Last week I looked on how you could create an Excel file in Logic Apps and then e-mail that file to someone. This week I solved the same problem in Azure Functions. In retrospect, I think this was a better solution.


Creating Azure Functions in C# is straightforward. Often you could use different kind of bindings so you could spend less time on infrastructure code. For instance, you could define something to be stored in a blob storage, but without working with some blob storage API. However, in this solution I could not use any binding.

The solution is quite simple, and there are just three major steps.

Creating a player list

In the first step of the application a list of players is created. This is then used to create the Excel file. First, I hard coded this. But that was to easy :-) So I started to investigate how you could get the data from a database instead.

Normally you use Entity Framework or something similar when you are working against a database. And this is also an option when you work with Azure Functions, this totally works.

But it looks to me that many are using the classic ADO.NET instead when they are working with Azure Functions. This is very primitive, and you will work SQL strings in your C# code. For simple solutions I find this to be good enough. You just need to be careful when you make schema changes to your database.

Creating an Excel file

In the logic app it required several steps to generate an Excel file. Also, it required access to a OneDrive account and the generating was very slow.

In this solution, I started by installing the NuGet package ClosedXML. Then it just took me a few lines of code to create a file with the data.

The code runs super-fast. Also, I do not have any extra spreadsheets and I could auto adjust auto the column widths in the created table. These were problems that were hard to solve in the Logic App solution.

E-mailing the file

In the last step the generated file should be send by e-mail to someone. I think the Logic App had a simpler solution for this.

In Azure Functions, there is a SendGrid binding you could use to send e-mails. I have not tried that, but I guess it should not be too hard to use.

But I needed to send e-mail via Office365. There is no binding for that, so I fallback to SMTP instead. There is a couple of settings to configure, and the code is pretty long but it is nothing complicated.


Here is all the code for the application:

Azure Function Solution
using ClosedXML.Excel;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs.Extensions.Http;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Logging;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Data.SqlClient;
using System.IO;
using System.Net.Mail;

namespace FunctionExcelEmailTest
    public class Player
        public Player(int playerID, string firstName, string lastName)
            PlayerID = playerID;
            FirstName = firstName;
            LastName = lastName;

        public int PlayerID { get; }

        public string FirstName { get; }

        public string LastName { get; }

    public static class Function1
        public static IActionResult Run(
            [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Function, "get", "post", Route = null)] HttpRequest req,
            ILogger log,
            ExecutionContext context)
            var config = new ConfigurationBuilder()
                .AddJsonFile("local.settings.json", optional: true, reloadOnChange: true)

            // var players = GetPlayers();
            var players2 = GetPlayersFromDatabase(config.GetConnectionString("MainDatabaseConnectionString"));

            var report = CreateExcelReport(players2);

            SendEmail(  config["ReceiverEmail"], 

            string responseMessage = "Report was sent.";

            return new OkObjectResult(responseMessage);

        private static List<Player> GetPlayers() 
            return new List<Player>()
                new Player(1, "Alice", "Aliceson"),
                new Player(2, "Bob", "Bobsson"),
                new Player(3,"Carol", "Carlsson"),
                new Player(4, "David","Davidsson" ),
                new Player(5, "Eric", "Ericsson"),
                new Player(6, "Frank", "Franksson" )

        private static List<Player> GetPlayersFromDatabase(string connectionString)
            List<Player> players = new List<Player>();

            using (SqlConnection connection = new SqlConnection(connectionString))

                string sql = "select database_id as PlayerID, [name] as FirstName , [type_desc] as LastName from sys.master_files";

                using (SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(sql, connection))
                    SqlDataReader dataReader = cmd.ExecuteReader();
                    while (dataReader.Read())
                        int playerId = dataReader.GetInt32(0);
                        string firstName = dataReader.GetString(1);
                        string lastName = dataReader.GetString(2);

                        players.Add(new Player(playerId, firstName, lastName));


            return players;

        private static byte[] CreateExcelReport(List<Player> players)
            using XLWorkbook workbook = new XLWorkbook();

            IXLWorksheet ws = workbook.Worksheets.Add("Players");

            ws.Cell(1, 1).InsertTable(players, "TablePlayers");

            ws.Cell("A1").Value = "Player ID";
            ws.Cell("B1").Value = "First name";
            ws.Cell("C1").Value = "Last name";


            using MemoryStream memoryStream = new MemoryStream();


            return memoryStream.ToArray();

        private static void SendEmail(string receiverEmail, string senderEmail, string senderName, string smtpHost, string smtpUserName, string smtpPassword, byte[] excelReport)
            var msg = new MailMessage();

            msg.To.Add(new MailAddress(receiverEmail));

            msg.From = new MailAddress(senderEmail, senderName);
            msg.Subject = "Player report";

            var plainView = AlternateView.CreateAlternateViewFromString(@"Hi
I have spend another night to create this report just for you.", null, "text/plain");

            var htmlView = AlternateView.CreateAlternateViewFromString(@"Hi
I have <strong>spend another night</strong> to create this report just for you.", null, "text/html");
            msg.Attachments.Add(new Attachment(new MemoryStream(excelReport), "playerreport.xlsx", "application/"));


            SmtpClient client = new SmtpClient();
            client.UseDefaultCredentials = false;
            client.Credentials = new System.Net.NetworkCredential(smtpUserName, smtpPassword);
            client.Port = 587;
            client.Host = smtpHost;
            client.DeliveryMethod = SmtpDeliveryMethod.Network;
            client.EnableSsl = true;


And here is the settings file (local.settings.json)

  "IsEncrypted": false,
  "ConnectionStrings": {
    "MainDatabaseConnectionString": "Data Source=localhost;Initial Catalog=TestDatabase;Trusted_Connection=True"
  "Values": {
    "AzureWebJobsStorage": "UseDevelopmentStorage=true",

    "ReceiverEmail": "",
    "SenderEmail": "",
    "SenderName": "Company",
    "SmtpHost": "",
    "SmtpUserName": "",
    "SmtpUserPassword": "password"


This was a fun comparison to make. Both solutions have their own strengths and weaknesses.

I think it was easier to fetch data and generate an Excel file in the Azure Functions solution. And it was way more efficient. But when it comes to send e-mail, at least via an Office account, the Logic app was easier.

If I must pick one solution, I think the Azure Functions solution overall was a better.

But it is totally possible to mix these solutions. You could use the Azure Function to just generate a file in Azure Blobs storage, there are binding ready to that. And then you could have a Logic App that is triggered when blobs are created, and it could be used to e-mail the file.