Getting Started with Microsoft Flow and PowerApps

Note: When migrating my blog I noticed that the images in this post were out of date so I removed them. 4/May/2016

Last week, on the 26th of May I did a demo for a Youth2Work event, and to “kill two birds with one stone” I’ve decided to write a blog post on it.

Microsoft Flow and Microsoft PowerApps are two very new tools introduced to help make quick and simple business apps without the need for a single line of code. As of writing this post, they were only released out of beta for a few weeks (and are still in preview) – so some things may have changed depending on when you’re reading this.

This tutorial will use Microsoft Flow to grab new posts from the Windows Central RSS feed and save them to Excel. If the post has “Microsoft” in the title, it will save the post to a different table. We’ll then use Microsoft Flow to email us when a new post is created.

Once we have Flow working properly, we’ll go to Microsoft PowerApps and create an app to easily display the data which is now hosted on the Excel file.

Create your Excel file

  • Log into OneDrive or OneDrive for Business and go to a folder where you’d like to save the file.
  • In the top corner click New -> Excel Workbook
  • Rename Sheet1 to “AllPosts”
  • Add a second sheet and rename to “TaggedMicrosoft”
  • On both sheets, add 3 column headers: Title, Link, and PublishedBy
  • Format as a Table by highlighting columns A-C and clicking “Format as Table”
  • Click File -> Save As -> Rename and rename the document to “WindowsCentralPosts”

Note: AllPosts will be automatically labelled as Table1, and TaggedMicrosoft will be labelled as Table2. You’ll need this later when we work with PowerApps. If you’d like you can open the Excel file in the desktop application and update the names of the tables to make it easier remember later.

Create your Flow

  • Go to http://flow.microsoft.com and log in with your work or student Microsoft account.
  • Click My Flows
  • Click Create New Flow
  • Add RSS – I found the RSS feed link from Windows Central here. Make sure this is in XML format.
  • Add a Condition to check if Microsoft is in the title of the feed. Note: The value field is case sensitive.
  • If “Yes” add to Table2 (which meansthe post contains the word Microsoft)and if “No” add to Table1 (the title of the post does not contain the word Microsoft) in Excel. - Title = “Feed title”
  • Link = “Feed ID”
  • Published = “Feed Published on”
  • Finally, use Office 365 to send an email to yourself by adding this final piece.
  • Give your flow a name and click “Create Flow”

Now that you have your Microsoft Flow complete it’s probably a good time to take a short break. You’ll need some data to populate here – so don’t move on until there’s a few posts that have gone through to the Excel.

You can check your Excel file by refreshing it – and you can also see if there were any problems or how many times it ran by clicking the Info button on the My Flows page.

Create your PowerApp

  • Go to http://powerapps.microsoft.com and log in with the same account you did previously for Flow.
  • Click “New App” in the bottom left corner of the screen.

  • When given the option, click to create an app from your data on OneDrive for Business (or OneDrive – depending on what you did earlier).

  • Navigate to your Excel file and select the data you want to appear in the app. Remember, Table1 is AllPosts and Table2 is TaggedMicrosoft. For this example, I selected Table2 so that I’m only working with the posts which have Microsoft in the title.
  • Click Connect in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and PowerApps will start building you an app! You’ll see below when it’s finished.
  • You can change the layout by clicking on Quick Tools.
  • You can change the color by clicking on Theme.
  • You can click the “Play” button in the top right corner of your screen to see it in action.
  • When you’re finished editing click File -> Save, and click The Cloud.
  • With a few simple tweaks you can make your app look something like this for example…

Hope you found that helpful. Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter @mesch13 to let me know how you got on.

More resources:

Getting Started with Microsoft Flow

Getting Started with Microsoft PowerApps