Invoke-WebRequest: The response content cannot be parsed when adapting a local powershell script for Azure Automation.

I have been recently adapting a PowerShell script that collects the Microsoft 365 Service Health using the Office 365 Service Communication API publishing the information into ServiceNow to log a support ticket to make the helpdesk aware of a potential issue in the service. The script was working is no issues when run manually out of PowerShell ISE but failed when ran by Azure Automation.

The focus of this post is to show two specific steps for adapting a locally executed PowerShell script for an Azure Automation runbook. In addition to standard work in Automation to add credentials/connections and create parameters where needed, the following changes were required to adapt a local script for my runbook.

1) Add -UseBasicParsing to Web Requests

The Management API script is filled with various requests using Invoke-WebRequest. Initially, I received numerous errors stating that the Internet Explorer engine is not available.

Invoke-WebRequest : The response content cannot be parsed because the Internet Explorer engine is not available, or 
Internet Explorer's first-launch configuration is not complete. Specify the UseBasicParsing parameter and try again. 
At line:46 char:9
+ $subs = Invoke-WebRequest -Headers $headerParams -Uri "https://manage ...
+         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotImplemented: (:) [Invoke-WebRequest], NotSupportedException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : WebCmdletIEDomNotSupportedException,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.InvokeWebRequestCommand

To overcome this, I needed to add the parameter UseBasicParsing.

Original: $oauth = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Uri $loginURL/$tenantdomain/oauth2/token?api-version=1.0 -Body $body
Adapted: $oauth = Invoke-RestMethod -Method Post -Uri $loginURL/$tenantdomain/oauth2/token?api-version=1.0 -Body $body –UseBasicParsing

2) Alter $ProgressPreference

PowerShell shows progress using $ProgressPreference, which defaults to “continue”. For Automation, I needed to change the option to “silently continue” and suppress progress bars. Locally, the progress can be convenient to see, but it was causing issues with

Automation.Adapted: $ProgressPreference = “silentlyContinue”

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