All posts tagged Office365

Business Connectivity Services – It’s Not Dead… Yet

I had a great time recently presenting at CalSpoug’s SharePoint Saturday.  The first session I presented was on SharePoint Business Connectivity Service.  I have done this session quite a few times and I always have at least one attendee state they have never heard of BCS before.  This session was no different.  One of the things I cover is the importance of BCS in different environments.  Many will argue it is an old, unnecessary system.  I do not necessarily disagree with this.  However, I argue it isn’t dead yet.  If you are working with simple data in a SQL Database or even more complex but well-organized data in a database the ease of use within BCS is quickly seen.  In 5-10 minutes you can connect to your data and present it within SharePoint utilizing built-in forms (no custom form development).  Users will be able to read and update the data immediately (assuming permissions are configured already).  There’s more to it than just this and you can take a look at my slide deck to see.

Having said that, I do believe that I see an end to BCS.  PowerApps and Flows make accessing data just as easy and more configurable through the many, many connectors available.  As these connectors mature and the tools grow, the use cases for BCS will slowly disappear.  However, we aren’t there yet.  BCS is still there and still very easy to use.

 

Take a look at my slide deck and if you have questions, please reach out.

 

Thanks for reading!

Creating Dedicated PowerApps Forms for Each Mode in a SharePoint List

The other day I was tinkering around with a request to have different fields hidden based on the mode (New, Edit, View) the SharePoint form was in.  The process seemed to be pretty straight forward, but for some reason it didn’t quite work out as expected.  I finally figured out the cause and thought sharing the steps for creating dedicated PowerApps forms for each mode in a SharePoint list might help others out.

How Not To Do It

So first off let’s start with how not to do it.  The settings are located as properties of the SharePoint Integration object in your solution.
Creating Dedicated PowerApps Forms for Each Mode in a SharePoint List - SharePoint Integration Properties
Properties of the SharePoint Integration Object
I had thought that by simply  calling the EditForm function and passing the form I had used for editing, it would automatically load for me: Unfortunately this did nothing.

Creating Dedicated PowerApps Forms for Each Mode in a SharePoint List

So above we are telling the form that we want to declare our edit form as the SMRequestForm_Edit, but we aren’t actually telling PowerApps how to get there.  So we just need to add a little bit of code that tells it to move to that particular screen: As you see in the screenshot below, I have actually done something similar for all of the forms.  However, I haven’t created a View Form yet so it is looking at the EditForm.
Creating Dedicated PowerApps Forms for Each Mode in a SharePoint List - How To Transition
Check out the transition in action:

Preparing for Updates

One thing I would like to suggest you do is add a bit of code at the beginning of the transition component that tells your form what stage you are at.  This is to assist with any custom code you might want to add depending on the form stage you are at (I will be covering this in a future post).  Simply modify your code by adding the initializing and setting of a variable (I called it formStage). Thanks for reading!!

Building a Modern SharePoint Solution: Part 9 – Starting a Microsoft Flow from a PowerApp

This is the final post in my series of building a modern SharePoint Solution.  In this post, I will demonstrate starting a Microsoft Flow from a PowerApp.  There are many reason’s why you would want this, but the most often used would likely be to allow the user to update an entry, save it and hold off sending it until they have all the information in place.  There are alternatives of course; like having a Flow wait for a value to change, but I prefer the user experience a button submission gives you.  Special note: Because Flow doesn’t currently allow for multiple triggers for a flow, we won’t be able to use flow created in Part 9 of this series.  However, I do suggest you not remove not remove it because this allows multiple ways to kick off the WF.

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Building a Modern SharePoint Solution: Part 7 – Creating a Multiple Approver Microsoft Flow

In my previous post I showed how to set up a flow to execute manually and not on an add or change event.  I have a reason for that we will get to in a future post, but for today I am going to cover creating a multiple approver Microsoft Flow.  In our requirements we have both a project\event approver as well as a manager approver.  One thing you don’t see on the form, but was mentioned in the requirements is the need for communications to also approve.  This will be going to a generic account (for now) that anyone in the communications team can deal with.  The process is the flow will request approval from the project approver first, then the manager and finally communications cause they are not checking for content just grammar and such.  No sense including them until the other approvers are ok with the message.

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Building a Modern SharePoint Solution: Part 6 – Create a Flow to be Started Manually

Finally moving on to Microsoft Flow.  I really like Flow.  It’s a great replacement for the SharePoint Designer Workflow and in my opinion a strong competitor to 3rd party workflows.  Don’t get me wrong, those other tools are great and I have used them happily in the past, but so far Microsoft Flow has met all of my recent needs and already covered by the O365 license I have.  If I don’t have to spend extra or my client doesn’t either and Flow meets our needs, then to me that is a huge bonus.  In today’s post, I am going to illustrate how to create a workflow that does NOT fire when an item is added.  This is because, for the requirements of this solution, users will want to be able to save the item without a workflow being initiated.  So in other words, I am going to show how to create a Flow to be started manually.  This can be done from the list, or in a later post I will show how to do it from the PowerApp form itself.

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