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PowerApps Connectors: How Do They Work?


Sam Mitrovic

In the digital universe, one of the most crucial aspects of creating an effective and efficient workflow involves establishing connections. 

The need for various applications and data sources to “talk” to each other to accomplish complex tasks is vital. This is where PowerApps connectors come into the picture.

Key Facts

  • Connectors enable Power Apps to interact with data across various platforms, facilitating communication between applications and data sources.
  • Power Apps offers Built-in, Standard, and Premium connectors, with the option to create Custom Connectors for unsupported services.
  • Connectors are added to Power Apps through the ‘Data’ menu, allowing for connection between the app and the selected data source or service.

What Are the Connectors in PowerApps?

Connectors in Power Apps act as the communication bridge between the Power Apps platform and other Microsoft services like SharePoint, Microsoft 365, Teams and external services such as Twitter, Salesforce and many others [1]. 

Connectors offer a set of operations, referred to as ‘actions’ and ‘triggers’, which you can use to integrate the respective service within your app or automate a specific task. 

The connectors allow PowerApps to interact with data across various platforms, making the process of app development easier and more comprehensive.

How Do I Add Connectors to PowerApps?

Adding connectors to your PowerApps is a straightforward process:

  1. Inside your app, navigate to the ‘Data’ menu option located on the left-hand panel.
  2. Here, you’ll see the ‘Add data’ option. Clicking on it will present you with a list of available connectors.
  3. Simply search for the connector you want to add, click on it, and follow the steps provided to establish a connection.

Your Power App will now be connected to the selected data source, and you can begin utilising this connection in your application.

What Are the 3 Types of Connectors?

In the world of Power Apps, connectors are broadly classified into three categories:

Built-in Connectors: These are natively available within Power Apps and provide functionality for managing and interacting with data within the app itself.

Standard Connectors: These allow for interaction with a broad set of services, including both Microsoft’s suite of products and some third-party services.

Premium Connectors: These offer more specialised and enterprise-level connections at an additional cost.

What Is the Difference Between Standard and Premium Connectors in PowerApps?

Power Apps classifies its connectors into two types: Standard and Premium.

Standard connectors are generally available with all Power Apps plans and often include connections to Microsoft’s suite of products and services such as SharePoint, Microsoft 365, OneDrive, and more. 

They can also include some third-party services like Twitter and MailChimp.

Premium connectors, on the other hand, typically connect to more specialised services and require an additional licensing cost. These include connectors for Salesforce, Dataverse, and others. 

The use of premium connectors adds to the robustness and versatility of your PowerApps application, though it comes with an added expense.

What Are Custom Connectors?

Custom connectors in Power Apps are essentially user-defined connectors that you can create when you want your app to connect with a service that isn’t supported by any of the built-in or available connectors in Power Apps. 

In other words, if there isn’t a pre-existing connector for a particular service or data source you want to utilise, you can create a custom connector.

Custom connectors use APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to enable communication between Power Apps and the desired service. The APIs can be either publicly available, or they can be APIs that you’ve personally developed.

The process of creating a custom connector involves defining the API you want to connect to, the operations available to the connector, and the data structures involved in those operations.

Here are the general steps for creating a custom connector:

  • Define the general details: This includes the name, description, host (base URL), and authentication type of the API you are connecting to.
  • Define the actions: An action is a specific operation that the app will execute against your API, such as retrieving, updating, or deleting data.
  • Define the data structures: This includes the request (input for the action) and the response (output from the action).
  • Test the connector: Before integrating the connector into your app, you can use the ‘Test’ tab in the custom connector wizard to ensure your connector is working as expected.

By creating a custom connector, you can extend the capabilities of PowerApps beyond the pre-built connectors, providing the ability to integrate with virtually any service that has a well-defined API, thus further enhancing the versatility and power of your Power Apps.

How Many Types of PowerApps Connectors Are There?

While there are three main categories of connectors, the actual number of individual connectors is vast and continually growing. 

There were more than 1000 connectors in Power Platform of which more than 300 are available in PowerApps, ranging from the Dataverse to services like Salesforce, Twitter, and more [2]. 

However, Microsoft continuously adds more connectors, so the current number might be even higher.

The Bottom Line

Power Apps connectors play an integral role in linking the app to various data sources and services. 

By understanding how they work, you can utilise them to create more robust, interconnected, and dynamic applications, enhancing your workflow and productivity. 

Whether you’re using standard connectors or investing in premium ones, the versatility and expansiveness they offer make PowerApps an incredibly powerful tool in app development and automation.

Sam Mitrovic

About the author

Sam Mitrovic is the Founder and Director at CloudJoy. Sam is a marketer, builder and IT consultant. He has consulted large government organisations, venture backed start ups and everything in between.