Overview: Azure Logic Apps Preview

Important

This capability is in public preview, is provided without a service level agreement, and is not recommended for production workloads. Certain features might not be supported or might have constrained capabilities. For more information, see Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews.

With Azure Logic Apps Preview, you can build automation and integration solutions across apps, data, cloud services, and systems by creating and running logic apps that include stateful and stateless workflows by using the new Logic App (Preview) resource type. With this new logic app type, you can build multiple workflows that are powered by the redesigned Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime, which provides portability, better performance, and flexibility for deploying and running in various hosting environments, not only Azure, but also Docker containers.

How is this possible? The redesigned runtime uses the Azure Functions extensibility model and is hosted as an extension on the Azure Functions runtime. This architecture means that you can run the new logic app type anywhere that Azure Functions runs. You can host the redesigned runtime on almost any network topology, and choose any available compute size to handle the necessary workload that's required by your workflows. For more information, see Introduction to Azure Functions and Azure Functions triggers and bindings.

You can create the Logic App (Preview) resource either by starting in the Azure portal or by creating a project in Visual Studio Code with the Azure Logic Apps (Preview) extension. Also, in Visual Studio Code, you can build and locally run your workflows in your development environment. Whether you use the portal or Visual Studio Code, you can deploy and run the new logic app type in the same kinds of hosting environments.

This overview covers the following areas:

For more information, see these other articles:

How does Azure Logic Apps Preview differ?

The Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime uses Azure Functions extensibility and is hosted as an extension on the Azure Functions runtime. This architecture means you can run the new logic app type anywhere that Azure Functions runs. You can host the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime on almost any network topology that you want, and choose any available compute size to handle the necessary workload that your workflow needs. For more information about Azure Functions extensibility, see WebJobs SDK: Creating custom input and output bindings.

With this new approach, the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime and your workflows are both part of your app that you can package together. This capability lets you deploy and run your workflows by simply copying artifacts to the hosting environment and starting your app. This approach also provides a more standardized experience for building DevOps pipelines around the workflow projects for running the required tests and validations before you deploy changes to production environments. For more information, see Azure Logic Apps Running Anywhere - Runtime Deep Dive.

The following table briefly summarizes the differences in the way that workflows share resources, based on the environment where they run. For differences in limits, see Limits in Azure Logic Apps Preview.

Environment Resource sharing and consumption
Azure Logic Apps (Multi-tenant) Workflows from customers in multiple tenants share the same processing (compute), storage, network, and so on.
Azure Logic Apps (Preview) Workflows in the same logic app share the same processing (compute), storage, network, and so on.
Integration service environment (unavailable in Preview) Workflows in the same environment share the same processing (compute), storage, network, and so on.

Meanwhile, you can still create the original logic app type in the Azure portal and in Visual Studio Code by using the original Azure Logic Apps extension. Although the development experiences differ between the original and new logic app types, your Azure subscription can include both types. You can view and access all the deployed logic apps in your Azure subscription, but the apps are organized into their own categories and sections.

Stateful and stateless workflows

  • Stateful

    Create stateful workflows when you need to keep, review, or reference data from previous events. These workflows save the inputs and outputs for each action and their states in external storage, which makes reviewing the run details and history possible after each run finishes. Stateful workflows provide high resiliency if outages happen. After services and systems are restored, you can reconstruct interrupted runs from the saved state and rerun the workflows to completion. Stateful workflows can continue running for up to a year.

  • Stateless

    Create stateless workflows when you don't need to save, review, or reference data from previous events in external storage for later review. These workflows save the inputs and outputs for each action and their states only in memory, rather than transferring this data to external storage. As a result, stateless workflows have shorter runs that are typically no longer than 5 minutes, faster performance with quicker response times, higher throughput, and reduced running costs because the run details and history aren't kept in external storage. However, if outages happen, interrupted runs aren't automatically restored, so the caller needs to manually resubmit interrupted runs. These workflows can only run synchronously.

    For easier debugging, you can enable run history for a stateless workflow, which has some impact on performance, and then disable the run history when you're done. For more information, see Create stateful and stateless workflows in Visual Studio Code or Create stateful and stateless workflows in the Azure portal.

    Note

    Stateless workflows currently support only actions for managed connectors, which are deployed in Azure, and not triggers. To start your workflow, select either the built-in Request, Event Hubs, or Service Bus trigger. These triggers run natively in the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime. For more information about limited, unavailable, or unsupported triggers, actions, and connectors, see Changed, limited, unavailable, or unsupported capabilities.

Nested behavior differences between stateful and stateless workflows

You can make a workflow callable from other workflows that exist in the same Logic App (Preview) resource by using the Request trigger, HTTP Webhook trigger, or managed connector triggers that have the ApiConnectionWebhook type and can receive HTTPS requests.

Here are the behavior patterns that nested workflows can follow after a parent workflow calls a child workflow:

  • Asynchronous polling pattern

    The parent doesn't wait for a response to their initial call, but continually checks the child's run history until the child finishes running. By default, stateful workflows follow this pattern, which is ideal for long-running child workflows that might exceed request timeout limits.

  • Synchronous pattern ("fire and forget")

    The child acknowledges the call by immediately returning a 202 ACCEPTED response, and the parent continues to the next action without waiting for the results from the child. Instead, the parent receives the results when the child finishes running. Child stateful workflows that don't include a Response action always follow the synchronous pattern. For child stateful workflows, the run history is available for you to review.

    To enable this behavior, in the workflow's JSON definition, set the operationOptions property to DisableAsyncPattern. For more information, see Trigger and action types - Operation options.

  • Trigger and wait

    For a child stateless workflow, the parent waits for a response that returns the results from the child. This pattern works similar to using the built-in HTTP trigger or action to call a child workflow. Child stateless workflows that don't include a Response action immediately return a 202 ACCEPTED response, but the parent waits for the child to finish before continuing to the next action. These behaviors apply only to child stateless workflows.

This table specifies the child workflow's behavior based on whether the parent and child are stateful, stateless, or are mixed workflow types:

Parent workflow Child workflow Child behavior
Stateful Stateful Asynchronous or synchronous with "operationOptions": "DisableAsyncPattern" setting
Stateful Stateless Trigger and wait
Stateless Stateful Synchronous
Stateless Stateless Trigger and wait

Capabilities

Azure Logic Apps Preview includes many current and additional capabilities, for example:

  • Create logic apps and their workflows from 390+ connectors for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) apps and services plus connectors for on-premises systems.

    • Some managed connectors such as Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hubs, and SQL Server run similarly to the built-in triggers and actions that are native to the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime, for example, the Request trigger and HTTP action. For more information, see Azure Logic Apps Running Anywhere - Built-in connector extensibility.

    • You can use the B2B actions for Liquid Operations and XML Operations without an integration account. To use these actions, you need to have Liquid maps, XML maps, or XML schemas that you can upload through the respective actions in the Azure portal or add to your Visual Studio Code project's Artifacts folder using the respective Maps and Schemas folders.

    • Create and deploy logic apps that can run anywhere because the Azure Logic Apps service generates Shared Access Signature (SAS) connection strings that these logic apps can use for sending requests to the cloud connection runtime endpoint. The Logic Apps service saves these connection strings with other application settings so that you can easily store these values in Azure Key Vault when you deploy in Azure.

      Note

      By default, a Logic App (Preview) resource has its system-assigned managed identity automatically enabled to authenticate connections at runtime. This identity differs from the authentication credentials or connection string that you use when you create a connection. If you disable this identity, connections won't work at runtime. To view this setting, on your logic app's menu, under Settings, select Identity.

  • Create logic apps with stateless workflows that run only in memory so that they finish more quickly, respond faster, have higher throughput, and cost less to run because the run histories and data between actions don't persist in external storage. Optionally, you can enable run history for easier debugging. For more information, see Stateful versus stateless logic apps.

  • Locally run, test, and debug your logic apps and their workflows in the Visual Studio Code development environment.

    Before you run and test your logic app, you can make debugging easier by adding and using breakpoints inside the workflow.json file for a workflow. However, breakpoints are supported only for actions at this time, not triggers. For more information, see Create stateful and stateless workflows in Visual Studio Code.

  • Directly publish or deploy logic apps and their workflows from Visual Studio Code to various hosting environments such as Azure and Docker containers.

  • Enable diagnostics logging and tracing capabilities for your logic app by using Application Insights when supported by your Azure subscription and logic app settings.

  • Regenerate access keys for managed connections used by individual workflows in a Logic App (Preview) resource. For this task, follow the same steps for the Logic Apps resource but at the individual workflow level, not the logic app resource level.

Note

For information about current known issues, review the Logic Apps Public Preview Known Issues page in GitHub.

Pricing model

When you create the new logic app type in the Azure portal or deploy from Visual Studio Code, you must choose a hosting plan, either App Service or Premium, for your logic app to use. This plan determines the pricing model that applies to running your logic app. If you select the App Service plan, you must also choose a pricing tier.

Stateful workflows use external storage, so the Azure Storage pricing applies to storage transactions that the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime performs. For example, queues are used for scheduling, while tables and blobs are used for storing workflow states.

Note

During public preview, running logic apps on App Service doesn't incur additional charges on top of your selected plan.

For more information about the pricing models that apply to this new resource type, review these topics:

Changed, limited, unavailable, or unsupported capabilities

In Azure Logic Apps Preview, these capabilities have changed, or they are currently limited, unavailable, or unsupported:

  • OS support: Currently, the designer in Visual Studio Code doesn't work on Linux OS, but you can still deploy logic apps that use the Logic Apps Preview runtime to Linux-based virtual machines. For now, you can build your logic apps in Visual Studio Code on Windows or macOS and then deploy to a Linux-based virtual machine.

  • Triggers and actions: Some built-in triggers are unavailable, such as Sliding Window and Batch. To start your workflow, use the built-in Recurrence, Request, HTTP, HTTP Webhook, Event Hubs, or Service Bus trigger. Built-in triggers and actions run natively in the Azure Logic Apps Preview runtime, while managed connectors are deployed in Azure. In the designer, built-in triggers and actions appear under the Built-in tab, while managed connector triggers and actions appear under the Azure tab.

    Note

    To run locally in Visual Studio Code, webhook-based triggers and actions require additional setup. For more information, see Create stateful and stateless workflows in Visual Studio Code.

    • For stateless workflows, the Azure tab doesn't appear when you select a trigger because you can select only managed connector actions, not triggers. Although you can enable Azure-deployed managed connectors for stateless workflows, the designer doesn't show any managed connector triggers for you to add.

    • For stateful workflows, other than the triggers and actions that are listed as unavailable below, both managed connector triggers and actions are available for you to use.

    • These triggers and actions have either changed or are currently limited, unsupported, or unavailable:

      • On-premises data gateway triggers are unavailable, but gateway actions are available.

      • Custom connectors are unavailable.

      • The built-in action, Azure Functions - Choose an Azure function is now Azure Function Operations - Call an Azure function. This action currently works only for functions that are created from the HTTP Trigger template.

        In the Azure portal, you can select an HTTP trigger function where you have access by creating a connection through the user experience. If you inspect the function action's JSON definition in code view or the workflow.json file, the action refers to the function by using a connectionName reference. This version abstracts the function's information as a connection, which you can find in your project's connections.json file, which is available after you create a connection.

        Note

        In the Preview version, the function action supports only query string authentication. Azure Logic Apps Preview gets the default key from the function when making the connection, stores that key in your app's settings, and uses the key for authentication when calling the function.

        As with the original version, if you renew this key, for example, through the Azure Functions experience in the portal, the function action no longer works due to the invalid key. To fix this problem, you need to recreate the connection to the function that you want to call or update your app's settings with the new key.

      • The built-in action, Inline Code - Execute JavaScript Code is now Inline Code Operations - Run in-line JavaScript.

        • Inline Code Operations actions no longer require an integration account.

        • If you use macOS or Linux, Inline Code Operations is currently unavailable when you use the Azure Logic Apps (Preview) extension in Visual Studio Code.

        • If you make changes in an Inline Code Operations action, you need to restart your logic app.

        • Inline Code Operations actions have updated limits.

      • Some built-in B2B triggers and actions for integration accounts are unavailable, for example, the Flat File encoding and decoding actions.

      • The built-in action, Azure Logic Apps - Choose a Logic App workflow is now Workflow Operations - Invoke a workflow in this workflow app.

  • Hosting plan availability: Whether you create a new Logic App (Preview) resource type in the Azure portal or deploy from Visual Studio Code, you can only use the Premium or App Service hosting plan in Azure. Consumption hosting plans are unavailable and unsupported for deploying this resource type. You can deploy from Visual Studio Code to a Docker container, but not to an integration service environment (ISE).

  • Parallel branches: Currently, you can't add parallel branches through the new designer experience. However, you can still add these branches through the original designer experience and have them appear in the new designer.

    1. At the bottom of the designer, disable the new experience by selecting the New Canvas control.

    2. Add the parallel branches to your workflow.

    3. Enable the new experience by selecting the New Canvas control again.

  • Zoom control: The zoom control is currently unavailable on the designer.

  • Breakpoint debugging in Visual Studio Code: Although you can add and use breakpoints inside the workflow.json file for a workflow, breakpoints are supported only for actions at this time, not triggers. For more information, see Create stateful and stateless workflows in Visual Studio Code.

Updated limits

Although many limits for Azure Logic Apps Preview stay the same as the limits for multi-tenant Azure Logic Apps, these limits have changed for Azure Logic Apps Preview.

HTTP timeout limits

For a single inbound call or outbound call, the timeout limit is 230 seconds (3.9 minutes) for these triggers and actions:

  • Outbound request: HTTP trigger, HTTP action
  • Inbound request: Request trigger, HTTP Webhook trigger, HTTP Webhook action

In comparison, here are the timeout limits for these triggers and actions in other environments where logic apps and their workflows run:

  • Multi-tenant Azure Logic Apps: 120 seconds (2 minutes)
  • Integration service environment: 240 seconds (4 minutes)

For more information, see HTTP limits.

Managed connectors

Managed connectors are limited to 50 requests per minute per connection. To work with connector throttling issues, see Handle throttling problems (429 - "Too many requests" error) in Azure Logic Apps.

Inline Code Operations (Execute JavaScript Code)

For a single logic app definition, the Inline Code Operations action, Execute JavaScript Code, has these updated limits:

  • The maximum number of code characters increases from 1,024 characters to 100,000 characters.

  • The maximum duration for running code increases from five seconds to 15 seconds.

For more information, see Logic app definition limits.

Next steps

Also, we'd like to hear from you about your experiences with Azure Logic Apps Preview!