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Choosing between PowerApps vs Custom .Net

Depending on your knowledge and experience, coding can be an intimidating thing.

If you are tech-savvy but not a coding natural, then you may find yourself wanting to avoid using coding or getting others who know their way around code to do the legwork.

However, there is a possible happy medium in the form of PowerApps from Microsoft. PowerApps allows users to build apps, programs or websites with little to no code.

In theory, this presents the opportunity for tech-savvy staff to cut out the middleman and create what they want without having to hire a developer.

For any upcoming projects you have, you may find yourself torn between using PowerApps or taking the safer approach and using a developer with coding expertise. If this sounds familiar, let us talk you through how to make a positive decision.

What is PowerApps?

PowerApps is a product developed by Microsoft that allows users to build an app or piece of software by essentially dragging and dropping. This cuts out the need for potentially complicated coding.

Microsoft PowerApps is an example of ‘low-code’ development. Low-code development is appealing because it allows apps and software to be developed in less time, and keeps things simple for those with limited or no development skills.

Microsoft champions PowerApps as being able to provide everyone with ‘the power to build the apps they need by using advanced functionality that was previously available only to professional developers.’ The party line is that PowerApps ‘democratises’ the custom business app building experience, and does this ‘by enabling users to build feature-rich, custom business apps without writing code.’

Additionally, connectors within PowerApps connects app to external data, and custom connectors can be made.

Users may for example turn to Microsoft PowerApps to create a small app for use within their workforce, or to create a piece of simplistic software. This may be an information hub in a factory for example, where staff on a production line can enter the tasks they have done and this information be shared with a wider workforce. A PowerApps-built app could be perfect for this kind of scenario and ideal for certain companies and work teams.

Hitting the ceiling

With PowerApps, simplicity is the name of the game – both from a coding perspective, but also from a capability perspective.

This means the big drawback of making PowerApps is that while it allows you to achieve certain things, the capability to get creative and custom with your app, software or website just isn’t there at present.

If you only need a simple design or functionality, then PowerApps may suffice. But if you have ambitions beyond that, which may involve a specific design element of complex database work for example, then PowerApps will ultimately limit your ability to realise your vision.

Once you hit this ceiling, a different approach is required.

Harnessing Custom .NET

Microsoft .NET is a free, cross-platform, open-source developer platform. It enables developers to build applications of many different types and capabilities, as well as using multiple languages.

.NET also allows developers to build for web, mobile and desktop, as well as create things like games and utilise the Internet of Things.

The big difference compared to PowerApps is that .NET is high code – coding is used throughout. This places .NET firmly in the hands of expert developers.

Additionally, the experts to whom this is outsourced will need to be retained in some capacity to ensure the app or software continues to function as desired.

But while the work needs to be done by experts, the end result can be far more complex and capable. App development using .NET offers a whole gamut of possibility that PowerApps simply doesn’t present.

Deciding between PowerApps and .NET

There are undoubted benefits of PowerApps for anybody with limited coding knowledge, and the Do-It-Yourself approach is appealing because the project can be managed more centrally. PowerApps does have capabilities which mean that with the right amount of knowledge and determination, a simple but effective app or software program can be created.

But once your ambitions go beyond the fairly rudimentary, there really must be a strong consideration given to high coding apps built using .NET. Though experts will be needed to execute this, the possibilities on offer are far greater.

Working with the experts

Here at Williams Technology, we understand the dilemma that ambitious businesses face when wanting to create apps and software, but not having the expertise required in-house.

If you are in this situation and are turning your hand to PowerApps or another low code approach to achieve results, a conversation with our team could prove very advantageous.

We can support with PowerApps projects and keep things low code, or we can take things to a new level with our software app development model. Our custom .NET web application development services offer the chance for you to realise your goals more readily and effectively.

Our team has the knowledge needed to help you get to where you want to be by the most effective means possible. Visit our PowerApps page to find out how we work with this, or read our custom development page to see how we can take things to new heights.

If you require any support, simply contact the Williams Technology team. We will be happy to support you.