Automatic Slack invitations with Microsoft Forms and Flow

As we are currently preparing everything for the PowerShell Conference Asia, we decided to open up our Slack team to the general public. In order to do this we had to set up an automated Slack inviter. My initial search for examples of how to set this up resulted in a lot of old blog post, because of that I went back to the drawing board and took a look at what I thought I needed:

  • An online form
  • Trigger when form is filled in
  • A method of inviting

Because I have an Office 365 account I decided to use a combination of Microsoft Forms and Microsoft Flow for this purpose. Microsoft Forms is similar to many other online forms, but the combination with Microsoft Flow was what won me over. Microsoft Flow allows for setting up automated workflows in Office 365. It can also use webhooks, which happens to be an excellent method of working with Slack.

I then found this post on Stack Overflow, in the Slack API team invitation question, covering an undocumented feature in the Slack API that allows for invitations to be send out by webhooks. With that we filled in the have matched the requirements for setting up automatic invites for Slack.

So first things first, in order to use the Slack API we require a token, for this purpose I requested a Legacy token, which can be done at the following URI:

https://api.slack.com/custom-integrations/legacy-tokens

After clicking create token you will get a string that resembles this:

xoxp-00000000000-00000000000-000000000000-00000aa0a00a0a0a0aa0aaf00b00a00d

We will need this to authenticate with Slack once we setup the webhook, because of this it is important you do not share this token with anyone, or store this in a public repository.

The next step is to setup a form in Microsoft Forms, to keep sign up simple we will just request users to enter their email address. They can choose to fill in the rest of their details when they click the registration link that will be send out by Slack. I created the following:

Next up we want to create a sharing link for this Form, make sure you set the sharing option to, Anyone with the link can respond, as the default sharing option is that only people within your Office 365 organization are able to access the Form. This can be done as shown in the following screenshot.

Now that we have this setup it is time to create our Flow. For the purpose of this blog post I created a simple Flow that triggers when a response has been received:

Then we configure the HTTP webhook to trigger Slack to send an invitation email to that email address:

https://slack.com/api/users.admin.invite?token=xoxp-00000000000-00000000000-000000000000-00000aa0a00a0a0a0aa0aaf00b00a00d&email=

After saving and enabling this flow the automatic invitations will be send out as soon as someone fills out the form. Because we made the the sharing link public to the Microsoft Form you can now use social media to share out and promote your Slack team.

Let me know how this works for you and if you have become curious about the PowerShell Conference Asia or you want to network with some of the attendees and speakers of that conference you can sign up here:

PowerShell Conference Asia – Slack Invitation

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PowerShell Conference Asia – Registration is open

This October the PowerShell Conference Asia will once again take place in the Microsoft offices in Singapore. As part of the PowerShell Conference organization and returning speaker I am happy to announce that this is shaping up to be our biggest event so far.

As listed on the registration page:

DESCRIPTION

Join us for the third PowerShell Conference Asia, held in Singapore, where PowerShell speakers from Asia and around the world come together to bring attendees in-depth PowerShell and DevOps content.

Speakers include several members of the Windows PowerShell team from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond and a strong line-up of MVPs, well-known international speakers, and community contributors. They’ll cover in-depth topics on the PowerShell language and how you can use PowerShell to automate the technologies you use every day. There will be a strong focus on using PowerShell to enable DevOps practices whether On Premises or in the cloud.

There will be speakers from over a dozen countries and attendees to network with from all over the work. If you are interested in this event feel free to drop a comment below or reach out to me on twitter as I will be happy to answer any questions you might have about this event.

In the mean time for additional information about this event make sure you head over to the PowerShell Conference Asia site, conveniently located at psconf.asia & powershell.asia. And to register head over > here <

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Chat automation in a modern IT environment

Winops Banner

This week I was invited to speak at the joint WinOps London and London PowerShell user group meetup in central London. For more information about the event you can have a look at the following link: WinOps #14 – in connection with PowerShell London UK

Our July meetup will be held at Rubrik’s offices in Moorgate on Thursday 20th July. Rubrik are one of our gold sponsors for the WinOps Conference. This meetup will be in connection with PSUG UK and we’ll have a PowerShell MVP speaking on the night. Last meetup before the conference so not one to miss!

During my presentation I covered the very broad topic of Chat Automation, also known as ChatOps. This has recently been getting more attention and I put together a presentation in which I showed how to setup PoshBot on a Windows machine, demoed its functionality. Also I gave an example of how to use a Chat bot to resolve an issue in a production, assisted by Daniel Krebs. The full session description is as follows:

In this session we will cover a range of topics regarding Chat automation and the possibilities this gives us. We will dive into the concept of ChatOps, what it is, how we can implement it and what the benefits are. After this brief introduction we will dive into real-world examples of setting up and configuring your first chat bot, configuring security and resolving real-world incidents using this chat bot.

To give you an impression of the event I have attached some pictures taken that evening:

All the code and slides are as always available in my Events GitHub repository:

I also share my presentations on SlideShare:

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Secure your servers in time with JIT and JEA at Experts Live Summer Night event

Earlier this month I spoke at Experts Live Summer Night, an Security focused event for IT Professionals. I covered JIT, Privileged Access Management and JEA, Just Enough Administration. Here is an excerpt of the presentation:

Just Enough Administration, also known as JEA, has been around for several years and has received a lot of updates and new features. How can we use this to secure our servers and reduce the attack surface that we expose to potential malicious actors. During this session Jaap will demo how to configure and deploy JEA templates, configure JIT administration.

All the code and slides are as always available in my Events GitHub repository:

Furthermore I have also uploaded my presentations to SlideShare:

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Wrap up of Tuga IT Conference in Lisbon


Last week I attended and delivered two presentations at Tuga IT in the Microsoft HQ in Lisbon. It was a great experience and a first visit to Lisbon to me, which gave me the change to interact with the local IT communities there. Tuga IT is a conference put together by nine separate user groups based in Portugal.

To give you an impression of the event I included the following pictures:

All the code and slides are as always available in my Events GitHub repository:

Furthermore I have also uploaded my presentations to Docs and SlideShare:

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Speaking at TUGA IT

With the PowerShell Conference Europe fresh in my mind, it is already time to look ahead. Next week, 18-20 of May, I am speaking at TUGA IT in Lisbon Portugal. To quote TUGA from their website:

TUGA IT’s mission is to deliver a premium multi-discipline conference for IT Professionals and Companies. TUGA IT is positioned as a forward looking technological event (v-Next), focused on unreleased or recently released technologies, both from Microsoft and the Open Source worlds. TUGA IT is proudly organized by TUGA, a non-profit Portuguese association whose mission is to promote and share knowledge, with the participation of several technical communities and Microsoft MVPs.

During this three day conference I will be among 75 speakers of which 34 MVPs and many other technical experts. The following topics will be covered during the conference:

  • Microsoft Data Platform
  • Open-Source Data Platform
  • SharePoint
  • Office 365
  • Enterprise Integration
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Development Methodologies
  • Programming & Professional Development
  • DevOps

I will delivering the following two sessions at the conference:

  • From zero to hero – Learn how to automate from the GUI
  • A brave new world – MacOS, PowerShell and Linux
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Summary of PowerShell Conference Europe 2017

Last week I was lucky enough to attend and speak at the largest European PowerShell conference, PowerShell Conference Europe in Hannover.  At the conference I was surrounded by some of the best and brightest in the my field, an overwhelming and educational experience. I think it is fair to say this has been one of the best events of its kind and my thanks goes out to Tobias and the PSConfEU team for putting such a great event together.

If you missed out on the event then there is no need to fret as almost every session has been recorded and the PSConfEU team is currently working on making sure all content is available on the PowerShell Conference Europe YouTube channel:
YouTube icon Playlist: PowerShell Conference EU – PSCONF.EU 2017

To give you an impression of the event here are some pictures of the PowerShell Conference:

For the actual code and presentation slide decks that were used by all presenters you can check out the GitHub repository:
GitHub – PSConfEU – 2017

More information is continually posted, both by the PSConfEU team as well as other speakers and organizers. You can expect blog posts on the content I presented on during the conference. Let me know what topics you are most interested in and I will use that as input for upcoming blog posts.

I presented the following three topics, so head over to my GitHub account to grab the slides and code, as always it is stored in the Events repository:

Furthermore I have also uploaded my presentations to Docs and SlideShare.



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