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Microsoft updates IFTTT competitor Flow and custom app building tool PowerApps

Microsoft released new updates today for Flow and PowerApps, a pair of services designed to help non-developers program interactions between their favorite services and build their own custom apps.

Flow, which competes with IFTTT (If This Then That), was released last year. It lets users set up systems where certain actions from one service trigger reactions on another service.

Because it is an enterprise-focused system, Microsoft emphasizes the ability to improve workflows. For example, users can set up a flow every time they upload a photo to Instagram it automatically goes into a Dropbox or get a notification on Slack as new files are uploaded to OneDrive so they know when a mockup is ready.

Microsoft said Flow features more than partner 115 APIs that connect to a variety of services and actions.

The latest Flow updates are focused on speeding up work. Microsoft has made it easier to set up a process for any staff member to approve or reject requests. At its Executive Briefing Center, Microsoft gave examples of how it uses Flow to synchronize calendars, request IT support, and of course, order coffee.

“The flows mentioned above did not require coding experience—instead, they leveraged Microsoft Flow’s simple drag-and-drop UI editor,” according to a Microsoft blog post on the updates. “With features like button widgets, button sharing, and team flows, and modern approvals Microsoft Flow is now truly ready for enterprise users.

Microsoft first launched PowerApps in 2015. It offers an approachable “Microsoft Office-like experience” to building custom apps for employees who don’t know how, just like PowerPoint lets them design presentations.

As part of the updates, Microsoft has made it easier to build apps for non-office jobs like retail and restaurants, and it enables the use of push notifications. PowerApps can also now integrate large Sharepoint lists and embed within Power BI.

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