Flows in app context – is there a clear definition of what it means?
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Power Automate
Aug 3, 2023 6:00 PM

Flows in app context – is there a clear definition of what it means?

by HubSite 365 about Alex Shlega [MVP]

Microsoft Power Platform Consultant/Solution Architect, Business Applications MVP

Citizen DeveloperPower AutomateLearning Selection

I’ve been trying to figure out the exact definition of what being “in app context” means for Power Automate flows, since that’s where it matters for license

Flows in app context is a term used in Power Automate flows for license enforcement. The exact definition of 'in app context' remains elusive and can be confusing. The fundamental idea is that the flow must use the same data sources for triggers or actions as the app. Once this is done, the flow can be linked to the app in the maker portal.

The flow will then be associated with the app. There is also a particular reference to inactive apps, to prevent users from creating dummy apps and linking flows to them. The primary consideration for 'in app context' is for premium flows.

Further Insights on the Main Topic

Power Automate flows are focused on the efficient execution of tasks in apps. 'In app context' plays a pivotal role in license regulation. Although defining 'in app context' is challenging for users, it is primarily related to data sources synchronization and app association. It also addresses the creation of dummy apps and fraud prevention and is particularly relevant to premium flows.


Alex Shlega, in his blog post, attempts to clarify the concept of "in app context" for Power Automate flows within Microsoft's Power Platform. His exploration reveals that the definition is complex and somewhat elusive, often leading to more questions.

  1. "In app context" seems to mean that the flow should use the same data sources for triggers or actions as the app. This flow can then be linked to the app in the maker portal.

  2. The distinction of "in app context" is crucial for premium flows, especially concerning licensing. The key question is whether to use Power Apps/D365 licenses when running the flows or to rely on flow licenses (either per flow or power automate per user licensing).

  3. According to Shlega, there's ambiguity over whether the "in app context" flow needs to use the same tables as the app. Some FAQs suggest flows can be licensed via Power App or D365 licenses as long as the flow uses Dataverse.

  4. However, complications arise with automated and scheduled flows and those interacting with Dynamics entities. This interaction seems to imply that it's not sufficient to have the flow merely use Dataverse—it needs to interact with D365 entities. This logic, presumably, should extend to custom Power Apps.

  5. Shlega suggests that to ensure ongoing operation, one might associate only those flows with apps that use the same tables, taking into account that D365 licensing only covers D365 application tables. Furthermore, the associated app should be actively used, not dormant.

  6. If adding custom tables to a D365 environment, one might not want to use D365 licensing for the flows interacting exclusively with those tables to ensure license compliance.

  7. Power App licensing might also require that all custom tables be added to the app, not only to the solution.

  8. Flows owned by a service principal (application account) present another issue, as premium service principal flows outside of the Power App context would need a per-flow license.

  9. Shlega concludes by emphasizing the perplexing situation around the use of D365 tables in D365-licensed flows, particularly when adding custom tables. He expresses uncertainty about potential additional licensing requirements.

  10. His final point notes that simply having a flow in the same environment as the app, using the same tables, and being associated with it, may not be sufficient. Despite his exploration, he's still in search of a clear understanding of what "in app context" truly means for Power Automate flows.

Read the full article Flows in app context – is there a clear definition of what it means?

Learn about Flows in app context – is there a clear definition of what it means?

The concept of flows "in app context" is important for understanding Microsoft Power Automate licensing. In this context, flows must use the same data sources for triggers or actions as the app to be considered "in app context". Additionally, "in app context" considerations are mostly applicable to premium flows. It is also important to note that inactive apps should not be used to associate flows and that there is a special reference to inactive apps regarding this concept. To learn more about Power Automate licensing, visit learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/power-automate-licensing/faqs.


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Power Automate Licensing, Power Platform, Admin Portal, Maker Portal, Flow Context, Inactive Apps