Part 1: PowerApps Rock! Forget the “slick code” and deliver on robust, maintainable business solutions

Rich Carlsen, Cloud Solutions Architect

Pay it forward

In the never-ending pursuit of higher IT understanding, the best advice I can give IT application developers today is to pay it forward. Keep the code simple, readable, and maintainable—because someone else will most likely manage the application tomorrow.

Microsoft PowerApps is a configurable SaaS application that can be used to create beautiful, secure, and data-aware applications quickly. PowerApps applications can and should be configured to fully leverage service architectures to simplify development and maintain service boundaries. Maintaining service boundaries allows you to simplify your application, which allows other parties to perform tasks that require deep domain knowledge. Service architectures with well-defined service boundaries allow you, as the developer, to focus on the business function and build great applications.

Keep it short and simple

Ideally, the developer’s focus is kept on the application’s business function, rather than on creating masterful code. Focusing on the business function will make it easier for the next developer to understand and maintain the application. PowerApps leverages templates, service connectors, and prepopulated data entities, with an Excel-like formula language. This creates a development environment that is accessible, simple, and intuitive to learn.

Developing and innovating applications is supposed to be fun. The PowerApps development environment provides an intuitive and enjoyable development experience.

Keep it readable and maintainable

Many developers that are new to an application commonly gain their technical knowledge by reading the code. If the developer cannot understand the code, they’ll be more likely to make mistakes and even perform unnecessary code rewrites. This is where quality, efficiency, and business integrity break down. The driving questions should always be, “What?”, “Why?”, and “How?” Often the rational “why” is left out of documentation and code comments. For example, if there is specific reason you chose to use Bing search over Google search in your app, document it. Keep in mind throughout your development process that your goal is to keep it maintainable.

Utilize services

Now let’s talk about accelerating time-to-market. Go server-less for IT point solutions. You get so much built in functionality in a SaaS and PaaS environment. PowerApps includes access to prewritten connectors that can utilize many popular business services like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Bing custom search, Azure Cognitive Services, Microsoft Flow and other popular web services. If you need to write your own custom connector to access other services and or data-sources, you can do it.

Up Next – Tutorial: Keep the code short and simple, readable, and maintainable

In part 2 of this series, we’ll focus on creating a fun, easy-to-maintain application using PowerApps, Bing Search, and some Cognitive Service AI. Stay tuned!

For more information on PowerApps, visit Microsoft PowerApps Guided Learning.

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