When it comes to building applications with Power Apps, one of the most common questions we get is, "What is the best data source for Power Apps?" After building thousands of apps and training over 10,000 people, we feel confident in providing some answers. In this blog post, we'll rank the top five data sources for Power Apps and discuss their pros and cons.
5. Microsoft Excel: The Underdog
Coming in at number five is Microsoft Excel. Yes, we know Excel runs the world. If Excel disappeared tomorrow, the economy would probably stop because every business in the world relies on it. However, when it comes to building Power Apps, Excel is a less than ideal data source.
While Excel is great for ideas and can serve as the foundation for building an app, it struggles with updates and read/write operations. So, while we love Excel for its versatility and ubiquity, we recommend using it for inspiration rather than as a primary data source for your Power Apps.
4. Other Data Sources: The Wild Card
Power Apps supports over a thousand different data sources, from Salesforce and MySQL to AWS and Azure. These data sources are all better than using Excel as a data source, making them our number four pick.
3. SharePoint: The Popular Choice
Coming in at number three is SharePoint. It's a controversial choice, we know. SharePoint is a beloved tool, and it's the most popular data source for Power Apps. However, it's not without its challenges.
While SharePoint works great for smaller data sets, it struggles with performance as the data grows. It also has limitations with delegation, particularly with the search function. Additionally, SharePoint's security model can be a challenge when building Power Apps. Despite these challenges, SharePoint remains a solid choice, especially for those just starting with Power Apps.
2. SQL Server: The Speed Demon
Our second pick is SQL Server, particularly Azure SQL Server as a service. SQL Server is a premium data source, meaning it requires premium licensing. However, it's incredibly fast, scalable, and offers a great security model. It's also capable of handling complex views and stored procedures. If you're already invested in SQL Server, it's a fantastic choice for your Power Apps.
1. Dataverse: The Champion
Finally, our top pick for the best data source for Power Apps is Dataverse. It's the fastest, most feature-rich, and has the best security model. Plus, it's the only one that Power Platform is built on top of, which means it's the first to receive new features and updates.
While Dataverse and SQL Server both require premium licensing, the benefits they offer, such as scalability and security, make them worth the investment as your Power Apps usage grows. As you start to build more apps and your needs evolve, investing in premium licensing can provide you with more features, functionality, and scalability.
Choosing the Right Power Apps Data Source
Choosing the right data source for your Power Apps depends on several factors, including your existing infrastructure, your team's skills, and your project's requirements. If you're just starting out, SharePoint is a good choice. If you're already invested in SQL Server, stick with it. If you're looking for the absolute best performance and features, go with Dataverse.
Remember, the best data source for your Power Apps is the one that best meets your needs. If you're interested in learning more about these data sources, check out our video where we dive deeper into each one.