Workflow

The course is part of this learning path

AZ-203 Exam Preparation: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure
course-steps 20 certification 1 lab-steps 7

Contents

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Introduction
1
Course Introduction
PREVIEW2m 13s
Concepts
3
Workflow
3m 51s
5
Summary
16
Summary
1m 3s
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Overview
DifficultyIntermediate
Duration33m
Students90
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Description

The Microsoft Azure cloud offers many options for developers who want to build websites and services on Web Apps. Normally, the coding is done using proprietary Microsoft languages like C#, Visual Basic, and others. More recently Microsoft has made it easier for open source developers to use the IDE and language of their choice with support for PHP, Java, Node.js, and Go for server-side code.  However, some web solutions may not require a complex programming language to meet the requirements, and that’s where Logic Apps comes in.

This course looks at some of the features and benefits of Logic Apps and examines the kinds of business processes that you can easily model. We will look at the wider topic of workflow and automation problems and then show you how to transform these into Logic App solutions. We will also look at the internal components that make up a Logic App, including triggers, conditions, actions, and standard connectors.

For connecting to third-party SaaS services, or even your own homegrown APIs, you will learn how to create a custom connector. You will also learn about rapid deployment using Azure templates.

Learning Objectives

  • Implement simple automation and workflow using Logic Apps
  • Model business processes as a series of conditions and actions
  • Monitor Azure Apps, Office 365, or third-party services using triggers
  • Connect to Azure services and other well-known third-party websites

Intended Audience

  • People who want to become Azure developers
  • Non-developers who want to build point-and-click solutions
  • Solution architects

Prerequisites

  • General exposure to basic cloud technology
  • Familiarity with the Azure Portal

Transcript

Workflow. To give you an idea of how you could use logic apps and workflows, let's start with an example of a simple business process. A part needs to be replaced on a delivery truck and this triggers a request for the purchase of the new part. This seems simple enough but when the price of the part is sourced, it turns out that the purchase needs to be approved by a manager because it exceeds a certain dollar value. 

Here's where a workflow can come in. A workflow could be used to monitor the request for the part and also to route the request to an employee with a higher signing authority for approval. You could've modeled the purchase process using handwritten software but this would mean reinventing the wheel every time you have a new process to deal with. Another consideration for traditional software is that the state of the user's input needs to be remembered and monitored over a long period of time. This is also known as persistence. The workflow approach involves a centralized workflow engine that can take care of the monitoring and long-term memory requirements that come with a business process. The workflow history is usually recorded as a job and the users can look at that history to de-snag a process that is stuck. 

Let's go one step further with our parts purchase. It turns out that the manager who normally could sign off on that purchase went on leave. There are other managers who could approve but the information is not documented so this results in more delays. The delivery truck remains in the garage, leading to a backup in other business activities. 

Here's another situation where an independent workflow system can shine compared to a traditional handwritten software approach. The workflow could be configured to activate a timer for the approval process, contact a list of alternate managers to the one who went on leave, or even to circle back to the person who initiated the purchase process, letting them know that it was stuck at that point. We will talk about conditions and actions later as a way to model and handle these kinds of problems. 

Another important point about workflows is you want them to be able to talk to as many of the other business systems as possible. Ideally, you want to be able to connect to and consume information from many sources both inside the organization and outside. We will mention connectors as a feature of logic apps. 

There are many brands and vendors who have come up with software solutions to tackle the workflow challenge. Microsoft developed the Windows Workflow Foundation, WWF, as a standard workflow engine and this can be used by Visual Studio developers to create a sequential or state machine design. Many Microsoft Server products feature built-in workflows, including SharePoint and several members of the Dynamics product line. PowerShell also features a workflow approach that can automate tasks in Azure. Logic apps present a consistent, flexible, and easy-to-use approach to building workflows in Azure. You have a similar functionality in Office 365 using PowerApps and Flow but there are some differences in extensibility and pricing.

About the Author

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Derrick is a content contributor and trainer for Microsoft cloud technologies like Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. He works across North America and Europe to help companies and organizations with these technology shifts. Before that he has worn many hats but prefers to wear them one at a time.

When he is not night walking during his travels, you can find him on a bicycle path or performing guitar solos to an imaginary audience in his basement.