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Integrate Live CSV Data into Custom Business Apps Built in PowerApps

Use the CData Cloud Hub to create a virtual SQL Server Database for CSV data and integrate live CSV data into apps built in Microsoft PowerApps.

PowerApps is a service for building and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile — without the time and expense of custom software development. When paired with the CData Cloud Hub, you get instant, cloud-to-cloud access to CSV data from the apps you build using PowerApps. This article shows how to connect the Cloud Hub from PowerApps and build an app based on live CSV data.

The CData Cloud Hub provides a pure SQL, cloud-to-cloud interface for CSV, allowing you to easily integrate with live CSV data in PowerApps — without replicating the data. The CData Cloud Hub looks exactly like a SQL Server database to PowerApps and uses optimized data processing out of the box to push all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to CSV, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return CSV data.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for CSV Data

CData Cloud Hub uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Cloud Hub and click Databases.
  2. Select "CSV" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to CSV.

    The DataSource property must be set to a valid local folder name.

    Also, specify the IncludeFiles property to work with text files having extensions that differ from .csv, .tab, or .txt. Specify multiple file extensions in a comma-separated list. You can also set Extended Properties compatible with the Microsoft Jet OLE DB 4.0 driver. Alternatively, you can provide the format of text files in a Schema.ini file.

    Set UseRowNumbers to true if you are deleting or updating in CSV. This will create a new column with the name RowNumber which will be used as key for that table.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to the CData Cloud Hub

To use the Cloud Hub to integrate CSV data into your PowerApps, you need a new SQL Server connection:

  1. Log in to PowerApps
  2. Click Data -> Connections -> New connection
  3. Select SQL Server
  4. In the connection wizard:

    • Choose to connect directly
    • Set SQL server name to the address of your Cloud Hub instance (myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Set SQL database name to the name of the virtual CSV database you created earlier (like csvdb)
    • Set the Username and Password and click Create

Building a Data-Centric App for CSV Data

With the connection to the Cloud Hub configured, you are ready to integrate live CSV data into the apps you build in PowerApps.

  1. Log in to PowerApps
  2. Click Create, hover over "Start from data" and click Make this app
  3. Select the SQL Server connection you created
  4. Search for or choose a table to work with
  5. Click Connect
  6. Customize the newly created app just like you would any other, including changing the layout and setting the fields exposed in BrowseScreen, DetailScreen, and EditScreen

At this point, you have an app with read access to live CSV data that you can save and publish for use within your organization.

SQL Access to CSV Data from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live CSV data from Microsoft PowerApps. You can create more connections and apps to drive business — all without replicating CSV data.

To get SQL data access to 100+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Cloud Hub.