Canvas App Performance Quick Wins

Canvas Apps are relatively easy to implement given that you become familiar with their overall structure and their light -but many- formulas. What you don’t want is make your boss loves them but then hate them when they are too slow when applied in production. Let’s go over some very simple ways to make your current and next Canvas App faster and more responsive and most importantly, make your users happy. Keep in mind that performance is a huge subject and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Caching

If you have a region list in your CDS and you want to populate this region list in a drop down on few screens in your app. You may use the Filter formula like this:
Filter(RegionList, Status=”Active”)

and set this as the data source for your drop down. This is all good until you need this drop down on many screen which will cause multiple network calls to CDS. This accounts for longer time and more requests to CDS which are now accounted for (we have a limit).

Quick fix for this is to have all of your data that doesn’t change much (like regions, departments, etc) be loaded once and stored in global variables on the start of the app. For regions, you can write something like this in the OnStart of the app:

Collect(collectRegionList, Filter(RegionList, Status = “Active”))

Now, set your drop downs to the collectRegionList variable and this way no multiple loading of data happens.

Concurrency

If you need to load regions, departments, account types and other data at the start of the app, you can write something like this in the app OnStart:

Collect(collectRegionList, Filter(RegionList, Status = “Active”)) ; Collect(collectDepartmentList, Filter(DepartmentList, Status = “Active”)) ; Collect(collectAccountTypesList, Filter(AccountTypesList, Status = “Active”))

This will cache your data which is good, but the load time of your app will be long and the app will be loading for sometime. Say, each line takes 2 seconds to complete, you end up waiting 6 seconds for the 3 statements for execute. A better way is to use the super easy Canvas App concurrency capability which will a bit more than 2 seconds to execute.

Concurrent(
Collect(collectRegionList, Filter(RegionList, Status = “Active”)) ; Collect(collectDepartmentList, Filter(DepartmentList, Status = “Active”)) ; Collect(collectAccountTypesList, Filter(AccountTypesList, Status = “Active”)) ;
)

Delegation

This is an important concept. When a canvas app executes a function on a data source, who does the processing of the records? It depends on the function and the data source. For example, if you need to use the Filter function with a Share Point data source, and you ask for all records that are active in a set of 10000 records, Canvas App send this condition to Share Point and Share Point returns only those records that are active. Basically, the Canvas App doesn’t loop through all the records to see which one is active and which one is not. If your users are on a mobile network, this makes a huge difference in performance. In this case, we call the Filter function delegable with Share Point data sources.

On the other hand, other function are not delegable, take Search for example and the same Share Point data source, when you search for something in Share Point, a canvas app will receive all the records from Share Point and search each record locally. Here we say that the Search function is not delegable with Share Point data sources.

So when you choose which function to use, also consider which data source your are using as well, as both of these will determine how delegable is your functions. Below is a summary of the common functions and popular data sources with information about their delegability.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/work-with-data-source-limits-powerapps-canvas-app/2-functions-predicates-data-source

Refresh? No thanks.

I used to do this a lot with Windows Millennium (long time ago) . While Windows is dying doing something for me, I was hitting refresh all the time on my desktop, I think I was helping it die faster. Fast forward to now, don’t use refresh unless you absolutely need it. In many cases, Canvas Apps will do the refresh for you, if that’s the case, don’t double the work by calling the Refresh function again.

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