In this “Low Code No Code Power Platform” article, we will learn about the logic behind the low code no code in Power Platform. Power Apps low code no code: these days, the trend is Power Apps = low code no code, so people or businesses are blindly adopting the Power platform as part of their app development without validating or getting into the details. From my personal point of view, Power Apps development is no longer a low-code, no-code platform. Here, if you want to develop a complex app, you need to write a lot of business logic, the way we used to handle it in C#, Dot Net, or any other traditional programming language, though the fact is that portraying the business logic in Power Apps is different than the other traditional programming languages.
The Power Platform, a suite of tools by Microsoft, is often touted as a low-code or no-code platform, implying that minimal or no traditional coding knowledge is required. However, this perception can be misleading, especially for experienced software developers. In reality, proficiency in certain logical constructs and formula-based approaches is essential to effectively utilize the Power Platform. Let’s explore this in detail and debunk the myth that no coding knowledge is required.
The Logic Behind Low Code No Code Power Platform
In this post, we will show why we should say Power Apps ≠ Low Code No Code. Before that, let’s understand the Power Platform.
Understanding the Power Platform
The Power Platform consists of several components like Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents. These tools empower users to create applications, automate workflows, generate insights, and build chatbots without deep programming expertise. The platforms primarily utilize a graphical interface, making it easier for users to design and develop solutions.
The Role of Logic and Formulas
In low-code or no-code environments, logic is expressed using formulas or expressions, often resembling Excel functions. These formulas enable actions like data manipulation, validation, and decision-making within the application. Understanding and effectively using these formulas is akin to having coding knowledge, but in a formula-based context.
Let’s take an example. If you want to concatenate two strings in Power Apps, you would use a formula like Concatenate(string1, string2). Similarly, if you want to extract certain characters from a string, you might use a formula like Left(string, numChars) or Right(string, numChars). These are formula-based approaches, but they are indeed a form of logical constructs.
Essential Logical Knowledge
- Conditional Logic: Understanding how to structure conditional statements (if-else) using functions like If is crucial. This mirrors traditional programming logic.
- Looping and Iterations: While loops may not be present in the same way as traditional programming, functions like ForAll and ForEach serve a similar purpose.
- Data Manipulation: Functions for manipulating data, such as formatting dates, converting data types, or extracting substrings, require logical understanding.
- Error Handling: Dealing with errors and exceptions, though different from try-catch blocks, involves understanding how to handle errors within the context of the platform.
Integrating Custom Code
In some scenarios, custom code components can be integrated into Power Apps or Power Automate for specialized functionality. This indicates that while the platform emphasizes low-code, the ability to leverage custom code is advantageous for enhancing functionality and meeting unique requirements.
Power Apps low code no code – validate this statement is it really, Power Apps = Low Code No Code?
When we say Power Apps is equal to low code or no code, from the outside, it looks like Power Apps development doesn’t require any coding or it needs very minimal efforts of coding, Let’s consider the scenario., for the purchase order module your app is connecting to backend Microsoft Dynamics ERP, fetching customer details, validating the purchase order entry, again sending back the purchase order details entry to the purchase order table in the ERP application, and sending another copy of the purchase order details to any other line of business application like SharePoint, Dot Net and so on. To be very frank, implementing this kind of app is very complex and difficult and needs a lot of back-and-forth API and Power Automate calls to all lines of business applications.
Now the question is, can a citizen developer or non-professional developer can develop this kind of app? The answer is no, here we need to write or use a lot of functions in Power Apps using the Power FX coding.
To be more precise, if you want to generate an Invoice Number from the purchase order app, the format should be <First three characters of customer first name><an auto-increment number><MMYY>, and these details invoice should be sent to the ERP application.
What is a citizen developer (Power Apps low code no code)?
A citizen developer is an employee of an organization who has little or no knowledge of programming but can develop applications using certain tools.
To get this functionality done,
- <First three characters of customer first name> – we need to find the substring for the first three characters of the customer.
- <an auto-increment number> – For each load of the app we need to generate a unique auto numeric number, for this, we need to query the auto-increment number data source on each page load event, then get the next number from that table.
- <MMYY> – Here we need to get the current month and year in the format of MMYY from the current system date.
For all the above calculations we need to play around with the string functions like substring, string concatenation, etc., in the Power FX coding, the way we used to handle these using C# and any other programming language.
To me, the Power Apps platform is just another tool like Visual Studio to develop the custom application, here one may counter that in Power Apps we just drag and drop control and pass the parameter in the out-of-the-box function, in reply, we also can say Visual Studio editor is just doing the same, you just type the function name automatically the needed parameters should be displayed. Again, I am not comparing Visual coding with Power Apps – developing an app using Power Apps is a lot easier and faster than in Visual Studio, there are lots of business benefits of having developed apps in Power Platform, end of this article, summarized the benefits of Power Apps platforms.
Final Say: Is Low Code No Code Power Platform?
With these being said, I am not against Power Platform; moreover, I am a lover of Power Platform and have been working with Microsoft Technologies over the decades with a lot of love and patience. In this post, my message to nonpower platform developers and the companies that just think that Power Apps is just a drag-and-drop control that anyone can develop is absolutely wrong. And many companies also fail to estimate the right cost for their resource utilization for their clients, like the assumption that Power Apps is a drag-and-drop control that needs fewer development efforts. So, before committing to your client, do a proper study of the requirements of the app.
While the Power Platform promotes a low-code or no-code approach, it doesn’t negate the need for logical understanding and formula-based knowledge. Proficiency in constructing formulas and applying logical constructs is paramount for effectively utilizing the Power Platform. Thus, for experienced software developers, the transition to this low-code environment involves applying their coding knowledge in a different, formula-centric manner. The key is to embrace this shift, leverage existing logic and problem-solving skills, and master the formula-based approach to unlock the full potential of the Power Platform.
What are the benefits of Power Apps (Power Apps low code no code?
Below are the benefits of Power Apps:
- Low code no code strategy
- Ease of development
- Extensive integration capabilities with any other line of business.
- Improve cost-efficiency
- Business process automation – PowerApps is integrated with Microsoft Power Automate.
- Microsoft 365 integration
- Faster app development
- Hassle-free deployment process to production with zero downtime (through the CI-CD pipeline process)
- Low cost of app ownership
- AI capabilities
- Responsive and mobile-friendly
- Upgrades security
See Also: Power Platform Low Code No Code Articles
You may also like the following Power Platform Articles:
- Power Platform Development Environment: Overview view of PowerApps development environment in Power Platform
- PowerApps Tutorial for Beginners
- Create your own chatbot in PowerApps step by step
- Security Roles and Groups in Power Platform Environment
- Power Platform Environment Limitations: What You Need to Know
- Overview of Solutions in Power Platform Environment: Create Step By Step
- What is Power Apps in MSDN?
- If you have a different opinion on this topic, please write in the below comment section; if needed, we will include your valuable comment in this article.