Canvas Apps vs Model Driven Apps vs Portal Apps

| Ijlal Monawwar


With Microsoft’s Power Platform everything revolves around the data which is stored in a central database service known as Dataverse. Microsoft has provided us PowerApps which is a part of Power Platform stack to create custom applications (Mobile and Desktop) that use Dataverse tables to store and retrieve data. PowerApps can help us build business applications with no/low code and without having a high level of technical experience. In this blog, I will discuss the three types of apps we can create in PowerApps. Also, we will know when to use each type of them by comparing Canvas app vs Model-driven app vs Portal.

Canvas App

A canvas app allows us to create an app from scratch starting with a blank canvas. It also allows us to design the form, and to connect with many types of data sources.

When to use canvas apps? The developer can drag and drop various components on the canvas which aids in tailoring the look of the app exactly according to the requirements.

Model-Driven App

A model-driven app is an app which is shaped entirely by the data it has been provided from the tables. They have uniform navigation, and are less flexible than canvas apps due to less scope to modify specific segments.

When to use model-driven apps? If we don’t have a custom design requirement and our data is in Dataverse, then we should choose the model-driven app.

Portal App

Portal app is an external-facing website that enables users outside their organizations to sign in to create and view data. Also, the Portal App provides viewing the content anonymously. Developers can quickly create a website and customize it with pages, layout, and content. They can reuse page designs through templates, add forms and views to display key data from Dataverse, and publish to users.

When to use portal apps? When we want to create websites that can be accessed by external users with a wide variety of identities including personal accounts, LinkedIn, and other Azure Active Directory organizations, and enable anonymous access to content.

Join us next time, as we continue our journey of learning canvas apps.Click here to learn more about Imperium's Power Apps Services. We hope this information was useful, and we look forward to sharing more insights into the Power Platform world.

Chief Architect, Founder, and CEO - a Microsoft recognized Power Platform solution architect.

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