Apr 3, 2018 8:16:00 AM
Senior Consultant, Technology
Meet my favourite tool from Azure: Logic Apps, which essentially is a composite serverless solution. You can connect with 3rd party APIs via out-of-the-box connectors without writing a single line of code. If you use other Azure services such as database or storage, integrating with them is easy peasy with CRUD support and event triggers. Scaling is handled automatically and you need to pay only for what you use. Sounds pretty great, right?
I’ll present a practical example on how Logic Apps can be used.
Let’s say you’re working with a logger service, which sends daily logs as a CSV file attached to an email. You want to save it for later use, then analyse it and send an alert if there is something suspicious. Should you need to build all of that by yourself, the steps would be something like this:
Here Logic Apps saves the file in Azure Storage. Those “Attachments” and “Content” are automatically generated from the previous connector, in our case the Gmail connector. “For each” -loop is also automatically created, as “Attachments” can be multiple instances. We can also use some generic function like “utcNow()” for simple logic.
Next, the file is passed onto Azure Functions. This is the place where you write your own code to do your custom analysis of the log data. Now that all other integrations are ready-made, you can focus on writing state-of-the-art analysis code.Let’s say the Analyse function responds with JSON, then the next step is to parse it. You’ll find a connector for that as well.
With these and many other connectors, and using custom logic by Azure Functions where needed, you can go quite far with little coding and maintenance.
Even though I focused on Azure specific tools, there are other tools which work in similar manner (eg. AWS Step Functions). The idea behind it all is applicable to many uses cases. Service integration should be a reusable commodity, enabling us developers to build a solution by composing multiple services and thus reserving focus on growing the client’s business.
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