Go local with Azure Logic Apps development

Low- and no-code development have become key for digital transformation, giving information workers the tools to build the apps they need. There’s a significant app gap, one that under-resourced development teams are increasingly unable to fill. So giving tools to end-users to write code makes a lot of sense, as it lets them scratch their itches, building process automations that allow them to concentrate on the more complex parts of their tasks.

Microsoft has been rolling out enhancements to its Power Platform process automation suite, with a focus on working with its line-of-business Dynamics 365 suite. But the Power Platform isn’t the only low-code environment in Microsoft’s developer toolbox; Azure also offers a process automation workflow tool in the shape of its serverless Logic Apps.

Business process automation in Azure

Although Logic Apps is often thought of as a no-code tool, it’s better understood as an alternative to the venerable BizTalk business automation tool. When you build a Logic App, you’re providing basic rules for linking more than one application with a network of components, providing the rules and structure needed for message routing.

With Logic Apps, events from one application can be processed and routed to another using connectors to translate them into the appropriate format for an API. The systems being connected don’t need to be event driven; the connectors handle translation from event to write to RPC call to, well, however the application interacts with the world—even down to remotely driving a green-screen user interface.

It’s very much a developer-focused tool, helping fill the other app gap: the space between applications that weren’t intended to be used together, but when connected fulfil vital business functions. Using a serverless process automation tool helps solve a lot of problems; you don’t need to provision hardware, and you can use it to build hybrid applications that bridge SaaS platforms and on-premises code.

At first sight Logic Apps looks very like Power Apps, with a similar graphical editor for process flows. A recent update added a new design tool that helps visualize more complex workflows, as the application being built using Logic Apps uses more and more features, building out workflow rules that could be hard to display. Microsoft will continue to build on the new Logic Apps layout engine, adding features that come with the new Logic Apps runtime.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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