One of my favorite projects during this year was the one where we taught Power Platform skills to school kids. It was eye-opening. I was always thought that Power Apps definitely takes some time to learn. Power Automate is super intuitive and easy to learn. But Power Apps is something different.
I was so wrong.
Working with these kids showed me how people without any programming skills can build cool applications with Power Apps in no time. It is insane.
When our first summer trainee in Forward Forever’s history started, it was obvious what the first task would be. The trainee should build a Power App.
Starting without any experience. Seriously?
Our trainee Valtteri (15 years) had a 10-day assignment including 50 hours of hard work. His first task was to build a Power App for keeping track of hours he has done. Valtteri didn’t have any prior experience on Power Platform. He started with exploring the labs we had build earlier for school kids. These labs give a basic understanding of what this Power Apps is all about.
After completing all the labs Valtteri began building his own hour tracking application.
What did we get in one day?
How much can a 15-year-old trainee without any experience with Power Platform implement during one single day?
Fully working mobile application for hour reporting. He had even managed to implement basic visualization of the tracked hours by using the Power Apps chart control.
This is the power within the Power Platform. End-users without programming/IT skills can build apps to solve problems they encounter in their everyday work.
Polishing the App
Next, we spent together with Valtteri one more hour to polish the app a little bit. We also added a category column for time entries, the sum of working hours on the main screen, and a few other small fixes.
Next – Power BI report
After we were happy with our Power App we moved on to the next service. We built together with Valtteri some basic Power BI reporting on top of the data collected in the time tracking app.
Valtteri added a Power BI dashboard also inside his Power Apps. He called it “Pro Stats”.
The last episode – Push notifications with Power Automate
We had already covered Power Apps and Power BI. Next, we wanted to do something with Power Automate. We built a simple cloud flow that is triggered every time Valtteri adds a new hour entry or modifies an existing one.
This flow counts how many hours have been entered for the day with new/modified rows and sends a push notification to the user’s phone.
The notification contains information about whether you have already worked for 5 hours that day or not.
Valtteri aslo created a second cloud flow all by himself. That one runs once a week (on Fridays) and counts the total amount of hours Valtteri has entered so far. It then sends this information to Valtteri’s phone as a push notification.
Sometimes I wonder if these low-code tools really are easy enough to use for non-IT people. Yes, they are. These youngsters have proved it to me.
The future of the low-code tools and citizen developers looks bright.