January 9, 2024

Custom APIs for Power Automate: why they should be developed

Power Automate is an important piece of the Power Platform, no doubts about this.
Can it be improved? Sure.

Low-Code and Pro-Code are two buzz words constantly being around Power Platform, which side you prefer it's not my business, as I often says there are different ways to implement a process, it's also the beauty of programming (traditional or visual).

One thing I do not like is to create convoluted processes to achieve something that is very easy using another tool, we always need to tend to simplification in my opinion, considering the context where the application lives.

How can we improve and simplify flows created in Power Automate? If your flows have Dataverse at your disposal, one way is definitely Custom APIs.

The documentation link is this one https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-apps/developer/data-platform/custom-api and at the beginning is written:

"...you and other developers can call in their code or from Power Automate."

Last Nordic Summit I had the pleasure to meet Amey Holden, she presented a session about Power Automate and one of the examples she demoed was about Choices, she needed to query the Metadata and her flow was working. However I instantly saw the opportunity to create something to help the specific task she faced. The result was a Custom API and she described it in this blog post:

Converting Dataverse Choice(s), (Multi-select) Option Sets, or Picklists in Power Automate

The Custom API I created (download here) simplified the flow, no need to query the Metadata writing the http query, no need to add special conditions, it's just a block doing the task but it's easy to use and does the work.

Why I am talking now about this? In the last months I created several Custom APIs designed to be used inside Power Automate flows, and yesterday I created another one that is public (RegexCustomAPIs) to execute Regex operations. (thanks Mark Christie for giving me the idea).

The Regex operations available are Match and Replace and they may fail sometimes due to the Regex pattern passed as input, but it's a starting point. As I said in the beginning there are different ways to implement something and you can find other ways to execute a Regex inside Power Automate, what I created is just another way and it may be useful to you.

So next time you are creating a flow and you think a Custom API can make the flow easier to interact and less cluttered, worth asking if it's doable.


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