Why do you use Microsoft Flow and PowerApps?

Today I had a look at the Templates available in Microsoft Flow and in PowerApps. When I looked at the templates available in Flow I found many templates all doing small little things that don’t really impress me and if I was new to Flow I would probably have the feeling  of why bother?

A lot of these templates do something after a trigger has gone off. Many of the connectors show you quick and easy examples. But the big danger hewre is that you would think that Flow is only for small processes that help you do your regular tasks. But flow is so much more than that!

Then I had a look at PowerApps templates and I had a feeling of “Wow that looks good” and if I was new to PowerApps I would probably think that it is easy to make a good looking useful app. Ok it may not be that difficult but most beginning PowerApp-ers do struggle for a while

In my experience both these template galleries show us the wrong story. Within the Flow template gallery the templates give too simple flows to show all possibilities, where PowerApps gives maybe a too advanced view. Although I must day that I prefer the PowerApps approach here. Even though I always start from a blank app, it can be helpful to have a look at the templates to figure out how things can be done.

So back to the original question. Why do you use PowerApps and Flow? Do you use it for your personal needs or do you implement larger business processes and applications? I definitely would implement the larger more challenging processes and every day again I’m impressed with the stability of the Flow workflow engine.Unfortunately Microsoft Flow still seems to be seen as a replacement for SharePoint Designer and PowerApps is seen as a replacement for InfoPath, but both low-code products are so much more than that.

For both Flow and PowerApps it is important to understand how you can create flows without using the templates as your base for your solution. Take for examples the flow templates. None of these templates will really do much with error handling. Once you have started with a blank screen and a plan in your head, you will see that the possibilities are endless.

Some of the things that should be considered are:

  • Error handling
  • Connector Limits
  • Data usage
  • Optimizing your flows and increase performance
  • Notifications
  • Approvals
  • Data location
  • Users involved

So start today and create your flows and apps from blank and think about the overall process and app needs and put the right process in place.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Why do you use Microsoft Flow and PowerApps?

  1. i totally agree Pieter.

    For PowerApps – the templates give an exciting glimps at what can be done but they fail to educate how to do it both in terms of no guidance how to amend with existing content nor how i would create something similar from scratch. So they give a great tease but actually failed to educate me how to do it or be useful as is. They also fail to show me how to do the thing i need the most with PowerApps at the moment – connect to my On Prem SQL and grab data, edit and save back. So to create an App to look up all my active sales orders, type some notes on their status, and save that back was not something any of the templates (or online training) helped me with. so it’s taken a long time (that i didnt really have) to get something working. I have, in large part, thanks to the helpful community and some 3rd party developers but it shows the “training wheels” from MS was not adequate.

    As for Flows, yup, most of the templates they promote are Short, Simple and mostly irrelvant for my business at least. I’ve been moaning for a year about the Twitter one being usless for me as I want to track all tweets that come from a person, and it cant do that. Only it can – as we found out two weeks ago, if you just search for @ it’ll work. None of the documentation suggests it does that, it almost ponts you directly away from that, and it was only from seeing something on twitter that i found out it could do it for a long time. grrr

    And some of the key things i’m now doing with Flow, with your help and others, are things like HTTP calls. And in other flows i’m using very complex expressions. I have no idea what i’m doing so i am far from being self suffient and thats a shame as i need to be. There’s not enough out to help people learn how to do the most complex flows. I learned a lot from the recent video of the Biz Apps recording about Advanced Expressions but i’ve struggled for months as there’s not enough help or training out there – i guess cos its so new. Fortunately you and a few other wonderful MVPs have been very helpful. I cant dedicate my life to learning this stuff as i have a business to run, so i wish it was a bit easy to learn how to do these complex flows and how to do more with PowerApps in an effecient and affordable way and that MS made that training easier.

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  2. I’m quite new to Office365 having jumped ship from Domino. I’m used to having a database with a view and a form that I can tweak to my hearts desire. I’m not a fan of flow because I’ve seen the simple ones fail too often to be considered reliable (yet).

    PowerApps showed a lot more promise, the idea that we could quickly replace the default form on a SharePoint list with something custom .. .and the ability to quickly create a mobile app.

    Sadly, I’ve found that PowerApps is not as easy to use as you’d expect. The layout tools are painful and the opportunities for customisation seem limited. I’ve also found that rich text is quite problematic in PowerApps.

    While there’s definitely some issues with the software, I think that the main problems are mine. I need easy (and ideally free and self-paced) training. I’ve found Laura Rogers excellent YouTube series on PowerApps but I can’t seem to locate a suitable jumping on point.

    It would be great if Microsoft walked you through the creation of some simple registers with views, forms, agents and reports. Then we could all start from a common foundation and build amazing things.

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