Microsoft PowerApps Makes Short Work of Large SharePoint Lists

Microsoft PowerApps, a "no code" mobile and web business app builder, got a major update this week that extends its reach into not only more data sets, but bigger ones as well.

Cloud enterprise

The software maker is currently rolling out a first quarter (Q1) update that includes support for SharePoint lists with more than 256 entries.

"PowerApps can now connect to large SharePoint lists and filter through more data where it originates, making it possible to deliver high-performance apps that are backed by large enterprise systems," said Darshan Desai, group program manager of PowerApps at Microsoft, in an April 17 announcement. "PowerApps is also constantly adding new connectors and operations that can be delegated to large data sources."

Additionally, Desai revealed that users can connect to more data sources, extending the platform's reach to an expanded set of third-party software-as-a-service applications and cloud services such as Slack and Twilio. More than 115 connectors are currently available, and Microsoft is potentially opening the floodgates to more by now allowing developers to submit their own connectors.

Customers can also now use PowerApps to turn Power BI, Microsoft's cloud-based analytics and business intelligence (BI) toolkit, into a springboard for data-driven actions. Microsoft has enabled PowerApps embedding into PowerBI dashboard, allowing users to trigger actions or tasks based on the insights they discover.

As part of a continuing effort to drive productivity among deskless workers, Microsoft is delivering an integration with Staffhub that will enable customers with Office Kiosk plans to run PowerApps-based forms and apps without separate licenses.

Launched earlier this year, StaffHub is an employee scheduling app that allows employees at restaurants, hotel and other service-oriented businesses to manage their schedules, trade work shifts and send messages to one another on their mobile devices. The PowerApps-StaffHub integration is scheduled to be released in the next few weeks, said Desai.

Other new features include support for in-app push notifications and an Entity Form control that enables users to add forms that can access Common Data Service information to their apps. Common Data Service is a unified data storage, modeling and management platform that organizes business data into entities that can be used by PowerApps and other business software offerings from Microsoft.

The typing experience has been enhanced with syntax highlighting and users can now use a web browser to create template-based apps. On the mobile front, users can now snap photos with PowerApps using their device's camera.

Although the solution enables non-coders to craft business apps, Microsoft is encouraging professional software developers to get on board.

"Developers can now more easily register existing Azure Functions and other APIs [application programming interfaces] regardless of where they are hosted, increasing discovery by power users," Desai added. "Azure functions also recently announced support for editing and hosting Swagger metadata, which makes it easier to register and use them from PowerApps and Flow."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...