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Low Code applications with Business Central on the Power Platform

Low Code applications are currently a big trend in the IT world. Microsoft is also positioning itself very strongly in the Low Code area with its Power Platform – creating  a number of connecting points for Dynamics 365 Business Central

In recent years, “Low Code” has become a real trend term. A “Low Code Platform” is a software development environment that uses visual application designers and other graphical modeling methods instead of classic text-based programming techniques. The goal is to provide a simpler and more trivial system, which can not only be used by software developers but also by power users. For this purpose, the logic is visualized and necessarily restricted.

Low Code in the application

Low Code applications can support companies optimally, for example, in implementing digitization opportunities quickly and meeting new business requirements flexibly. They are always used when no standardized software is available for the scenario in question or the required process – especially in the cloud or hybrid area.

Possible use cases for apps that lend themselves to Low Code generation would include info apps for employees and employee portals, workflow and collaboration apps, customer portals, apps for ERP applications and field service, business apps for CRM, sales & marketing and e-commerce.

Low Code on Microsoft’s Power Platform

Microsoft’s Power Platform, based on Microsoft Dataverse (formerly Common Data Service), offers extensive possibilities for creating Low Code applications – also in relation to Dynamics 365 Business Central. The required data is requested from and sent back to the ERP system in real time

Even with Low Code app creation via the Power Platform, a concept has to be created in advance for the desired application. Here it is important to think in advance about the data model (e.g. modeling of entities and fields), business logic (e.g. business rules and automatisms), workflow (e.g. participating organizations and departments), data acquisition, presentation and evaluation, as well as output (e.g. printouts and files) and system integration (e.g. for further processing in other systems).

Subsequently, the respective app can finally be designed and deployed based on the concept. A decision must also be made about the type of app creation. The Power Platform offers the option of creating either a “Canvas App” or a “Model-driven App”.

Pixel-perfect or simple – Canvas App vs. Model-driven App

Canvas Apps are more elaborate and detailed in their design, as they can also take graphic elements into account. Model-driven Apps, on the other hand, are built on a framework from Microsoft, which already comes with various views and forms that can be customized according to your own requirements (e.g. with previously created fields). They are therefore easier to design, but also much simpler in the graphical representation. The design mask is designed for different end devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone).

Design mask in a Model-driven App
Design mask for further customization using previously created fields in a Model-driven App

Via Microsoft Power Automate, the designed app can finally be integrated into other systems and applications (e.g. Dynamics 365 Business Central) for further processing.

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