Microsoft has rather sneakily rolled out a new way to help people connect the cloud services they use, including Slack, GitHub, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and more. The service would seemingly compete directly with the likes of IFTTT and Zapier.
What exactly does Flow do?
Services like Flow and IFTTT (IF This Then That) allow you to create simple conditional workflows that automatically take actions in response to certain events.
“Microsoft Flow makes it easy to mash-up two or more different services,” Stephen Siciliano, Microsoft senior program manager from the “Microsoft Flow Team” wrote in a blog post. “… We have connections to 35+ different services, including both Microsoft services like SharePoint, and public software services like Salesforce and Twitter, with more being added every week.”
Pretty cool, huh? Although, what’s more interesting is, Flow went live yesterday as a preview, but Microsoft has pulled it offline – it looks like Microsoft wasn’t ready to unveil it just yet. The announcement included example flows like:
“My manager emails me a lot, but with all the email I get, it’s easy to miss one that’s really important. Luckily, it’s very easy to create a flow that sends me a text message whenever my boss sends me an email.”
There are a bunch of “flows” that involve team communication app Slack:
- Get Slack notifications when a new file is uploaded to Dropbox folder
- Send a message on Slack when your manager emails you
- Get Slack notifications when a member subscribes to a MailChimp list
There are also several things Flow could do when you receive a new email in Outlook:
- Get/Insert rows in Excel
- Post to your timeline on Facebook
- Create a GitHub issue
- Create a Google Drive file
Notice how much you can do with services that aren’t owned by Microsoft? That’s in line with the company’s recent support of other operating systems and its partnerships with competitors like Red Hat and Canonical. Once Flow is officially announced, it will be free and open to everyone. Developers will be able to create custom workflows and make them available to other users through APIs. This is another great example of Microsoft opening its doors to the outside world.