Applying automation and approvals to RSS with Microsoft Flow

Microsoft’s release of Flow has put Automation as a Service for Microsoft into the mainstream. For background, I have been using Microsoft Flow primarily for social media related tasks. I blogged a while back on how I was using Flow for twitter retweet approvals as an example. I also use Flow to provide retweets with approvals for specific RSS feeds. This article will show how to build the flow, show what the email approval looks like and take a quick tour through the new mobile application.

How to build the flow:

To create this flow, log into your account and choose the button to Create new flow shown below.

For this flow we start with the “RSS – When a feed item is published” trigger. I chose the Catapult blogs to monitor with this flow (http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/feed/).

If a new RSS item was published to this RSS feed, the next step is to send an approval email. We need to define the subject, user options and what email address it should be sent to. For this example I defined the subject to start with “RSS Feed” and then to include the feed title and a link to the feed. The user options I changed to “Yes, No” and I sent the email to my Catapult account.

Then we add a condition for the value of “Yes” (IE: did I approve retweeting this RSS feed) as shown below.

As the final step, we add the action to Post a new tweet using the feed title and the feed link.

The final flow looks like this when it’s completed.

What does the email look like?

When a new RSS feed is posted, the approval email looks like this.

What does the mobile app look like?

Microsoft recently released a mobile version of their application which works pretty darn well on my Android device. The screenshots below show some of the mobile experience.

The first shows the “Activity” section which shows what flows have run recently and their success or failure status.

The next one shows the flows which you are using.

The final screenshot shows the details for a specific flow including the ability to enable or disable the flow, see the flow or see the history or the flow.

Summary: Microsoft Flow provides a quick and intuitive way to create your own automations and the addition of the mobile experience is helping to move this more into the mainstream. Check it out at http://flow.microsoft.com

P.S. – If you noticed in the last few screenshots I have a V2 version of the Twitter approval flow. I plan on updating my original blog post to reflect those changes hopefully next week.

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