What are the main limitations of Microsoft Power Apps?
Power Apps is a member of Microsoft Power Platform, which is part of the Microsoft 365 and Azure ecosystems.
Power Apps can create rich electronic forms. Like most forms products, it offers visual interfaces that contain data entry fields and selection fields – like drop-down lists, checkboxes or date fields – and supports a responsive user interface to scale and support realignment on mobile devices. Power Apps offers extensive integration through Microsoft’s connector ecosystem with its other services, such as Microsoft 365, Azure, SharePoint, and Power Automate, and many third-party vendor platforms, such as Adobe, Amazon, Dropbox , Google, Salesforce and Zendesk. Power Apps offers over 400 connectors.
Power Apps is a natural successor to InfoPath for organizations that use Microsoft technology. Power Apps can create forms, so it can replace Microsoft’s InfoPath Forms tool, which is nearing end of life in 2026. will over time.
Here are some example use cases for Power Apps:
- Forms to capture document artifact metadata. Examples of metadata include title, subject tags, reviews by date, and document type, including contract, purchase order, floor plan, budget, or project plan.
- Forms to capture product catalog metadata. Examples of metadata include product name, price, category, description, reviews, and attributes such as color, weight, or size.
- Forms for reviewing and approving content management lifecycle changes. Examples include changing a document from draft to final or approving or rejecting a product catalog entry.
- Beautify existing forms or create new forms for business applications. Examples of business applications are ERP, CRM, warehouse management systems and content management applications, in particular when the CMA is headless, so it doesn’t include native UI forms.
- Create custom websites. Examples include partner management, customer self-service, product support, and FAQs. Power Apps Portal enables this use case. Microsoft designed Portal to support secure, anonymous third-party access to data stored in Microsoft Dataverse, formerly known as Common Data Service.
Other Microsoft Power Platform tools
Besides Power Apps, Microsoft Power Platform also includes Power Automate and Power BI.
Power Automation, formerly Flow, can create automations. Automations can range from simple (sending an email when a document changes) to complex, involving data fetching and updates across multiple platforms, services, and apps. Power Automate is like Power Apps and works with services from Microsoft, as well as hundreds of third-party products and services.
Power BI can consume data from various sources and render it into rich visuals on dashboards and reports. It allows users to interact with these visuals to obtain information.
Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI aren’t content management tools. Rather, they can act alongside each other and form components of a holistic content management service.
Power app limits
Despite the power and comprehensiveness offered by Power Apps, it has limitations that organizations must consider.
Licenses are limited as part of Microsoft 365 umbrella
Power Apps forms can only work in the licensed commercial domain. However, users can share content with co-workers and guest users who have Active Directory accounts and Power Apps licenses. The Power Apps portal also offers third-party and anonymous access.
A complicated licensing model
The licensing model has several plans, which users may find difficult to understand. As well, Microsoft 365 License limits some connectors to higher levels.
Power Apps costs $120 per user per year for an individual app, as the monthly price for an app per user is $10. Alternatively, Power Apps costs $40 per user per month for unlimited apps. However, in October 2021, Microsoft will lower these prices from $10 to $5 and from $40 to $20. Organizations need to consider changing costs with hundreds or thousands of users needing access to certain applications.
Microsoft licenses Power Apps Portal differently. The portal costs $200 for 100 logins per month and $100 for 100,000 web page views per month for authenticated external users. For internal portal users, the license is per application or unlimited.
Low code services
Power Apps allows users to quickly create simple forms with its low code services. Yet forms with complex business logic or forms that scale can cause problems due to a limited ability to manage the code base and track changes.
Power Apps integrated development environment
The Power Platform EDI runs on the web. Users design all forms from a web browser – not a desktop application – so they can’t develop forms offline or disconnected from the internet. IDEs through web browsers generally lack the sophistication of desktop IDE environments.
Limited support for multiple device sizes and screen orientations
Power Apps requires users to develop multiple app versions. Responsive forms can scale to some degree, but they require a trade-off. For example, an app optimized for phones and tablets requires two versions: one for each device.
Power Apps has a restriction of 2,000 items from a connected data source like SharePoint, SQL, or Oracle.
Connector Ecosystem Throughput Limits
Speed varies by connection. However, trying to read or write hundreds of items from SharePoint lists, SQL databases, or Excel workbooks can exceed the allowed thresholds and result in failures. For example, Power Apps allows 1,000 connector requests per 24-hour period in the per app license plan. The rate limits for each connector vary and can be complex.
Microsoft restricts Power Apps attachment scanning to SharePoint or Dataverse behind the scenes, so platforms such as OneDrive or SQL cannot be the target document stores. Also, the maximum upload size is 50MB.
No shared functions or shared code
Every app in Power Apps where users perform business logic, such as field validation or field calculations, requires the same logic created and maintained across all apps. Larger, more complex forms with many lines of embedded programming logic can lead to unpredictability as users add or change lines of program to meet changing business needs.