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

Create/Delete a SharePoint custom theme using PowerAutomate

In a modern SharePoint site you can create custom themes using PowerShell, REST API & CSOM. In this blogpost I will show you how to create themes using PowerAutomate. The following REST endpoints are available

There is an online Theme Generator tool that you can use to define new custom themes. At the time of writing this post, the endpoints are open to everybody & not just to the SharePoint tenant admins which seems to be quite buggy. Laura Kokkarinen has written a very detailed blog post about this topic. I’ve got the inspiration to write about this topic from John Liu who has recently recorded a video about this. Find screenshot from the Theme generator tool:

Once you have defined the theme from the tool, click on the Export theme button on the Right top corner of the tool to export the theme as a code block in JS, JSON & PowerShell. In this case, click JSON & Copy the generated block

{
  "themePrimary": "#50AFC6",
  "themeLighterAlt": "#f7fcfd",
  "themeLighter": "#def1f6",
  "themeLight": "#c3e6ee",
  "themeTertiary": "#8ecddd",
  "themeSecondary": "#61b8ce",
  "themeDarkAlt": "#489eb3",
  "themeDark": "#3c8597",
  "themeDarker": "#2d626f",
  "neutralLighterAlt": "#faf9f8",
  "neutralLighter": "#f3f2f1",
  "neutralLight": "#edebe9",
  "neutralQuaternaryAlt": "#e1dfdd",
  "neutralQuaternary": "#d0d0d0",
  "neutralTertiaryAlt": "#c8c6c4",
  "neutralTertiary": "#d9d9d9",
  "neutralSecondary": "#b3b3b3",
  "neutralPrimaryAlt": "#8f8f8f",
  "neutralPrimary": "gray",
  "neutralDark": "#616161",
  "black": "#474747",
  "white": "#ffffff"
}

Flow for Creating or adding the Theme to the tenant:

Let’s create an instant flow with trigger Manually trigger a flow to add a theme to the tenant. Add two Compose actions as shown below

The first compose action is the actual definition copied from the theme generator tool

{
  "palette" : 
JSON block copied from the Theme generator tool
}

The second compose action has the name of the theme & its stringified JSON from the output of the previous compose action. To convert the JSON to string add a string expression on the dynamic content pane

{
"name":"My first Custom theme created using FLOW", 
"themeJson": @{string(outputs('Compose_-_Custom_Theme_Pallete'))}
}

Now add the action Send an HTTP request to SharePoint with the following parameters

Site Address: https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename

Method: POST

URI: /_api/thememanager/AddTenantTheme

Headers:

Key: Accept

Value: application/json;odata.metadata=minimal

Body: Output of the Second compose action (Compose – Theme Name)

Now you are ready to test the flow. Once its successful you can apply the custom theme to the site

Click cog wheel on the site to select the theme by selecting the Change the look link

For deleting the theme, add the action Send a HTTP request to SharePoint with the following parameters

Site Address: https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename

Method: POST

URI: /_api/thememanager/DeleteTenantTheme

Headers:

Key: Accept

Value: application/json;odata.metadata=minimal

Body: { “name”:”the name of your custom theme” }

Summary: Hope you find this post useful & informational. Let me know if there is any comments or feedback below.

Automated trigger recurrence frequency – Power Automate

Have you ever noticed on your Automated flow with trigger for e.g Item created or modified on a SharePoint list will not run immediately as & when there was an item either created or modified in the list? The reason is all the automated triggers has a recurrent frequency schedule which is set to 3 mins, it means it looks for the changes in the SharePoint list every 3 mins. To check this, go to Peek Code on the trigger to check the interval frequency

For the When an Item is created trigger

This setting cannot be changed in Power Automate but with Azure Logic Apps you can adjust this setting. For more details on the pricing, refer to this link

If there is further delay in the trigger to get fired, check your flow plan since it has a dependency. As per information gathered from the Flow community forum

The maximum flow frequency for User based or App based plans is 1 minute, however if you are using Free plan it will be 15 minutes. And if it is Flow for Office 365 (Plan from your Enterprise license E3, E5 etc) and Flow for Dynamics 365 it will be 5 minutes.

From the FAQ page in the Microsoft site for Flow, it says

Your plan determines how often your flows run. For example, your flows may run every 15 minutes if you’re on the free plan. If a flow is triggered less than 15 minutes after its last run, it’s queued until 15 minutes have elapsed.

The same trigger with Logic apps which has options to update the recurrent frequency interval

If you are new to Logic Apps, follow this article from Microsoft to get started. The other advantage with Logic apps is there is a code view to update & Save which is not the case with Power Automate. In Power Automate, you can only view the code & not update

Hope this information was useful in some way. If you have any comments, let me know on the comments section.

Execute SharePoint Online PowerShell scripts using Power Automate

Most of us would have used PowerShell for SharePoint to manage SharePoint settings at the organization level and site collection level. SharePoint Online PowerShell commands are very efficient for batch operations for e.g creating multiple sites, list items etc. To use the SharePoint Online PowerShell commands

  • You must have the SharePoint Admin role or Global Administrator role in Office 365
  • Install the SharePoint Online Management Shell module

As you know you must be administrator to install a PowerShell module on your workstation which not everyone will have in corporate environments.

I often use a PowerShell script to enable App Catalog at a site collection level to test the PnP webparts & extensions before deploying at the tenant level app catalog based on requirement. If you are not an SPO admin then the dependency is with the SPO admin. In this blogpost I am going to show you how to automate this process by executing PowerShell script to enable App catlog in Azure using Power Automate.

Pre-requisite & permissions:

  • SPO Admin
  • Azure Subscription to create Automation account
  • Access to Premium connector (Azure Automation) in Power Automate
  • SharePoint List to collect details about the site which needs to have App catalog enabled

To complete this automation process, create the following two components

  1. Automation account in Azure with a Run Book to execute PowerShell script for enabling App Catalog in SP site
  2. Power automate flow to call the Run Book

Automation account in Azure with a Run Book to execute PowerShell script for enabling App Catalog in SP siteAutomation service in Azure is a cloud-based automation and configuration service that supports consistent management across your Azure and non-Azure environments. Go through the documentation from Microsoft to know about this powerfull service in Azure. Let’s use the service in Azure to create a simple Runbook with PowerShell code to enable App catalog in SPO site, you can do much more than this using this service. Refer to this link for the pricing details for the automation service in Azure.

Step 1: Go the Azure portal & create a resource Automation

Enter the name of the automation account, select the Subscription & resource group & click Create

Step 2: After the resource is created, go to the resource & click Modules Gallery under the section Shared Resources as shown below to add the PS SPO module

Search with the keyword “SharePoint” & click “Microsoft.Onlie.SharePoint.PowerShell” and then click Import. This step will the add the SharePoint online PowerShell module for us to use the available PS SPO cmdlets in Runbook.

Now click modules & verify if the SPO PowerShell is added & available.

Step 3: The next step is to add the user credentials (Username & Password) of the SPO admin which is safe & secure by not hardcoding the password on the Runbook. You can also use certificates or AppID AppSecret in PnP online Powershell for creating connection to SPO.

Step 4: Now we are good to create the Runbook, to create it click Runbooks under the section Process Automation and then click Create a runbook. Enter the Name of the Runbook, select the Runbook type to PowerShell and click Create.

Now let’s add the code by editing the runbook to enable app catalog. The section Dynamic Parameters on the code will be passed from flow. To connect to SharePoint Online we are using the SPO admin credentials created in the previous step. Find the code below

# Dynamic Parameters
param(
  [parameter(Mandatory=$true)]
  [string]$SiteURL = "https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/contosoportal",
  [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]
  [boolean]$enableAppCatalog = 1
)
# Credentials
$myCred = Get-AutomationPSCredential -Name "SPOAdminCred" 
# Parameters
$AdminSiteURL = "https://domain-admin.sharepoint.com"
# Connect to SharePoint Online
Connect-SPOService -Url $AdminSiteURL -Credential $myCred 
# Get the Site Collection
$Site = Get-SPOSite -Identity $SiteURL 
# Enable App catalog
if($enableAppCatalog)
{Add-SPOSiteCollectionAppCatalog -Site $Site}
# Disable App catalog if false
else{Remove-SPOSiteCollectionAppCatalog -Site $Site}
# Get Site Collection Title
Write-Output $Site.Title

The runbook is now created, you can test the script by clicking on Test Pane & pass parameters (Site URL etc) to test it. Click Publish button as shown below to publish so that it can be called from Power Automate. It’s now time to create the flow

Power automate flow to call the Run Book

You can now create a flow with automated trigger from a SharePoint list to get the site url & Boolean value either to enable or disable the app catalog on the site. Here I will be using an Instant flow with trigger “Manually trigger a Flow”

Once the flow is created, add the action “Create Job” under the connector “Azure Automation” which is a premium connector.

Select the Azure Subscription which has the Automation account resource with runbook>Select Resource Group>Select Automation Account>Select the Runbook name which has PS script to enable app catalog. If there is a need to wait until the automation job completes then select Yes on the field “Wait for Job”. For the dynamic parameter, write a JSON to pass the mandatory & optional parameters to the runbook script. On this example I will be passing the Site URL & Boolean value to either enable or disable app catalog using JSON as below

{
  "SiteURL": "https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/MyFirstTeam",
  "enableAppCatalog": 1
}

If using a SharePoint list, construct the above JSON dynamically with the URL

For the runbook parameters, you might also get an interface as shown below to pass the values (Site Url & enableAppcatalogbooleanvalue).

The flow is ready, run it to test now with parameters.

 Summary: The use case I’ve chosen is a simple one but azure automation can be a more powerful service to perform various automation tasks. Find few below

  • Write Python script in the Runbook
  • Many samples are available within the Runbook gallery (Create AD user, Display All provisioned site collections etc) under the section Process automation.
  • With the PowerShell type Runbook all the PS modules (Azure AD for automating AD account creation, PNP SP Online etc) are readily available for us to import easily.
  • There is a feature by name “Hybrid Runbook Worker Feature” available within Azure Automation account for us to connect Onpremise resources in Azure (e.g SharePoint Onpremise, Onpremise AD etc).
  • Create a Webhook to call the runbook from an External application by making a POST call
  • Call a custom built dll by importing them in to the Modules section
  • Create graphical Runbook with GUI to add cmdlets & to configure the steps
  • Create schedule linking a runbook

Hope you have enjoyed reading this post and find it useful. If you have any comments or feedback, please provide it on the comments section below.

Collect response from a user with Adaptive Card in Teams using Power Automate

This is in continuation to my earlier post using Adaptive card for collecting information in Outlook also known as Outlook actionable message. On this post I am going to show you how to collect information from a user in Teams and storing the values back in a SharePoint list. The following Power Automate actions under Microsoft Teams connector are now available in preview mode which helps us to capture data back from a Teams adaptive card meaning you would be able to make POST calls back to the flow by click of a button (Action.Submit) on the Adaptive card

  1. Post an adaptive card as the Flow bot to a Teams user, and wait for a response
  2. Post an adaptive card as the Flow bot to a Teams channel, and wait for a response

Once an Adaptive card is posted in Teams using the above actions, the flow run will not continue until the recipient or someone in the channel (if sent to channel) responds to inputs that are required within the card till then the flow is put on wait for maximum period (Async calls) of 30 days as per the documentation. Post that period the flow will time out if no one responds to the card. There can be use case to collect responses from users in Teams & post it to Azure services like SQL etc, this avoids the users to have access to premium services or license since the card is sent using Power automate. The use case I’ve chosen for this post is to collect Name & Email address of a teams user by sending them an input form which stores the responses in a SharePoint list after the user responds. Find the resources I’ve used for this example

  • Adaptive Card Designer for creating JSON
  • Automated Flow with action to post an JSON Adaptive card using the connector MS Teams
  • SharePoint custom list with columns Name & Email
  • Microsoft Teams with the Flow App installed

Adaptive Card Creation:

Let’s start by designing the card using the Adaptive card designer. Click on Open Sample, select Input Form as shown below

Then change the host app from the default Bot Framework Webchat to Microsoft Teams – Light (Optional Step). Remove the Phone number Text Block [Element] & the corresponding Text.Input [Inputs] field to keep it simple & I’ve also changed the Adaptive card image URL on the right column to the following URL since the image default image on the sample has got some issues rendering on teams. Find some information on image size & resolutions limits here.

Click Copy Card JSON from ribbon for this card to be used on the flow. We now have the adaptive cards JSON ready with us, let’s go ahead and the create the flow using Power Automate. Find the generated JSON below

{
    "$schema": "http://adaptivecards.io/schemas/adaptive-card.json",
    "type": "AdaptiveCard",
    "version": "1.0",
    "body": [
        {
            "type": "ColumnSet",
            "columns": [
                {
                    "type": "Column",
                    "width": 2,
                    "items": [
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "Tell us about yourself",
                            "weight": "Bolder",
                            "size": "Medium"
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "We just need a few more details to get you booked for the trip of a lifetime!",
                            "isSubtle": true,
                            "wrap": true
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.",
                            "isSubtle": true,
                            "wrap": true,
                            "size": "Small"
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "Your name",
                            "wrap": true
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "Input.Text",
                            "id": "myName",
                            "placeholder": "Last, First"
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "Your email",
                            "wrap": true
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "Input.Text",
                            "id": "myEmail",
                            "placeholder": "youremail@example.com",
                            "style": "Email"
                        }
                    ]
                },
                {
                    "type": "Column",
                    "width": 1,
                    "items": [
                        {
                            "type": "Image",
                            "url": "https://download-ssl.msgamestudios.com/content/mgs/ce/production/SolitaireWin10/dev/adapative_card_assets/v1/tile_spider.png",
                            "size": "auto"
                        }
                    ]
                }
            ]
        }
    ],
    "actions": [
        {
            "type": "Action.Submit",
            "title": "Submit"
        }
    ]
}

Flow Creation:

Create an Instant flow with trigger “Manually trigger a Flow”, this will post an Adaptive card to a Teams user with the Input form which collects response to a SharePoint list. Create a SharePoint list with two columns for us to store the Name and Email submitted from the adaptive card on Teams.

Add the flow action “Post an adaptive card as the Flow bot to a Teams user, and wait for a response”, on the action

  1. Enter the email address of the user in the Recipient field
  2. Paste the JSON copied from the card designer in the Message field
  3. Enter information to be shown to the user on the field Update message after the Submit button is clicked
  4. Field Should update card to be set as Yes

Now add the action “Create item” to store the form response in the SharePoint list created above with the request body information mapped to Name (myName) & Email (myEmail) using the dynamic content. The dynamic content has also information about the user (Email, Display Name, Response time etc) responded in Teams

The flow is ready, Run the flow to test it. The recipient would have received the card in Teams as below

After the user keys in the Name & Email address on Teams and clicking Submit button will complete the flow till then the flow will be in wait state for a period of 30 days maximum. The data will be submitted to the SharePoint list and the card will be updated with the update message as below

There is an Adaptive card designer in Power Automate which is an experimental feature currently with which you would able to design/update Adaptive card in the Power Automate action. To enable it, click the cog wheel on your flow environment and click  “View All Power Automate settings”. On the popup toggle the Experimental Features to On and click Save button.

Go back to the flow in Edit mode, the Teams action will now have an Adaptive card designer as shown below

Senior Program Manager for Power Automate Audrie Gordon has a great video on Adaptive cards for Power Automate which has lot of information.

If you run in to an error while submitting the form or triggering the flow, look at the Troubleshooting tips for Adaptive cards. There are few known issues documented here with regards to using this action on Power Automate.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/overview-adaptive-cards

Summary: You now have created an input form for collecting information from a user in teams. To know the future road map for Adaptive cards, click here to know. There are couple of amazing templates available in the Flow environment, just search for Adaptive card in templates where you get template for different use cases. Hope you have enjoyed reading this post and find it useful. If you have any comments or feedback, please provide it on the comments section below.

Accessing SharePoint modern page Likes & Comments using Power Automate

In a SharePoint modern page, you as an author would be able to turn on or turn off comments while creating a page. Everyone with minimum Read access on a SharePoint site would be able to Post, Like, reply to a comment at a single level, @mention a person while commenting in a SharePoint page.

When someone comments on a page or news post, SharePoint notifies the author or the person mentioned in the header of the page via an email. The SharePoint mobile app also alerts the author whenever a comment is made. If there are multiple comments, it will be batched so that the authors receive a single email when several comments have been made within a short period of time. Additionally, author gets email notices when users reply to comments or leave a “like”.  Author or a user can unsubscribe from notifications by clicking the “Unsubscribe” link in the footer of the email.

UnSubscribe

User with contribute access on a site would be able to delete any comments posted on the page which is quite an issue & not yet addressed by Microsoft. User with Read access to the site would be able to delete only the comments they have posted. Do you know where the comments are stored when ever you make a comment, they are stored in a separate data store with references to the Site Pages library guid & the item id of the page. The comments & likes are accessible via Rest API of the site. Find the different endpoints available for executing below actions

  • Getting comments & likes of a page item
  • Posting a comment on a page
  • Deleting a existing comment

There are couple of nice blog posts covering this topic with the API details. Find the links below:

On this blog post I am going to show you how to access the comments details of a SharePoint page using Power Automate.

Let’s create an automated flow with trigger “Manually Trigger a Flow”, add an action “Send an Http request to SharePoint” since the API to retrieve the comments is an SharePoint rest API.

The API for getting the comments of a SharePoint page is

https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/_api/web/lists/GetByTitle(‘Site Pages’)/GetItemById(pageitemid)/Comments

Method: Get

Header Information: accept: application/json;odata.metadata=none

The odata.metadata=none option reduces the size of the payload significantly, and for many scenarios this is all that you need when working with list items

Run the flow, the output of this action would have all the data related to the comments posted by users on the page in a JSON format. To get the required information we will have to parse the JSON with the help of the Parse JSON action. Add the Parse to JSON action as below with content to the Body from Outputs of the action “Send an Http request to SharePoint”

Click on the button “Generate from sample” which loads a popup “Insert a Sample JSON payload” paste the run data of the flow for generating the schema automatically. To get the run data, go to the run history and click the run and go to outputs of the action “Send an Http request to SharePoint” copy everything inside the Body

Find the information of the body in the JSON online viewer to decide what information you need & what is available on JSON output

Add the compose action to see all the information available from the Output of the parse action, I’ve added only text which has the comment text & email has the email address of the user posted the comment

Summary: There are different Rest API endpoints available for comments & likes in Modern SharePoint page, you can select the any of them based on the requirement. The api’s can also be used on SPFx solutions for customizing Comments feature. Hope you find this post useful. Let me know if there is any comments or feedback by posting a comment below.

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.

Managing users for a Power App with SharePoint as a data source

In this blog post, I am going to show you how to manage users for a Power App which has SharePoint as a data source. Let’s take an example, you’ve built a Power App application which has its data stored in SharePoint. After the application is developed, you want to share the app with some users. To do so you’ll have to give the user access to

  • PowerApps
  • Access to the Data source (SharePoint in this case), it could be Read/Write based on the use case

Only after the user has been granted access, they would be able to use the application. To setup the process for managing users we are going to use an action “Edit App Role Assignment” under the connector “PowerApps for App Makers” in the flow. Find the steps to executed to make this happen

  1. Create an Interface/screen for the Admins in PowerApps (custom role) to maintain (Add/Remove) the users of the application
  2. Flow for granting access to the users
    1. Action to grant access to the PowerApps
    1. Action to add the user to the SharePoint site

Step 1: Create an Interface for the Admins in PowerApps to manage the users for the application

Create a list (User Roles) on the SharePoint site which acts as a data source for application with the below schema to maintain the users

ColumnType
UserNamePerson or Group
RoleChoice (value: Admin, User)
RoleStatusSingle line of text (Default value: Add)
List Schema for UserRoles

Add a screen on the Power App as shown on the image below. I’ve given some information on the image the type of controls I’ve added on the screen.  This screen will be shown only to the Admin role, the navigation to this screen could be based on click of a button placed somewhere on the screen. The visibility of the button to navigate to the admin interface could be set based on the data (Role) from the list User Roles list. In this example, I will have two roles an Admin and User. Find the below screen in PowerApp built for managing the users

PowerApp Admin Interface screen

Once the user name and the role has been entered on the section 1, click add which adds the user information to the list User Roles. Once a user is added, the flow will be triggered which has actions to grant access for a Power App.

Step 2: Flow for granting access to the users

I will be using a flow to grant access to PowerApp & SharePoint site. Let’s build the automated flow with trigger “When an item is created or modified” connected to the list User Roles

Automated Flow Trigger

Add the action “Get User profile”, the input should be the email address of the user who must be given access to PowerApp. This step is required to get the user guid, to be given on a later step for granting access to PowerApp action

Get User profile

Now Add the action “Edit App Role Assignment” under the connector “PowerApps for App Makers”, this action is in preview mode by the time I am writing this post. To get more details on the different actions and its parameters with this connector go through this link. Make sure the connection to this action has access (Owner/Co-Owner) to share an App to a user.  You would be able to get the GUID (App ID) of the Power App by going to the details section of an app.

Edit App role assignment flow action

Now let’s add an action to grant the user access to SharePoint site. I would be using a flow action “Send an HTTP request to SharePoint” to call a Rest API (POST) to get the user added to the SP site groups (Members/Viewers/Visitors). The connection for this action should have access (Site Owner) to share the site. Find the rest api details to add the user to a group

URI: _api/web/sitegroups(groupId)/users

Method: POST

Request Body: {‘LoginName’:’i:0#.f|membership|Emailaddressoftheuser’}

To get the SharePoint group id, navigate to the url https://domainname.com/sites/sitename/_layouts/15/user.aspx and click the group name and copy the URL which will have the groupid at the end.

https://domainname/sites/sitename/_layouts/15/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=3

Find the action with the configurations

SP HTTP request action

Execute the flow by adding the user to the list from the PowerApps interface, the flow gets triggered which will in turn grant the user access to PowerApp & SharePoint. Tada!!!

To revoke the access to a user, if you scroll back to the admin interface image for managing the user there is a delete button. Assume that the delete button click will update the column status on the User Roles list to “Revoke” for a user which would then trigger the same flow. On the same flow add a Switch which would then based on the value in the RoleStatus (Add/Revoke) column, add steps to revoke the access. This could be achieved in multiple ways. For e.g After the delete button is clicked the item on the UserRoles list can be deleted which will in turn call a flow created using the trigger “When an Item is deleted” with actions to revoke access

Action to Revoke Power App access, its the same action we used for adding user to an app but with some different parameters as shown below

Edit Role assignment – Remove user

The rest api details for revoking the user access from a SharePoint group

URI: _api/web/sitegroups(groupId)/users/removeByLoginName

Method: POST

Request Body: {‘loginName’:’i:0#.f|membership|Emailaddressoftheuser’}

The action to grant access to Power App can also be called from a Power App by creating a connection to the data source “PowerAppsforAppMakers” as below

Editapproleassignment from powerapp

Summary:This approach would help the super users of the app to manage user permissions for the Power App within Power Apps interface. On this post we have seen adding the user permission to SharePoint data source. Based on needs there should be ways to add users to different data sources if there’s an api endpoint or with the help of standard connectors available in Power Platform. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below