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Power Apps : Low-Code/No -Code of the Power Platform

4 minutes read - Technology
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A company’s competitive advantage is defined by how its activities create value. To achieve this, a company must adopt a differentiated approach that seamlessly aligns with the needs of its customers. With the ever-present challenge of efficiency, the search for tools to improve processes becomes essential. This leads to a dilemma: should one adapt one’s methods to the way technological tools are designed, or are their specificities strategic, making compromise impossible?

In the past, this dilemma might have been limited to developing a custom software solution or purchasing an off-the-shelf solution. However, technological advances now offer a third option.

Microsoft is stepping up its efforts to provide low-code/no-code solutions. But what does that mean? Simply put, these are technologies that democratize the ability to build business applications. The goal is to empower organizations to be more self-sufficient with technology by allowing users to create their own applications.

Power Apps: The Difference Between Canvas and Model-Driven Applications

Within the Microsoft ecosystem, there are several ways to address this need, with the two most mature options being Canvas Apps and Model-Driven Apps. It’s important to understand the concepts of each in order to make informed decisions about when to use them.

In many ways, they share a common foundation. Both are frameworks for creating easy-to-use forms that allow users to contribute and consume data. In addition, a Canvas app and a Model-Driven app can even operate on the same database. So what makes them different?

Canvas apps: What’s it all about?


Canvas Apps is a tool for building applications using a “drag and drop” approach, incorporating various elements for navigation.

  • Picture
  • Background
  • Controls
  • Actions

Data can be stored in a variety of ways (Azure, SharePoint, Dataverse, Dynamics 365, etc.). With Power Automate, data can come from third-party applications outside of the Microsoft suite (with over 200 connectors available and the ability to build custom ones).


The “drag and drop” approach has its limits. For minimally sophisticated needs, you need to integrate simple code concepts (similar to Excel) and have Web development skills.


Canvas apps are appropriate when complete control over the display is desired. It is ideal for developing mobile (or tablet) applications or for integration into a website. It can even be made responsive.

Here are a few potential use cases:

  • Construction site health and safety
  • Event management
  • Pick-up management
  • Inspection
  • Inventory
  • Task completion checklists

Okay, but what about model-driven apps?

Let’s face it, Model-Driven Apps are much less creative. They are data-centric, not display-centric, and therefore desktop-first.

In addition, model-driven applications rely on a proven ergonomic structure. In practice, all Dynamics CE products (Customer Engagement: sales, customer service, field service, marketing, remote support, etc.) are built on the same model. Design time is focused on business processes, not graphic design. It does not start with a blank page. The same rigidity is found in the database used. By default, the data is in the dataverse of the Power Platform, but with Power Automate, integration is possible with few restrictions.

Furthermore, the range of needs addressed is much broader. All business processes of an enterprise can be run by model-driven applications.


This is a tricky question. You can use a wide range of features to build an application that is finely tuned to business needs. Native configuration allows you to go further than Canvas apps before you run into code-breaking limitations. However, using these configuration tools requires less democratized expertise than Canvas Apps. But hey, technically it’s not code .


Basically, any poorly formalized business process can be managed in a model-driven app, as long as it doesn’t need to be mobile.

  • Donor Management (for NGOs)
  • Nonconformance management (quality process)
  • Sales management
  • After sales management
  • Equipment management
  • Any other business need

Power Applications, Technologies Hand in Hand

If you don’t want to compromise, you can have both! How? For example, you can have part of the process in a Model-Driven App, while having field intervention through a Canvas App.

  • You can even have a Canvas app integrated into a Model-Driven app.
  • That’s why all of these technologies fall under the Power Apps banner.

So how to choose?

You should have a good idea of which technology can meet which needs, but in summary

  • Canvas apps are more open in presentation and can be used in mobile apps.
  • Model-driven apps allow for rapid deployment of a rigid business process framework.

Contact Nexus Innovations today to learn more about the technologies that meet your organization’s specific needs.

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