Creating Canvas Apps: Dataverse for Teams Guide
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Sep 28, 2023 6:56 PM

Creating Canvas Apps: Dataverse for Teams Guide

by HubSite 365 about Michael Megel

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Discover how to create stunning Canvas Apps in Dataverse for Teams using the Material Design Component Library by Microsoft Experts.

A New Approach to Designing Canvas Apps via Dataverse for Teams

The creation of visually appealing Canvas Apps through Dataverse for Teams is now possible with the use of the “Material Design Component Library for Power Apps”, courtesy of M365 Princess Luise Freese and the esteemed German Microsoft MVP Robin Rosengrün. This duo have significantly contributed to the developer community by establishing an open-source library providing a range of components that can facilitate the creation of charming Canvas Apps within a short amount of time.

The library avails a variety of components including an app bar, a navigation drawer, dialogs, and various input controls. As such, the design of Canvas Apps for the Dataverse in Teams is considerably enhanced. The Power Apps Design Toolkit forms the foundation of this functionality, promoting design consistency.

One of the key elements to making use of these components lies in the ability to import them into Dataverse for Teams. This process, straightforward in a standard Dataverse environment, is less so within Teams. Nevertheless, a workaround method is proposed that enables the successful import of components, though the approach may not be fully sanctioned by Microsoft in all scenarios.

Setting up a Dataverse for Teams Environment

A new Dataverse for Teams is set up directly in Microsoft Teams via the initiation of a new Power App. The process begins by creating a new Power App via the Microsoft Teams channel.

After the creation of the App, the absence of an option to import existing ones becomes apparent. Therefore, a different route is taken to access this capability by using the Power Apps designer resident in a web browser.

To access the just created Canvas App, extended navigation is required into the Dataverse for Teams environment. Subsequently, a new solution is created and the earlier built Canvas App is added to this new solution.

Navigating Existing Canvas App to Import

Unfortunately, the option to edit the app via this route is not available. However, it's found that this option can potentially be unlocked by changing the perspective on the solution. This is done by modifying the website specified in the current URL. The navigational change allows visibility and accessibility to the edit option, albeit ineffectual.

A URL-based approach is employed to open the selected Canvas App Design in Dataverse for Teams. The scenario allows the discovery of existing msapp files for opening and importing, leading to the opening of the Material Design Template app with the Power Apps designer.

Using and Saving Material Design Template App

Subsequently, the Material Design Template app is shown through the Power Apps designer. The next task of saving invokes the use of the “Save as” action, found by accessing the variables of the app. Consequently, replacing the existing “AWS Data Catalog” app allows for the substitution of the old app with the imported template app.

Furthermore, it's decided that integration of components from Luise and Robin is feasible. This process begins with the import of the component library by switching back to accessing solutions in the Dataverse for Teams environment.

Styling the Canvas App

Applying style to the app is achieved by navigating back to MS Teams and opening the app. Notably, it contains the Teams integration code and code for default styling. Additionally, it becomes possible to employ the imported components.

By harnessing the power of customizations afforded by the Power Apps Design Toolkit controls, impressive app appearances can be achieved. In more detail, to achieve such results theme defaults in OnStart of the app are changed and components from the imported library included.

In conclusion, achieving beautiful Canvas Apps using the Material Design Component Library and the Material Design Template app is indeed a reality. This coupled with the import functionality forms a robust approach for custom app design, although the import method used may not be fully endorsed by Microsoft.

Read the full article Create beautiful Canvas Apps in Dataverse for Teams

Power Apps - Creating Canvas Apps: Dataverse for Teams Guide

Learn about Create beautiful Canvas Apps in Dataverse for Teams

Developing visually appealing Canvas Apps using Dataverse for Teams is entirely feasible. The key is to utilize the “Material Design Component Library for Design Tools”, a creation by the very talented M365 Princess Luise Freese and German Microsoft MVP Robin Rosengrün. Last year, they have open-sourced an invaluable repository, which allows users to develop a visually appealing canvas app within a few minutes.

The library includes features like an app bar, navigation drawer as side menu, dialogs, side sheets, several input controls, buttons, and much more. As an outcome, a Canvas App inside Teams for Dataverse can be as exemplary as this:

The Design Toolkit is essentially a collection of user-interface guidance and components, designed to enrich design consistency. The best part - it's open source. You can discover the Design Toolkit for Power Apps right here on GitHub. Upon close inspection of the repository, you'll encounter many hidden treasures like a component library, a template app with a prepared style, and another solution with a template for a custom page.

Importing these apps and component libraries into a standard Dataverse environment is a rather straightforward process. The real challenge is importing these components and templates into a Dataverse for Teams. Microsoft Corporation has repeatedly pointed out that “Dataverse for Teams is limited”, hence what we are discussing here might not get a direct endorsement from Microsoft.

To begin with, I create a new Dataverse for Teams directly in Microsoft Teams. I use the “+” to add new content to my team and use Power Apps. At this stage, I could either search for an existing app or opt to create a new App. Subsequently, Microsoft initiates the creation of a new Dataverse for Teams for me.

The next steps entail the creation and saving of a new app in my Dataverse for Teams, but this designer doesn't offer any feature to import an existing App. Consequently, I have to figure out a workaround. My next step is to switch to the Power Apps designer in the web browser. As I find my Canvas App, I create a new solution.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to edit my app. This indicates Microsoft has disabled this option here. Making an about-turn, I replace of my current URL by As a result, my solution is visible in “Power Apps”, and I have access to the “Edit” action, but it doesn't function as expected.

Delving deeper, I attempt to open the designer using a specific URL. On replacing {environmentId} by my Dataverse for Teams environment id, the Power Apps Designer starts functioning in Dataverse for Teams. This allows me to browse existing msapp files and import these files.

In this process, I have been able to open the Material Design Template app with the Power Apps designer. Now, my PowerApps designer displays my imported Material Design Template app, and the next step is to save it. But, the “Save as” action is hidden, so I navigate to my variables and figure out how to replace my previously created canvas app.

Having replaced my old app with my imported template app, the app is updated successfully. The conclusion is that it is possible to create amazing Canvas Apps in Dataverse for Teams. To accomplish this, users can follow the instructions from Luise & Robin.

They have shared a wealth of knowledge in their Power Apps Design Toolkit repository on GitHub. Also, Luise has a blog post covering this topic, and you might find some related videos from Robin on YouTube. On following their instructions, you'd be able to style your own apps, use your imported components from the Material Design Components Library, and create an impressive looking app.

You can do the same! And to read more about this, check out the complete blog post here: Create beautiful Canvas Apps in Dataverse for Teams. This post has appeared first on Never Stop Learning.

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