Common Data Service or CDS is a storage space that enables a user to manage and securely store data that’s used by multiple applications or programs. The data held in the Common Data Services for Apps is stored within multiple entities. An entity is a combination of records that are used to hold data in the same way a table stores data in a database. CDS is made up of a primary set of entities that hold the most fundamental data, but a user can also create secondary entities that are specific to their needs and add data into them using Power Query. App developers use PowerApps to create more functional apps using this data.
Why Use Common Data Service for Apps?
Primary and custom entities in the Common Data Service offer a cloud-based and secure storage solution for both user and company data. Entities are created to promote a business-focused meaning for your company’s data that is needed by multiple programs. If you are uncertain on whether entities can work for you, here are some benefits for your consideration:
- Productivity tools – Entities come built-in with add-ins from Microsoft Excel to promote accessibility and productivity.
- Validation and logic – You can define business process flows, workflows, business rules and calculated field to ensure quality of data and enhance business processes.
- Rich metadata – Multiple data types and their distinct relationships are managed better within PowerApps.
- Access your Dynamics 365 data – Data from a user’s Dynamics 365 apps is also held in the CDS for apps allowing quick creation of applications which use your Dynamics 365 data. A user can also extend their applications with the help of PowerApps.
- Easy to secure – Data is safe and secure. Only authorized users can gain access to the data in the CDS. A special security model known as role-based security is employed to control access to entities different users in a company.
- Easy to manage – Both data and metadata are stored in the cloud. A user does not have to be concerned about how the data is stored at any given time.
Dynamics 365 and The CDS for Apps
Dynamics 365 apps like Dynamics 365 for Talent, Service or Sales make use of CDS for apps to secure and store data used by the apps. This enables a user to create quality apps using PowerApps and the CDS for Apps together with your company data without any need for integration. You can essentially:
- Reuse skills across PowerApps and Dynamics 365 -Users who are already have specific skills in Dynamics 365 or PowerApps can now employ those skills in the CDS for apps platform. Users can therefore easily and conveniently create charts, forms, entities etc. which are now similar across all apps.
- Manage reusable business rules and logic – Business logic and rules already set in your Dynamics 365 entities are used in PowerApps to promote consistency of data regardless of how users access data within apps.
- Build Apps against your 365 Data – You can easily and quickly create apps using company data within PowerApps or with the help of Pro Developer SDK.
Integrating Data into The CDS for Apps
Creating an application in most cases involves using data from multiple sources. Integrating data from different sources into a common storage place facilitates easier app building. On top of this, only a single set of logic and rules are required to operate and maintain the data. The CDS for Apps allows data to be brought together in one place where it can be used in Power BI, Flow and PowerApps together with additional data in Dynamics 365 apps. Here are some data features of the Common Data Service for Apps:
- Easy data import and export – You can use CSV and Excel files to import and export data to and from the CDS for apps.
- Import and transform data using Power Query -You can transform data during import using Power Query especially where data is coming from multiple online sources.
- Scheduled integration with other systems – Data stored in another app can be frequently synchronized with the data in the CDS for apps to enable you to use data in other apps in PowerApps.
Interacting with Entities
Once you have created an app, you can make use of both primary and custom entities. The Common Data Service for apps is designed in strict conformity with industrial standards to capture the most common scenarios and concepts within a company.
You can improve functionality of standard entities by creating one or many custom entities to hold data that is unique to your company.
On top of all the features available via PowerApps, CDS for apps also has features that developers can use to access data and metadata to create business rules, logic and entities.
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