PowerApps Tip: Use Alt+Spacebar to test your apps in the canvas

App makers like us often need to test apps in an incremental fashion to help progress the app design by validating formulas, expressions, data manipulation, control settings etc. Knowing the shortcuts to test apps in the canvas/web studio will save us time!

Here are two Windows keyboard shortcuts to improve your app testing experience:

  1. Alt key (Ctrl+Shift key on IE)
  2. Alt+Spacebar
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Flow Tip: Use Condition or Scope control to skip or debug Flow action(s)

As part of the Flow design process, I often end up building in some debug actions like Send email, Set variable etc. to capture/troubleshoot values that in turn help along with the actual design. But I’d want to retain those actions for debugging later rather than recreate them. Also when building/designing complex Flows I need to find failing actions and test or disable subset of actions.

Issue

Ideally, you want to be able to deactivate or skip a specific action or set of actions. Microsoft Flow does not have this feature available at this point of time. This requires you to either create a copy of the flow for testing purposes or debug by deleting actions only to realize later that those actions you just deleted weren’t causing the issue. This means you’ll need to re-configure those actions from scratch to restore your Flow design which can be time consuming.

Resolution

Below are two approaches I’ve used and found useful for disabling/skipping actions for testing and debugging purposes.

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Look back at incredible 2018 #PowerApps & #Flow posts and influencers

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! What a year it’s been – full of successes, changes and everything in between. There have been so many amazing community
influencers and incredible posts in the Microsoft Power Platform space in 2018. And 2019 promises to get even better with more community mentors, leaders and super cool content!

I’ve learnt so much from this community and I’m incredibly thankful for that.  You guys and gals are amazing!!

Here’s a quick list of some of my fave reads and influencers that inspired my learning experience by month and made 2018 one of the best years. Even though posts are listed by month in the order I got to learn from them, each of those influencers have continued to contribute jaw-droppingly amazing stuff throughout the year. This is also a comprehensive list of people you’d want to follow to be in the know on the latest & greatest in this space.

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Fancy & Functional multi-step form indicators and breadcrumbs in PowerApps – Part 1

According to the Endowed Progress Effect (which is a phenomenon integrated into designing any UX process based on how the human brain makes decisions) we’re more likely to complete an action if there’s an illusion of progress and an effective visual aid of contextual information for landing pages. The best examples I can think of are –

  1. Multi-step forms that break up a long intimidating form into smaller sections and provides the user a sense of accomplishment as they proceed from step to step.
  2. Breadcrumb navigation to improve findability for users especially in apps with a lot of screens.

How do we incorporate those fancy, stylish and yet functional multi-step form indicators seen on websites in PowerApps using the OOB controls without custom scripts?

This is a two part series post with the first being multi-step form indicators in PowerApps and the second part of the series will walk through creating breadcrumb navigation from scratch. 

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Fancy & Functional multi-step form indicators and breadcrumbs in PowerApps – Part 2

In the first part of this series we walked through creating multi-step form indicators in PowerApps. This post will help build a simple secondary navigation scheme using breadcrumbs to indicate the location of a user within the app’s hierarchy. They come in handy when apps have several nested screens and an effective visual aid is needed from a user’s perspective for contextual information around primary app screens.

Brian Dang has a terrific video on a fully functional back button system that breadcrumbs your way back based on your clicks. It’s multi-functional and can also be used for building an undo system. This post is an inspiration from his work. Thanks to Mr. Dang for the useful design pattern!

Below is the sample breadcrumb navigation we’ll be creating. I also uploaded a sample PowerApp to the PowerApps Community Gallery with the below breadcrumb design pattern and multi-step form indicator templates. Feel to free to reuse and/or provide feedback. I’d love to know if it helped enhance your PowerApps user experience.

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Role Based Security In PowerApps using SharePoint Groups

Recently a customer asked if PowerApps can support role based security controlled by SharePoint Security Groups. For example, can you make an Admin screen that is visible only to users who belong to a specific SharePoint Security Group? Yes, you can and this is where Microsoft Flow comes to the rescue!

This blog post is an attempt to share an approach for finding out the SharePoint Group membership of a signed in user and make certain features or screens of an app available to them.

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