Power Apps CDS OAKDALE for Teams – Ignite 2020

Smash, Bang, Whallop – Power Apps is coming to Teams in a big way. What’s more it is available in Preview to customer from TODAY!!!

Whilst it has had some growing pains, having been called Dataflex and now, temporarily Oakdale, it represents a very new and different platform for building apps.

Let’s take a look at how to build an app using CDS Oakdale for Teams

We’ve alway been able to add Power Apps to Teams?

That’s absolutely true, but this time the Team, the data and the apps all sit inside the same Team instance.

How have they managed that?

There’s something called the “Common Data Service” and this is the data platform upon which your data and you apps and indeed your Team sit. It’s not strictly speaking new at all and has it’s history in Dynamics Customer Engagement, a product that has been around for many years, and it has sat within the Power Apps framework as a premium product for a couple of years now.

It sounds like yet another thing for me to get my head around and it will cost me and my organisation lots to implement

Yes, you have a point, it is another product, however it is a part of your Teams licensing. In other words if you have Teams you have the right to use Power Apps for Teams.

You’re not really selling it to me – I already have Power Apps inside Teams, so why bother with this one?

There are a number of advantages to this:-

  • You get a database automatically and you can configure the database to your needs
    • New fields can be created with considerable ease
    • There are a rich number of field types
    • Data can be entered to start off your apps
    • It is very simple to create one to many relationships
    • It is very simple to share the apps with your Team
    • The data and the apps are not accesible outside your Team
  • There are a number of pre-configured apps that can be created on an “out of the box” basis
  • The environment can be upscaled to a full production environment should you wish to use all the features of the fully scaled Common Data Service, which includes a very deep level of row level security through the creation of access roles
So I should create all my apps this way in the future?

Probably not, as you wouldn’t be able to share them outside the team. Org wide apps, even when based on sharepoint, should sit in dedicated enviroments which require a single “Per User” License and you would need to take steps to secure the data source.

Nevertheless, I think this has it’s place. There a many instances where a Team, and only the Team will require a relatively simple group of entities that enable them to express a particular business process. Take a project for example, with Projects, related to Workstreams, related to Tasks. There would never be a lot of any of these intersections, but it would be important to be able to express them.

Is there a catch?

I wouldn’t neccessarily call it a catch. You have a limit of 1 million rows and 2GB of data. Within reason this would go pretty far for many Teams.

How do I author them?

Everything from an authoring perspective takes place within Team. It is something of an acquired taste to those really familiar with the traditional Power Apps authoring process. The big difference is in respect of the bar at the top of the editing experience as you’re missing the File, Home, Insert etc options and it remains to be seen as to whether they are gone for good or not.

What about sharing my wonderful apps?

Follow below to see how to get your apps out to teams. Build your app – click publish to Teams and then choose a channel. It’s quite hard to see anything simpler

But I don’t know how to make apps?

For the last 6 months I’ve been working on zero to hero course, and for the duration of Ignite you can watch any of the lessons for free. Just head over and sign up, and start learning.

Good luck, and keep Power Apping!

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