Model-Driven Apps Blog

What are Canvas and Model-Driven Apps?

Low-code development platforms allow developers and non-developers to build applications using a graphical user interface rather than traditional “coding”. In the low-code model, complex coding is removed delivering high-powered apps at a lower cost and reduced timeline. Within Microsoft’s low-code development platform, Power Apps, there are two app building methods available, Canvas apps and Model-Driven apps (MDAs).

Think of Microsoft’s Power Platform as an app store housing many applications that deliver unique features and functions to end users. Some apps deliver simple features, while others provide solutions for more complex processes. One of the main benefits of Microsoft’s Power Platform comes from the variety of apps being shared within the Microsoft community so they can be leveraged independently or in combination with other use cases.

More about Canvas Apps

In general, Canvas apps are a type of Power App. They are designed to accomplish basic functions. The drag-and-drop build interface offers UI design flexibility, while also giving Power App creators the ability to connect to Microsoft data sources as well alternative data sources.

A few examples of apps that can be built within Canvas include:

• Checklists
• Estimates
• Events
• Stock/Inventory

As you can see from the list above, Canvas apps are action-oriented and can be used to automate simple tasks. They can stand-alone, or be a part of a larger, more complex app, like a MDA.

What are Model-Driven Apps?

Dynamics 365 Sales, Service, Field Service, and Marketing are examples of Model-Driven Apps (MDAs). The ability to create apps that mirror complex business processes, like Dynamics 365, within a low-code framework is accomplished using a templated approach to workflows, features, and settings. The MDA framework also helps organizations consolidate multiple data sources into a single source of truth within Microsoft’s Dataverse.

Here are some use cases that are best addressed with MDAs:

• Employee Onboarding
• Expense Approvals
• Services Requests
Crisis Management

Low-Code Platform Benefits

If you’re reading this blog, you might be considering Microsoft Power Apps to address a specific business need. Maybe you’re looking to replace a legacy system or upgrade an internal process that is currently managed using spreadsheets or both!

Here are three key takeaways about using Canvas and Model-Driven apps to support you within that process.

  1. You do not need to license the full Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite to leverage the benefits of using Microsoft’s low-code development platform, including Canvas Apps and/or Model-Driven Apps.
  2. You do not need to be a developer or a Power User to create a Power App. Partners like TrellisPoint can help your organization design and build what you need.
  3. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or a lot of time developing a custom app from scratch. Many industry-leading apps have been created using Microsoft’s Power Platform.

If you’d like to learn more about Microsoft Power Apps, feel free to read the additional articles we’ve linked below. If you have specific questions you’d like answered about your project, contact us today!

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