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New Visual Studio Code Data Mapper for Azure Logic Apps

Microsoft recently announced a new data mapper for Azure Logic Apps available as a Visual Studio Code extension. The mapper capability is currently in public preview.

Azure Logic Apps is a cloud platform where developers can create and run automated workflows with minimal code. It has two plans: Consumption and Standard. The Azure Logic App Consumption plan runs in the multi-tenant Azure Logic Apps. In addition, it supports mapping through an integration account, where a developer can upload schema and mappings to use within an action in a Logic App flow.

On the other hand, Standard supports local development on Windows, Linux, and Mac, providing a new layout engine that supports complex workflows and enables custom connector extensions. Standard doesn't rely on the integration account, and schemas and maps are part of the flow. However, a graphical mapper was not available until just now.

The Data Mapper extension provides a graphical way to map data from a source schema to a target schema using direct mappings and functions, handling any translation between supported schema types in the backend.

Alex Zúñiga, a program manager of Azure Logic Apps at Microsoft, explains in a Tech Community blog post:

Data Mapper provides a modernized experience for XSLT authoring and transformation that includes drag and drop gestures, a prebuilt functions library, and manual testing. In addition, you can use the extension to create maps for XML to XML, JSON to JSON, XML to JSON, and JSON to XML transformations. Once created, these maps can be called from workflows in your logic app project in Visual Studio Code and deployed to Azure.


Kent Weare, a principal program manager for Azure Logic Apps, tweeted in response to the availability of a data mapper in the consumption plan:

For now, we are prioritizing the General Availability (GA) of LA Standard for VS Code. Following that, Azure Portal (LA Standard). Too early to commit either way for consumption.

With the data mapper, developers building workflow have one tool for mapping and transformations. They can inspect the underlying code for a mapping, use pre-built functions like Conversion, Date and time, Logical comparison, Math and String, test the map with a sample message, and have an intuitive user experience with zoom options, mini-view, and map checker.

When asked by InfoQ about what is driving this investment from Microsoft, here is what Weare had to say:

Developer productivity and reducing friction when building integrated solutions are very important for us. In addition, we wanted to have a one-stop shop to solve data transformation needs without introducing additional or external tools. The Public Preview release of the new Data Mapper is the first step in this journey.
We are looking forward to more customer feedback to help us drive the next level of investments in this area.

Lastly, the documentation pages and walkthrough video show more details and guidance of the data mapper.

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