Troubleshooting Microsoft Flow

There has been a proliferation of workflow automation tools out there for various platforms, and I am generally a fan. I have used the Shortcuts (formerly Workflow) app on iOS for a few years and have had limited success with IFTTT. Microsoft Flow is different because it is really meant to be an integration glue for the Microsoft cloud.

Yesterday, I had an interesting concept proposed to me that I would normally solve with PowerShell, and perhaps the Microsoft Graph API. However, I was thinking that this might be an opportunity to use Microsoft Flow and I immediately started running into some difficulties.

The Flow starts off simply:

“When an event is added, updated or deleted” from a calendar in an Office 365 Exchange Online calendar, I want to take an action. Easy enough to add this trigger and control the context in terms of days that are tracked. Since the flow operates for three different conditions, my initial thought was to use a Switch to handle the options:

I add the Switch control and Flow is kind enough to offer some suggestions, with “Action Type” being the first presented, which just so happens to match what I want to do. However, what are the actual values that the trigger passes to the Switch control? Flow does not offer these up so readily.

In order to “echo” the values, I decided I would have it email me the output of “Action Type”:

So, I created a new item in the calendar and waited:

After a couple of minutes, I received a message in Outlook:

The value when adding a new item is “added”. Then, I moved the meeting an hour later and waited. After a couple of minutes, I received another message in Outlook:

The value when updating an item is “updated”. This all seems reasonable, so I delete the item and wait. Another couple of minutes later, I received the final message in Outlook:

Intuitively, deleting an item has “deleted” as the value. So, now I can go back and edit the Flow to add the Switch control and the different conditions:

Now I can carry on with my Flow. If I run into another situation where I need some output, I will simply have it send an email notification again so that I can see the it.

On a side note, I just wanted to add that all of the work with the Flow and drafting this post was performed in Safari, Outlook, Photos (cropping screenshots), and Ulysses on my iPad Pro. It is interesting how all of these capabilities are available to me on a non-Microsoft platform. I would expect it to work equally well on Android.


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