1. 55. Provision and create our first portal using the Portal from blank template
Hello. In this section, we will be looking at PowerApps portals. So these are websites that can include data from the common data service or database. So, from the home menu, select Create and navigate to the portal from Blank. So we need to import Portal solution packages into this environment. This might take a while. In other words, the first time you do this in a new environment, it might take a while. How many portals can you have in a particular environment?
Well, you can only have one of each type for a particular language. So we’re going to be looking at a starter portal. You can only have one starter portal in English for an environment, and then you could have another starter portal in French, for instance. So don’t see this as a way to create lots and lots of different websites. You can only really make one. So I’m going to call this my first portal, and I will have as an address PL-900powerappsportals.com, and you can select what language you’re using. I’m going to stick with English and click “Create.” So as it says, it might just take a little while, and you’ll be notified via email once it’s provisioned. So I’m going to pause the video there and start it when it’s done.
Well, it took 2025 minutes for the portal to be provisioned, but now you can see it’s been successfully done. So, if we go to apps in the power apps page, we’ll see my first portal, and you can see type portal. So if I click on this link, it will launch my PO 900 portal. So go to PO 900 dot portalappsportal.com, and here you can see the environment that we have, the public-facing environment. So you can see we’ve got a nice start to a web page that’s being created for very much publicising PowerApps portals and some service pages and about us, a search, and a sign-in. So we created our first starter portal, and in a couple of videos, we’ll be looking at customising our portal. In the next video, we’ll look at different templates that are available for you to use.
2. 55. Other Portal templates
In this video, we’re going to take a look at other possible templates that may be available to you for creating portals. Now, if we go to create, we’ve got Portal from Blank, but if we start looking at the templates, you’ll see that none of these say Portal. So it looks like this is the only option for me, and it is. However, if you have an environment that uses Dynamics 365, such as sales, customer service, field service marketing, or project service automation, then you will have access to additional portals.
So these portals are the customer self-service portal and the employee self-service portal. Now, these are both useful for content and knowledge management, support and case management, forums, search, and other things like comments and subscribing to threads, and so forth. The main difference between the customer and employee self-service portals in terms of functionality is that the employee self-service portal includes zero-day active directory authentication, allowing all employees to access it rather than just customers. There’s also a community portal, so you can see peer-to-peer interactions with knowledge-based articles. So we’re talking content and knowledge management. We’ve got forums, comments, blogs, and ratings.
We’ve also got support and case history management as well. And then there’s the partner portal. So this allows you to communicate with resellers, distributors, suppliers, and partners. So we’ve got knowledge management, field service integration, project service automation integration, and partner onboarding. Now, if none of that makes any sense to you, that’s fine. What I’m trying to do is show you the real difference between partner portals. We don’t have content management; we don’t have support case management; it’s completely separate from the customer and self-service portals. And the difference between the customer and employee self-service portals and the community portal Let’s say what they have in common: they have content management, knowledge management, support case management, and forums. But only the customer and employee self-service portals have things like profile management and subscribing to forum threads. The community portal is the only one that has ideas and blogs. Now, all of them have things like feedback, so you can give feedback and fill out web forms.
Now, there is a table on this website that shows the differences between them. I think it’s slightly complicated. What I’ve got in my notes, which you can download in the resources section very early on in this course, is, I think, a better presented version. So for the examination, for the PL 900, and just for information, you should know that these four exist and that there is an employee portal, a customer self-service portal, a partner portal, and a community portal, and you should know the sorts of things that there are. For example, you might be asked which of these includes profile management, or whether I have something that needs comments, ideas, or blogs, or whether that would be a community portal. However, the portal from Blank, the starter portal, is the only one that you can use if you don’t have Dynamics 365. And as you can see, it comes with sample data and sample pages. And in the next video, we’re going to look at how we can customise this portal.
3. 56, 58. Describe common portal customizations, including themes
In this video, we’re going to customise our portal. So let’s go to apps and go to my first portal. Instead of clicking on this link, we go to and then to edit. So now we are in the editor for the portal, or at least we will be in a few seconds. There it is.
And so this looks remarkably like the website that we’ve got here, so we can edit it. So welcome to the And I’ll Say PL 900 portals, for instance. Now on the left-hand side, we can look at all of the various pages that we’ve got. So we’ve got the Homer, about us, and product A and product B, sample pages in a service hierarchy. At the bottom, we’ve got various templates, so we can create a new page based on whatever templates you want to use. Here are some examples. And here are some of us. We can change the theme. So if we go on the left-hand side of themes, we can either have a CSS theme (Cascading Style Sheets), which is something that’s used on the web for designing web pages. Alternatively, you could have a basic theme. I’ll just enable the basic theme, and we can change the preset. So maybe a red theme or something.
The CSS gives you much more customization, but maybe you don’t want that. And you can always have a new theme. And then you can change various aspects of this theme. Lastly, we can add additional sections. So here we have a one-column section, a two-column section, or a three-column section. So you can see here an example of a free-column section. And here is an example of a two-column section. However, we can add components, making it less feature-rich and user-friendly than, say, WordPress. But we do have some components. Text-image iframes, again, are something that you use on the web to create g that you use on So breadcrumbs are an Ur here, so maybe I’m in Home, and then further down I go to Services, and then further down I go to a particular product. So the breadcrumb would say Home Services Product. We can also insert elements from Power BI. As you can see, this requires a bit of enablement from the portal admin center. Basically, you go into the center, you go down to setup Power Bi integration, and then you enable the visualisation and then enable the Power Bi embedded service.
The last thing I want to show you is that you can insert a form. So remember, we were looking at forms when we were doing the model-driven apps. So if I insert a new form here, as we can see on the right hand side, I’ve got to give it a name. So I’ll call it PL 900, an entity or table. So I’m going to go into my contacts, and we’ve got certain forms that have previously been set up. So I’m going to have my contact form, and I can choose whether it is going to ask if you want to add a new contact. Do you want to edit a contact, or do you want to make it read-only? So if I do this, we may now be saying, “Okay, where is the save button?” And there isn’t a save button. The computer saves automatically, but it may take a few seconds to do so. Now let’s go back to our home page. We may need to click “refresh,” and here we have our form. So what we can do is add information to it. Obviously, we could also, if we so wished, allow people to edit the contacts or allow people to read only the contacts. When would you use insertions if this is public-facing, or maybe you want to invite comments, maybe you want to invite ideas, maybe you want to sign me up for newsletters, or that sort of thing anywhere while you’re wanting information from the public? So I’m just going to fill this in.
So I’ll just pause the video and just enter some values. I need an account name. So I’ll click on this magnifying glass and say, “Well, I’m part of this account.” So I’ll just pause the video again. So I’ve typed in a few details, and we’ve got a capture at the bottom to avoid people being ablejust to enter the information as a robot, your bots. So it’s now processing the data. It’s been successfully submitted. Well, let’s prove it’s been submitted. I’m going to, in addition to the form, add in a list. So let’s add a list, and this list is my contact view, and I’m going to go for the contacts. So I’m going to have, let’s say, my active contacts, and I could give them the opportunity to create a new record of viewdetails or editor records or delete records. But let’s not do that. I’m now going to synchronise everything. There is no actual save button here, but I like to sync before we have a look at it. In case you’re wondering, it also saves So go back to our starter portal if I’m just going to click on the browse website up here to do so. And we’ll be able to see that our contact that we’ve just added is John Smith, I think it was.There he is. So in this video, we’ve had a look at different portal customizations. We’ve had a look at themes. For instance, we’ve had a look at adding sections, text, and images to an iframe, which is an inline frame. It’s used to embed another document within this document via breadcrumbs and Power BI. And we can get form and list information from the database.
4. 57. User authentication
Now, as you might imagine, having data on your website available to everybody might not be a good idea. That is why we have a sign-in button at the top where you can authenticate who you are and thus what permission you should have for certain things. So those things could be, for instance, pages. You might find that certain pages get hidden from you if you’re not authenticated. So let’s just have a look and see about authentication. So let’s go back to our PowerApps and go to our app. There are no apps here, so I’m in the wrong environment. Let’s make sure we go to the right environment and go to my first portal and click on “Settings.” So here we can see authentication settings, and we won’t be going that far into these settings in this particular course. But let’s click on Authentication Settings, which gets us into our identity providers so we can have a new Active Directory. If possible, this is the preferred method of logging in. So this is Microsoft Azure with a very good configurable authentication policy, so you can administer it in Azure.
Alternatively, especially for customer-facing pages, you might want to go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or Twitter and authenticate there so you can configure any of these as you want. There is also a local sign-in option. Now, local authentication is not actually recommended by Microsoft, but it’s there if you want it. So these are your own username and password, which are administered on this site. So if I go back into my first portal and again select settings and then site settings all the way down here, you can see that we have a huge amount of things that we can control, and I just want to show you the web pages. So if I go to a web page and I say product A and then go to Access Control Rules, I can say who has access to this particular web page. So it could be that I’ll be saying that for the starter portal, product A, I want to restrict the read of this for everybody except certain people in certain web roles, and then I can administer that as well. So you won’t need to know much more than that.
Apart from that, there is such a thing as authentication. You can sign in, and there are all of these different identity providers that you can use, as your active directory is preferred when using authentication, unless you have a good reason, like for instance, building a customer-facing website for something like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And then you can give access to which pages are visible, what actions can be taken, what permissions you have, for instance, for editing the website, and what access a Web role has to an individual database. Table. Maybe they can’t see all of the columns in a particular table, and there’s one web role that is anonymous. And all the rest, like these that you see on the screen, are all authenticated.