My Idea Factory - By Ludovic Perrichon

#PowerApps, #CitizenDev, #PowerPlatform

Responsive PowerApps Application

Does a customer already asked you to make a reponsive PowerApps application? So let me show you how to do it and the little tricks to know.

  1. Desactivate the Scale to fit parameter
  2. Containers screens
    1. Introduction
    2. Available screens
    3. Make your own containers screens
    4. Containers parameters
  3. Tricks and tips
    1. Simple container (not horizontal or vertical)
    2. Usefull variables to use
    3. Use formula to play with other elements
  4. In SharePoint forms

1. Desactivate the Scale to fit parameter

It is the first step. Without this parameter desactivated you won't be able to have an extended screen.

By default, my application is not responsive. If while editing I am clicking on play I will be able to see grey border (on top/bottom or left/right side depending of your resolution).

You need to desactivate the Scale to fit parameter. In File > Settings > Screen size + orientation > Scale to fit set to Off
Like the screenshot below:

Now your screen is going to take all the available width and height. No grey border anymore.

Important: This works for the Canvas Application, about SharePoint form you can read my note at the end of the article.

2. Containers screens

2.1. Introduction

The containers screen are going to be very usefull while doing responsive app, because a container screen adapt itself to the screen.
But in a container, you don't decide where the element is. Of course you can play with parameters, but each elements are going to be below each other or next to each other.

2.2. Available screens

As I am writing this article (the 12th of February 2021) there are three containers screens.

  • Split-screen
  • Sidebar
  • Header, main section, footer

If you want to change these containers screen, see below.

2.3. Make your own containers screens

Sometimes, the proposed contianers screens are not enough. Well you can start from a blank page and add container. Or edit an existing screens container. Click on + > Layouts > Horizontal container or Vertical container.
Very important to note:

  • If you create your own container screen, have a closer look to the existing PowerApps containers screens. There are all in one container which have for width Parent.Width. It is really important to build your container screen the same way to keep your app responsive.
  • Always select the container where you want to add another child container.

For example, let's create a screen with three columns.

2.4. Containers parameters

When talking about the containers parameters, it is really important to understand that you have a main (or parent) container and inside some childs containers. Because a child container can inherit some parameters from the parent container.
So about the main container
Direction: Give you the possibility to switch from Horizontal to Vertical containers and vice versa.
Justify and Align: Define how your child containers are going to be aligned with the main container (vertical and horizontal).
Gap: Space in between elements inside your container.
Example: I have added a border color to show you

Horizontal and Vertical overflow: If set to hide, it will hide the content if it goes outside horizontally or vertically of your container. If set to scroll, it will add a scrollbar if it goes outside horizontally or vertically of your container.
Wrap: If set to True, it will try to fill as possible as it can the space inside your container.

Now if you select a child container you are going to find first the same parameters than the parent ones + the following ones:
Height or Width :If you the parent is an Horizontal container you will be able to set only the Height this way and if it is a Vertical container, you will be able to set the width this way. But I really mean this way, see "Flexible width or height" and "Fill portions" parameter.
Align in container: How your elements are going to be aligned inside the container. If "set by container", it will take the parent container property, if "custom" you can define the elements are going to be align in this container.
Flexible Width or Height: If set to false, you will have to define a Width or an Height manually. But, your width or height won't have an impact on other columns. If set to true, you will be able to play with "Fill portions" and "Minimum width".
Fill portions: It will define how large (or long if parent is vertical) is m container. In the screenshot, my container is taking 1/3 (a third) of the screen. But I can make it bigger or smaller than the oters.
Minimum width or height: If you have followed all the steps before, and set fill portions. You now have a responsive application. Which means your width or height of your containers are going to change depending of the screen resolution. Well here you can set a minimum width or height, in case of the screen is going too small. Your container won't be scaled below the minimum width or height parameter.

3. Tricks and tips

3.1. Simple container (not horizontal or vertical)

We have seen the vertical and horizontal container. But while doing responsive app, there is one more container that I use quite often. It is this one:
The difference with this container, it is that inside this one, you are free to move and place the elements where ever you want. It also means, you have to be careful about how you place it, and better use Parent value with X, Y, Width and Height.
Example: With red border, it is an horizontal container. With blue border it is a container.

3.2. Usefull variables to use

The most useful ones, to be honest I am using only these ones.
Parent.Width and Parent.Height, get the width and the height of the parent element.

Also you can use App.Width and App.Height Will return the width and the height of the application. So basically of the window.

Be careful: App.DesignWidth and App.DesignHeight. These are the width and the height defined when your application is not responsive (Scall to fit set to true).

3.3. Use formula to center others elements

You might not use container all the time, and even inside the container sometime you need it. But here is the formula well know by developers to center an element inside a parent.

  • Center Horizontally, set X to (Parent.Width - Self.Width) / 2
  • Center Vertically, set Y to (Parent.Height - Self.Height) / 2

4. In SharePoint forms

I can't finish this article without talking about the SharePoint forms. I guess we all already have the double scrollbar trouble.
Well I have to admit, I have less troubles while playing with container in the SharePoint forms. I usually do a main container, a child container with my form in it.
But unfortunatelly sometime you still have to play with it to get what you want, it reminds me when I was a developer and I wanted to do responsive before Bootstrap and others frameworks ^^.
But still, it can be useful.

In SharePoint you won't have Scale to fit option, because it is defined by SharePoint and your app screen size. To play with containers you need to go to File > Settings > Advanced Settings > Set Layout containers to On