I had someone recently ask me how to get their blog added to the @CADBlogWatch aggregation. My response is always, “Just send me the blog RSS feed and I’ll get it added”. This was a manual process to setup each blog feed. I’ve been using IFTTT for years. Creating a connection for each RSS feed with Twitter link to tweet out the content. You can copy a template and change the inputs but it always just wasn’t quite clean enough for me.
I’ve recently been interested in the capabilities of Microsoft Power Automate and wanted to see if I could clean up this process by using it.
The first thing I wanted to eliminate was having to create a separate job for each blog that I added. I accomplished this by creating an Excel spreadsheet with a list of all the blogs being aggregated. I setup Power Automate to iterate through the rows and grab the RSS feed based on a columns value in the row. It will only return those posts that are newer since the last time the job ran and tweet out only those.
Next, I wanted an easy way to add a new blog to the list. I wanted to use Microsoft Forms but it’s limited to only business or education accounts and I’m running this from my personal Office365 account.
I went the direction of using Google Forms to collect the data needed and save it to a Google Sheet. Power Automate then can copy the data from the Google Sheet to Excel.
But wait, I know better and knew once the spammers found the form it’ll be just junk entries.
So I added logic to filter out spam and the ones that do make it through, I still wanted to review before allowing them onto the list. I could just notify myself to look at the new submission in the Spreadsheet but that seemed like it wasn’t simple enough. I could also have used the built in approval functionality but it’s also limited to business accounts.
Power Automate does have an Email with Options function that allows you to send an email to yourself with choice buttons in the email body. This workflow just needed Approve or Reject.
Clicking on one of these options in the email will either add the new blog to the list, or delete it with a reply email back to the submitter.
So now my bot tweeter, is also fed by automation as well. The real lesson learned was all the Power Automate lessons learned. Now I want to automate as much as I can, both at home and at work!
Want your blog added? Use this Google Form.