Strategies for Developing Canvas App: To Be or Not To Be
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Power Apps
Oct 6, 2023 3:00 PM

Strategies for Developing Canvas App: To Be or Not To Be

by HubSite 365 about Alex Shlega [MVP]

Microsoft Power Platform Consultant/Solution Architect, Business Applications MVP

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Embark upon the intricate journey of Canvas App development with our Microsoft expert; pivot, adapt, and master low-code solutions.

To be or not to be – every time I work on a canvas app, this question inevitably comes up. Low code development is both promising and tricky," says Alex Shlega. During his time with Canvas Apps development, Shlega encountered numerous small issues that didn't work as expected.

These hitches required him to adjust his strategies frequently, leading to a final product that often differed from the original plan. Such changes made him question the validity of his design concept, even before beginning work on a Canvas App.

Delving more into the complexity of Canvas Apps, Shlega concludes that many things may not work as one anticipates. Hence, a readiness to pivot and adopt alternative strategies is vital when things don't go as planned. He then critiques the limitations and complexities of modern Canvas App controls, with numerous examples.

A Closer Look at Canvas App Challenges

The Canvas App, according to Shlega, presents seven main issues. Firstly, the table control's inability to customize data output is a glaring problem. You can't display just the date portion of a date time field, and you can't prevent an empty date time field from showing a default date. Also, the formula definition does not function as it should.

The second issue is the lacking "Text" or "Value" property, necessitating a fallback to the gallery. The third obstacle is the lacking font size, background color, and border properties in the text input control within the app.

The fourth challenge is the disappointment with modern controls, which, despite looking better in general, fall short in terms of functionality. This limitation leads to a dependence on classic controls, marking the fifth issue. The sixth problem lies in the complexity of implementing column sorting in the gallery. Finally, dynamic sorting proves difficult due to the hardcoding in the formula and the rigid sorting order.

In conclusion, Shlega maintains that working with Canvas Apps implies navigating through feature and functionality bottlenecks to achieve an objective as close to the original design as possible. Despite the challenges, he remains hopeful about the future of Canvas Apps and low-code development.

Read the full article To be or not to be – every time I work on a canvas app, this question inevitably comes up

Learn about To be or not to be – every time I work on a canvas app, this question inevitably comes up

In this blog post, the author shares insights into the development process of Canvas Apps; a feature of Microsoft's Power Platform. He conveys both the promise and difficulties of low-code development, professoring that despite planning, the final product often differs, sometimes significantly, from the initial design. The author expresses this with the phrase "To be or not to be" to illustrate the unpredictability of this process.

The writer presents the case of the "ITA Web Starter Request Handler" as an example, which he developed as a Canvas App, but over time, he found deficiencies, leading him to reconsider whether a portal feature would be a better fit. The author shares an image of the app but indicates it might not show every feature he originally intended to include due to constraints encountered during development.

In his attempt to implement modern controls, the author ran into several issues; he gave an example with a table control where he could not customize the data output as he desired. This led him to revert to using classic Canvas App controls instead.

The author, through his experience, urges future developers to be flexible and ready to pivot during Canvas App development. They need to accept that it may not always go as planned, and so, learning to incorporate better techniques and alternatives is essential.

  • To learn more about Canvas App Development, Microsoft offers comprehensive training via PowerApps training courses.
  • The Microsoft Learn platform has a course tilted 'Introduction to designing and building Canvas Apps'
  • Another valuable resource is ‘App in a day’ by PowerApps, which includes hands-on labs and various other resources

These courses and more are designed to enable developers to gain a better understanding of the concepts, capabilities and application of Canvas Apps to ensure successful results.

 

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Keywords

canvas apps, app development, work on canvas, app design, application creation, digital canvas work, creating canvas apps, working with canvas apps, canvas app questions, canvas app dilemmas