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The possibilities of Azure Logic Apps

We are moving more and more towards Platform as a Service (PaaS) because it offers agility from a management point of view. PaaS means that you have no server, no operating system and no application to worry about. So you don't have to think about features like availability and scalability, it's automatically managed under the surface.

Azure delivers a wide range of PaaS services and the range is growing all the time. One of all these services is Azure Logic Apps. This service helps you automate workflows in a controlled way, much like a mix of Orchestrator and Biztalk. Biztalk and Orchestrator are two onpremises solutions from Microsoft. Biztalk is Microsoft's integration solution for getting applications to talk to each other. Orchestrator is Microsoft's automation software.

We all know how many functions today are run with custom scripts that nobody dares to touch or perhaps purely manual handling. Now it's possible to automate this easily without having to know a single line of code.

The best way to explain how the product works is to jump right into Logic Apps and create a very simple flow.

We download the Azure Logic Apps package and put it in an appropriate resource group. We give Logic Apps a name and then Logic Apps Designer starts up.

We're toying with the idea that if a file shows up on an external FTP server, we'll check it, read the file, do something, and then move the file to a local archive.

Thus we start by setting up a connector to an FTP server first.

We enter the FTP server's address and login details, and then we have to fill in where the file might be and how often we want to check for new files on the FTP server. We also want to do an analysis of the content of the file we are downloading.

Then we set a condition.

Under Condition, we can choose some different dynamic questions about the file we are downloading. Name, file type or the content of the file.

Here we choose to look at the contents of the file. If the file contains anything with "Pay raise", create a twitter feed. If it doesn't contain the word "pay rise", send an email.

Now we may want to save the file that was in the FTP server locally to an archive. To do this, we install Logic Apps On-premises Gateway. Then we have the option to add File Services.

In 5 minutes we have now built a very simple flow in Logic Apps where we download files via FTP, text analyze via Azure, email and tweet and work with a local on-premises server. All very simple and seamless, and we've only scratched the surface of what you can do. There's plenty of connectivity to other Microsoft services, as well as Google, Salesforce, Oracle and ServiceNow, for example. It even includes the ability to look at executed flows, as all executions are logged. If an error occurs in an execution, you can graphically see in which part the error occurred and what caused the error.

The only limit here is your own imagination.

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