#Flow – Using configuration information from an App using #OneDrive, #Excel, Microsoft Flow and HTTP Requests



It is no news that Developers and Business Users speak different languages. This is why, sometimes when I ask a business User to update a configuration file, it usually does not ends well. It happened to me when sharing [.json], [.config], or [.xml] files,
these users do not know which tool to use to edit the values, and also happens that a plain text format, is often not intuitive for them.

That’s why a while ago, I took a different approach: I decided to adapt myself to their tools and ways to work. In a nutshell the working model with these files is as follows


  • Business Users: Microsoft Excel
  • Developers: Json

And as we are in a time where [Serverless] is the premise, I challenged myself to see if I could do it without writing a single line of code. To do this, use Microsoft Flow as the base integrating information store in OneDrive with Excel files and interacting with the flow using HTTP requests.

The first thing was to create a spreadsheet with information to share, in this case a list of users, email accounts and twitter.


The, I saved the file in OneDrive and I grant access to the file to my Business Users. They can happily edit the file now.


And then I created a Flow to access to this configuration file but in a developer mode. The Flow is using an HTTP Request as the trigger, then it reads the information from the Excel file and it closes with an standard HTTP Response including the content of the Excel file in Json format.


There is only one tricky step here, and is when we need to build the Json response. To do this, I use a simple Flow Expression working with the main body of the Excel file.


When we save the Flow, we can access to the public URL where the flow is published. This is the URL we can use in our Apps to access to this information. To test this without a full .Net App, we can use Postman (I wrote about this some time ago). 1 Url copy and 2 clicks later, and we can see the HTTP response with the configuration information in Json..


As soon as Flow uses this Excel file, we will see a new column in the excel file [__PowerAppsId__]. We should not  delete this column. The easy way to explain this is: Flow uses this column as base to check where / when a file was accessed and to see the changes on this.

However we can add more information to the file, and if we want, an extra column with new information, in example:


As soon as the changes are reflected and stored in OneDrive, a new request to our Flow will return a new complete Json response with the new column and the new rows.


As a ZERO CODE solution, this rocks! and it rocks twice if you also gives your users the chance to use Excel as a edition tool for this.

Happy Coding!

Greetings @ Toronto

El Bruno



My posts on Logic Apps

My posts on Flow




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