A fairly new feature in Power Apps is the ability to create customer pages in model-driven apps. Now you can leverage canvas app elements and the fluid language on a single page in a model-driven app.
In a recent Dynamic's learning forum, JourneyTEAM developers gathered to show some recent updates and demo the use of certain tools. The video shows a business use case that demonstrates the benefits of going with a page versus a canvas app: This client, a university, used to use a canvas app to manage the process of assigning graders to sections and assignments. The old process required multiple steps that were inefficient and tedious.
To simplify the process, we assisted the university with creating a custom page in a model-driven app. Instead of navigating back-and-forth to different pages to complete different steps within the original canvas app, this new page placed graders, sections and assignments in one place. This allowed the university to easily search for graders by name, manage assignments and sections within the same page. Before, the process of assigning graders to a section could take an hour – now, it takes only about 10 minutes.
Why create a custom page in model-driven apps versus creating a canvas app?
Power Apps’ canvas apps are best known for ease of use. You don’t need to have developer or coding experience. With easy drag and drop components and other intuitive tools, you can easily build apps that integrate the business data you need from a variety of sources.
It is simple and also, basic. It’s not always the best solution, and can result in a less-than-professional app in both appearance and function.
As was the case for our university client, the best way to achieve a sleeker, more streamlined way to manage grading was through a model-driven app page.
Other benefits of custom pages
Outside of the example above, here are some other benefits of custom pages:
Licensing Savings: A page is part of a model-driven app. What this means is that the licensing for pages is part of your standard licensing for Dynamics 365, so you don’t need to purchase an additional Power App's license. Whoever has access to the model-driven app has access to the page by default.
Data-Source Queries: Pages use connectors just like any other Power Platform app so you can query over 400+ data sources.
Flexibility: You can add pages to a solution and move from one environment to another. Pages are not tied to a single record, which provides greater flexibility to create customized features, functions, and UI elements.
The ribbon can be customized using Power FX, which can allow you to create a pop-out button.
How to Create a Page
From the Modern App Designer in PowerApps:
1. To create a page, simply click “+ Add Page”
2. Click “Custom” from “Select a Page Type” (from Table Based View and Form, Dashboard, or Custom)
3. Name it and you’re ready to start!
It will open into what at first glance appears to be a canvas app, since custom pages as essentially the same as canvas apps except for the UI elements, which are the same as model-driven apps. While you may not see all the UI elements, know that anything you can do in a canvas app, you can do in a page. If there’s an element you liked in your canvas app, but you don’t see it available here, simply open a canvas app, and copy and paste the element into your page.
Note that Microsoft recommends that if you are creating a page that you should stick to one page and avoid navigation and hidden pages. This keeps it simpler for the users and keeps navigation within the model-driven app site map and not on the page.
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