Learn basic elements
Power Apps has many different components to build solutions including screens, inputs, galleries, forms and more. Let's review some of the most common elements you will need to get started.
Power Apps Studio
Power Apps Studio is the name of the web interface you use to build your app. With Power Apps, there is no client to download or install for building apps. Everything is done from the browser by logging into https://make.PowerApps.com.
The first step in creating your app is to choose the format of your app: Mobile or Tablet. While both formats can be used interchangeably on a mobile device, a tablet, or a computer, each has different defaults around sizing of the screens and controls. Once you choose the format for an app, you cannot change it.
The Gallery control is used to display records from a table of data. The display of a record is then defined by a template, which you can customize to meet your needs. This allows you to control which fields are shown and how they are formatted. Power Apps will then apply this template automatically to every record in your data.
Forms are focused on working with a specific record, often based on a selection from a gallery. In this experience, a user browses a gallery to find and select the desired record displaying the details on the form. Forms enable a user to not only view detailed information, but to save new records and edit existing ones. The various actions performed with forms are controlled by form modes allowing the form to serve many purposes.
To allow you maximum flexibility in customizing your apps, Power Apps has a large selection of Input controls. Text inputs, buttons, dropdowns, toggles, date pickers, and sliders are a few examples. You can add these controls to galleries, forms, and screens to build a functional and aesthetic experience for your app. All inputs have a multitude of settings for default data, formatting, and actions which allow you to build an app that has the right user experience for your business process.
In addition to common inputs as covered above, Power Apps also provides a rich set of controls for more advanced operations. There are hardware-based controls which allow access to the camera, bar code scanner, GPS, and more hardware features. There are also service backed controls like the business card reader or object detector which allow you to add artificial intelligence to your app without writing code.
Functions are the glue that binds all these controls, inputs, and data sources together. You can use one or more functions to create formulas in your apps. These formulas are similar to the language you use in Excel and can be used for actions such as sending data to a data source, formatting information, creating animations, and more. No complicated code is necessary, simply powerful functions with straightforward inputs to enhance your app.
Now that you have an overview of some of the rich functionality you can achieve with Power Apps, the next section will walk you down the path of building your first app.