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  • 1.  Documenting your solutions

    Posted Jul 10, 2020 04:09 AM
    Hi,

    I need to document the solutions that we've built, primarily using Power Apps, Power Automate and SharePoint. I'd say most are of medium complexity. As a minimum we have commented the code in the app, exported versions of the app, commented when saving etc.

    However if I had to hand over the whole solution it would be good to produce documentation, what level of documentation is appropriate to cover the technical spec. For example do you list every control and any logic? Or an overview of the solution, relying on the developer diving into the app/flow/data to pick it apart? Or describe how you achieved each piece of key functionality?

    It would be good to hear how others have achieved this.

    Many thanks
    Paul

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    Paul Cairns
    Systems Developer
    Bristol
    7891222451
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  • 2.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Bronze Contributor
    Posted Jul 14, 2020 09:44 AM
    +1; also, where and in what format should overall documentation be stored? My inclination would be a OneNote notebook in SharePoint, but I'd prefer to hear best practices.

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    Rob Clark
    Cambridge
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  • 3.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Posted Jul 14, 2020 09:53 PM
    Edited by Ezzard Bryant Jul 14, 2020 09:54 PM

    In the same boat here.  We have a few big or main digital transformations happening within our org and have access to azure devops. I have been playing around with using that to manage these projects and wondering if that would be over kill.  Also the other place was going to be github.  I think the trick is finding the right level of documentation if using these tools for what I am calling advanced "citizen development".  But since we have the tools and our CTO is used to seeing reports out of devops I am leaning that way. But would love to see best practice for this as well as source control and managing "new feature releases".

    I think of the Crisis Communication application that Microsoft put out and wonder how they managed it. https://github.com/microsoft/powerapps-tools/tree/master/Apps/CrisisCommunication

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/devops/?nav=min



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    Ezzard Bryant
    Learning Design Coordinator
    (08) 6228 6674
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  • 4.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Top Contributor
    Posted Jul 15, 2020 03:13 AM
    This is indeed an issue when there is no real generic "search code" function as there is in (for example) the VBA in Access where you can "follow the bouncing ball".
    My approach is far from as comprehensive as it probably needs to be but is not only for someone taking over but for a "future me" when going back to something I have not worked on for six months. For the integrity of versions, I export every version change (which includes associated Flows) and store it in a SharePoint Library with notes in the metadata. I also have a couple of local copies (you can now only restore versions under six months old which is no good if the current one is older and breaks)
    I try to comment my code as thoroughly as possible, but also have a bit of a process flow documented (when this button is pushed, it submits the form and this runs this function off the OnSuccess etc). I also try to standardise how I do things (for instance all possible collection activity is at App OnStart). I would be very interested in hearing from others on their processe.

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    Warren Belz
    Queensland Australia
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  • 5.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Top Contributor
    Posted Jul 27, 2020 07:25 AM

    I create a "Documentation" screen that can't be navigated to and use that to document processes that are not obvious or happen over multiple screens. I also keep versioning info there, as well as what features I want to add in the future.

    Standardization seems to be a must. We are creating a "bible" of conventions in a OneNote document so we can use the same naming conventions, etc. We also have a set up standard code we have started to insert in all the OnStart sections so that common variables have the same names in all apps.
    I'm also trying to create a help screen for the apps that users can go to in case something isn't obvious.
    In-line comments are also essential.



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    Brian Scott
    Chief Creative Officer
    Concord NC
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  • 6.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Posted Aug 05, 2020 08:02 AM
    On this topic....is there a way to extract all the user defined formulas (code) from a power app into a file or even to search for user code?  That would really help someone taking over an app to find how/where the functionality was implemented (without looking into every property).   It could also be added to documentation.

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    Barbara Molloy
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  • 7.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Posted Aug 05, 2020 08:22 AM

    Microsoft also just released this for the platform. being able to use DevOps for application lifecycle management. 04 Aug 2020

    Announcing general availability of Microsoft Power Platform Build Tools

    https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-general-availability-of-microsoft-power-platform-build-tools/

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/alm/



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    Ezzard Bryant
    Learning Design Coordinator
    (08) 6228 6674
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  • 8.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Top Contributor
    Posted Aug 06, 2020 01:53 PM
    I was just reminded of the tools available here:
    https://github.com/Microsoft/powerapps-tools

    One of them documents all the changes from default in the entire app and puts them in one place.

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    Brian Scott
    Chief Creative Officer
    Concord NC
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  • 9.  RE: Documenting your solutions

    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi All,

    Thanks for such a good thread and for your contributions.

    I'm taking over a medium-size app totally undocumented and struggling to figure out the logic of several processes flowing among various screens. Particularly, there's wide use of hidden components, just for storing values or code, and there are several layers of components, normally hidden, brought to the front depending on the status (as various "containers" implemented in the same screen).
    With this scenario in mind, that's how I'm documenting:
    - I write inline comments for everything worth and not self-explanatory. If I do relevant changes to a portion of code, I comment the previous one and timestamp it
    - I try to keep doc all inside the app and I use external resources (Sharepoint, Powerpoint etc) only if strictly necessary
    - If a process runs across more than one screen, I write the description at the beginning of the "starting" property (OnSelect, OnStart, Visible etc.)

    It's far from ideal, but at least I'm trying to keep it easy to maintain

    I also agree with the aforementioned standardization.

    Thanks

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    Massimo Colaceci
    Power Platform Developer
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