PowerApps Portals is now in public preview! Please read the annoucement:
The true power of PowerApps Portals is to be able to surface and interact with CDS data. The following are some quick steps to surface some sample data to allow you to get started using PowerApps Portals.
PowerApps Portals 10 minute Quick Start
To begin, all you will need is a Power Platform Tenant (even a trial). Navigate to https://make.powerapps.com and you should now see the option to create a Portal from blank (preview).
You will be presented with a screen to create a new portal. However, if you are just beginning, I would advise you create a new environment to contain your portal learning and experimentation. The portal configuration page gives you the option to create a new environment.
Learn more about Power Platform Environments.
Note that when you create a database for your new Environment, you are given the option to include a starter portal.
Once you have an environment, you can create your portal. This will create a publicly accessible portal at <<uniquename>>.powerappsportals.com. You will be able to setup your own custom URL later.
The portal provisioning process will kick off. This will take 10-15 minutes. Might be a good time to grab a coffee.
After a few minutes, you will notice that there is a new Model Driven App called Portal Management. This App will allow you to fine tune and edit your Portal metadata. We will take a look at this later in this post. Your portal is not ready yet!
Eventually, your PowerApps Portal will be available. You should the portal in the list of apps.
You can navigate to the Portal and see that it has been configured with some basic sample data. You will be able to edit and customize this to your needs.
From the PowerApps studio, click on the ellipses and choose “edit”.
From here you will see an edit mode for your Portal where you can update headings, labels, etc. Note that some features are not yet available.
From the editor, you can create new web pages as part of your portal site.
While you can add static content to a web page, the main power of portals is to surface CDS (Common Data Service) data. In this case, I will choose to add a “List” portal component to a section on the web page.
Once the list is place in the body of my web page, on the right hand side, I can choose specific properties, such as the CDS entity and the particular model-driven view I want to use for the portal list component. (Yes, you need to be familiar with Model-Driven Apps).
If I want to be able to drill down and have pages to create and edit records, I will need to create those pages/forms as a seperate step and then circle back and confgure those here. For now, we just want to surface a list of data.
I can also directly edit things like the header and descriptions (static info) on the web page.
Finally, when I browse to my portal site, I can see data from CDS on a publicly available site. Note that portals does have authentication and security features so we can limit what external stakeholders can see. During your portal development, ensure that you not exposing sensitive or private data.
Note that it only took a few steps to configure a page and expose some CDS data. Building this in a .NET or other web technology would have taken considerable development time and effort.
PowerApps Portal Managment
Remember that Model-Driven app that was created as part of the provisioning process? If we open the app, we can now see our Portal metadata (and even add, update or fine tune it!)
PowerApps Portals metadata is actually stored in CDS! The Portal Management App provides a way to be able to view this data. Anyone who has worked with Dynamics 365 Portals knows that this was the “way” portals were configured in the past.
Thankfully we now have new maker tools to allow developers, makers and builders to create powerful Portals quickly. That being said, it will be important to get familiar with the management app as there are still some aspects of portals that cannot yet be configured from the new tools.
PowerApps Portals have come a long way from Adxstudio Portals. The release of the public preview demonstrates Microsoft’s investment in the Power Platform and providing the technology and tools to quickly build powerful business applications not only for internal staff but for external stakeholders as well.
Nick Doelman is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP and has been working with PowerApps Portals for over 5 years, long before they were called PowerApps Portals. For updates on the Power Platform, Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Flow and of course, PowerApps Portals; follow Nick on twitter at @ReadyXRM