Ease into AI with Microsoft Flow

No-code connectors to Azure Cognitive Services make it easy to get started with artificial intelligence

Ease into AI with Microsoft Flow
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Microsoft’s Power Platform has become a significant part of its developer offering during the past few years. Perhaps best thought of as the modern equivalent of the 1990s client-server applications and tools like the original Visual Basic, the Power Platform is a family of rapid application development tools intended for a mixed audience of both developers and business analysts.

Power Platform is built on the Common Data Model at the heart of the Dynamics line-of-business systems and on the workflow automation of Azure’s Logic Apps. It offers a mix of tools for building internal enterprise applications that deliver information to user desktops and devices. There are three key developer-facing tools in the Power Platform: Flow, Power Apps, and Power BI. Each supports different audiences, but they also fit together to give you a business information processing pipeline, from core systems at one end, to desktop dashboards and mobile applications at the other.

Using Flow for microservice workflows and integration

At the heart of that pipeline is the low-code, serverless Microsoft Flow. Much like Logic Apps, Flow offers a set of building blocks that can be connected to respond to a trigger and deliver an input to another application. For example, I have a Flow that connects my Office 365 calendar to Google Calendar, updating the Google Calendar when I add new appointments to Outlook, so they’re accessible by the Google Assistant on my Android phone. Another links to the third-party IoT IFTTT (if this, then that) service to change the color of the Hue bulb on my desk lamp when my name is mentioned in a Teams channel.

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