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Although I have done quite a bit of reading, site, page, list, web app creation etc to try and get a feel for this, I am struggling to understand clearly the basic principles of where best to start. Take the scenario:

  • A user completes a form and submits the data (for example a request for absence from work).
  • The data then needs to be checked by various people and viewed by specific staff and approve or not (this looks like a WorkFlow)
  • additional functionality such as a calendar showing who is absent on each day.

My question is

Should this sit within a Site to which a list is added and then a Form created from this list (in PowerApps)? Or do you start with a Form and then create a site accessing this information?

Any pointers as to where to look to get a better understanding would be much appreciated.

4

There are many possible answers to this. Here are a few:

  1. Create a sharepoint list with approval turned on (list settings), and use a flow to handle the multiple approvers. Upon approval, the flow could add a new list item in the calendar list
  2. Do the above, but also add fields to the form for the approver name, approver comments, approval date, etc. At this point, the workflow doesn't handle the approval process per se, but instead handles sending out emails to alert the approvers that a new item needs approval. the approver would access the same list item, and fill in the necessary fields to indicate approval.
  3. Do either of the above, but customize the form with power apps to get the look/feel/functionality you want. Note: Power apps can be quite difficult to work with, so be careful with this route.
  4. Create a list to store employees and how much vacation time they have remaining. Have a developer create a powershell script to automatically update this list every night based on data in the HR system. In the power apps form, reference this list to be able to show the calculation of how many days they have remaining, and to automatically reject requests, as needed.
  5. Do any of the above, but have a developer create an SPFx part, instead of using PowerApps, in order to get faster performance and a UI that could better meet business requirements.

end result of any of the above:

  1. User clicks a link to access a page in sharepoint that has a form (OOB list form, power apps form, or form built via SPFx)
  2. user fills in form, clicks submit
  3. The data is saved in a SharePoint list (Or, in more advanced scenarios where developers were involved, an Azure SQL Table, or other)
  4. Based on the fact that a new record was added to a list, a Flow runs
  5. The flow starts the approval process, sending out emails to the approvers (using either the approval action within flow, or a plain email action)
  6. After the final approval, the flow does any remaining steps, such as adding items to the calendar, emailing the person to tell them their request was approved, etc.

So yes, create a site, create a list, customize the form (if needed), and add the workflow.

  • Thank you very much for your very clear response. I have had a play with creating both a PowerApp and an SPFx part and feel that PowerApps might be the best way forward at this stage. I have set up a PowerApp to connect to a database (entity) through CDS. I plan to embed the PowerApp into a SharePoint site. Is this a sensible method? Lists seem pretty basic and as far as I can see are not relational. I am expecting the CDS to offer more functionality but I could be wrong. – RGriffiths Nov 18 '18 at 11:23
  • The differences between lists and the CDS are significant, but a very short answer is that yes, lists support lookups between lists, which is sort of like a relationship, but if you need a relational database, lists aren't it. SPFx is definitely developer territory, and is a radically different skill set than the other options. Again, be careful with powerapps, and start with a proof of concept. You'll notice that all(?) the powerapps samples have about 4-8 fields on the form. From experience, there's a reason for this, as you quickly run into challenges with larger numbers of fields on a form – Mike2500 Nov 19 '18 at 13:12
  • But yes, a powerapp connecting to cds, which is then surfaced to the user via a sharepoint page is a certainly one of the main ways that power apps is expected to be used. – Mike2500 Nov 19 '18 at 13:14

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