Azure Logic Apps Monthly Update – August 2016

September 7, 2016

Azure Logic Apps August update

The Azure Logic Apps team conducted their thirteenth monthly Google Hangout session on August 30, 2016. This session came after Azure Logic Apps went for General Availability (GA) on July 27, 2016. The key updates from the monthly webcast are as follows –

BizTalk Server Connector

This was one of the major announcements from the Product team on this webcast. With the BizTalk Server connector, you can now connect your Azure Logic app to an on premise BizTalk server. The first look of this feature was earlier shown as a demo at the Integrate 2016 event earlier this year. This feature has been made available in all the Azure regions. The BizTalk connector comes on top of the BizTalk adapter that was shipped few months ago after the BizTalk 2016 CTP 2 release.

MQ/DB2/Informix Connectors

Azure Logic Apps now have the extended capability to deliver rich on-premise connectivity to classic systems and enrich the enterprise scenarios.

Visual Studio Online Connector

This connector allows you to connect to your Visual Studio account and you can perform activities such as a trigger a new build, etc.

Comments in Designer

You can now add comments to your actions and steps within the logic app. By doing this, you can create documentation within the Azure Logic Apps. This functionality gets really useful when your Azure Logic App becomes more complex with many conditions and you can maintain documentation for each step and action in the Logic App.

Enterprise Templates

The Logic Apps team have added a lot of capabilities with the EDI and B2B scenarios. In case you missed, check out Jon Fancey/Kevin Lam session from the Integrate 2016 event where they discussed the road map and what’s coming in Logic Apps in terms of enterprise capabilities.

When you create a new Logic App, you can now see all the templates right at the top of the page so that you can start using them out-of-the-box. With templates, you can create a logic app and choose the templates that are available to use within the Logic App.

Azure Logic Apps - Enterprise Templates

Quick Start Templates

There is also a quick start template that is now available which has the capability to provision an Integration Account as a part of the template. The Integration Account is a container that stores the various artifacts you need for complex business process workloads such as TPAs, schemas for XML validation and maps for transformation, etc. The Integration Account currently provides support for the following artifact types – XML schemas, XSLT-based maps, Trading Partners, Trading Partner Agreements and Certificates.

With the quick start template, all you need to do is to provide your subscription information and the template will automatically create the logic app and everything else that goes into the integration account to get it up and running as quickly as possible with less manual intervention.

For example, there is a pre-defined quick start template to create a VETER pipeline using Logic Apps. This template creates an integration account, adds schema/map into it, creates a logic app and associates it with the integration account. Once the integration account is created and set up, the logic app implements a VETER pipeline using XML validation, XPath extract, and Transform XML operations. You can refer the documentation regarding using this template to create a VETER pipeline using Logic Apps here.

The only major pre-requisite to implement the enterprise template is that you need to first create an Azure Function app and provide its name in the parameters when creating the template.

Difference between a Quick Start Template and an Enterprise Template

Enterprise template allows you to create a Logic app that shows the list of all actions and triggers that are needed for the logic app to execute.

The Quick Start Template is a deployment template that contains all the components required to get the integration account up and running (such as Maps, Schemas, etc.,) in addition to the Logic app.

Compose Action

You can now construct a new message within the Logic App. Say, your message had a particular shape when it came into the Logic app and you want to modify it, you can take the output of the different actions and construct a new message using the Compose action feature.

One last interesting stuff that Jon Fancey demonstrated during the webcast was the currently-in-development stage of getting the Integration account as a part of Visual Studio. The Product Group team is working hard to release this new feature. Once it is made available, you can start using your integration account (and the associated schemas, maps, etc) for your custom development purposes using Visual Studio.

What’s In Progress in Azure Logic Apps?

In this section, we will list out the items that the Azure Logic Apps team are working on and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

  • API Management Integration – deliver an experience very similar to Functions, Workflows, API apps to view the list of APIs that are managed by the API management and use it as a connector in your designer
  • SAS Key Management
  • Visual Studio tooling for Integration accounts
  • Redesigned Parameter selection experience – If your action has a lot of outputs or if your action had lots of steps previously, when you try to open the action, you will see a lot of tokens. The current designer limitations cause it to consume a lot of space and makes it difficult to navigate. The team is working to give this a better design experience
  • Peek/Lock and Complete for Service Bus

If you are working on logic apps and have something interesting, feel free to share them with the Azure Logic Apps team via email or you can tweet to them at @logicappsio. You can also vote for features that you feel are important and that you’d like to see in logic apps here.

The Logic Apps team are currently running a survey to know how the product/features are useful for you as a user. The team would like to understand your experiences with the product. You can take the survey here.

If you ever wanted to get in touch with the Azure Logic Apps team, here’s how you do it!

Azure Logic Apps - Reach out to the team

You can watch the full video here to get a feel of the new features that were discussed during the webcast.

Previous Updates

In case you missed the earlier updates from the Logic Apps team, take a look at our recap blogs here –

Author: Sriram Hariharan

Sriram Hariharan is the Senior Technical and Content Writer at BizTalk360. He has over 9 years of experience working as documentation specialist for different products and domains. Writing is his passion and he believes in the following quote - “As wings are for an aircraft, a technical document is for a product — be it a product document, user guide, or release notes”.

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