Logic App ALM Process for Dynamics 365 Integration – ALM Part 2

In the previous blog  – we looked into working with Logic Apps from Visual Studio, which allowed us to manage logic app code in TFS or Git or any other source control system. But to truly do DevOps for Logic Apps while integrating with Dynamics 365 you need to be able to do ALM process for Logic Apps better yet do continuous delivery/deployment.

when we are editing and deploying a Logic app in Visual Studio we are actually editing an ARM Template, So what is an ARM template?

ARM templates are JSON format template, it enables you to deploy Azure resources in a declarative manner and could be used to define all the resources in a resource group.

An Empty ARM Template Schema

{
"$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2015-01-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
"contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
"parameters": { },
"variables" : { },
"resources": [],
"outputs": { }
}

To add a resource in ARM template, resource details are declared under resources properties, there could be multiple resources. Below is a sample of Empty Logic app added to empty ARM Template.

{
  "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2015-01-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
  "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
  "parameters": {}, //ARM parameters
  "variables": {}, //ARM template variables
  "resources": [
    {
      "name": "Logic APP Name",
      "type": "Microsoft.Logic/workflows",
      "location": "West US",
      "tags": {"displayName": "LogicApp" },
      "apiVersion": "2016-06-01",
      "properties": {
        "definition": {
          "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/providers/Microsoft.Logic/schemas/2016-06-01/workflowdefinition.json#",
          "contentVersion": "1.0.0.0",
          "actions": {},
          "outputs": {},
          "parameters": {},//Logic App defination parameters defination
          "triggers": {}
        },
        "parameters": {}   //parameter values
      }
    }
  ],
  "outputs": {}
}

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Migrating Microsoft Flow To Azure Logic App Service

With the increasing popularity of Microsoft Flow and ease of setup quite often we start with a self-service integration using Microsoft Flow and later need to switch them to Azure Logic apps.

As Flow is built on the top of Logic Apps it’s a simple export-import(Export and Deploy) process to switch them over. In this blog, we will go over converting an existing flow integration to Logic Apps Service.

I have built a Flow which is triggered when a case is created in Dynamics 365 and in turns creates a work item in Visual Studio Team services for the team to work on. As a lot of Cases are being submitted I will switch them over to Logic Apps for better monitoring.

In order to migrate my first step is to export this Flow as Logic Apps from My Flow Page.

Once exported, Create a new ARM project of template type Logic App in Visual Studio.

This will create a LogicApp.json in the project, update the content of this with the content from the exported flow as a LogicApp (Ctrl + C, Ctrl +V).

Add a Name for the logic App in the included Parameter file(LogicApp.parameters.json).

Next step is to deploy the logic App to Azure, to do this right click on Project and select Deploy. Select the Azure subscription and the Resource Group and hit Deploy.

Once Deployment is complete, Navigate to Azure and to the newly deployed Logic App, If you have used a connector which in turn is using a connection then you will need to complete the auth for the connection.

Now your Logic App is ready to be enabled but before you do so, ensure that you have disabled original Flow integration.


The blog only covers the simple migration process from Flow to Logic App, but you can make additional edits and customization to Logic App from Visual Studio prior to deploying or in Logic App designer before enabling the Logic App.

The exported Logic App may also contain and password or sensitive information, in Case you are adding the logic App to Source control, I will suggest moving the sensitive information to KeyVault instead of keeping them in Source control.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for Logic App gets an update

Last week Microsoft released an update for Dynamics 365 Connector for Logic App, there are few long-awaited features in this update which I am excited about.

With this update Microsoft has added support for option sets being exposed as strings in the response, this used to be a challenge earlier as Optionset value and mapping had to be hardcoded in the Logic app or Azure Functions.

the difference in the options set value in the output:


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Integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 using Azure Logic App Service

In this post I’ll discuss Data Integration using Azure Logic App Service, we will create a Logic app that gets triggered when a case is created in Dynamics 365 and inturns creates a work item in Visual Studio Team services for the team to work on.

Logic App workflow is built using series of actions and Connectors, and has its own JSON based workflow definition schema, for details refer to my blog on The Basics of Azure Logic Apps Schema and Codeview editing

Pre-requisites
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online instance (On-premise instance could be used as well using Azure Data Gateway)
  • Microsoft Azure subscription for creating a Logic APP (If you don’t have an Azure subscription you can either use Try a Logic App feature which creates a logic app for an hour or you may sign up for a Trial account.)
  • Visual Studio Team services account (SignUp link).

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Basics of Azure Logic Apps Schema and Codeview editing

Integrations using Logic App could be a fun exercise. Logic App provides a visual designer to model and automate your workflow process as a series of steps called as workflow designer UI,  for complex requirement Code view comes handy. In this blog, I will talk about the structure of logic app definition.

Let’s start with some basic components of Logic App.

    • Logic App Visual designer actually creates a JSON file with workflow definitions. JSON structure for Logic app

{
"$schema": "",
"contentVersion": "",
"parameters": { },
"triggers": [ { } ],
"actions": [ { } ],
"outputs": { }
}

$Schema, content version and static values and are set to schema and version automatically.

Parameters are important as they help parameterize the logic app and assist with Deployments and change management. I will go more in-depth in my subsequent blog on Logic App and Change management/ALM.

Triggers: define the trigger criteria for the workflow. to access the output of trigger @triggerBody() could be used.

Actions: define the actions within the workflow, actions are nested and using runAfter you may define the dependent action or parallel action flow.

Outputs: refer to the response of the workflow post execution of all the actions. Most of our Integration scenario doesn’t use the output as we will have another action to consume the output.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Integrations

In today’s business, it’s key to have Unified systems and process. Often businesses struggle to integrate enterprise data across their ever-growing number of applications and systems, resulting in applications which are meant to help but actually harm productivity.

Disconnected systems often overload employees with much of the painstaking work of searching data, data entry, data processing, and business analysis, and in some cases, data synchronization is manual and the onus of data integrity across systems will fall to employees.

When businesses invest in digital transformation projects to improve efficiency and gain a competitive edge, they have to plan on how new systems and apps will interact with each other. Burdening their employees with the task of manually migrating data between various systems easily counteracts any ROI.

Almost every Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation requires some level of Integration in real or near real time with other systems. At first, Microsoft Dynamics integration may seem like a daunting task but there are a lot of tools by Microsoft and ISV’s which makes it easier, Let’s dive in and look into some of the key options which have almost become industry standards for Dynamics 365 Integrations.

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