Power Apps is a well-known tool of Microsoft Power Platform Suite which helps to create custom apps with intuitive interface. It is a great tool for businesses looking to create applications or websites.

Power Apps - Canvas Apps vs Model Driven-Apps vs Power Pages

Power Apps has three types of apps:

  1. Canvas Apps
  2. Model-driven Apps
  3. Power Pages

Note that Power Pages was formerly known as Power Apps Portals and is still considered part of Power Apps. However, since 2022, Power Pages has also operated as a separate entity.

Canvas Apps v/s Model Driven-Apps v/s Power Pages can be characterized by different parameters like flexibility, development approach, etc.

Development Approach with Drag-and-Drop Feature

Canvas Application

Canvas Apps provide a highly customizable, drag-and-drop approach with low code, allowing extensive customizations to meet specific business needs.

  • The low-code approach minimizes the need for extensive coding expertise, reducing development costs and enabling quicker deployment.
  • The ability to rapidly prototype and iterate makes Canvas Apps perfect for businesses that need to adapt quickly to market changes or internal process improvements.

Model-Driven Application

Model-Driven Apps utilize a drag-and-drop approach with pre-built templates, eliminating the need for even low-code development.

  • These apps are well-suited for complex, data-driven solutions that need to scale, such as CRM systems or ERP solutions, ensuring that the application grows with the business.
  • The use of standardized templates and components ensures consistency across applications.

Power Pages

Power Pages are developed using a drag-and-drop approach with light-code solutions, designed for creating external-facing web pages.

  • The drag-and-drop with light-code approach allows businesses to quickly create and manage web content, reducing the dependency on IT departments.

User Interface Customization and Design

Canvas Application:

  • Fully customizable layout and design, allowing businesses like yours to tailor everything to your specific needs.
  • Drag-and-drop UI controls such as text boxes, buttons, images, and galleries.
  • Control over arrangement of elements.

Model-Driven Application:

  • UI is defined by underlying data model stored in Dataverse, ensuring that the UI is consistent with the business’s data structure.
  • Based on the data structure, different types of forms, views, and dashboards are generated.

Power Pages:

  • More structured than Canvas Apps, providing a balanced combination of flexibility and standardization.
  • With professional-looking web pages, Power Pages help you present a consistent and appealing web presence.
  • Predefined templates and themes for consistency, reducing time consumed by design efforts.

How Does Each Platform Handle Complexity?

Canvas Application

  • Enables pixel-perfect design, making it ideal for creating unique user experiences.

Model-Driven Application

  • While there is some flexibility in customizing forms and views, it is more limited compared to Canvas Apps. The focus is on ensuring data integrity and efficient data management.

Power Pages

  • External-facing apps, often simpler in design, bring the flexibility of Canvas Apps and Data management capabilities of model-driven apps.

Custom Code Capabilities of Power Apps

Canvas Application

  • Utilizes custom code through PowerFX (formerly Excel-like expressions) and JavaScript for advanced functionality and interaction.

Model-Driven Application

  • Offers limited custom code capabilities, primarily relying on business rules and plugins for implementing logic and integrations.

Power Pages

  • It works on custom code using JavaScript, Liquid, and .NET, providing extensive customization options.

Deployment Flexibility Across Power Apps

Canvas Application

  • Offers versatile deployment across web, mobile, and desktop platforms.
  • Users can access applications on different devices and operating systems.

Model-Driven Application:

  • Web-based application, accessible from various devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
  • Works well across different web browsers, ensuring consistent user experience.

Power Pages

  • Primarily external-facing websites or portals for customers, partners, or employees.
  • Exclusively accessed in a website format.

Data Sourcing and Architecture in Power Apps

Canvas Application

  • Utilizes various data sources including SharePoint, SQL Server, Excel, etc.
  • Distributed Architecture

At MAI, we implemented a distributed approach. While MAI employees managed data entry, backend calculations ran independently in the database. The results were showcased on Power Apps dashboards. We utilized different kinds of IDs to retrieve information from the SQL data source. Subsequently, we performed actions such as calculating OEE efficiency.

This initiative resulted in MAI cutting their monthly report creation time by 100 hours.

Model-Driven Application

  • Limited functionality hinders achieving distributed architecture.
  • Cannot rely on Power Automate Cloud for distributed tasks as it leads to performance issues and some SQL tasks cannot even be replicated.

Power Pages:

  • Exclusively connected with Dataverse for data sourcing.

What are the Integration Capabilities?

Integration with Power Apps

What Level of Expertise you Need for Your Power Apps?

Canvas Application

  • Canvas Apps require skilled developers because you will start from blank and even though there is drag an drop features, many of your unique requirements will need coding knowledge.

Model-Driven Application

  • Model-driven Apps don’t need coding knowledge and so a citizen or skilled developer can both work for you.

Power Pages

  • Power Pages needs a Skilled developer, though it’s not purely mandatory but it totally depends on the kind of app you need.


Power Apps is a great tool for all kinds of needs. You can go customs for your unique requirements, you can have a simple application, or you can even choose a middle way, all while keeping the process short and in budget. No more data breakdowns and data silos, you can do all your CRUD operations from one place saving a lot of time.

If you have such an idea that might improve your business processes, Contact Sunflower Lab today. We have a great team of experts who will be happy to assist you further.

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