# Thursday, April 2, 2020

GCast 80:

Conditional Logic in Power Automate

This video shows how to add conditional logic to a Microsoft Power Automate workflow.

Thursday, April 2, 2020 11:01:11 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

GCast 80:

Conditional Logic in Power Automate

This video shows how to add conditional logic to a Microsoft Power Automate workflow.

Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:52:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, March 26, 2020

GCast 79:

Creating a Workflow from Scratch in Power Automate

This video shows how to create a workflow in Microsoft Power Automate without starting from a template.

Thursday, March 26, 2020 7:51:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 19, 2020

GCast 78:

Creating a Workflow from a Microsoft Power Automate Template

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) allows users to create workflows without writing any code. Learn how to create a workflow from one of the many templates shipping with Power Automate.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 8:49:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Azure Logic Apps allow you to create scalable workflows hosted in the cloud. Although each Logic App is self-contained, it is often helpful to share artifacts such as maps, schemas, and certificates among multiple Logic Apps.

An Azure Integration Account provides a container for storing these artifacts.

Creating an Integration Account

To create an Integration Account, navigate to the Azure Portal [https://portal.azure.com], sign in and click the [Create a resource] button (Fig. 1).

IA01-CreateResourceButton
Fig. 1

Search for and select "Integration Account", as shown in Fig. 2.

IA02-FindIntegrationAccount
Fig. 2

The "Integration Account" information page displays, as shown in Fig. 3.

IA03-IntegrationAccountIntro
Fig. 3

Click the [Create] button to display the "Create Integration Account" blade with the "Basics" tab selected, as shown in Fig. 4.

IA04-IntegrationAccountBasics
Fig. 4

At the "Resource group" field, select or create a resource group in which to store this Integration Account.

At the "Integration account name" field, enter a unique name for this Integration Account.

At the "Location" dropdown, select the region in which to store this account. This should be the same region in which your Logic Apps are located.

At the "Pricing Tier" dropdown, select which pricing tier you wish to use. The options are (in increasing order of cost) "Free", "Basic", and "Standard". Only one Free Account is allowed per Azure Subscription. You can change this setting after creating an Integration Account.

Click the [Review + create] button when you have completed this tab. The "Review + create" tab displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

IA05-ReviewCreate
Fig. 5

Review your choices. Switch back to the "Basics" tab if you need to make any corrections. Click the [Create] button to create the Integration Account.

After Azure creates the Integration Account, the "Your deployment is complete" message displays, as shown inf Fig. 6.

IA06-YourDeploymentIsComplete
Fig. 6

Click the [Go to resource] button to open the Integration Account, as shown in Fig. 7.

IA07-IntegrationAccountOverview
Fig. 7

Here you can manage reusable Schemas, Maps, and other Components.

Associating a Logic App with an Integration Account

An Integration Account can be associated with one or more Logic Apps, making components in the Integration Account available to each of these Logic Apps.

See this article to learn how to create a Logic App.

To associate a Logic App with an Integration Account, open the Logic App. The left menu of a Logic App is shown in Fig. 8.

IA08-LogicAppsLeftMenu
Fig. 8

Click the [Workflow settings] button (Fig. 9) under the "Settings" section of the left menu to open "Access control configuration" blade, as shown in Fig. 10.

IA09-WorkflowSettingsButton
Fig. 9

IA10-WorkflowSettings
Fig. 10

At the "Integration account" dropdown, select the Integration Account you wish to associate with this logic app, as shown in Fig. 11.

IA11-SelectIntegrationAccount
Fig. 11

Click the [Save] button (Fig. 12) at the top of the blade to save this configuration.

IA12-SaveButton
Fig. 12

You are now ready to use the artifacts in the Integration Account with this Logic App.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 9:26:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, February 14, 2020

With a Logic App, you can create and run scalable workflows that are hosted in the Azure cloud. A graphical designer and connectors to hundreds of databases, APIs, and external applications and services make it possible to quickly create a workflow using Logic Apps.

To create a new Logic App, navigate to the Azure Portal, sign in and click the [Create a resource] button (Fig. 1).

LA01-CreateAResource
Fig. 1

Select Integration | Logic App, as shown in Fig. 2.

LA01-NewIntegrationLogicApps
Fig. 2

The "Create Logic App" blade with the "Basics" tab selected, as shown in Fig. 3.

LA03-NewLogicAppBlade
Fig. 3

At the "Resource group" field, select or create a resource group in which to store this Logic App.

At the "Logic App name" field, enter a unique name for this Logic App.

At the "Location" dropdown, select the region in which to store this Logic App.

Click the [Review + create] button when you have completed this tab. The "Review + create" tab displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

LA04-ReviewCreateTab
Fig. 4

Review your choices. Switch back to the "Basics" tab if you need to make any corrections. Click the [Create] button to create the Integration Account.

After Azure creates the Logic App, the "Your deployment is complete" message displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

LA04-ReviewCreateTab
Fig. 5

Click the [Go to resource] button to open the Start Page of your Logic App, as shown in Fig. 6.

LA06-LogicAppStart
Fig. 6

On the start page, a video is available if you want a brief introduction to Logic Apps.

Below the video is a set of buttons that allow you to create a new workflow with a common trigger. A trigger is an action that starts a Logic App workflow.

The next section lists buttons for templates to perform some common tasks. Each template contains a trigger and one or more actions.

These buttons help to accelerate your development by providing some of the activities in a workflow and allowing you to fill in the specific properties.

Fig. 7 shows the Logic App designer after you select the HTTP Request-Response template.

LA07-LogicAppsDesigner
Fig. 7

In this article, you learned how to create a new Logic App.

Friday, February 14, 2020 9:20:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) and Azure Logic Apps solve similar problems. You can use either one to create a workflow hosted in the cloud. However, Logic Apps tend to be more powerful. If you create a Power Automate flow, you may eventually run into its limitations and wish to recreate the same workflow in Logic Apps.

Fortunately, this can be done in just a few steps.

Navigate to https://flow.microsoft.com, sign in and select the flow you wish to migrate under "My Flows". The details of the flow displays, as shown in Fig. 1.

PALA01-FlowDetails
Fig. 1

From the top toolbar, select Export | Logic Apps template (.json), as shown in Fig. 2.

PALA02-ExportButton
Fig. 2

A JSON file will be created and automatically downloaded. Fig 3 shows a section of this file.

PALA03-JSON
Fig. 3

Navigate to the Azure Portal (https://portal.azure.com) and login. Click the [Create a Resource] button (Fig. 4) and search for "Template deployment (deploy using custom templates), as shown in Fig. 5.

PALA04-CreateResourceButton
Fig 4

PALA05-NewTemplateDeploy
Fig. 5

Select "Template deployment" to display the info page for this service shown in Fig. 6.

PALA06-TemplateDeployInfo
Fig. 6

Click the [Create] button to display the "Custom deployment" start page, as shown in Fig. 7.

PALA07-TemplateDeployStart
Fig. 7

Click "Build your own template in the editor" to display the template editor, as shown in Fig. 8.

PALA08-TemplateEditor
Fig. 8

Click the [Load file] button (Fig. 9); then navigate to and select the JSON file you exported above.

PALA09-LoadFileButton
Fig. 9

The exported JSON displays, as shown in Fig. 10.

PALA10-LoadedFile
Fig. 10

Click the [Save] button to open the "Custom deployment" dialog with settings from the JSON file, as shown in Fig. 11.

PALA11-CustomDeployment
Fig. 11

Fill in the desired Resource Group and Logic App name, check the "I agree" checkbox, and click the [Purchase] button to create the Logic App.

After a few seconds, your logic app will be available. At this time, you can open it and change any settings you wish, as shown in Fig. 12.

PALA12-LogicApp
Fig. 12

It may be necessary to authenticate against any API connectors, so check these before testing your Logic App.

In this article, you learned how to export a Power Automate flow and import it into an Azure Logic App.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 9:10:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Azure Logic Apps and Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) are tools from Microsoft that allow users to build custom workflows.

Each of these tools provides a robust workflow engine with a graphical front-end. Power Automate (PA) is built on top of Logic Apps and it is possible to export from a Power Automate flow and import it into a Logic App. Each provides a graphical interface to add connectors, workflow step, and control logic. Each supports an in-browser User Interface, so you don't need to install anything locally (although a VS extension lets you design workflows from within Visual Studio.) Each ships with a set of connectors to common databases, queues, APIs, and other systems, along with generic connectors to do things like calling a web service. Neither provides a great DevOps story, allowing easy integration with version control, automated testing, and automated deployment.

But there are differences. A primary difference is the way that Microsoft positions these 2 technologies: Microsoft is targeting PA at "Citizen Developers" - users with a strong knowledge of their systems and their business requirements, but without the knowledge or desire to write code. Logic Apps are targeted at developers and IT workers. As these products mature, expect PA to get more features around ease of use, while Logic App gets more focus on increased power.

Here are some other differences:

Logic Apps:

  • are hosted in Azure
  • are more scalable
  • have a code view, making it slightly easier to use source control
  • have more connectors (e.g., Liquid templates, SAP, IoT)
  • Support B2B and B2C Scenarios
  • triggers fire faster
  • have better monitoring

Power Automate flow:

  • are hosted in Office 365
  • includes a "Button" trigger for easy integration with PowerApps
  • provides some simple, common templates to get you started
  • has better SharePoint integration

When deciding between these tools, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you primarily using Azure or Office 365? Logic Apps runs in Azure; PA runs in Office 365. If you are not currently using the appropriate platform, you will need to start doing so.
  • What is the tech level of those who will be maintaining your workflows? Logic Apps are designed for tech professionals; PA is designed for business users with some tech knowledge
  • What are the scalability and performance requirements? PA can handle a lot, but the maximums are greater for Logic Apps.
  • Do many of your workflows read from and write to SharePoint? PA will probably make these easier to write.
  • With which external systems, databases, and APIs will your workflows interact? Logic Apps include access to many more connectors. Verify that the ones you need exist in the platform you choose.

One choice is to begin writing your workflows with PA; and, if you find that you need something more robust, use the import/export functionality to migrate your flows to Logic Apps and begin using that tooling.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 8:49:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, February 7, 2020

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) is a tool that allows people to design and build workflows without writing code.

In a previous article, I showed you how to create a flow from a template. In this article, I will show how to test a flow after you create it.

If your flow is not already open in the designer, you can navigate to https://flow.microsoft.com and sign in; then select "My flows" from the left menu, as shown in Fig. 1

PAT01-SideMenu
Fig. 1

Select your flow to open it; then click the [Edit] button (Fig. 2) in the toolbar to open the flow in Edit mode.

PAT02-EditButton
Fig. 2

With the flow open, you can test this flow by clicking the [Test] button (Fig. 3) in the top right toolbar.

PAT03-TestButton
Fig. 3

A "Test Flow" dialog displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

PAT04-TestFlowDialog
Fig. 4

This dialog gives you the option to either perform the trigger action manually (in this case, sending an email with an attachment to the mailbox you specified). Use using data from a previous test run. If this is the first time you've tested this flow, only the first option is available. Select the "I'll perform the action trigger" radio button and click the [Test] button. After a few seconds, this starts the flow running in test mode. It won't be activated until you trigger it.

If you are using the flow created in the previous article, the trigger involved sending an email with one or more attachments to an email address. In any event, a message displays telling you how to trigger the flow, as shown in Fig. 5.

PAT05-TestMode
Fig. 5

After the flow is triggered, each step will display with a green check indicating success or a red "x" indicating failure for each action attempted, as shown in Fig. 6.

PAT06-FlowAfterTest
Fig. 6

You can expand any step to view the inputs, outputs, and any relevant messages of that step, as shown in Fig. 7.

PAT07-ExpandStep
Fig. 7

As you make changes to your flow, you can continue to test it with the same data from the original test, without having to run the trigger again. Do this from the "Test Flow" dialog

  1. Select the "I'll perform the action trigger" radio button
  2. Select the test run that includes the data you want to use.
  3. Click the [Test] button.

An example is shown in Fig. 8.

PAT08-TestFlowDialog
Fig. 8

Repeat this until the flow works the way you expect it.

In this article, you learned how to test a flow in Microsoft Power Automate.

Friday, February 7, 2020 9:03:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A few months ago, Microsoft Flow was rebranded as Microsoft Power Automate.

Power Automate (PA) is a tool and platform for building workflows. It is specifically targeted at business users and business analysts. These foods are often referred to as "Citizen Developers". They understand the business logic to be encoded but lack the skill or desire to write custom code.  Because PA provides a graphical interface directly within the browser, these Citizen Developers can create many workflows without writing any code.

PA consists of the following key components
Flows

  • Connectors
  • Triggers
  • Actions
  • Templates
  • Solutions

Flows

A flow is a workflow created with Microsoft Power Automate. It consists of a set of steps, along with some logic to decide when and how often those steps are executed.

Connectors

Connectors provide a way for your flow to connect to external data sources and applications. They are wrappers to APIs to those external components. PA ships with hundreds of connectors, but you can also build your own, if the one you want is not available. 

Triggers

A trigger defines an event that kicks off a flow. This can be a document saved somewhere, an email message received, a database change, or any of a number of possible activities.

Actions

An action is a step for the flow to perform. You build your flow by chaining together different actions and the logic around their execution. Most actions use connectors to interact with external data or an external application.

Templates

A template is a predefined flow on which you can base a new flow. This makes it easy to create a flow to accomplish many common tasks, such as automatically saving an email attachment to a OneDrive folder or send an email when someone saves a file. More complex workflows also have templates. For example, there are several templates that support manager approval processes.

Solutions

A solution is a set of related flows that you can manage together. Use this to deploy multiple flows at the same time to the same environment.

Examples

The built-in connectors and templates make it possible to build flows for a variety of scenarios. Want to automate the process of approving expense reports? Done! Want to be notified when important data is updated? Done! Want to know the weather every morning? Done! You can start with a template or build a flow from scratch.

What if it’s not enough?

Some workflows may require more complex logic or lots of custom code. For these, Microsoft offers Azure Logic Apps – a more powerful workflow engine hosted in Azure.

Getting started

If you are an Office 365 or Dynamics 365 customer, you already have access to Power Automate.

If not, you can sign up for free at https://flow.microsoft.com

You can build flows with the free version; but there are limitations on the number of flows, the available connectors, and the frequency they can be invoked. You can move past these limitations this by signing up for a paid version.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:46:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)