Getting started with Azure Logic Apps

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Premier Developer Consultants, Nicholas Switzer and Kunal Sinha outline steps to use Azure Logic Apps for quickly automating processes with little to no code for your on-premises and cloud environments.


If you’ve ever struggled with automating cloud/on-premises workflows or wondered whether your workflows could be automated, Azure Logic Apps now makes it possible for development and IT teams to automate these workflows with little to no code.

Logic Apps are a way to automate workflows, with O365, Azure, and 3rd party resources, that are currently either manually or inefficiently (old/inefficient custom code) performed.

Logic Apps are made up of these three components:

  • Logic app resource: Contains information about things like pricing plan, location, and the workflow definition.
  • Workflow definition: Describes your logic app’s workflow steps and how the Logic Apps engine should execute the workflow. You can view this definition in your logic app’s Code View window. In the logic app resource, you can find this definition in the definition property.
  • Connections: Refers to separate resources that securely store metadata about any connector connections, such as a connection string and an access token. In the logic app resource, your logic app references these resources in the parameters section.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to get started with logic apps with an end-to-end example of creating and deploying an Azure Logic App.

Creating Logic Apps (Visual Studio)

  1. Ensure you have installed Azure SDK for Visual Studio
    1. For VS 2015
    2. For VS 2017 you will need to use the VS Installer under Tools > Get Tools and Features
  2. Start Visual Studio and sign in with your Azure account
  3. On the File menu, select New > Project
  4. Under Installed, select Visual C#. Select Cloud > Azure Resource Group
    1. In the Create a new project box, select the Azure Resource Group project template for Visual C# and click Next
    2. Provide the name for the Azure resource group you want to use and click Create
  5. Give your project a name and a location, and then click OK.
  6. From the templates location list, select Visual Studio Templates.
  7. In the search box, enter “logic-app” as your filter. From the results, select the empty logic app template named: Logic App

Designing Logic Apps

  1. Right click on your logic app json file (this will be named LogicApp.json)
  2. Click Open with Logic App Designer
    1. The first time you perform this action you will be asked to define the subscription and resource group where this logic app will be deployed to
      • This will NOT deploy your logic App
  3. Now you can choose your triggers and actions from the connectors catalog to define the logic in your logic app
    1. Use this documentation to view all available connectors, with their associated triggers, actions, and metadata: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/connectors/
  4. After you have designed the logic for your logic app you are ready to deploy

Note: You can add more resources to the resource group deployment by opening the ARM template json file (LogicApp.json for this demo) and editing manually or by using the JSON outline view in Visual Studio. You can add more resources at any time after the template has been created, but just ensure your parameter file (LogicApp.parameters.json for this demo) reflects these changes as well.

A great way to visualize your ARM templates is through: http://armviz.io/designer

Deploying Logic Apps

Deploying pushes your logic app to the defined resource group.

  1. In Solution Explorer, from your resource project’s shortcut menu, select Deploy > New.
  2. If not already selected, select your Azure subscription and the resource group to where you want to deploy. Choose Deploy.
  3. If the Edit Parameters box appears, provide the resource name to use for your logic app and any parameters that appear blank, and then save your settings.
    1. If you have any secrets or keys, storage/database connection strings or any values you would like to keep encrypted, you can deploy an Azure Key Vault within the same resource group and read parameter values directly from the vault: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/logic-apps/logic-apps-securing-a-logic-app#secure-action-parameters-and-inputs
  4. If the deployment succeeded, you will see a success message in the output window in Visual Studio

Troubleshooting

Errors can occur during a Logic App’s execution. You can view the logic app’s run history, enable diagnostic logs (for a more granular view), and even set up alerts based on the logic app’s performance (or other metrics).

Monitor Logic Apps – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/logic-apps/logic-apps-monitor-your-logic-apps

Summary:

As you can see, the process of creating and deploying Azure Logic Apps is very customizable and straightforward. The use of Logic Apps will allow you to quickly automate any process end to end for your on-premises and cloud environments. For more details about resources mentioned in this article or just aspects of Azure Logics Apps in general, see the references below.

References:

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