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Logic App

Background

Logic Apps is a service offered by Microsoft Azure which promotes the serverless architecture design. Anyone can use Logic Apps to create, edit and deploy cloud-based integrations and workflows. It requires minimal effort in development / deployment, in comparison to other on-premise integration tools such as Microsoft BizTalk server, where the development to deployment time is very high. Microsoft is investing heavily in this new technology and introducing many connectors to suit the demands of the growing integration industry.

Logic Apps is a fully-managed service with no infrastructure requirements. The aim of this technology is to reduce the time from development to production, drastically. There are many ready made components with predefined functionality, that the developers can use to achieve desired results. This means that there is no need to write a single line of code to achieve your integration as you can use pre-defined components.

Logic Apps Consists of Four Components:

  • Connectors: The most basic element is a Connector which is a code element that allows connectivity to a service. It needs API information for the respective service.

  • Triggers: Triggers are used along with Connectors to initiate the Logic Apps workflow. It defines what action would act as a trigger to fire the logic app.

  • Conditions: If you need to put some conditions, like filters, in your Logic App, then you can use Conditions. These are optional components and need not be part of every Logic App.

  • Actions: Everything in Logic Apps is an action, be it triggers, control flow, conditions, or looping. An action is what the developer chooses to do with the input received from a a Connector.

Features:

  • Image Acquisition

  • Image Processing

  • Image Analysis and Understanding

Features:

Logic Apps provide many features to the users when it comes to Cloud–based integration and workflows.

Prominent Features of Logic Apps:
  1. Cost: There is no initial cost for setting up as there is no infrastructure is involved. There is no maintenance or ongoing cost either. The payment works on a consumption basis, so you are only charged for the number of actions you execute.

  2. Development: Development in Logic Apps is fairly easy, as you don’t have to think about algorithms and code. There are ready-made components that makes the process of development effortless and quick. You can also select between three development models as per your preference.

  3. Performance: Logic Apps are always ready to process a message or execute their actions, making them extremely scalable. Apart from third party API calls or calls to cold function and connectors hitting threshold, there is no glitch in the performance of Logic Apps.

  4. Deployment: Logic Apps are very light and are a collection of JSON files, therefore it’s easy to deploy them. VSTS has built-in tasks for deploying Logic Apps. Developers can create custom deployment tasks for CI/CD using external tools as well as Azure CLI. This makes DevOps very efficient.

  5. APIM: Since Logic Apps support Http triggers that can be called externally, they become ideal for creating API endpoints, which support a host of web services within an organization. API management also supports various other activities like throttling, caching and authorization.

How is SolCen using this Technology?

SolCen serves one of the biggest luxury houses in the fashion industry which has businesses scattered all over the world. This stands as the perfect solution as different geographical locations have different laws in finance, taxing, employee payroll, customer data, etc.

Solcen uses Logic Apps to act as a gateway so that all requests for a particular application from the world overpasses through a common gateway and messages using Azure Blob. In addition to this, it helps in tracking all the messages – inbound and outbound. This also helps  debugging, in case of any issue or error.

SolCen also uses Logic Apps to automate various business processes like email notifications, payment receipts triggering, invoice triggering, etc. API, a feature of Azure is used as a reverse proxy to route all external http requests via Logic Apps to SolCen’s in- house services. This approach enhances security and provides a robust solution for connecting in-house solutions with external APIs.

With the release of BizTalk 2016, there is a Logic Apps Connector which makes the development of very complex integration solutions possible. These solutions are purely hybrid, accessing the best out of both technologies. BizTalk has been in the integration game for a very long time now and combining it with a cloud integration platform like Logic Apps opens many opportunities. At SolCen, we have developed some very robust solutions using the hybrid solution of BizTalk and Logic Apps. While Logic Apps is fairly new and does not support large volumes or some complicated features that are supported in BizTalk, hence making it a very effective solution for simple integration solutions. The hybrid solution used at SolCen is the best example of a hybrid solution for business process automation.

Conclusion

Logic Apps is a very powerful service that allows developers and enterprises to make the most of Integration. LogicApps ready-made components and light-weight design, supported with an easy DevOps process, sets the standard for any enterprise looking to automate its services or integrate with external APIs. That being said, LogicApps is not yet powerful enough to be the main integration middleware solution for big enterprises, since these organisations have very complicated data rules that are not yet feasible to be developed in Logic Apps independently. As of now, the best approach is to use a hybrid solution using both – an on-premise solution like BizTalk and Logic Apps. Furthermore, Microsoft is frequently adding connectors to Logic Apps with the aim to make Logic Apps the best middleware technology in the market.

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Aman Kumar

Aman is a Senior Software Developer from the Integration team, who loves working on new technologies and solving day to day corporate challenges using technology.

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