Power Platform – How do we choose between Canvas vs Model-driven Apps
In our following previous articles we discussed about Canvas apps and Model-driven apps as
- Power Platform – Power Apps – Exploring Canvas App for beginners – Demo
- Power Platform :- Creating Canvas App in Power App using SharePoint List for Beginners
- Power Platform – Creating a basic Canvas App and fetching data from data source Excel from OneDrive for Business
- Power Platform – Creating Canvas App from Scratch with Excel Data
- Power Platform – AI BUILDER – Use AI Builder model (Business Card Reader and use cases) in Power Apps (Canvas App) – Part 5
- Power Platform – Introduction of Model-Driven Apps
- Power Platform – Creating Model-Driven Apps for beginners Part-1
- Power Platform – Creating Model-Driven Apps for Beginners Part-2
Now which one is better or which one will be choose it’s still a question for us so in this article we are going to discuss about the difference between Canvas and Model-driven apps.
Canvas Apps vs Model-driven Apps
Canvas apps and Model-driven apps are best suited for different use cases.
Canvas App :
- Canvas apps are ideal for building task-based or role-based applications.
- For example, in companies not all employees or team have same role and same responsibilities.
- Since this team is focused on one task, it likely doesn’t require all of the functionality of the full Microsoft suite.
- In this case, it would be better to build a canvas app dedicated specifically to the task of team or employee.
- Canvas apps are mostly PC and mobile device business applications built without code.
- Canvas apps uses a PowerPoint like user interface and Excel formulas for configuration.
- Canvas apps can connect to many Microsoft and non-Microsoft data sources.
Model-driven Apps :
- Model-driven apps on the other hand, are better for creating end-to-end solutions.
- For example, after a customer service support ticket has been created, it must be routed, addressed, updated, marked as complete, and so on.
- There will likely be quite a few teams, roles, and processes involved in this complete cycle of case resolution, which would require a model-driven app.
- Model-driven apps are essentially an app built using the Dynamics 365 framework.
- They look like Dynamics 365 and have a lot of the features of Dynamics 365.
- Model-driven apps uses the Common Data Service as their data source.
This article gives a quick comparison of Canvas vs Model-driven apps by evaluating them over the following areas:
- User Experience
- Business Situations
- Application Feature Set
- Data Validation
- Data Sources
- Ease of Configuration
User Experience (UX)
- With Canvas Apps you have a lot of control over the user experience of the app.
- The look and feel can be configured and there is a range of different controls that can be used.
- You can configure the app to behave exactly like your users want it to.
- Use Canvas Apps when you have users that are not tech savvy and provide them with a clean, simple and intuitive UX.
- The user experience is the same as the Dynamics 365 Unified Interface UX.
- Dynamics 365 version 9.0 and above the new Unified Interface has been accepted more readily as a good UX design by end users.
- Canvas apps are best suited to simple applications that have a very specific use for e.g. submitting a leave request or carrying out a site inspection.
- Complex apps can be configured but the effort to do so become significant.
- Model-driven apps are more suited to complex applications that have multiple layers and functions.
Application Feature Set
- Canvas apps can be generated from a data source where the PowerApps platform builds a simple app based on the data structure.
- Straight away, the app is ready to use with search, read, write and delete functionality but not a lot else.
- Richer functionality can be added but it needs to be configured which can be time consuming.
- As explained in Build Feature Rich, Codeless, Business Applications using Microsoft PowerApps, Model-driven apps have inherited a lot of the Dynamics 365 framework including things like auditing, role based security, business process flow, Exchange integration, Timeline control etc.
- These features would be very time consuming (and even impossible in some instances) to build using Canvas apps.
- Data validation is carried out via Dynamics 365’s Business Rules functionality that the Common Data Service has inherited, which is available to both Canvas and Model-Driven apps.
- However, Canvas apps can connect to other data sources which will need their own way of performing data validation.
- Canvas apps do not necessarily have to use the Common Data Service as a data source.
- As well as the Common Data Service, Canvas apps can connect to a bunch of online and on-premise data sources such as Twitter, Office 365, SharePoint, DropBox, SQL Server etc.
- The Common Data Service is the only data source for Model-driven apps.
- However, you can integrate data from other data sources using PowerApps Data Integration Projects.
Ease of Configuration
- It is really easy to configure a simple Canvas App from a data source and have search, read and write functions automatically built for you but the app will be ugly and most likely not well adopted by your users.
- To gain a better user experience the configuration tools for Canvas apps are really powerful and you can end up with a really slick app.
- If you are a Dynamics 365 configurator you will take to configuring Model Driven apps like a duck to water, it is all the same.
- You can take advantage of your investment in Dynamics 365 skills to extend your business apps portfolio.
- The Common Data Service has inherited the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement web services.
- Since the Canvas and Model-driven apps use the Common Data Service as a data source these web services can be used to interact with the Common Data Service in order to enhance your app.
- Plugins and workflow extensions (from Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement) can also be developed for the Common Data Service to apply business logic that cannot be configured.
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