Automate the backup of your Flow & Power Apps canvas application

Microsoft Power Automate & Power Apps have turned quite important & popular service now a days within Office 365, there are many users (developers & IT pro users) who are creating business applications leveraging these services very quickly but if an app or a flow is deleted by mistake then its not an easy job to spin it back up with out involving Microsoft support. In this blog post, am going to give you some ideas to back up a Flow & Power Apps automatically with the help of connectors available in Power automate. Once it is backed up, I will show you steps to restore from the back up.

Once I’ve deleted a flow accidentally and I was not able to restore it back, I have recreated the complete flow with all the steps which took some time. I will show you steps to back up & restore your Flow & Power Apps.

  • Backup & Restore your Flow
  • Backup & Restore your Power Apps

Backup & Restore your Flow:

A flow could be backed up by copying the flow definition & connection references with the help of an action “Get Flow” under the flow connector “Flow Management”. With the flow definition & connector references we would be able to restore it back whenever needed. Thanks to John Liu for the tips & guidance on showing us a way to copy the flow definition. Before showing you steps to get the flow definition & connection references, I will show you some examples on the type of information it stores on these fields.

Flow Definition:

It has details about the triggers & actions used with in a flow in a JSON format.

Flow Definition

Triggers: Information about the trigger used in the flow (Instant, Automatic, Scheduled)

Actions: Information about all actions used in the flow

Connection References:

It has details about all connections used against each action

Connection References

Add the action “Get Flow” under connector “Flow Management”, which has the fields flow definition & connection references. This action would be able to get only the flows to which you have access to. If you don’t see the flow under the drop down, enter the Flow ID by selecting custom value.

Now let’s store the Flow definition & connection references to a file in some location so that we would be able to retrieve the files for restoration. On this example I will use “One Drive for business connector” action “Create File” to store the content in two files but you can also get it stored on SharePoint Document Library, Azure Blob, GitHub etc. The extension of these files can also be .txt but I’ve used .json.

One Drive for Business connector

Restore Flow:

Flow action “Create Flow” helps us to restore flow from the flow definition & the connection references stored on One drive. Only the file content should be passed for the Flow Definition, connectionReferences and not the actual file.

Backup & Restore your Power App:

A Power App could be backed up by creating a MSAPP file for the PowerApp to be backed up. The file with extension .msapp is just a ZIP file which has all the definitions of the app. There are open source tools (Review Tool, Theme editor, App merger, Phone to tablet converter) available in github which helps us to peek at the definitions of the .msapp file.

PowerApps Review Tool

PowerApps for App Makers connector has an action called “Get App” which helps us to get all the information related to the specified app. This action has a field called “readonlyValue”. It points to a link that has the PowerApps msapp file. With the help of the premium connector HTTP, we will make a GET request to the readonlyValue link (Blob storage path). This step allows you to retrieve the contents of the msapp file which could then be stored as a backup file in Onedrive, SharePoint, Github etc. Lets now look at the contents of the msapp file, change the extension of the .msapp file to .zip file and open it.

AssetsAll the media files (Images, Videos, Audio)
ControlsInformation about all the controls (First Party, Custom components etc) used in the different screens of the app. Data is in JSON format.
ReferencesInformation about Datasources, Templates (Label, Gallery, Textbox etc), Resources (Images etc), Themes used in the app etc
ResourcesPublish information, user locale etc
Properties.jsonInformation of the app like Author, PowerApp name, no of screens etc
Properties.json file

Add the action “Get App”, enter the App ID of the Power App

Get App action

This action retrieves all the information of the app including the “readonlyvalue” as explained above. Using this result we will make a GET request using the HTTP connector to retrieve the app data in this Flow.

HTTP (Premium connector)

Add the action “Create file” in OneDrive for Business connector and set the body from HTTP connector. This allows you to save your app to OneDrive for Business. As said earlier you can instead store it to other storage like Azure Blob Storage, SharePoint document library, GitHub etc.

Restore Power App:

The msapp file is with us now, lets now restore the PowerApp. Create a Blank app from the Power Apps studio then open the.MSApp file via the File > Open > Browse menu option. This enables you to select the .MSApp file from your local file system then save & publish the App. The app is now back. Let me know on the comment section if there is a automated way to restore the PowerApp from the MSApp file.

Summary: On this blog post, we have seen ways to backup & restore your app & flow using a Flow. If you are an Power App/Power Automate environment admin (Premium license), you could backup all the apps & flow available in the environment using the Apps for Admin connector. There are Power Shell cmdlets available for Admins & creators which could also be used. If you have a more complex business application including PowerApps Canvas, multiple flows, custom connector, Model driven apps, entity etc, solutions is recommended. Exporting a solution as a package is very easy by click of a button, restoring is also quite an easy task. Hope you find this post useful, let me know your feedback on the comments section.