There are Six Key InfoPath challenges that people are still holding their breath to find solutions. They have been paralyzed in their migrations, in the upgrades, and in strategies to make progress in business applications, workflows, and processes. I hope this Infographic and Webinar help you to understand the Microsoft roadmap.
These Infopath challenges continue to paralyze people in their efforts to modernize and move forward in their efforts to optimize business processes. In this session we’ll analyze each of the challenges and provide guidance and workarounds as well as review solutions to the product gaps. We’ll help you better understand the direction of the Power Platform and gaps. PowerApps is a fantastic product, but it unfortunately does not provide feature parity which has resulted in many not knowing how to proceed. We’ll analyze those gaps as well as look a the PowerApps Roadmap. What are you waiting for? Stop holding your breath and let’s get you unblocked!
Here is a sampling of what you’ll get in the webinar. There is information that has been provided around addressing these challenges and there are ways to progress.
There are a couple of attempts to address this: This request has over 1000 votes.
You can see this is complicated. I’ll be digging into this in the webinar, but here’s the response from Microsoft on their roadmap plans. Note this is a comment on an answer, but is written in a pretty authoritative way. I recommend you read this at the original source if this is something you’re looking for. Emphasis added by me.
“Report generation capabilities – This request is document-style reports with visualizations that provide additional control, like which tables expand horizontally and vertically to display all their data and continue from page to page as needed. Think of this as generating fixed-layout documents optimized for printing and archiving, such as PDF and Word files. Currently there are existing methods of doing this today on the platform. People creating canvas apps with SQL leverage SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). People using CDS are leveraging the CDS reporting capabilities available to them (backed by SSRS).
PowerBI Paginated Reports are now generally available for use as well. Long term, the strategy here for PowerApps is to become more integrated with PowerBI to allow a common report generation story for the platform. At the PowerApps Vision and Roadmap session at the Microsoft Business Application Summit when this question was asked, the answer is that we want to avoid having both PowerBI Reporting Services AND a hypothetical “PowerApps Reporting Services”. We don’t currently have a further timeline to share, but our teams continue to work together on this integration.”
Printing direct to a printer – This is something that users will still have to configure for themselves utilizing existing device and browser capabilities and defaults.”
The source for this information and to read more about it here.
Currently XML file format is not supported in PowerApps. Here’s a list of the available data source/Connectors that currently could work with PowerApps:
A Microsoft Vendor (v-micsh-msft) commented in the forums that one could use Flow. “A possible workaround that could get the XML data is through Microsoft Flow, then convert the XML into other data source, or send it back to PowerApps directly through Microsoft Flow”
Another strategy could be to export the data into PDF or Excel.
“Export to PDF from a canvas app – Today, users are leveraging Flow with the Word connector to create word documents to become PDFs, and another strategy is writing HTML to use with Flow to create a document using OneDrive, or other connectors with convert to PDF capabilities. These options are available today but require some knowledge of HTML and some effort to accomplish. The plan is to provide a simple way to export the contents of a printable screen to a PDF from a canvas app, primarily focusing on the export form scenario. This allows users who use all different data sources to create PDFs using skills they know. However, this solution is not intended to be the answer for really long table heavy documents, banded or cross tab reports, as well as a few other advanced scenarios. These features can be found in the Report generation solutions provided in Number 1. Now, the work on this particular item has already started, and we have been working on the infrastructure to enable this capability. This is a complex problem, with a lot of different requirements and this is expected to be delivered in 2020.
Export to Excel– We don’t currently have any plans to support this as a further capability. PowerBI Paginated Reports have this as a capability. In canvas apps, you can connect and write to excel today through a connector to write to the templates needed.”
More details here:
PowerApps up to now have been only been able to create customization with Canvas Apps and limitation enforced by the PowerApps Studio and the modern UI. The in beta PowerApps Portals may bring some further options, but is still based on the modern UI schemes and extensibility is changing slowly over time.
The PowerApps and SharePoint teams have worked together to create a customization story for you to use with SharePoint. If you’re like most InfoPath developers, you learned InfoPath to interact with SharePoint. SharePoint is great, but the default forms are a bit pedestrian and don’t allow for customization or business logic without InfoPath. Well, that was the old way.
With PowerApps you can now customize your list forms as native functionality. And when you do so, you get the full power of PowerApps.
Don’t build one super app
There’s a new way to design PowerApps. Design itself needs to be approached differently. With PowerApps, you can call one app from another. So, instead of the mass InfoPath form, you can build a group of apps that call each other, and even pass data across, making development simpler.
The UI for creating new apps by template is really quite interesting. They now have canvas or templates to help you get started.
Use the canvas app to build out a custom look and feel
Power Apps only supports users in the same organization in fact licenses must be assigned.
PowerApps has some updated licensing and this story will be updated. I don’t plan to dig into it here, but there’s more to understand here and currently no plans include partners, customers.
Here’s a forum discussion on requests for external users of PowerApps with a number of upset customers asking for more.
NOTE: With over 1500 votes since a request back in 2016, this is now something that the product team has acknowledged they are addressing. Share Apps to External Users of PowerApps – Has Started
As of 7/30/2019 Microsoft has acknowledged they are working on sharing outside the domain B2B or B2C.
It’s been getting better with each release for the PowerApps Studio for Web. Those who may have been used to using the InfoPath a client for filling out forms will be disappointed. It’s browser or mobile app. The desktop client is deprecated. It’s a think different type of scenario. It’s important to see Microsoft’s vision for this web based integrated client. This is a power user scenario. Good news is there are a lot of videos and the community has been growing for those sharing knowledge.
“Going forward, we’ll be deprecating the authoring capabilities of the PowerApps for Windows.[…] The current studio authoring experience in the desktop app will be deprecated June 1st 2018.”
Here’s the response to a user asking about ability to use PowerApps studio for filling out forms.
“If you want to edit your PowerApps app within PowerApps Studio for Windows (Desktop), I afraid that there is no way to achieve your needs in PowerApps currently.”
Infopath had a client to allow you to have a rich offline experience. PowerApps is slowly adding some Offline capabilities, but not like you might have wanted.
Features planned: You’ll be able to fill out some forms in Dynamics 365 mobile app. Offline capabilities for apps on the Dynamics 365 mobile app. When building solutions for CDS there are options. Implementing Offline capabilities into your PowerApps apps.
Please join us on the Webinar where we’ll walk through these and more! Bring your questions…
Presenters: Joel Oleson, MVP & RD and Scott Restivo, CEO, Crow Canyon
August 27, 2:00PM-3:00 PM EDT 11:00AM-12:00PM PDT
Join Microsoft MVP Joel Oleson and Scott Restivo CEO from Crow Canyon Software as they present and analyze these challenges, provide guidance and workarounds, and review solutions to migration from InfoPath. They’ll help you better understand the direction of Microsoft’s Power Platform, including its strengths and its gaps. One big gap is that PowerApps, despite its many good points, does not provide feature parity with InfoPath. This has left many people unsure how to proceed. They’ll look at these gaps and suggest solutions. What are you waiting for? Stop holding your breath and let’s get your InfoPath migration going!