SharePains

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Flow, Office 365, PowerApps, SPFx

Office 365 – Is PowerApps to replace InfoPath?

I have a couple of anniversaries coming up soon. I’ve been working in SharePoint (and related Microsoft Technology) for nearly 10 Years and I’ve been blogging for nearly 7 years. Oh yes, before I forget I have been married for nearly 12 years.

So I should have enough of an understanding of the Microsoft technology.

Recently I’ve been trying to keep up with all the technology changed that Microsoft has pushed towards its customers. As part of my role at Triad I have been keeping up with the latest technology. One of the thoughts I had is that the combination of PowerApps and Flow are there to replace InfoPath in SharePoint. I know that Microsoft have always said that PowerApps doesn’t replace InfoPath, but I never really believed them.

In this post I’m going to look at the positions of  the different products. Looking into the different products has convinced me.

 

SharePoint & Info Path

With Info Path we were able to create custom forms within SharePoint. Similar to other 3rd party products this gives users a no-code solution for creating custom forms.

Dynamics CRM

With CRM There has always been this database that hold entities and then an interface with forms.

PowerApps, Flow and Dynamics 365

So Dynamics 365 is a place where I can find my PowerApps. Flow is the a workflow engine and PowerApps gives me forms.

When I looked at PowerApps  I noticed the Common Data Services section with It’s Entities and Picklists. Apparently, the CDS is currently only accessible by PowerApps but it is likely for more applications to start using this in the future.

Also have you noticed that to disable Dynamics 365 you will have to disable PowerApps and Flow?

When looking at the Entities, do you recognize the CRM entities?

And in a similar way the Pick lists are also the pick lists in CRM.

So what is this Common Data Services? It’s nothing else than a Dynamics CRM database.

Going back to my initial assumption of PowerApps replacing InfoPath. It couldn’t be further from the truth. PowerApps is simply adding an easy to use and develop form solution to CRM. The big question of course is can CRM be implemented with just PowerApps, Flow and the CDS? Well, the future will tell us.

 

SharePoint & SPFx Web Parts

So where does that leave us within the SharePoint world? No form solutions?

PowerApps can connect to SharePoint data, so no real worry there. If you are looking for a no-code solution then PowerApps might quite well be suitable.

I have found however that developing forms within SPFx is a just as easy. Learning TypeScript and other JavaScript based frameworks I haven’t found too much of a problem. With more and more examples becoming available SPFx is a great option.

 

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