Tools to call Microsoft Graph API endpoints as a User and application

This blogpost will help you to explore and interact with MS graph API endpoint’s using the following tools

  • Postman client
    • Signed in as a user/On-behalf-of API call (Delegated permission)
    • Application/daemon API call (Application permissions)
  • Graph Explorer

I have used MS graph extensively on different MS cloud services like SharePoint, PowerAutomate, PowerApps, Azure services like Azure functions and on devices like Raspberry Pi. It is a very powerful service in Microsoft 365 platform. Let start with some basics

Introduction:

MS Graph API is a RESTful web API which enables you to access different Microsoft 365 cloud service resources through its unified programmability model.

Microsoft Graph exposes REST APIs and client libraries to access data on the following Microsoft cloud services:

  • Microsoft 365 services: Delve, Excel, Microsoft Bookings, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook/Exchange, Planner, SharePoint, Workplace Analytics.
  • Enterprise Mobility and Security services: Advanced Threat Analytics, Advanced Threat Protection, Azure Active Directory, Identity Manager, and Intune.
  • Windows 10 services: activities, devices, notifications, Universal Print (preview).
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Permission Types:

MS Graph exposes granular permissions that controls the access of the apps that has to the different resources like sites, users, groups etc. There are two types of permission

  • Delegated permissions are used by apps that have a signed-in user present. For these apps, either the user or an administrator consents to the permissions that the app requests and the app can act as the signed-in user when making calls to Microsoft Graph.
  • Application permissions are used by apps that run without a signed-in user present. For e.g Apps that run as background services or daemons. Application permissions can only be consented by an administrator.

Access token:

To call a MS Graph API all you need is an access token in the authorization header of an HTTP request.

GET https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/me/ HTTP/1.1

Host: graph.microsoft.com

Authorization: Bearer EwAoA8l6BAAU … 7PqHGsykYj7A0XqHCjbKKgWSkcAg==

The access tokens are issued by the Microsoft identity platform which contains information to validate if the requestor has appropriate permissions to perform the operation they are requesting. An active directory app is a pre-requisite to generate an access token to call a Graph API endpoint.

There are also Microsoft identity platform authentication libraries for .NET, JS Android, Objective-C, Python, Java, Angular facilitating validation, cookie handling, token caching and on maintaining a secure connection. Let’s now go ahead and see the tools

MS Graph Explorer:

Graph explorer is a web-based tool which can be used to build and test requests using Microsoft Graph API. The explorer can be accessed from the following URL:

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/graph-explorer

There will be a default Active directory application on the Organizational Active directory of the M365 tenant by the name Graph Explorer with application id de8bc8b5-d9f9-48b1-a8ad-b748da725064. This app can be accessed from the Enterprise applications blade of the Active directory as shown below

Delegated permissions are used by Graph Explorer. Based on your access role & admin consent’s you would be able to call different Microsoft Graph API from this tool. After you have signed into the Graph Explorer tool, the access token will be generated automatically

To view the token information, copy the token and paste it on the utility https://jwt.ms/

If your token has a scp (Scope) claim, then it’s a user based token (Delegated permissions). It is a JSON string containing a space separated list of scope the use has access to call different graph endpoints.

Postman Client:

Postman is a tool that can be used to build and test requests using the Microsoft graph API’s. To use this tool for testing the Graph API endpoint’s, register an app in Azure Active directory as per the instructions from this blog post. Provide the permission (Delegated & Application) as per your need to test it using Postman.

Copy the client id, client secret & tenant ID of the registered app. To access the various endpoints like authorization and token, click on the Endpoints from the Overview section of the Active directory app.

Setting up the environment using Postman collections:

There are Postman collections with many MS graph API requests created by Microsoft for us to explore. Import the collections and setup the environment (Client ID, Client secret, tenant id) for Application API calls and on-behalf-of API calls as per the instruction from the following article

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/use-postman

Application API Token:

To generate an application token, make a POST request to Get App-Only Access Token from the collection Microsoft Graph. The grant_type is client_credentials since it is Application permissions.

Token Validity:

The token is valid for 3599 seconds which is 1 hour. Post that the token will expire, you will have to regenerate the token by making another call.

The AccessToken (Application API call) will be generated and automatically stored on the Environment (Microsoft Graph environment) AppAccessToken with the help of a script on the Tests tab in Postman. Copy the access token value & paste it on the utility https://jwt.ms/. Find the decoded token below which has information like the Application ID/client id of the AD app, display name and roles to which the app has access to poll the graph endpoint.

Graph API call:

The call to the Graph should have the bearer token

Signed-in user/on-behalf-of API Token:

To generate a Signed-in user token, make a POST request to Get user Access Token from the collection Microsoft Graph. The grant_type is password since it is delegated permissions.

The AccessToken (Signed-in user API call) will be generated and automatically stored on the Environment (Microsoft Graph environment) UserAccessToken with the help of a script on the Tests tab in Postman.

Copy the access token value & paste it on the utility https://jwt.ms/. Find the decoded token below which has information like the Application ID/client id of the AD app, display name and scopes (scp) to which the app has access to poll the graph endpoint. If you remember the Application API token had roles & not scopes, so this is how you can identify the token type.

Storing the production User ID and password is not recommended on the Environmental variables since the information is stored in Postman but this can be handled by generating an access token from the request Authorization tab, set the type as OAuth 2.0 and click Get New Access Token button

Fill in all the information gathered from the App in Azure AD like Appid, Secret, Endpoints (Authorization and Token), state can be any random value

Click Request token, this will prompt the user to enter the Username and password. After authentication, it will generate the token which could be used further to make API calls.

Graph API call:

The call to the Graph should have the bearer token on the Authorization tab or on the Headers tab

Summary: On this post we have seen how to use tools like Graph explorer & Postman to test different MS graph API endpoints. You can make requests like GET, POST, PUT, PATCH, DELETE based on its availability. Refer to the Microsoft documentation for v1.0 and beta endpoints. Once you have explored & tested the API, you are ready to use on applications using the available SDK’s for different programming languages. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below

Collect response from multiple users with Adaptive Card in Teams using Power Automate

This post is in response to a comment in one of the most viewed article from my blogsite to post an Adaptive card to an user in Teams using PowerAutomate. Assume we have a use case for using Adaptive card for collecting response from n number of users based on the data from an Excel, SQL database etc. The response must be unique for users so there has to be separate instance of Adaptive card flow to each user since the flow has to wait till it gets response from the user.

To handle this scenario, we are going to create two flows

  1. Flow 1 – Send Adaptive card to collect response: This flow creates an adaptive card to collect response from each user
  2. Flow 2 – Microsoft Teams User Details: The main flow which has the user details

For this example, I will be storing the user details on an Array variable but you can dynamically generate user details or based on the data from various datasources like Excel, Database etc. Let us go ahead and create the flows

Flow 1 – Send Adaptive card to collect response

This flow will be called from flow 2 to create the Adaptive card for the team user to collect response.

Step 1: Create an Instant flow with trigger type “When a HTTP request is received” and select the method type to Post by clicking Show advanced options. Now click Use sample payload to generate schema under the section Request Body JSON Schema and the enter the following data for the team user email address and click Done to generate the schema

{
“Email”:”user@domain.onmicrosoft.com”
}

The email address of the Teams user will be passed from Flow 2 on the request body.

Step 2: Add the action Post an Adaptive card to a Teams user and wait for a response. The only change is for the field Recipient which should be Email (request body json schema) from the dynamic content of the trigger When a HTTP request is received.

Step 3: Add Create item for collecting the Team user response to the SharePoint list. Refer to the blogpost Adaptive card to an user in Teams using PowerAutomate for detailed explanation.

Step 4: Saving the flow automatically generates the HTTP POST URL, the URL will be used in the Flow 2. The complete flow should be looking like the below

We are now good to create the second flow from where the Adaptive card collect response flow will be triggered from.

Flow 2 – Microsoft Teams User Details:

This flow is the primary flow which triggers the Flow 1 for the posting the adaptive card to multiple team users.

Step 1: Create an Instant flow with the trigger type “Manually trigger a flow” and add a Array variable to store the user email address for sending the Adaptive card to collect response from multiple users.

Step 2: Add the Parse JSON action to parse the email address from the array variable and then click Generate from sample

Paste the array data as given below and click Done to automatically generate the schema for us. Then for the Content parameter in the action, select Teams Users (array variable) from the dynamic content.

[
{
“Email”: “user1@domain.onmicrosoft.com”
},
{
“Email”: “user2@domain.onmicrosoft.com”
}
]

Step 3: Add a compose action and the select the email attribute from the Parse JSON output to automatically generate a Apply to each loop as below

Step 4: Add the HTTP action to make a Post request to the HTTP url created from the first flow to post an Adaptive Card to the teams user. Find the parameters below

Method: Post

URI: HTTP Request flow URL (when a HTTP request is received) copied from the Flow 1

Headers: Key: Content-Type Value: application/json

Body:

{

  “Email”: Output of JSON Parse action (Email)-to be replaced

}

Authentication: None

This should now create Adaptive card to collect responses from multiple users irrespective of the users response to the Adaptive card.

Summary: On this post we have seen how to send adaptive card to multiple teams users using Power automate. There should be a question? Why cannot we use a Child flow concept to call the Adaptive card from the parent flow using the action Run a Child Flow available in Power platform solutions. Since we are using a For Each loop in Flow 2 Step 3 it will go to the next loop only if the first user responds to the adaptive card since there will be an action Respond to a PowerApp or flow at the end of a child flow (must have in child flow). We will have to keep in mind about the action (HTTP) and triggers (When a HTTP request is received) used in this flow are Premium. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below

How to find the Operating System and stack of an existing Azure website

Azure websites also known as app service can be easily created through multiple interfaces like Azure Power shell, CLI, Azure portal etc. While creating the website or App Service you will have to select the operating system, default choice is Windows. OS selection also depends on the runtime version you select (.NET framework, .Net core, Java etc). If you have an existing website connected to an App service plan, by the time I write this post you can’t find the OS information on the Overview or configuration section of the App service or App service plan. Let us see how we can find it

Option 1:

In the Azure portal, select the App service plan of the Azure Website. In the app service plan left menu, select App under settings blade. For Windows OS, it will be as app for type

For Linux website, it will be as app, linux for type

Option 2:

In the Azure portal, select the App service. In the left menu, select Advanced Tools under Development Tools blade. Click go

Once the Advanced Tools is opened, click Environment on the Top Left corner. You can find the OS under System Info. For Windows App service

For Linux App service:

To know the runtime stack, In the Azure portal, select the App service. In the left menu, select Configuration under Settings blade. Click General Settings

Hope you have found this informational. Sharing is caring

Hosting static HTML content in SharePoint Online site & Azure

The SharePoint Online experience which you get by default for all the sites you create in the tenant is modern by default. The site pages you create in the modern experience are fast, easy to author and support rich multimedia content. The pages look great on any experience i.e. mobiles, browser, SharePoint App. If you wanted to host static HTML content with JavaScript, CSS, BootStrap on a SharePoint Online site it is not feasible though it was easily doable with Classic SharePoint site. The reason is by default you are not allowed to run custom scripts to change the look & feel & behaviour of the sites for security reason in a Modern SharePoint Online site. But we have control to manage this setting at different levels

  1. Organizational Level
  2. Site Level

On this blog post let’s see how to host static content (HTML, JS, CSS, Images et) by updating the site scripts settings at the site level. At the end I write some options to host Static content in Azure.

Pre-requisite:

  1. Modern SharePoint Communication Site
  2. SharePoint Online Tenant Admin access for executing few PowerShell commands
  3. HTML Content
  4. Access to Azure Subscription as a Contributor to test static content hosting in Azure

Hosting Static content on a SharePoint Online Site:

For sample HTML content I’ve downloaded from the following Azure Sample GitHub repo

https://github.com/Azure-Samples/app-service-web-html-get-started

Step 1:

Connect a SharePoint Online administrator to a SharePoint Online connection. This cmdlet must run before any other SharePoint Online cmdlets can run

Connect-SPOService -Url https://domain-admin.sharepoint.com

Step 2:

Run a Power shell command to disable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages at the site level by running the following command

Set-SPOsite https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -DenyAddAndCustomizePages 0

Step 3:

Verify if DenyAddAndCustomizePages is Disabled. To check this the property value run the following command

Get-SPOSite -Identity https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -Detailed | select DenyAddAndCustomizePages

Step 4:

Be ready with the HTML sample. I’ve downloaded static content from the Azure HTML Sample github repo which has

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

If there is any file with HTML extension, rename the extension to .aspx. On this sample there was 1 HTML file by the name index.html, I’ve renamed the file index.html to index.aspx

Step 5:

Open the SharePoint Online Communication site in the browser & navigate to the Document library. I’ve chosen the default document library (Shared Documents) for the storing the HTML, you can also create a custom document library, site assets library.

Upload the folder which has the .HTML file renamed to .aspx and the supporting files (JS, Images, CSS etc)

After the upload

Click the index.aspx file, it should render the file with HTML, CSS, JS etc as shown below

The URL of the HTML page will be in the following structure for the index.aspx file

https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/Shared Documents/HTML_sample_for_Azure_App_Service/index.aspx

Step 6:

You can now Enable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages by executing the following SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlet

Set-SPOsite https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -DenyAddAndCustomizePages 1

If you wanted to add another HTML file after the above command, you will have to disable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages before adding the HTML file. I’ve shown you how to host static HTML on SharePoint Online site which will not cost you anything provided there is Microsoft 365 license. If you need additional features like Custom domain, anonymous access, deployments etc you can do so with Azure.

Static Content in Azure:

There are couple of options in Azure to host your HTML as shown below

  1. Azure App service
    • You can create an App service in Azure to host your static HTML. There is Microsoft documentation with detailed instruction to set this up. You can lot of options with App service like Auto scaling, Custom domain, Anonymous access, auto deployments etc. There is also a Free pricing tier F1 for hosting your content.
  2. Azure Static Webapps
    • As of now the service is in Preview mode which automatically builds and deploys full stack webapps to Azure from Github repository. During preview, its free of cost. I’ve recently tested this, if you wanted to try go through this documentation.
    • VS Code extension for Static Webapps
    • You can also serve dynamic content with Azure functions integration.
  3. Azure Storage
    • This service also has capability to serve static content (HTML, CSS, JS & image) from the blob container. To know more, check this documentation from Microsoft.

Summary: On this post we have seen options to host static content in SharePoint Online site & Azure. Based on your requirement (Anonymous access, custom domain, cost etc) you can choose one from the options given above. Hope you have found this informational & helpful in some way. If there is some other option to host static content, please let me know on the comment section below

How to use a sample PCF component in your Power Apps

If you are PowerApps developer and wanted to extend the capabilities by bringing in third party or community driven PCF (Power Apps Component Framework) components, you can find lot of samples from the Power Apps community website PCF.gallery, Power Apps Community and from Microsoft for Model driven and Canvas apps.

Sample components from Microsoft

If you are new to component framework, I recommend going through the documentation from the following link:

https://aka.ms/pcfdocs

The PowerApps component framework enables the developers to create code components for model-driven and canvas apps. I have recently used a control from the PCF gallery community site, let’s see how to package and deploy a sample control to the Power Apps environment and then consume it on your Canvas app. There are two methods to deploy a code component:

  1. Import the solution in to CDS
  2. Power Apps CLI

To follow along the blog post, have the following available and installed on your environment

  1. Install Power Apps CLI and Node.js
  2. Access to Power Apps CDS Environment
  3. Developer Command prompt for Visual Studio 2017 or 2019
  4. Power Platform Administrator
  5. Enabling the PowerApps component framework on canvas applications

Method 1: Import the solution in to CDS:

For this post, I have chosen the React Face pile component from Microsoft Power Apps samples github repo. Follow the steps to create the solution ZIP file to be imported on the solutions gallery. If you already have the solution package, directly proceed to the Step 10.

Step 1: Download as a ZIP package and extract to a folder on your computer or git clone from the Microsoft Github repository. I have downloaded on C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls

git clone https://github.com/microsoft/PowerApps-Samples.git

Step 2: Open the Developer command prompt and navigate to the folder on the computer where you have downloaded the React Face pile component using the cd folder-path-react-facepile-component command e.g folder-path: C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls\PowerApps-Samples\component-framework\TS_ReactStandardControl

Step 3: Install all the required dependencies by running the command npm install

Step 4: Create a folder (e.g ReactStandardControlSolution) on the root of the React face pile component project (e.g C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls\PowerApps-Samples\component-framework\TS_ReactStandardControl) either manually or using the command mkdir ReactStandardControlSolution

Step 5: Navigate to the created folder by using the command cd ReactStandardControlSolution

On your command prompt, you should now be on e.g C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls\PowerApps-Samples\component-framework\TS_ReactStandardControl\ ReactStandardControlSolution

Step 6: Create a new solution project using the following command. The solution project is used for bundling the code component into a solution zip file that is used for importing into Common Data Service.

pac solution init –publisher-name developer –publisher-prefix dev

The Published-name and publisher-prefix values should be unique to your environment

Step 7: Add the reference using the command shown below. This reference informs the solution project about which code components should be added during the build. The path should to the root of the downloaded react face pile component and not to the newly created solution folder

pac solution add-reference –path C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls\PowerApps-Samples\component-framework\TS_ReactStandardControl\

Step 8: To generate the ZIP package, enter the following command

msbuild /t:build /restore

Step 9: The generated ZIP file will be available on \bin\debug\ folder once the build is successful

Note: Make sure there is no spaces on the folders you create to avoid deployment issues

Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/import-custom-controls

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/use-sample-components

Step 10: Now it’s time to import the solution to the solutions gallery by signing into Power Apps and select Solutions from the left navigation. On the command bar, select import and then browse to the Zip file solution created from the above steps. After the solution is imported successfully, the solution is available to use in Power Apps canvas and Model driven apps.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/common-data-service/import-update-export-solutions

Let’s see the next method to deploy the code component

Method 2: Power Apps CLI:

In the previous method Power Apps CLI was used to generate the solution package and then the solution was imported to the gallery, on this method the code component will be directly pushed to the CDS service instance using the CLI push command.

Step 1: Create an authentication profile to the CDS instance by executing the following command on a command prompt, it’s not necessary to open a VS command prompt.

pac auth create –url https://xyz.crm.dynamics.com

To get the url sign into Power Apps and select your environment which has CDS in the top right corner and the environment you are planning to deploy the code component. Select the settings button in the top right corner and select Advanced settings. Now copy the URL from the webbrowser which should look like below

https://orgchangedhere.crm4.dynamics.com/main.aspx?settingsonly=true

The URL is https://orgchangedhere.crm4.dynamics.com/

Once your profile is successfully created, you should see the following message on your command prompt

Step 2: Navigate to the root folder of the custom component project using the cd folderpath command which has the .pcfproj file (e.g C:\ PCF\Controls\sample-controls\PowerApps-Samples\component-framework\TS_ReactStandardControl)

Step 3: Install all the required dependencies by running the command npm install

Step 4: Run the following command to push the code components to the CDS instance

pac pcf push –publisher-prefix contoso

Note: The publisher prefix that you use with the push command should match the publisher prefix of your solution in which the components will be included.

Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/import-custom-controls#deploying-code-components

List of common PAC commands

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/common-data-service/view-download-developer-resources

The component is now ready to be used in the Canvas or a Model driven app after the code deployment using Method 1 or Method 2.

To add the component in a Canvas App:

Follow along then the documentation from Microsoft

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/component-framework-for-canvas-apps#add-components-to-a-canvas-app

Find below the sample controls I’ve added on the Power App canvas app

To add the component in a Model Driven app:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/add-custom-controls-to-a-field-or-entity

Summary: You can also create a custom component from scratch or extend the functionality from the available samples based on your needs. Hope you have found this informational & helpful in some way. Let me know any feedbacks or comments on the comment section below

Create Tile view card for custom List item image attachments using PowerAutomate & JSON row view formatting

In Modern SharePoint lists you can display list item content in a more modern way using the Tiles view layout. If you have very big list with multiple columns along with picture columns you get a horizontal scroll bar on the list view, the Tiles view can solve this issue since the content will be displayed on the tile card where you can design the layout of the tile card to display the different list column values.

There are many blog posts & PnP Samples which will help you to create a Tiles view using JSON row formatting. If you are new to JSON row formatting, I recommend you to go through this link from Microsoft. Microsoft has recently brought in interface to format the list item row & do conditional formatting by creating rules based on column values

On this blog post, lets see how to create Tiles view as shown above for the Images stored as attachments in the list item. If you add an attachment to list item in SharePoint list, the attachments are stored in the following path

https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/SiteName/Lists/ListName/Attachments/ItemID/attachmentName.extension

Components used in this blog post

  1. Power Automate Flow: To get the path of the attached file (Image file in this case), we will be creating an automated Flow which gets triggered on List item creation to get the path of the image & update it to the custom hyperlink list column (ProductPhotoHL).
  2. JSON: To create a Tile view layout using list row view formatting.

Pre-Requisites:

  • Create a SP List by the name ProductInformation with the following columns
    1. Title: Single line of text
    2. ProductPhotoHL: Hyperlink (to the image)
    3. ProductPhotoPic: Picture (to the image)
    4. ProductPrice: Number
    5. Features: Multiple lines of text
  • Couple of list items with Images as attachments after the Power automate flow is created
    1. Only images as attachments
    2. Not more than one image as an attachment

Power Automate to get the path of the Image attachment URL:

Create an automated flow with Trigger When an item is created and configure the trigger to the ProductInformation list. Add the Get Attachments action connected to the Product Information list & for Id parameter it should the List item Id (ID) selected using the dynamic content from the trigger When an item is created.

Now with the above action we have the attachment URL of the image, this must be updated to the list column ProductPhotoHL & ProductPhotoPic of the ProductInformation list in order to be displayed in the Tile view. To create the above shown Tile view ProductPhotoPic (Picture) is not required but I’ve used it show you that we can create a Thumnail of the image on the default list view using the Picture column ProductPhotoPic. By the time I am writing this post the Power Automate action Update item is not capable to update a column with Picture as a DataType but it can update a HyperLink column. Action Send an HTTP request to SharePoint to make HTTP requests to any SharePoint Rest endpoints, I’ve used this action to update the ProductPhotoPic (Picture) column as below

I’ve said this on the pre-requisite section that there should not be more than one attachment. In the Body of the HTTP request, the Url parameter for the ProductPhotoHL & ProductPhotoPic gets only the first attachment URL from the previous action “Get attachments” AbsoluteUri as dynamic content. To get the first attachment URL you can use any of the following formula from the expression

  • first(body(‘Get_attachments’))?[‘AbsoluteUri’]
  • body(‘Get_attachments’)?[0]?[‘AbsoluteUri’]

I’ve used the function first() to get the first item from the array. The flow is ready, add couple of items to the list by filling in information only for Title, ProductPrice, Features & a Image as an attachment. The flow gets triggered which will update the ProductPhotoHL & ProductPhotoPic with the image attachment url. You can download the flow template from the following GitHub repo link.

Create Tiles View layout using JSON:

I’ve used the sample from PnP List view formatting samples to create items in tile layout for images. On the sample JSON I’ve updated the column ProductPhoto to ProductPhotoHL. The updated JSON is available here for download. Now copy the JSON & go to the List view & click on the down arrow (All Items)>Format current view>Advanced mode as shown below

The Apply formatting to should be set to Entire Row & paste the JSON to box as shown on the picture and then Save it.

Now you will have another layout by the name Tiles added to the existing layouts List & Compact List as shown below, select it

Now its time to see the need for the column ProductPhotoPic of datatype Picture, with the default layout you can see the thumbnail of the image added as an attachment

Summary: There are many samples available in PnP Github repo for List Row View & Column view formatting. In document & picture libraries the Tiles view layout are added by default, there is also a Column by the name Thumbnail in a Picture library. You can display a Thumbnail view of Images in PowerApps gallery for the Images stored in Document library, go through this link for more information. If you are storing images on a seperate document library & not as an attachment, the url of the image can be added on the HyperLink column. Hope you find this interesting & helpful.

Convert Outlook Email with embedded images to PDF using PowerAutomate

Recently I’ve came across a business case with need to automate the conversion of Outlook email messages with embedded images to PDF document. This could be done manually on Outlook client using Microsoft Print to PDF or browser Print if opened using Outlook on the Web. This process can be automated with the help of PowerAutomate trigger When a new email arrives and actions Export Email, Convert File, Create file but if an email has an embedded image or HTML content it will not work as of now. There are Third party connectors in Power Automate from Muhimbi, Plumsail which might have this functionality but I’ve not tested those yet. PowerAutomate action Export Email converts the email to .eml file.

An EML file is an email message containing the content of the message, along with the subject, sender, recipient(s), and date of the message in plain text format. Once you have the .eml file change the file extension from .eml to .txt where you can see the content. If there is any embedded image it will stored in the Base64 format. You can also change the .eml file extension to .mht and open it directly in Internet Explorer

For this blogpost I’ve used third party API service from ConvertAPI to convert Email message to PDF, they have REST API endpoints to convert Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, PDF and Image formats. There is also a Free Plan with ConvertAPI where you get 1500 seconds API execution time if you sign up.

You can also create your own API service hosted in Azure for conversion with the .NET libraries like iTextSharp, GroupDocs, PDFSharp etc. Let’s go ahead & create flow to

  1. Convert Email to PDF – Without Embedded image
  2. Convert Email to PDF – With Embedded image

The above two flows packages can be downloaded from Github repo.

Convert Email to PDF – Without Embedded image:

Power Automate connector OneDrive for Business has an action Convert file (preview) converts files to different formats such as PDF, HTML, JPG etc. This connector can be used to convert a simple email with out an embedded image.

Step 1: Create a flow with Automated trigger When a new email arrives & configure the trigger parameters by clicking Show advanced options.

Step 2: Add the action Export email with Message Id from the output of the previous action. This action creates the .eml file

Step 3: Add the action Create file from the connector OneDrive for Business. Select the Folder path from your One drive, Enter the File Name for the .eml file & the File Content should be Body from the output of the action Export email (Previous). Find the screenshot below

Step 4: Add the action Convert file from the connector OneDrive for Business with Id from the output of the previous action Create File.

Step 5: Add the action Create file from the connector OneDrive for Business. This step is for storing the PDF file back to the OneDrive. Select the Folder path from your One drive to store the PDF file, Enter the File Name for the PDF file & the File Content should be File content from the output of the action Convert file. Find screenshot below

Note: The storage location I’ve chosen is Onedrive, you can choose SharePoint, Azure blob etc. Based on the need you can choose to delete the .eml files after the file conversion is done.

Convert Email to PDF – With Embedded image:

As already said the previous flow will not convert an email with embedded image as expected. Be ready with the API endpoint from ConvertAPI to convert email to PDF. The endpoint will have the secret as a query string shown as below

https://v2.convertapi.com/convert/eml/to/pdf?Secret=yoursecretkeyfromconvertapi

Note: On this flow I will be using the .eml file generated from the previous flow.

Step 1: Create a flow with Instant trigger Manually trigger a flow.

Step 2: Add the action Get file content from the connector OneDrive for Business. Select the .eml file which has the embedded image from the storage location i.e the file from OneDrive.

Step 3: Add the action Compose from the connector Data Operation. This step is to convert in to base64 representation a requirement for the convert API to work. On the Inputs file go to the expression editor and add the function base64(file content from the previous action get file) for converting .eml to base64.

Step 4: Add the action HTTP (Premium) from the connector HTTP to make a POST request to the API convert API endpoint.

Method: POST

URI: https://v2.convertapi.com/convert/eml/to/pdf?Secret=yoursecretkeyfromconvertapi

Headers:

Key: Content-Type

Value: application/json

Body: You can generate this from the ConvertAPI site by uploading a .eml file on the site. Once this data is added to the HTTP action Body parameter change the Data parameter should be the Output of the previous action Compose – Convert to Base64

{
  "Parameters": [
    {
      "Name": "File",
      "FileValue": {
        "Name": "myemailfile.eml",
        "Data": "@{outputs('Compose_-_Convert_to_Base64')}"
      }
    }
  ]
}

Step 5: Add the action Parse JSON from the connector Data Operation. This step is to parse the response of the HTTP POST action to the ConverAPI endpoint. You can generate the scheme by copying from the Flow run history for the HTTP action output. The schema will be look like

{
    "type": "object",
    "properties": {
        "ConversionCost": {
            "type": "integer"
        },
        "Files": {
            "type": "array",
            "items": {
                "type": "object",
                "properties": {
                    "FileName": {
                        "type": "string"
                    },
                    "FileExt": {
                        "type": "string"
                    },
                    "FileSize": {
                        "type": "integer"
                    },
                    "FileData": {
                        "type": "string"
                    }
                },
                "required": [
                    "FileName",
                    "FileExt",
                    "FileSize",
                    "FileData"
                ]
            }
        }
    }
}

Step 6: Add the Compose action to convert the base64 data to binary to create the PDF from the HTTP request response. Select the filedata from the Output of the Parse JSON action which will automatically create a Apply to each since the Files is an array. Then add the following to the inputs of the of the compose action

base64toBinary(items(‘Apply_to_each’)?[‘FileData’]).

Now add the Create file action from the connector OneDrive for Business as shown below. The parameter File content should be output of the Compose action. PFB the screenshot of the flow actions

Now its time to test the flow, run the flow & check your OneDrive for the PDF file. PFB the screenshot of the PDF file with embedded image

Summary: I am not vouching to use the ConvertAPI service for converting the email to PDF. Just a sample for a use case where you get some knowledge on different actions usage & some information on the .eml file which Microsoft has used for storing email content. If its going to be heavily used or if the data is secure, then I advise you to create a REST API endpoint of your own hosted in Azure for the conversion. Hope you find this post useful & informational. Let me know if there is any comments or feedback by posting a comment below.

Batch SharePoint requests [GET, POST, PATCH, DELETE] in PowerAutomate and MS Graph

Batching helps you in optimizing the performance of your application by combining multiple requests into a single request. SharePoint Online & MS Graph APIs supports the OData batch query option. Batch requests MUST be submitted as a single HTTP POST request to the batch endpoint of a service as below for

The request body of the above POST request must be made up of an ordered series of query operations [GET] and/or ChangeSets [POST or PATCH or DELETE]. You can have different combination of change sets.

In this blog post, I am going to show you how to batch multiple SharePoint requests for Creating, Reading, Updating & Deleting List items in

  1. PowerAutomate
  2. MS Graph

Pre-Requisites:

Have the following items ready to follow along this post

  1. SharePoint Site
    1. Site Id [GUID of the Site]
    2. Create a SharePoint List by the Name EmployeeInformation with the schema
      1. Title [Default]
      2. Location [Custom: Single Line of Text]
    3. List Id [GUID of the above list]
  2. Graph Explorer to test the Graph batching

Batch SharePoint requests in PowerAutomate:

If there is a requirement for multiple requests to be performed in SharePoint from your flow, the batch request with SharePoint Online REST API helps in reducing the execution time of your flow by combining many operations into a single request to SharePoint. Create an Instant Flow with trigger “Manually trigger a Flow” and the action Send an HTTP request to SharePoint to send the batch requests.

Lets now prepare the parameters to be passed for the Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action:

Site Address: https://mydevashiq.sharepoint.com/sites/test77

Method: POST

Headers:

  • Key: accept Value: application/json;odata=verbose
  • Key: content-type Value: multipart/mixed; boundary=batch_cd329ee8-ca72-4acf-b3bf-6699986af544

The boundary specification with batch_guid used on the content type header can be any random guid. In the request body the batch_guid will be used. To understand more about the OData batch operation, go through this documentation.

Body:

The request body given below is for reading all the items [GET], creating a list item, deleting an existing item & updating an existing item on the EmployeeInformation List using REST API endpoints. A ChangeSet (random guid) is used to group one or more of the insert/update/delete operations and MUST NOT contain query operations [GET]. For the query operation there must be separate batch as per the example below

--batch_cd329ee8-ca72-4acf-b3bf-6699986af544
Content-Type: application/http
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary

GET https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('EmployeeInformation')/items?$select=Title,Location HTTP/1.1
Accept: application/json;odata=nometadata

--batch_cd329ee8-ca72-4acf-b3bf-6699986af544
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="changeset_64c72699-6e7c-49c4-8d9b-6b16be92f7fc"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary

--changeset_64c72699-6e7c-49c4-8d9b-6b16be92f7fc
Content-Type: application/http
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary

POST https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('EmployeeInformation')/items HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json;odata=verbose

{
    "__metadata": {
      "type": "SP.Data.EmployeeInformationListItem"
    },
    "Title": "Mohamed Shaahid Faleel",
    "Location": "England"
}

--changeset_64c72699-6e7c-49c4-8d9b-6b16be92f7fc
Content-Type: application/http
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary

DELETE https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('EmployeeInformation')/items(37) HTTP/1.1
If-Match: *

--changeset_64c72699-6e7c-49c4-8d9b-6b16be92f7fc
Content-Type: application/http
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary

PATCH https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle('EmployeeInformation')/items(30) HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json;odata=nometadata
If-Match: *

{
    "Title": "Mohamed Faleel",
    "Location": "USA
}

--changeset_64c72699-6e7c-49c4-8d9b-6b16be92f7fc--

--batch_cd329ee8-ca72-4acf-b3bf-6699986af544--

Once the above action is executed the response can be parsed to get the required information if you’ve used a GET request as per this documentation from Microsoft. PFB the screenshot of the action

The request body can be generated dynamically based on the requirement.

Batch SharePoint requests in MS Graph:

As we have done batching using the SharePoint REST APIs, in a similar manner you can combine multiple requests in one HTTP call using JSON batching for MS Graph. Here I will use the MS Graph explorer to test the batch request. Find the request parameters

Endpoint URL: https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/$batch

Method: POST

Body:

I’ve used the Site Id and List Id for the EmployeeInformation list to construct the SP endpoint URL’s as per the documentation for Creating, Reading, Updating & Deleting SP list items.

{
    "requests": [
      {
        "id": "1",
        "method": "POST",
        "url": "/sites/{77b3a8c8-549f-4848-b82c-8bb6f4864918}/lists/{2f923934-d474-4473-8fc0-3486bd0c15c5}/items",
         "body": {
          "fields":{"Title":"Test from Graph","Location":"Oslo"}
        },
        "headers": {
          "Content-Type": "application/json"
        }
      },
      {
        "id": "2",
        "method": "GET",
        "url": "/sites/{77b3a8c8-549f-4848-b82c-8bb6f4864918}/lists/{2f923934-d474-4473-8fc0-3486bd0c15c5}/items"
      },
      {
        "id": "3",
        "url": "/sites/{77b3a8c8-549f-4848-b82c-8bb6f4864918}/lists/{2f923934-d474-4473-8fc0-3486bd0c15c5}/items/44",
        "method": "PATCH",
        "body": {
            "fields":{"Title":"Mohamed Ashiq Faleel","Location":"Stockholm"}
        },
        "headers": {
          "Content-Type": "application/json"
        }
      },
      {
        "id": "4",
        "url": "/sites/{77b3a8c8-549f-4848-b82c-8bb6f4864918}/lists/{2f923934-d474-4473-8fc0-3486bd0c15c5}/items/50",
        "method": "DELETE"
      }
    ]
  }

On a same way you can batch different APIs endpoint from MS Graph. JSON batching also allows you to sequence the requests. Find below the screenshot from Graph explorer

Graph explorer also generates code snippets for the different programming languages

JavaScript Code snippet

Summary: On this post we have seen how to batch SharePoint requests using PowerAutomate & MS Graph. Microsoft has used request batching on many first party features. Hope you have found this informational & helpful in some way. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below