Learn more about how developers can now create platform-specific application packages directly from Power Apps.
Wrap is a no-code mobile application development technology that allows canvas apps to be packaged as custom-branded mobile applications and natively distributed to users across the organization. Wrap enables developers to combine the capabilities of the mobile application development platform (MADP) with Power Apps. With Wrap, developers can seamlessly brand canvas apps to match their organizational requirements and package them into stand-alone applications that are easily installable on both Android and iOS operating systems.
There are many ways to customize the application bootstrap experience when building a wrap project. Developers can specify splash screens and welcome screen images, change the app icon, and define the color palettes to be used throughout the native UI (User Interface) of mobile applications. Additionally, generating an application package and securing is designed to be easy. This is because application builds are managed by Microsoft and the application data is inherently protected by Microsoft’s cloud-based mobile application management (MAM) tool Intune which governs the development and distribution of your mobile apps.
Power Apps is a high-productivity rapid development platform for building custom business applications. Power Apps consists of a suite of connectors and services that enable businesses to quickly create custom web-based applications without the need for writing any code. With advanced logic and workflow capabilities, these feature-rich applications transform manual organizational processes into digital automated business operations. Business applications created with Power Apps can connect to several online and on-premises data platforms such as Microsoft Dataverse, Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Excel, SQL. The responsive design of these applications allows them to run seamlessly on desktops and mobile devices. This means that Power Apps are accessible from anywhere.
Power Apps platform allows developers to create the following types of applications:
Canvas Apps offer flexibility and full control over user experience allowing developers to create highly tailored interfaces for web and mobile applications. Canvas apps can be created from a blank canvas by connecting them to a choice of more than 200 data sources like Dataverse, SharePoint, Excel, etc. They can also be created from pre-built templates that are easily customized to fit the needs of an organization.
Model-driven apps are created from a data model that sits at the core of Dataverse. Using the power of Dataverse, developers can rapidly configure app components like forms, views, dashboards, charts, business rules, business processes, and workflows that together make up the complete application. Model-driven apps are built on the Unified Interface framework making them responsive and accessible on desktops as well as mobile devices. With the flexibility to embed canvas apps on model-driven forms, developers can create rich canvas-like experiences for users directly inside the model-driven apps.
When a Power App is created and shared in the organization, users can run these applications on their iOS or Android devices with the help of Power Apps mobile. They will first need to download and install the Power Apps mobile application from the app store to do so. Once installed, users can sign into the app by using Azure AD credentials or approving the sign-in request via the Microsoft Authenticator app.
When signed in, users are taken to the home screen which is the default screen of the app. Here users can see their recently used applications, search, sort, and filter the apps list. Users can also add apps to their favorites, which will be seen on the home screen. For quick access, a shortcut to these apps can also be added to the home screen of the device.
With the announcement of the new Wrap feature for Power Apps by Microsoft, the need for Power Apps mobile seems like a story of the past. The ability to create independent application packages from Power Apps for various operating systems and seamlessly distribute them across organizations is what the seasoned Power Apps developers have been waiting for.
Let us dive into the process and take a closer look at the procedure involved in packaging one or more canvas apps as a single mobile application using the Wrap feature:
Using the Power Platform Admin center install the Wrap for Power Apps solution in your Dynamics 365 environment.
Start by creating a new solution and adding the existing canvas app to this solution or create a new canvas app inside this solution.
Create a new app registration using the Azure portal and configure the API permissions to allow your app to connect with the Power Apps online service. After the app is successfully registered copy the Application (client) ID and the Redirect URI that will be used later to configure the wrap project in Power Apps.
Using Visual Studio App Center, configure a storage location to store the builds of the mobile application. Each platform for the mobile app being built will need a separate app center container. The output type for each build differs depending on the type of target platform selected.
Creating a Wrap project builds the application package that can be distributed on different mobile platforms. To create a wrap project, go to Power Apps > Apps > select the canvas app > select Wrap, and enter the wrap project details. After entering details, select Save > Build. Depending on the platform selected during the build process an application package will be generated for iOS, Android, or Google platforms.
Customization options are available during the build process of the wrap project. Brand the app to match organization standards by adding custom images, logos, icons, and color palettes to offer a personalized user experience.
After the build process is completed an output package is generated that will be available in the app center storage for download. Download and test the mobile application, perform codesign and create a distribution certificate to share the app package with other mobile users via app stores, Microsoft Intune, or similar distribution channels.
Wrap also offers the ability to package multiple canvas apps into a single mobile application. A multi-app package contains a primary canvas app and some additional canvas apps known as secondary apps. The primary app offers the initial experience to the users when they first launch the mobile application. Secondary apps are optional and not necessarily included in every application package. The primary canvas app provides the point of entry and has links to all the secondary apps contained inside the package. The navigation between primary and secondary apps wrapped together inside a mobile application package is managed by the Launch () function.
The Launch () function can launch a canvas app or a webpage from another app. It provides access to the launch parameters and offers the following attributes:
Address (required) – This is the URL of the webpage or the App ID of the canvas app that the user is trying to launch.
Parameters (optional) – These are the values that can be passed to the webpage or canvas app. Inside canvas apps, these parameters are read with the Param function.
Target (optional) – This defines the browser window or the tab in which the user wants to launch the webpage or the canvas app.
With the new Wrap feature, developers can now create platform-specific application packages directly from Power Apps. These application packages can be conveniently shared with users via native distribution channels for quick & easy installation just like any regular mobile application.
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