Power Apps – Express Design (Build an app in seconds) – Figma to app

figma to app

In continuation with our first series – Power Apps – Express Design (Build an app in seconds) – Image to app, let us see how Figma app works.

Figma is a vector graphics editor and prototyping tool which is primarily web-based, with additional offline features enabled by desktop applications for macOS and Windows. The Figma mobile app for Android and iOS allows viewing and interacting with Figma prototypes on real-time mobile devices.

Figma to App bridges that gap between design and development, with Figma to App designers and developers can collaborate together to build an optimal experience for the end-users.

As a designer, you will simply create your design using Figma and then you upload that Figma file to Power Apps which will be taking care of converting your design into a working app.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the action.

Design in Figma

1. Go to the www.figma.com and create an account, then on the left navigation menu click on Community and look for a template named NETFLIX (first prototype)

NETFLIX

2. Click on Duplicate to load in the Designer tool – this is the place for all the customizations


3. Copy the URL from the URL Bar (see red circle in step 2 image).


4. Create a Figma personal access token using the following steps

  • On the Figma home page, click settings
  • Look for Personal access tokens, add a token description and create a new one
  • An important point to note is to copy the token
Figma settings
Personal access tokens

5. Go to Power Apps and create a Figma (preview) app

Figma (preview) app

And voila, once more – Power Apps has provisioned from Figma in a few minutes

Netflix by Power Apps

This is a huge productivity (design) saver that will allow businesses to roll out user-friendly, great-looking apps to their users in a short amount of time and effort.


API to app

At the time of writing this blog, the App-from-API feature is to be released in early July 2022.

Coming soon…

Power Apps – Express Design (Build an app in seconds) – Image to app

turn images and designs into apps using AI-powered express design

The need for Digitization is constantly growing and there are never enough resources (Cost-Scope-Schedule) to fulfil all the requirements, therefore Microsoft on 25th May during the recent Microsoft Build event, has introduced the “Express Design – Build an app in seconds” which is a new Power Apps features that accelerate the process for getting started by taking existing content (e.g.: a picture of your paper form, a screenshot of a design, a PPT, a PDF or a Figma design file) and converting them in working Power App with UI and data without requiring the maker to learn how to build an app.

This magic is done using Azure Cognitive Vision OCR model to recognize the text from your image as well as the Azure Computer Vision Object Detection model to recognize the controls on the image whether it’s a text input, a label or radio button, etc.

Azure Cognitive Vision OCR & Azure Computer Vision Object Detection model

After that, even though it’s optional, however, it’s recommended for you to set up the data through dataverse, so you will have your data stored in dataverse.

We have got three different options and we are going to see each one of them

  • Image to app
  • Figma to app
  • API to app

Image to app

Image to app

Let’s get started by building an Image to app

1. On Power Apps, click Create and select Image (preview)

Image (preview)

2. The Upload an image screen appears, where either you upload an image of your own or start with some sample images – in our case, let us upload the following Car Details Application Wireframe

Upload an image

Car Details Wireframe

3. After Azure identifies the component, tag and assign each component as per the requirements

Assign components

4. Next the system allows you to create a new table in Dataverse (recommended), or simply skip it for now.


5. In this step, map the column as per the required data type, review then create.

Columns mapping

And voila, in a few minutes – Power Apps has provisioned the app as per the given input!!!

Car details application

This is a whole new world of possibilities for the citizen developers, those architects or building technicians who are looking for a genuine alternative to building an app – truly it is Empowering every person and every business on the planet to achieve more.


Now, we are going to see how Figma to app works.

Team Collaboration on PowerApps

Introduction

The much-awaited feature has finally come in Power Apps which allows a team to work simultaneously in one Power Apps application.

Forget now locked for editing message now – this sounds exciting, isn’t 😊

locked for editing

Together, we are going to create a sample app in Power Apps and enable the collaboration with Azure DevOps.

Without further ado, let’s get started with step-by-step instructions.

1. Create a Help Desk application

Let’s assume our organization is in need of a Help Desk application.

To make our life easier Microsoft has come with a plethora of templates ready to be provisioned, so let us build the application.

  • In Power Apps left navigation Menu, click on + Create
  • Locate Start from template, and look for Help Desk
  • Provide a meaningful name and click create
  • and voila, in less than a minute our app is ready to use
Help Desk

Now let’s say our Help Desk Admin needs to have a customized report for the respective technology stream in the organization – for example SAP Report, Microsoft Dynamics Report, etc – (please note that we will not be implementing any report in this blog, this would be out of scope).

To make it simpler, we will have 2 screens so each developer can work simultaneously on the same application.

Power Apps Developer Screen

2. Connect with Azure DevOps

2.1 What is DevOps?

It is a compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, processes and technology to continually provide value to customers.

2.2 What does DevOps mean for teams?

DevOps enables formerly siloed roles—development, IT operations, quality engineering and security—to coordinate and collaborate to produce better, more reliable products. By adopting a DevOps culture along with DevOps practices and tools, teams gain the ability to better respond to customer needs, increase confidence in the applications they build and achieve business goals faster.

2.3 The benefits of DevOps

Teams that adopt DevOps culture, practices and tools become high-performing, building better products faster for greater customer satisfaction. This improved collaboration and productivity are also integral to achieving business goals like these:

The benefits of DevOps

2.4 Login or Sign Up For A Free Azure DevOps Account

Login to dev.azure.com or sign up for a free account, we need it to setup a repository which we are going to see in the next steps.

Once logged in, create a New DevOps Project.

Create a New DevOps Project

Provide a Project Name.

Create a New DevOps Project

Click on Repos, then Initialize the repository.

Initialize the repository

2.5 Keep a note of the Azure DevOps Git Repository URL and Branch

It should be as follows:

[https://dev.azure.com/organization_name/project_name/_git/repo_name]

for our case, it would be:

[https://dev.azure.com/organization_name/Help%20Desk/_git/Help%20Desk]

the branch name would be:

[main]

2.6 Create a DevOps Project Personal Access Token

A personal access token (PAT) as an alternate password to authenticate into Azure DevOps, it contains your security credentials for Azure DevOps. A PAT identifies you, your accessible organizations, and scopes of access. As such, they’re as critical as passwords, so you should treat them the same way.

In the DevOps Project, under the User Settings (top-right corner), click on Personal access tokens

Personal access tokens

Create a new personal access token

Personal access tokens

Make sure you copy the token and keep it securely

Personal access tokens

3. Connect Azure DevOps Git with Power Apps

It is time now to connect our application with the repository:

3.1 Enable the Git version control setting

In Power Apps, Go to File > Settings > Upcoming features and enable the Git version control setting:

Git version control setting

Once connected, click on the Git version control then connect.

Enter the value previously taken from the above step 2.5

Git version control setting

3.2 Sign in to your DevOps repository

Sign in to your DevOps repository using your DevOps username and your Personal Access Token – see step 2.6

Sign in to your DevOps repository

It creates a Directory for you if not found.

It creates a Directory for you if not found.

4 Collaborate with your team

4.1 Share the Help Desk app with your developer

It is time now to share and collaborate, for that we need to first share the app as co-owner

Share the Help Desk app with your developer

4.2 Login simultaneously to the app

Important note 1: we recommend closing and re-opening the main browser as it may result in an unwanted experience.

Important note 2: The second developer must login using his Active Directory Username and for the password use the Personal Token Access – see step 2.6

Share the Help Desk app with your developer

and voila, the second developer sees the same application and its artifacts.

Login simultaneously to the app

5 Commit changes and check for Git updates

Let’s say that the second developer (right screen) has to work on a Jira Report, therefore he adds the screen

Login simultaneously to the app

As his work is completed, he needs to commit so other developers can see his changes – this is done using the Sync button.

Commit changes and check for Git updates

Once committed, the other developers use the same button to sync the application and here is how it looks:

Login simultaneously to the app


5. Summary

This is a powerful and much-needed feature to deploy applications more quickly and seamlessly.

Additionally, Azure DevOps provide improved collaboration and productivity which lead to building better products faster for greater customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, this process allows the team to have complete code control such as code review, editing the code itself in a different application such as Visual Studio Code Editor, etc

Lastly, if you find this article useful, please share it with your friends. Every little bit helps. Thank you!