Azure Logic Apps

The Power of Azure Logic Apps

Azure Logic Apps: How to automate processes in your application in a matter of no time.

Azure Logic Apps

If you use Azure to develop and host your applications you have more than likely seen Logic Apps while navigating the portal. But do you know what they are and how powerful they can be?

This guide will outline what they are, how we used them to automate a process within our application and some examples of how Logic Apps could be used in other applications.

What are Logic Apps?

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud-based platform for creating and running automated workflows that integrate your apps, data, services, and systems. As a member of Azure Integration Services, Logic Apps simplifies the way that you connect legacy, modern, and cutting-edge systems across cloud, on premises, and hybrid environments.

Using Logic Apps gives you the ability to build and automate processes within your application extremely quickly. Due to the drag and drop graphical user interface, you can automate a task in a matter of minutes.

Watch the quick video below giving you a brief overview of Logic Apps:

How they work?

Logic Apps are able to integrate with other applications/services by the use of connectors.

The image below outlines some of the connectors that are available out of the box within Logic Apps:

Connectors offered by Logic Apps

From just looking at some of the connectors available you can already start to think of some use cases for Logic Apps. You could use the Outlook connector to automate the reading/sending of emails. Or you could use the Twitter connector to monitor tweets and pair it with the Outlook connector to send an email whenever abusive language is identified in a tweet.

If there is no connector that suits your needs you can create a custom connector as long as your service has a REST API to connect to.

Connectors consist of a set of Actions and Triggers.

Actions

Each step after the trigger that runs operations in a workflow. Some examples of actions are:

  • Move email to folder
  • Upload file to Blob Storage
  • Post Slack message

Triggers

Your Logic App with always start with a trigger. This will be a condition that has to be met before any actions will run. Some examples of triggers are:

  • When an email enters a mailbox
  • A new file is uploaded to SharePoint
  • A new tweet is posted

Benefits of using Logic Apps

Cost Effective — Logic Apps run on a Consumption plan in which you pay for what you use. No set-up or maintenance charges.

Scalable and Maintainable — Logic Apps are fully managed by Azure. You don’t have to worry about hosting, scaling, managing, monitoring, and maintaining solutions built with these services.

Low-Code — You normally have to write very little code, if any.

200+ out of the box connectors — Connectors reduce and eliminate potential integration challenges in connecting your apps, data, devices and services together.

Quick to Go-Live — The easy to use graphical interface means getting from proof of concept to Live is extremely quick.

How we used Logic Apps to automate the processing of emails

We needed to automate the following process:

  • Monitor an Office 365 mailbox and pick up any new emails which arrived
  • Verify the sender of the email existed in the system
  • Verify the subject contains a valid URN (Unique Reference Number)
  • If the sender and subject are valid, upload the email as a .msg file to blob storage using the URN. The email could then be accessed from within the application.
  • Mark email as read and move to appropriate folder: Success, Invalid Email, Invalid URN etc…

With Logic Apps we could make use of the Office 365 connector and trigger the Logic App when a new email arrived into the inbox. The following workflow was produced:

One of the benefits of opting to use Logic Apps is the connectors handle the authentication to services for you. In our approach using the Office 365 connector all we had to do was log in to the mailbox once on the creation of the Logic App. This meant we didn’t have to worry about writing code to authenticate to the mailbox and the setup required in using Azure B2C for modern authentication.

Use cases for Logic Apps

Outlined below are a couple of examples of how Logic Apps could be used:

  • Automate notification when a blog is posted: The posting of a new blog could trigger a Logic App to generate links to the blog suitable for different platforms e.g. Short links for Twitter, LinkedIn etc.. and then email these links out to subscribers of the blog.
  • Sentiment analysis on your website: A logic app could monitor the posts being uploaded to your website and run analysis on them to determine if any posts contain abusive content. It can then remove the post and flag it to an admin of the site by email or other means.

Senior Software Engineer at Kainos.