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Monday, October 22, 2018

How to Use Fun PowerApps Features for Mobile Devices

Posted by Ron Larsen

You’ve probably heard about PowerApps, Microsoft’s entry in the low-code/no-code development space. PowerApps enables “citizen developers” to create functional multi-platform, data-driven applications without writing any code.

There are even more benefits for tech-savvy developers who want to take advantage of special mobile device features that are available on their phones and tablets.  For example, did you know that you can access mobile device sensors such as acceleration, location and compass? Here’s how to do it.

To demonstrate these features, I created a simple PowerApp. This example is from my Android phone, but I can run the same PowerApp on my iPhone, PC, laptop or tablet.

For the Accelerator section, you simply set the control’s Default property to Accelerator.X, Accelerator.Y or Accelerator.Z to read your device’s accelerometer.  This will use the precision of your device’s sensors.

GPS location data is available by setting your control’s Default property to Location.Altitude, Location.Latitude or Location.Longitude.  As the values change, you can see them.

Finally, I was able to access the compass sensor in the phone by reading the value of Compass.Heading.  I also added an image of a compass needle and rotated it based on the value of the compass.

That’s it for now.  Hopefully this will give you some ideas for applications that go beyond the capabilities of standard PC programs and get you into the mobile world.  I will follow up in future posts with some more fun things that you can do with PowerApps and mobile devices.

In the meantime, you can download PowerApps from the App Store or Google Play onto an iPhone, iPad or Android device running a supported operating system.



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