Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

Become a self-sufficient citizen developer by learning the tools within the Microsoft Power Platform and how they can be used together to drive change and multiply your productivity. Learn about PowerApps for building applications, Power Automate for automating business processes across those applications, and Power BI for analyzing results and communicating business intelligence through compelling visuals. By understanding the purpose and capabilities of these tools, you will be able to enhance your organization’s visibility into key areas and make informed business decisions in a timely matter.
This book is divided into four parts and begins in Part I by showing you how to build applications through PowerApps. You will learn about screens and controls, application sharing and administration, and how to make your applications accessible from mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Part II is about creating workflows using Power Automate that implement business logic across your applications. Part III brings in dashboards and data analysis, showing you how to connect to a data source, cleanse the data from that source, and drive decision making through interactive reports and storytelling. Part IV brings together all the pieces by showing the integrations that are possible when all three tools are combined into a single solution.

What You Will LearnUnderstand the need for the citizen developer in today’s business environmentOrganize and plan the building of line-of-business applications with PowerApps solutions Replace wasteful paper processes with automated applications built in PowerAppsAutomate workflows across processes with Power AutomateCommunicate analytical results through visualizations and storytellingIntegrate PowerApps, Power Automate, and Power BI into solutions that multiply productivity
Who This Book Is For
Power users and analysts with strong Excel skills who need a more comprehensive set of tools that can better help them accomplish their vision on projects, those familiar with one of the Power Platform tools who wish to learn how all three can fit together, and those who are seen as as “rogue IT” problem solvers who get things done when others have tried but failed

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Building Line of Business Applications with Power Apps

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction to Power Apps

Abstract
Over the past few years, Power Apps’ popularity has gone from a little-known edge product to one that’s being used by millions of people monthly. Power Apps allows you to build applications fast. So fast, you can deliver value to your business in just a few minutes. In this chapter, you’ll learn about the types of Power Apps you can build and the tools of the trade. This chapter sets the stage for getting your hands dirty in subsequent chapters.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 2. Building Your First Power App

Abstract
In this chapter, you’ll learn how to build your first application with the Start with Data option. This one-screen wizard builds a quick application with the core screens and is a great start for most organizations that just need an application to add, insert, and delete data.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 3. Exploring Power Apps Screens and Controls

Abstract
In this chapter, you will learn how to build an application from scratch. As part of that, you will see how to use some of the many common controls and connectors for building those apps and how to change some of the common settings.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 4. Working with Power Apps Expressions

Abstract
Now that you’ve seen some of the power in building apps with Power Apps, it’s time to unlock the full potential of the application we’ve built with the expression language. Power Apps expressions are meant to resemble Excel expressions to simplify adoption, and, in this chapter, we’ll cover some of the most common functions you’ll use in Power Apps.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 5. Leveraging Variables and Collections

Abstract
To finish the basics of learning Power Apps, you must also know how to deal with variables and collections. Variables allow you to store a value or set of values in the application memory. Collections allow you to store tables of rows and columns in memory to be worked on locally. Both of these help you get around delegation warnings in many cases.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 6. Securing and Sharing Apps

Abstract
Sharing applications in Power Apps is as easy as sharing a document in Word or an email. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to share your applications with others and how to invite others to collaborate on those canvas applications. You can share applications with internal or external users, but they must have a license.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 7. Managing Power Apps

Abstract
Power Apps gathers like resources into environments. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to manage Power Apps environments. You’ll see how to create environments for your development, test, and production migration processes and how to promote applications between those environments.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 8. Common Data Services and Model-Driven Apps

Abstract
When you want to build an application, one of the first decisions you must make is where you are going to store data. Whether you store the data in SharePoint, Excel, or SQL Server, you then must design your lists, worksheets, or tables before getting too far into your application construction likely. Common Data Services (CDS) provides an easier place to store your data and contains some of the common plumbing you will need to build an intelligent application.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Task Automation with Power Automate

Frontmatter

Chapter 9. Introduction to Power Automate

Abstract
Power Automate functions incredibly well as a stand-alone tool for workflow automation, similar to how Power Apps and Power BI are great at what they are designed to do. However, the underlying theme to the Power Platform is really the “better together” story. The fact that each of the tools is further improved and their capabilities amplified when built within a framework that leverages each tool effectively. The integration of each of the Power Platform tools is discussed in depth later in the final chapters of this book after the reader has a firm grasp on each service.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 10. Building Your First Flow

Abstract
Power Automate ships with an abundance of prebuilt templates across many categories which include approvals, productivity, email, and more. Templates are an exciting and useful way to familiarize yourself with workflows. These templates are a great place to start when building a new flow, especially if you are new to Power Automate.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 11. Exploring Different Trigger Types

Abstract
Power Automate has three primary methods for triggering an automated workflow. These three methods were briefly mentioned in the previous chapter. In this chapter, we will dive deeper and explore all three trigger types available in Power Automate.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 12. Working with Flow Expressions

Abstract
Power Automate ships with a staggering number of actions that allow for near limitless automation capabilities. However, there are times when you simply want to perform some basic operations like concatenating two strings together, returning the current date and time, or simply formatting a date value. These operations and much more are possible by leveraging the built-in expression language. Power Automate, like Azure Logic Apps, takes advantage of the Workflow Definition Language for writing expressions.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 13. Building Conditional Flows

Abstract
In the previous chapter, conditional logic was used to make the flow automated and dynamic; in this chapter, you will explore the conditional actions available in Power Automate.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 14. Designing Approval Flows

Abstract
In this chapter, we explore one of the most exciting actions and design flows in Power Automate. Approval flows are among the most common flows designed. At its core, approval flows really epitomize what Power Automate is designed for: turning repetitive tasks into automated workflows that are intelligent, dynamic, and flexible. These well-designed workflows save time, improve consistency of processes, and eliminate delays or errors.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 15. Administering Power Automate

Abstract
This final chapter on Power Automate will be centered around administration. The topics will include sharing and collaboration, exporting flows, and installation and configuration of a data gateway. Much of the administration discussed in this chapter will be done via PowerAutomate.Microsoft.com. However, some administration tasks can be performed through the Power Platform admin center as well.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Dashboards, Reporting, and Analytics with Power BI

Frontmatter

Chapter 16. Introduction to Power BI

Abstract
Power BI has been around since 2014, and before that, there was growing popularity using the “Power” features within Excel to analyze our organization’s data. Years later, Power BI finds itself on the top tier of data visualization tools, and if you go by the Gartner report, it is the number 1 tool! Power BI gives users the capability to import data from a variety of different sources. From there, we can take advantage of features to clean and massage the data to our needs. Once this is done, we can then model and leverage visuals to deliver impactful messages to our end users by sharing reports. In this chapter, we will explore who should be using Power BI, how to subscribe to the service, and get a brief overview of the desktop tool.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 17. Connecting to Data

Abstract
Every Power BI report must start with bringing data into our model. Power BI itself has over 80 different connectors that allow users to bring data in from databases, files, cloud resources, and many more. When connecting to some of these sources, you may be presented with various methods on how that connection should be established which will have significant impacts on your report. In this chapter, we will explore some of the various connectors available to users within Power BI and the additional options available depending on the connector chosen. It should also be noted that new connectors are added quite frequently to the tool over time. There is also an option to create your own custom connector which will be discussed briefly in this chapter.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 18. Defining Data Cleansing Business Rules with the Power Query Editor

Abstract
As we saw in the previous chapter, there are many different connectors available within Power BI. Depending on what sources we are connecting to, we may run into data that needs to be cleaned up or transformed before building our reports. When this situation arises, we need to turn to the Power Query Editor to solve our data cleansing needs. In this chapter, we will take the time to explore the Power Query Editor, understand what basic transforms are at our disposal, and have a brief conversation about the M-query language.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 19. Data Model Design

Abstract
Now that we have finished learning what capabilities exist within the Power Query Editor, it is time to discuss data model enhancements. The Power Query Editor is there to shape the data, but once we hit Close & Apply, we need to begin modeling the data. Primarily, when in this phase of creating a Power BI report, you will find yourself in the Model View of Power BI. This view gives us the capability of achieving almost everything we need from a modeling perspective. It is in this chapter that we will discuss various aspects of the Power BI data model such as defining relationships, creating hierarchies, hiding columns, and other usability enhancements that will make the end-user experience the best it can be.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 20. Extending Your Data Model with DAX Calculations

Abstract
As part of the data modeling process, Power BI gives us access to a language called DAX or the Data Analysis Expression language. DAX allows us to expand the analytical power of our data model with the creation of calculated columns, calculated measures, and calculated tables. Each of these items is created using DAX which is a user-friendly language that has parallels to the Excel formula language. In this chapter, we will gain an understanding of the differences between calculated columns, calculated measures, and calculated tables. In the “Try It Out” section, we will extend the model we have been working with by adding calculated columns and calculated measures.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 21. Report Writing Basics

Abstract
Once all the data shaping and data modeling have been completed, we report writers still have the important task of deciding which visualizations to use to bring our data to life. There are over 30 visualizations built into Power BI. If we do not make the right decision on which to use for displaying certain data, it could lead to confusion or just a general lack of direction when it comes to delivering a message to our end users. In this chapter, we will look at choosing the right visuals for categorical data, showing data trends, visualizing goal tracking, and displaying geographical data. Although it will not be looked at in this chapter, it should be noted that there are also over 260 custom visualizations available from the Microsoft App Store.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 22. Designing Interactive Reports

Abstract
The interactive capabilities of Power BI open a whole new world of exploring data never before available to the non-IT professional. Report consumers today are no longer receiving static printed reports on their desk. Instead, they are receiving interactive and responsive dashboards that give them immediate insights into their data. These new reports and dashboards allow them to drill down further and explore the data in ways never before imagined. In this chapter, you will learn about some of the exciting interactive capabilities available in Power BI, and as you continue your journey with Power BI after this book, you will learn we are just scratching the surface!
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 23. Data Storytelling with Power BI

Abstract
By now you have learned how to use Power BI to connect to, clean, organize, and present data. These are all important skills to have, but to really make your reports stand out and help drive decision-making, they should tell a story. Data is inert unless your audience knows the story it tells. That is why it is up to you to be a storyteller with your data. You can translate your data from having potential value into driving real business outcomes.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 24. Sharing Power BI Solutions

Abstract
The most time-consuming part of your Power BI design is over. You have spent much of your time in the Power BI Desktop fine-tuning your report, and you are now ready to share it with others. This means you are changing “hats” from being a Power BI analyst or developer to being a Power BI administrator. With that role change, the things that you are concerned about have also changed. No longer are you worried about a report’s layout. Instead, you are now concerned with things like “How do I ensure everyone can view this solution?” and “How do I ensure the data in this model stays up to date?” The second of those questions will be addressed in the next chapter, but the point is there is a state of mind shift once you start considering the distribution of any solution.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 25. Administering Power BI

Abstract
In addition to sharing, the Power BI Service contains several other operations that can assist in administering Power BI solutions. For instance, to ensure your data stays up to date, you may need to set up a data refresh plan. Setting up a data refresh schedule is done within the Power BI Service on the solutions dataset. You may also add row-level security to your dataset. Assigning the users to a role is also an administrative task done in the Power BI Service. In this chapter, you will learn about using the Power BI Service to complete several of these essential administrative tasks.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Integrating the Power Platform Tools Together

Frontmatter

Chapter 26. Power Platform Integration in Power Apps

Abstract
Through the course of this book, you have learned how each of the individual tools within Microsoft’s Power Platform work individually. In this final section, you will learn more about how these tools are optimized to work together to solve business problems. A true citizen developer will need to be skilled in all Power Platform tools to build a well-rounded solution that can not only provide a data collection system but also provide reporting and analytics to better understand your incoming data.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 27. Power Platform Integration in Power Automate

Abstract
While this part of the book is devoted to Power Platform product integration, you likely already have learned that Microsoft Flow is a tool devoted to integration among hundreds of products. Within the Power Platform, it is sometimes referred to as the glue that brings all things together. In this chapter, you will learn about the integration points that exist between Microsoft Flow and the other Power Platform products.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 28. Power Platform Integration in Power BI

Abstract
While Power BI is by far the most widely used of the Power Platform tools, it is also the tool with the fewest built-in integration features compared to the other tools. Both Power Apps and Power Automate do have integration points within Power BI, but the ability to execute flows is not a smooth process. In this chapter, you will learn how you can integrate the apps you design with Power Apps inside your Power BI reports and how you will take on the more difficult task of executing Power Automate flows into your data cleansing process within the Power Query Editor.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Chapter 29. Designing a Fully Integrated Power Platform Solution

Abstract
In this final chapter, you will take many of the skills that you have learned throughout this book to do one final end-to-end solution using the entire Power Platform together. It is important to understand how these tools really do complement each other, and that is exactly what this chapter is designed to show you through a complete end-to-end demonstration. Since this chapter does not introduce any new topics, you will now jump straight into your final “Try It Out” section.
Mitchell Pearson, Brian Knight, Devin Knight, Manuel Quintana

Backmatter

Additional information

Premium Partner

    Image Credits