Create a custom connector from scratch

Note

This topic is part of a tutorial series on creating and using custom connectors in Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow, and PowerApps. Make sure you read the custom connector overview to understand the process.

To create a custom connector, you must describe the API you want to connect to so that the connector understands the API's operations and data structures. In this topic, you create a custom connector from scratch, without using a Postman collection or an OpenAPI definition to describe the Cognitive Services Text Analytics Sentiment API (our example for this series). Instead, you describe the connector completely in the custom connector wizard.

For other ways to describe an API, see the following topics:

Note

You can currently create a custom connector from scratch in Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. For Logic Apps, you must start with at least a basic OpenAPI definition or Postman collection.

Prerequisites

Start the custom connector wizard

  1. Go to powerapps.com or flow.microsoft.com.

  2. In the upper right corner, choose the gear icon, then choose Custom connectors.

    Gear icon in service

  3. Choose Create custom connector, then choose Create from blank.

    Create custom connector

  4. Enter a name for the custom connector, then choose Connect.

    Upload Postman collection

    Parameter Value
    Custom connector title "SentimentDemo"

Update general details

From this point, we'll show the Microsoft Flow UI, but the steps are largely the same across the technologies. We'll point out any differences.

  1. On the General page:

    • Enter a meaningful value for Description. This description is displayed in the custom connector's details, and it can help others know if the connector could be useful to them.

    • Update Host to the address for the Text Analytics API. The connector uses the API host and the base URL to determine how to call the API.

    Custom connector General page

    Parameter Value
    Description "Uses the Cognitive Services Text Analytics Sentiment API to determine whether text is positive or negative"
    Host "westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com"

    Note

    For more information about the option Connect via on-premises data gateway, see Connect to on-premises APIs using the data gateway.

Specify authentication type

There are several options available for authentication in custom connectors. The Cognitive Services APIs use API key authentication, so that's what you specify for this tutorial.

  1. On the Security page, under Authentication type, choose API Key.

    Authentication type

  2. Under API Key, specify a parameter label, name, and location. Specify a meaningful label, because this is displayed when someone first makes a connection with the custom connector. The parameter name and location must match what the API expects. Choose Connect.

    API key parameters

    Parameter Value
    Parameter label "API key"
    Parameter name "Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key"
    Parameter location "Header"
  3. At the top of the wizard, make sure the name is set to "SentimentDemo", then choose Create connector.

Create the connector definition

The custom connector wizard gives you a lot of options for defining how your connector functions, and how it is exposed in logic apps, flows, and apps. We'll explain the UI and cover a few options in this section, but we also encourage you to explore on your own.

Create an action

The first thing to do is create an action that calls the Text Analytics Sentiment API.

  1. On the Definition page, the left area displays any actions, triggers (for Logic Apps and Microsoft Flow), and references that are defined for the connector. Choose New action.

    Definition page - actions and triggers

    There are no triggers in this connector, but you can learn about triggers for custom connectors in Use webhooks with Azure Logic Apps and Microsoft Flow.

  2. The General area displays information about the action or trigger currently selected. Add a summary, description, and operation ID for this action.

    Definition page - general

    Parameter Value
    Summary "Returns a numeric score representing the sentiment detected"
    Description "The API returns a numeric score between 0 and 1. Scores close to 1 indicate positive sentiment, while scores close to 0 indicate negative sentiment."
    Operation ID "DetectSentiment"

    Leave the Visibility property set to none. This property for operations and parameters in a logic app or flow has the following options:

    • none: displayed normally in the logic app or flow
    • advanced: hidden under an additional menu
    • internal: hidden from the user
    • important: always shown to the user first
  3. The Request area displays information based on the HTTP request for the action. Choose Import from sample.

    Definition page - import from sample

  4. Specify the information necessary to connect to the API, and the request body, then choose Import. We provide this information for you (below the image). For a public API, you typically get it from the documentation, like Text Analytics Sentiment API.

    Definition page - import from sample

    Parameter Value
    Verb "POST"
    URL "https://westus.api.cognitive.microsoft.com/text/analytics/v2.0/sentiment"
    Body See below
    {
      "documents": [
        {
          "language": "string",
          "id": "string",
          "text": "string"
        }
      ]
    }
    
  5. The Response area displays information based on the HTTP response for the action. Choose Add default response.

    Definition page - response

  6. Specify the response body, then choose Import. Like the request, we provide this information for you, but it's typically in the API documentation.

    Definition page - response

    {
     "documents": [
       {
         "score": 0.0,
         "id": "string"
       }
     ],
     "errors": [
       {
         "id": "string",
         "message": "string"
       }
     ]
    }
    
  7. The Validation area displays any issues that are detected in the API definition. Check the status, then at the top right of the wizard, choose Update connector.

    Definition page - validation

Update the definition

Now let's change a few things so that the connector is more friendly when someones uses it in a logic app, flow, or PowerApps app.

  1. In the Request area, choose body then Edit.

    Edit request body

  2. In the Parameter area, you now see the three parameters that the API expects: id, language, and text. Choose id then Edit.

    Edit request body id

  3. In the Schema Property area, update values for the parameter, then choose Back.

    Edit schema property

    Parameter Value
    Title "ID"
    Description "An identifier for each document that you submit"
    Default value "1"
    Is required "Yes"
  4. In the Parameter area, choose language then Edit, and repeat the process you used for id, with the following values.

    Parameter Value
    Title "Language"
    Description "The 2 or 4 character language code for the text"
    Default value "en"
    Is required "Yes"
  5. In the Parameter area, choose text then Edit, and repeat the process you used for id and language, with the following values.

    Parameter Value
    Title "Text"
    Description "The text to analyze for sentiment"
    Default value None
    Is required "Yes"
  6. In the Parameter area, choose Back to take you back to the main definition page.

  7. At the top right of the wizard, choose Update connector.

Test the connector

Now that you've created the connector, test it to make sure it's working properly. Testing is currently available only in Microsoft Flow and PowerApps.

Important

When using an API key, we recommend not testing the connector immediately after you create it. It can take a few minutes until the connector is ready to connect to the API.

  1. On the Test page, choose New connection.

    New connection

  2. Enter the API key from the Text Analytics API, then choose Create connection.

    Create connection

  3. Return to the Test page:

    • In Microsoft Flow, you are taken back to the Test page. Choose the refresh icon to make sure the connection information is updated.

      Refresh connection

    • In PowerApps, you are taken to the list of connections available in the current environment. In the upper right corner, choose the gear icon, then choose Custom connectors. Choose the connector you created, then go back to the Test page.

      Gear icon in service

  4. On the Test page, enter a value for the text field (the other fields use the defaults that you set earlier), then choose Test operation.

    Test operation

  5. The connector calls the API, and you can review the response, which includes the sentiment score.

    Connector response

Next steps

Now that you've created a custom connector and defined its behaviors, you can use the connector:

You can also share a connector within your organization and/or get the connector certified so that people outside your organization can use it: