Getting started with Enterprise Integration Pack for Logic Apps

With Azure Logic Apps, you can now implement “serverless”, cloud-based enterprise integration workflows for EAI & B2B scenarios

  • EAI – Enterprise Application Integration
  • B2B – Business-to-Business communication

The Enterprise Integration Pack features include the B2B, EDI and XML capabilities for handling complex business to business workloads. With this features, Logic Apps can easily leverage the power of BizTalk Server, Microsoft’s industry leading integration solution to enable integration professionals to build the solutions they need.

The pack uses industry standard protocols, including AS2, X12, and EDIFACT, to exchange messages between business partners. Messages can be optionally secured using both encryption and digital signatures.

Enterprise Integration Pack is based on integration account, which is a secure and scalable container that stores the various artifacts you need for more complex business process workflow such as, schemas for XML validation, maps for transformation, and trading partner agreements.

 

Integration Account

Integration Account, a container that stores the various artifacts you need for more complex business process workloads such as trading partner agreements.

It is essential to create an integration account for a Logic App to use EAI and B2B capabilities. To create an integration account, log in to Azure portal and go to New –> Enterprise Integration, as shown below. Select Integration Account here.

Now enter the Name for the integration account and select the Subscription, Resource group, and Location, as shown below. Click on the Create button.

This is how the integration account container SampleIntegrationAccount look like.

To use the artifacts stored in the integration account, you need to create a Logic App and link the integration account to it.

 

Integration account can hold the following integration artifacts used for Enterprise Integration scenarios:

XML schemas: You can use XML schema to define the message / document format that you expect to receive and send from source and destination systems respectively.

XSLT-based maps: This can be used to transform XML data from one format to another format.

Trading partners: This is a representation of a group within organization or partner you do business with. These are the entities that participate in Business-To-Business (B2B) messaging and transactions.

Trading partner agreements: When two partners establish a relationship, this is referred to as an agreement. Trading partner agreements is an understanding between two business profiles to use a specific message encoding protocol or a specific transport protocol while exchanging EDI messages with each other. Enterprise Integration supports three protocol/transport standards:

  • AS2
  • X12
  • EDIFACT

Certificates: Enterprise Integration uses certificates for secure messaging of EDI data, which is achieved using public and private keys. Organization (Trading Partner) generates keys, distributes the public, and keeps the private secret. Data encrypted by the public key can only be decrypted by the private key.

Certificates are just electronic documents that contains a public key. These certificates are digitally signed by a trusted certificate authority (CA) and the signature binds owner’s identity to the public key.

 

Logic Apps Enterprise Integration Tool

The Enterprise Integration Tool is an extension for Visual Studio 2015, which can be downloaded from here.

Basically, it adds an integration project type to Visual Studio 2015 and lets you create XML schemas, Flat File Schemas, and maps to build an EAI/B2B integration solution.

It uses the Logic App Schema editor, Flat File Schema generator, and XSLT mapper to easily create integration account artifacts. These artifacts, XSD and XSLT map files are uploaded to integration account so that you can use them for Enterprise Messaging in Logic App.

 

Integration account connectors

The integration pack connectors enable you to easily validate, transform and process different messages that you exchange with different applications within your enterprise (EAI) or with your business partners (B2B). If you work with BizTalk Server, then these connectors are a good fit to expand your BizTalk workflows into Azure.

Following enterprise features can be achieved by using Integration account connectors

EAI features:

  • XML Validation
  • Transform XML
  • Flat File Encoding
  • Flat File Decoding

B2B features:

  • AS2 – Decode AS2 Message
  • AS2 – Encode to AS2 Message
  • X12 – Decode X12 message
  • X12 – Encode to X12 message by agreement name
  • X12 – Encode to X12 message by identities
  • EDIFACT – Decode EDIFACT message
  • EDIFACT – Encode to EDIFACT message by agreement name
  • EDIFACT – Encode to EDIFACT message by identities

Together all these features/capabilities enable customers to create end to end automated business processes that scale with the cloud connecting you to your business partners quicker than ever on Logic Apps.

 

Enterprise Integration templates

Logic Apps has rich set of pre-built template and few of them are for Enterprise Integration as shown below.

VETER – Validate, Enrich, Transform, Extract, Route.

There is a quick start template on GitHub to try these scenarios. Here is the GitHub link for VETER scenario

 

EDI over AS2

 

Message handling in Logic Apps

The Enterprise Messaging in Logic Apps have the following features:

Flexibility in content types: Logic Apps are flexible enough to support different content types, such as binary, JSON, XML, and primitives. Now you can receive different message types in Logic Apps and then convert them to JSON or XML format required for the downstream systems. We also have new BizTalk connectors, which can be used to push the message to the on-premise BizTalk server.

The Enterprise Integration pack provides XSD support in Logic Apps. So, you can upload your XML schemas to integration account and use them in Logic App workflow and further convert them to the binary or JSON format as per your requirement.

Mapping: you can also create XSLT-based map in Visual Studio and use them in Logic App workflows. You can also leverage your existing assets-schema and maps by uploading them to integration account and using them in Logic Apps.

Flat file processing: You can easily convert Flat files into XML and vice versa. Built-in connectors support Logic Apps to convert csv, delimited, and positional file into XML and then into JSON/base64.

EDI: With Enterprise Integration Pack, Logic Apps now supports EDI processing for business-to-business (B2B) integration scenarios with out-of-the-box X12 and EDIFACT support. By enabling both encode and decode for these EDI standards you are able to receive or send EDI documents from Logic Apps.

Summary:

Enterprise Application Pack for Logic Apps comes with the concept of integration account that stores various artifacts you need for more complex business process workloads such as trading partner agreements. You need to use Enterprise Integration Tool to create enterprise artifacts such as schema and maps which would be used to create “serverless”, cloud-based enterprise integration workflows for EAI & B2B scenarios.

You can check out the next post to build your first Enterprise Messaging solution in Logic Apps.

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