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Automate Tasks in Microsoft Flow Using the CData API Server and Sage US ADO.NET Provider

Automate actions like sending emails to a contact list, posting to social media, or syncing CRM and ERP.

Microsoft Flow makes it easy to automate tasks that involve data from multiple systems, on premises or in the cloud. With the CData API Server and Sage US ADO.NET Provider (or any of 200+ other ADO.NET Providers), line-of-business users have a native way to create actions based on Sage US triggers in Microsoft Flow; the API Server makes it possible for SaaS applications like Microsoft Flow to integrate seamlessly with Sage US data through data access standards like Swagger and OData. This article shows how to use wizards in Microsoft Flow and the API Server for Sage US to create a trigger -- entities that match search criteria -- and send an email based on the results.

Set Up the API Server

Follow the steps below to begin producing secure and Swagger-enabled Sage US APIs:

Deploy

The API Server runs on your own server. On Windows, you can deploy using the stand-alone server or IIS. On a Java servlet container, drop in the API Server WAR file. See the help documentation for more information and how-tos.

The API Server is also easy to deploy on Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and Heroku.

Connect to Sage US

After you deploy, provide authentication values and other connection properties by clicking Settings -> Connections in the API Server administration console. You can then choose the entities you want to allow the API Server access to by clicking Settings -> Resources.

The Application Id and Company Name connection string options are required to connect to Sage as a data source. You can obtain an Application Id by contacting Sage directly to request access to the Sage 50 SDK.

Sage must be installed on the machine. The Sage.Peachtree.API.dll and Sage.Peachtree.API.Resolver.dll assemblies are required. These assemblies are installed with Sage in C:\Program Files\Sage\Peachtree\API\. Additionally, the Sage SDK requires .NET Framework 4.0 and is only compatible with 32-bit applications. To use the Sage SDK in Visual Studio, set the Platform Target property to "x86" in Project -> Properties -> Build.

You must authorize the application to access company data: To authorize your application to access Sage, restart the Sage application, open the company you want to access, and connect with your application. You will then be prompted to set access permissions for the application in the resulting dialog.

While the compiled executable will require authorization only once, during development you may need to follow this process to reauthorize a new build. To avoid restarting the Sage application when developing with Visual Studio, click Build -> Configuration Manager and uncheck "Build" for your project.

You will also need to enable CORS and define the following sections on the Settings -> Server page. As an alternative, you can select the option to allow all domains without '*'.

  1. Access-Control-Allow-Origin: Set this to a value of '*' or specify the domains that are allowed to connect.
  2. Access-Control-Allow-Methods: Set this to a value of "GET,PUT,POST,OPTIONS".
  3. Access-Control-Allow-Headers: Set this to "x-ms-client-request-id, authorization, content-type".

Authorize API Server Users

After determining the OData services you want to produce, authorize users by clicking Settings -> Users. The API Server uses authtoken-based authentication and supports the major authentication schemes. You can authenticate as well as encrypt connections with SSL. Access can also be restricted by IP address; access is restricted to only the local machine by default.

For simplicity, we will allow the authtoken for API users to be passed in the URL. You will need to add a setting in the Application section of the settings.cfg file, located in the data directory. On Windows, this is the app_data subfolder in the application root. In the Java edition, the location of the data directory depends on your operation system:

  1. Windows: C:\ProgramData\CData
  2. Unix or Mac OS X: ~/cdata
[Application] AllowAuthtokenInURL = true

Add Sage US Data to a Flow

You can use the built-in HTTP + Swagger connector to use a wizard to design a Sage US process flow:

  1. In Microsoft Flow, click My Flows -> Create from Blank.
  2. Select the Recurrence action and select a time interval for sending emails. This article uses 1 day.
  3. Add an HTTP + Swagger action by searching for Swagger.
  4. Enter the URL to the Swagger metadata document: https://MySite:MyPort/api.rsc/@MyAuthtoken/$oas
  5. Select the "Return Customer" operation.
  6. Build the OData query to retrieve Sage US data. This article defines the following OData filter expression in the $filter box:

    Name eq 'ALDRED'

    See the API Server help documentation for more on filtering and examples of the supported OData.

Trigger an Action

You can now work with Customer entities in your process flow. Follow the steps to send an automated email:

  1. Add an SMTP - Send Email action.
  2. Enter the address and credentials for the SMTP server and name the connection. Be sure to enable encryption if supported by your server.
  3. Enter the message headers and body. You can add Sage US columns in these boxes.