Stef’s Monthtly Update – September 2017

Stef’s Monthtly Update – September 2017

September 2017, the last month at Macaw and about to onboard on a new journey at Codit Company. And I looking forward to it. It will mean more travelling, speaking engagements and other cool things. #Cyanblue is the new blue.

Below a picture of Tomasso, Eldert, me, Dominic (NoBuG), and Kristian in Olso (top floor or Communicate office).

I did a talk about Event Grid at NoBug wearing my Codit shirt for the first time.

Month September

September was a month filled with new challenges. I onboarded the Middleware Friday team and released two episodes (31 and 33):

Moreover, I really enjoyed doing these type of videos and looking forward to create a few more as I will be presenting an episide every alternating week. Subsequently, Kent will continu with episodes focussed around Microsoft Cloud offerings such as Microsoft Flow. And my focus will be integration in general.

In September I did a few blog posts on my own blog and BizTalk360 blog:

This month I only read one book. Yet it was a good book called: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck from Mark Manson.

Music

My favorite albums in September were:

  • Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
  • Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep
  • Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness Of Decay
  • Enter Shikari – The Spark
  • Myrkur – Mareridt
  • Arch Enemy – Will To Power
  • Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven

Running

In September I continued with training and preparing for next months half marathons in London and Amsterdam.

October will be filled with speaking engagements ranging from Integration Monday to Integrate US 2017 in Redmond.

Cheers,

Steef-Jan

Author: Steef-Jan Wiggers

Steef-Jan Wiggers is all in on Microsoft Azure, Integration, and Data Science. He has over 15 years’ experience in a wide variety of scenarios such as custom .NET solution development, overseeing large enterprise integrations, building web services, managing projects, designing web services, experimenting with data, SQL Server database administration, and consulting. Steef-Jan loves challenges in the Microsoft playing field combining it with his domain knowledge in energy, utility, banking, insurance, health care, agriculture, (local) government, bio-sciences, retail, travel and logistics. He is very active in the community as a blogger, TechNet Wiki author, book author, and global public speaker. For these efforts, Microsoft has recognized him a Microsoft MVP for the past 7 years.

Microsoft Flow Buttons Integration

Microsoft Flow Buttons Integration

Microsoft has been providing support for a lot of external services such as BTTN, Flic etc., to trigger a Microsoft Flow by pressing a button. BTTN is a physical button made by The Button Corporation, while Flic is an offering from Shortcut Labs. In this blog, we will take a look at how we can trigger a Microsoft Flow by integrating with BTTN service. Credits to the Microsoft team for offering these hooks to connect to external services.

Scenario

To explain the integration with Microsoft Flow buttons, let’s consider this scenario. We will have a virtual BTTN named Conference Room 1 Bttn which will be specific to a conference room at Contoso company. The purpose of this button is to seek immediate assistance from the IT Help desk team at Contoso for any issues in the conference room (such as WiFi not working, need extra VGA/HDMI cable connector, etc.,). When the virtual Bttn is pressed, a Microsoft Flow will run in the background that will automatically send an email to the IT Help desk team and notify them on their Microsoft Teams channel. When the agent picks up the case, the person who triggered the Bttn will be notified (via email) about the status of the ticket.

What is BTTN? How to get my BTTN?

BTTN or BT.TN is a very simple internet user interface which when pressed can be used to trigger any specific action. You can imagine BTTN as a physical button (Ex., the emergency red button on train engines or big machinery) which can trigger an action when pressed.

BTTN is available as a physical button for different purposes such as simple laundry pickup in one click, call a taxi with the click of a button, assistance when something is not right in the conference room, and so on. You can purchase these physical buttons from here.

BTTN has the built-in capability to integrate with the following services – Facebook, Twitter, Email, SMS, Microsoft Flows, IFTTT, Zapier, and HTTP.

Virtual BTTN

BTTN Corporation also has a virtual button (a smart cloud service) that has the capability to execute an action on one of the above-mentioned integrations in a couple of mouse clicks without having to write any code.

Getting your free Bttn

You can easily claim your virtual bttn from here. The virtual bttn is free of cost and you can use it for 30 days. Simply complete the cart payment step (of course without spending any money!) and you will see a confirmation message saying your virtual bttn will be delivered in 2 business days.

Registering your Bttn

However, it usually just takes about 6-8 hours for your virtual bttn to be delivered on to your mailbox. In the email, you will be presented with a link to register your bttn. Enter the Bttn device ID and the authentication code which is available in the registration link. These fields will be automatically populated if you click the link from your email. Accept the terms & privacy policy and click Register.

You will be prompted to create a password. Once done, log in with your email address and password. You will notice the screen that will display your virtual bttn.

  • Click Settings icon (gear icon) to change the name of your button to a meaningful name. Ex., Conference Room 1 Button

  • Click the Set Action icon (Lightning icon) to define the trigger for the Bttn — what action should be performed when the bttn is clicked. Ex., when bttn is pressed, execute a Microsoft Flow to send email to technical support team requesting assistance at the conference room.

  • Click the Rocket Launcher icon to launch your virtual bttn. We will hold on to this step for a while till we create the Flow execution steps.

Creating the Microsoft Flow

Now that we have created the virtual Bttn, let’s move to the next step of creating the Microsoft Flow. Microsoft Flow has pre-built Flow templates readily available for BTTN integration. In the search screen, enter “Bttn” to filter out the templates for Bttn.

We will use the predefined “Use Bttn to call technical support for meeting room” Microsoft Flow template for our scenario. Click the template.

To start using the template, you need to define the BTTN and authorize Microsoft Flow to be able to access the Bttn. Similarly, you need to configure Office 365 Outlook to be able to trigger emails when the Bttn is pressed.

Next, we will define the Flow steps to match our scenario.

Step 1: Trigger to execute when the Bttn is pressed

Step 2: Notification to Microsoft Teams Channel of IT Help desk team

Step 3: Trigger email with options (Acknowledge/Reject) to the support engineer

Step 4: Condition to execute depending on the option chosen by the support engineer. The ‘Yes’ block will execute if the support person acknowledges the request.

That’s it! You have now configured the Flow required for the scenario. Let’s see how the scenario will work in real time.

Demo

To get the scenario working, the first step is to trigger the virtual button. Navigate to your button home page and click the Rocket Launcher icon to launch your virtual bttn. You will see a new tab opening with a big red button (which is your virtual bttn that will trigger the Microsoft Flow that we created earlier). The status of the bttn will be in an Idle state.

Press the virtual Bttn once to trigger the Microsoft Flow. You will notice a yellow color light glowing around the button that signifies the Flow is executing. The status of the bttn will now be in the “Processing” state. Within the next few seconds, the IT Help desk team will receive the notification first on the Microsoft Teams channel with information about the issue.

The IT help desk team will also receive an email with acknowledgment options to their email id.

When the Acknowledge button is pressed, the flow will further execute to the condition part and execute the ‘Yes’ block that will trigger back a confirmation email to the registered bttn email id with the confirmation message.

Once the Flow is complete, you will notice that the status of the Flow button will be Green with the status as Positive Result.

Flow Run History and BTTN Logs

You can take a look at the Run History to view the list of runs of the flow and time taken to execute the flow.

Alternatively, you can take a look at the diagnostics information from the Bttn perspective through the Log section on your bttn homepage.

I hope you got a fair idea of how you can take advantage of Microsoft’s investment into integrating different services that open up a plethora of opportunities to integrate different systems. One of the slightest modifications to this scenario could be to directly log the issues into ServiceNow portal (if your organization is using ServiceNow for keeping track of the issues). You can use HTTP + Swagger action and define APIs for ServiceNow so that you can directly log tickets into ServiceNow from Microsoft Flow. Kent Weare demonstrated this scenario on Episode 27 of Middleware Friday. You can watch the video recording of the session 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”.

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: July 17

Microsoft Integration Weekly Update: July 17

Do you feel difficult to keep up to date on all the frequent updates and announcements in the Microsoft Integration platform?

Integration weekly update can be your solution. It’s a weekly update on the topics related to Integration – enterprise integration, robust & scalable messaging capabilities and Citizen Integration capabilities empowered by Microsoft platform to deliver value to the business.

If you want to receive these updates weekly, then don’t forget to Subscribe!

On-Premise Integration:

Cloud and Hybrid Integration:

Feedback

Hope this would be helpful. Please feel free to let me know your feedback on the Integration weekly series.

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Azure Logic Apps – Retry Policy (Middleware Friday)

Azure Logic Apps – Retry Policy (Middleware Friday)

This blog will give you a recap of the feature content that was discussed as a part of Episode 22 of Middleware Friday. In this episode, Kent Weare discussed a small, yet very interesting feature in Azure Logic Apps – the Retry Policy.

Logic App Retry Policy

To understand the Retry Policy better, let’s assume we have an endpoint that is consumed by Logic Apps. If the endpoint has some intermittent issues, and the initial request fails to execute, the number of retries will be attempted based on the “retry count” default settings. By default, the retry action will execute 4 additional times over 20-second intervals. The retry policy applies to intermittent failure HTTP codes like 408, 429, 5xx series. You can define the retry policy as follows:

"retryPolicy" : {
     "type": "<type-of-retry-policy>",
     "interval": <retry-interval>,
     "count": <number-of-retry-attempts>
}

The maximum number of retry attempts that can be made is 4. If you try tweaking the retry count in the JSON, during the Logic App execution you will notice an exception as “The provided retry count of ‘value’ is not valid. The retry count must be a positive number no greater than ‘4’“. Similarly, the maximum delay for a retry can be set to 1 hour while the minimum delay is 5 seconds. Azure Logic Apps uses ISO 8601 standards for the above mentioned time durations and you need to define the interval in one of the following formats –

PnYnMnDTnHnMnS
PnW
P<date>T<time>

Demo – With Default Retry Mechanism

Kent demonstrated the Azure Logic App Retry Policy with the help of the following Logic App example –

Prerequisite: Create a Logic App before proceeding with the steps shown below

  1. First, let’s start with a Blank Logic App. In the Logic App designer, we will get started with creating a simple HTTP request trigger.
  2. Next, we will create an HTTP POST method and give a fake URL (URI) to allow the retry mechanism to kick in
  3. Finally, an HTTP response action with the status code of 200 to complete the Logic App

When we execute the Logic App, you will notice that the default retry mechanism (4 attempts, once every 20 seconds) will kick in.

After about 70 seconds, the fourth retry is performed.

Finally, after 80 seconds, the Logic App execution will fail and the corresponding error will be displayed in the Logic App Designer.

You can alter the retry mechanism by entering the code view and modifying the code with the values as shown previously in the blog post.

Therefore, the demo clearly shows how the retry policy works out of the box in Logic Apps and how you can customize the retry policy within its limits. You can watch the video of this session here –

Feedback Survey

If you have any specific topics of interest at Middleware Friday, you can fill in this survey. Alternatively, you can tweet at @MiddlewareFri or drop an email to middlewarefriday@gmail.com with your topics of preference.

You can watch the Middleware Friday sessions 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”.