Production PowerApp: Legislative Tracking
Earlier this year, a big project I worked on was the creation of a legislative tracking app for the State of Hawaii. I used PowerApps, of course. Here is an hour long demo, where I walked through this app, and talked about some of the major lessons I learned, and tips for putting apps into production. I chatted with Audrie Gordon (from the Microsoft PowerApps team) and answered some audience questions along the way. Some of the main points that I discussed and demonstrated were: working with large quantities of data / large lists, sending notifications and reports directly from PowerApps, and how/why to avoid creating complex fields in SharePoint.
Here are some screenshots of the app that I demonstrated. This app took about 3 months to develop.
(and me in front of that building)
The measures/bills are in SQL, there are 5 thousand or so. Then, when they “track” them, it creates SP list items. The legislative coordinator for the department tracks the measures that they are interested in. The keywords list is a SharePoint list of the keywords (words and phrases) that they are the most interested in when reading the measures. They can click “Your keywords” to see this gallery pop-down, to quickly click a keyword to find it in the gallery.
When you pick one or more to track, there’s a wizard that walks you through picking groups to assign them to, and then write a message to go out in the notification email to them. In step 1 of the wizard, the measures get added to a SharePoint list “Tracked Measures”. Then, one or more groups of people are assigned those measures, and they may pick one group to be the “primary” group that is responsible for tracking / reading about that measure. For the measures that they are interested in, there will be hearings to attend, and they will write / collaborate on testimonies, which will go through an approval process and they will bring those testimonies to the hearings. For each measure and for each group assigned to that measure, there will be an item created in the SharePoint list called “Positions”.
These are the measures that are being tracked. There are a few hundred. Tracked measures is a list, and then any given tracked measures is assigned to one or more groups of people, to decide what their “position is”. This is a sub-list called positions, and is in a smaller gallery on the right (gallery inside of a gallery). You can send an email report of all of these to someone, with the send button. Filter by measure type, such as senate bill or house bill, or search for a specific bill. Once the measures are tracked and assigned to a group, within that group, one individual is assigned as the main person responsible for that measure and its process, such as the position and testimonies written.
My Measures is a list of measures from the positions list that were assigned to me. When you hover over a column name, it lets you sort by that column. You can send a report of these in an email to yourself, too, with the Send button.
The Grouped screen lets you see the items by the name of the group that a position is assigned to, and you can send that as well, in an email.
The reports page lets you pick some choices from drop-downs at the top, and then click GO, to see that custom list of info.
When you click to send this report, it gives you a drop-down of all of the groups of people or assigned staff from this report, to pick from if you’d like:
Here’s a specific measure. There are fields on summary and wrap up, related to that measure and their tracking it, then each position can be clicked on.
Here’s one position for a tracked measure. Any comments that you make get appended to the “staff comments” field, and if you check the notify box, it will send an email to the assigned person, letting them know that this form has been updated. Flow is not used at all in this app, and every single email and report that gets emailed, is all done using functions directly in PowerApps. The summary and wrap up tabs are a form with fields such as dates and drop-downs to edit.
You can click the Route button to then use a people picker to route it to someone in the organization. This simply sends that person an email with a link to this item, and they can go look at it and make comments if they’d like, and they can route it to someone else.
It was a great experience getting to create this very extensive and complex app. I have been completely immersed in PowerApps ever since then!
To learn all about PowerApps, check out my PowerApps training classes at IW Mentor.