PowerApps Versus Microsoft Access

PowerApps has been talked of as being similar to MS Access. In reality there is not much to compare the two. There are many MS Access applications around the globe, some of which are probably good candidates for converting to PowerApps.

Have you thought about converting an Access database to PowerApps? Organisations tend to look at ways to bring their technology up to date, especially with the possibilities available in Office 365.

Access works offline, whereas PowerApps database works online. There are obvious advantages to this and it is worth looking at what you can move across to PowerApps. When looking at how to add access database to PowerApps mobile applications, there are a number of considerations.

When thinking of an Migrate Access database to PowerApps conversions, there could be some Access functionality which is not possible to replicate in PowerApps. Mail merge for example. You may decide this type of application should remain in MS Access. Also, code heavy databases may not transfer well to PowerApps.

It is not possible to port MS Access forms over to PowerApps, but there are workarounds. You can create an app that connects to MS Access tables. You can then run your usual queries, reports etc within MS Access.

MS Access Drawbacks

MS Access has its well-known drawbacks. Over the years you may have come across them yourself, if you have used the product. One classic issue was the fact it would only handle a small number of users. Ten is pushing it, but it can be done – any more and you are asking for trouble.

Then there was the fact that it cannot handle large amounts of data. Once you got into thousands upon thousands of records, the performance became sluggish. At times the database would collapse and as a result needed repairing. Things are not quite as bad as when MS Access first appeared. These days it is a little more stable.

Security, or rather the lack of it was another issue that plagued the MS Access database. There was a not so easy to understand security model in place in earlier versions, but that was removed and now security is limited to entering a password.

Benefits of PowerApps

Thankfully PowerApps does not suffer from the drawbacks listed above. Being web based, it is fairly solid in terms of reliability and performance. There is also good security if you are using the Dataverse for example.

I would not say PowerApps offers the flexibility of MS Access at the moment, but it is improving all the time. Many people are producing pretty powerful apps with it, be it for desktop or mobile.

Whereas MS Access used a programming language called VBA, PowerApps does not have a dedicated coding language as such. Instead, it uses an Excel functions type of language to help build apps. It takes some getting used to and is not as straightforward as VBA. That said, once you have played with it for a while, you will see the potential.

PowerApps has two models for developers. On one hand you can use what are known as forms to create quick apps with little to no coding. In fact, to save a whole form’s worth of data will just require one short command and not reams and reams of programme code.

Alternatively, you can choose not to use forms. If this is the case then code will be needed, but generally it is not as cumbersome as you may be used to with other more traditional development environments.

You also have the luxury of using Power Automate to handle coding tasks. This is a workflow diagram like way of creating processes to automate tasks. This will plug right into PowerApps and provides magnificent additional functionality. This is very powerful to say the least.

Microsoft Power Platform is the way forward for the foreseeable future. PowerApps is growing by the day and more and more people are seeing the benefits of using it to develop mobile as well as desktop applications.