PowerApps trendy but limited
Updated May 06, 2020

PowerApps trendy but limited

Nigel Stratton | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with PowerApps

PowerApps is being used on mobile devices to simplify the recording of reading staff need to make. As an aero-medical retrieval specialist, we are moving COVID patients, as a result our crews must report their temperature and symptoms twice daily. The app allowed the crew to log data without having to call into a central desk to log results.
  • Deploy to mobile.
  • Create a great looking UI.
  • Handles updates well.
  • Programming model is unique and requires a total rethink for developers
  • Limitations to leverage SQL Server. Delegation limitations with Sharepoint.
  • This is a window for data, not suited to data manipulation in the app
  • The ability to deliver and capture information via mobile is significant.
  • Business productivity is likely to be good but developer productivity may be an issue
  • Cost for Premium is an issue.
I have extensive experience with another low code platform, K2 and it's SmartForms. SmartForms have their own challenges but allow the developer to extend the operation of a form as needed. In addition, their vNext version promises to greatly enhance the developer and designer's ability to customize the platform, while still enabling the citizen developer.
The community forums are extremely responsive to questions asked, there is a good body of online documentation and many community posts to draw from. Although the platform has changed, which means some of the posts are out of date and the solutions provided aren't relevant. Of relevance, I read over 400 articles plus documentation to get this first app built in SharePoint, move it to SQL and make it work exactly the way it should.

Do you think PowerApps delivers good value for the price?

Not sure

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Did PowerApps live up to sales and marketing promises?


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It is fantastic for distribution to mobile devices, updates are simple and the UI looks awesome. Simple applications out of the box are fast and easy but it is not suited to customization. It is best as a window for prepared data.

For context, this is a low code platform, I am a developer, not a citizen developer, and I have found the PowerApp platform is not suited to customizations. I have only developed one application but I've spent a substantial amount of time perfecting it. There is a limited event model to tap into. The programming model for variables is backwards to standard programming, which requires a constant mental rewrite. Datacards are both useful and restrictive.

Data access for SQL Server is limited. Stored Procedures can only be accessed with Flow and in fact Flow is the best way to interact with it, which somewhat moves it out of the citizen developer zone. Joins can be done with Lookups but that will fire a separate query for each record in a list. Customizing the Item property resulted in quite unexpected queries being sent to SQL Server. Sharepoint is fast but searching with criteria is poor. For instance, you can't query using a date or a yes/no field.

SQL per-user pricing is expensive, which requires the use of per-Flow pricing to mitigate the cost but that increases complexity.

PowerApps Feature Ratings

Visual Modeling
Drag-and-drop Interfaces
Platform Security
Platform User Management
Platform Scalability