So far most of my posts in Microsoft Flow have been about business processes. In this post I’m going have a look at the a maybe not so obvious solution. Of course, you might not really want to use Microsoft Flow just to play a game of chess, but this does show that there is a lot more that is possible. Following the principles of “The art of the (im)possible”, I will go through some of the considerations that you may face when you want to implement a process and don’t know where to get started.
In this post I’m going to focus on the Flow bits. I might not end up with a fully finished solution, but I should touch on a lot of elements of Business Process Management that you might hit on a day to day basis.
Use the right Tools
We could consider developing a full chess solution within Flow. This would probably take a lot of effort and you would end up with something that probably doesn’t really work as well as it could. Therefore I went to have a look for an API that I can use.
Quite quickly I found an api that is available:
Without going to much into detail. I found that the API uses OAuth for the authentication. So that is easy with Microsoft Flow and there are a lot of operations
I can for example export my games using the following uri:
I can also make moves with a POST to the following url:
Well now we have something that could be the base of our solution. So without any coding we can put our flow in Microsoft Flow together.
So where do we now start?
Once you registered on the site all you would need to do is create a flow that gets your games, asks a user for a move. We could do this by email and then contact the lichess api and do the move. Then depending on the response from the API you could ask for another move, in case you did an invalid move or you could ask the opponent for a move.
So we could be looking at a flow like this.
Starting with a simple process as shown above is a good starting point. Just a few HTTP calls into the API that is already available is a good start. Then as the flow is developed further additional complexity may need to be added. With flow development however it often helps to start small and then expand the process as it is needed.
What should we take away from this?
Ok, I didn’t fully complete the flow, but there is no reason why this couldn’t be developed (I’m waiting for the Chess associations to contact me soon). The main point I would like to make is that you shouldn’t just look at the basic flow options available. Think about the processes that you would like to improve or automate. Then consider using code that is available (APIs) or develop or get someone to develop these APIs for you. This way you can keep your flows as simple as possible and with minimal effort you can move forwards with your digital transformation process.