • To expand on this a little further, when thinking about Metadata this simply means “data about data” and this data defines the structure stored in the system.
  • You can view the app metadata by reviewing the Entity in the Common Data Service.
Example of metadata.
Fig.3 – Power Platform – Metadata of fundraiser app
  • You can also view app metadata when app is running.
  • Each solution you develop and deploy will have its own set of metadata to collect.
  • This basic understanding of metadata is important as you continue the design process and modeling your app data.
  • As you think about your data model also think about field types.

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)

  • When building a Model-driven app, most of the UI and UX are predetermined for you. You define the data model to build from, and then Power Apps determines the controls used in the app.
  • You can influence these controls by determining what entity assets you include. You define in the App Designer What Forms, Views, Charts, and Dashboards are used in the app.
  • You also control the navigation options via the Site Map. As you are planning your app, determine which components are needed in the app design, and create them before building your app.
  • To continue building off of the example we’ve been using throughout this module, below is a simple Model-driven Form, which captures various pieces of information for creating a New Fundraiser.
  • Here is an example of what the New Fundraiser form looks like when editing from the App Designer.
Fundraiser form.
Fig.4 – Power Platform – Adding fields in fundraiser

Business Logic

  • When incorporating business logic in your app, there are two primary options available.
  • You can set Business Rules on your Common Data Service entities or you can build Business Process Flows.
  • With Business Rules, you will define behaviors at the data layer.
  • This is great for changing when a field is required, setting a default value, or even showing or hiding a field based on a criteria.
  • You could have a field for type of travel and then build a business rule that says if they choose automobile then the mileage field is required, else it is optional. This gives you great power to make sure you maintain data consistency in all scenarios.
  • Business Process Flows are used to guide users through using your app. These workflows can provide visuals on next steps based on the status of the data and facilitate other actions that you want to occur as the user uses the app.
  • Business Process Flows let you bring automation to your app and make it more of a guided experience than just a place to enter data.

Output

  • A common output need for apps is to visualize the data.
  • For this requirement, you can implement Dashboards with custom filters and visual graphics to tie all of this data together right in your app.
  • When creating your Dashboards, make sure it’s simple for your users to consume without overwhelming them with all the data.
  • Provide high-level snapshots of your data and allow them to use filters to dive deeper into the data if needed.

Thanks for reading. If it’s worth at least reading once, kindly like and share. STAY SAFE STAY HEALTHY.

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To know more about Power Platform please have a look our Power Platform series – https://knowledge-junction.com/?s=Power+Platform

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