We've talked in the past about the many ways to create your own app for fun and profit. Of course, those ways are geared toward games or consumer situations. What if you want to make an app geared more toward a job?
For example, say you had a list of people on your computer at home, say clients or a wedding list, and wanted to be able to take it with you and update it using your smartphone. You could open the file using an app version of Excel or Word, but that's kind of clunky. An app would be much more streamlined, and now you can make one easily.
Microsoft has just announced its PowerApps system for making business apps. It links up to data sources from Excel and Google Docs hosted on Google Drive, Dropbox and other cloud services, to major enterprise SaaS and CRM systems like SalesForce.
Once you link up a data source, you can easily decide how to display the information and interact with it. For example, you could add new people to a database, automatically create and send reports on a schedule, have popular social media posts trigger an alert, and more.
There are preset templates you can use for a variety of tasks, or you can make your own app from scratch. Either way, there's no coding involved, just tapping and placing items, including charts, images, audio and video. Microsoft has some helpful tutorials that can walk you through the process.
If you're in a business environment, you can share the app with co-workers by sending a simple email. Microsoft hopes that PowerApps will help the average worker find new and easier ways to do their jobs, without involving IT or an outside developer.
Right now, PowerApps isn't open to the public. You need to request an invitation to check it out. However, if you've been thinking of writing an app but thought it would be too complicated, this might be a good service to keep an eye on.