Review: Ifttt.com, your digital duct-tape for the internets
It was 2008 and I was 16 years old. Nikos Anagnostou and me had this idea of when you share a Google Reader item it should be automatically submitted in Delicious. We separately had some ideas based on APIs and Yahoo Pipes but for reasons I cannot remember we didn’t develop or make anything.
Fast forward to 2011 Linden Tibbets developed this awesome app called If this Then that. Ifttt (it’s the acronym) is based basically on the concept of event-driven programming. The whole concept of event-driven programming is that during the execution of a program, the programmer has some ideas about what types of events may happen.
For example “a user clicks a specific button” or “a new message arrives in your inbox”. Knowing what these events are, you can then attach a bit of code that runs the same way every time an event is encountered. It is very much like cause and effect, except as a programmer you’re free to be creative with what effects match up to each cause.
In plain English ifttt provides a simple logical structure, if this then that, along with two properties that fit into that structure, called triggers and actions. That being said ifttt enables anyone to be creative in their digital environments. Ifttt though, isn’t a programming language or app building tool, but rather a much simpler solution. Internet’s digital duct tape in a way, allowing you to connect any two services together.
Ifttt is in beta mode and just today I got my invitation. My first impressions are extremely positive. You can imagine, the first task I did create is a Delicious to Twitter process. As of now, whenever I submit a link into Delicious it will be automatically tweeted. Other tasks I created include “if current weather condition changes to rain, send me an email” or “when I share an item in Google Reader, then submit it to Delicious” which leads back to the first task, from Delicious to Twitter.
If you’re creative enough you can make clever “if this then that” tasks. Not only that, but there are literally dozens of web services and tools ifttt supports (which they are called channels in ifttt). I liked ifttt because of its easy-to-use interface and approach. You just log in and click create a task. Then, there’s something I’d call an automated wizard, which in about 5 steps helps you create your brand new tasks with beautifully simple menus, prompts and design.
The least I can say is that I am very impressed. Well, I am and I cannot help it. Ifttt is awesome and I suggest you registering for their beta invites. And just now, while writing the previous sentence, the very first ifttt email arrived notifying me that it rains in Thessaloniki. It’s quite fast, should I add. Take a look for yourself:
Again, I repeat. Ifttt is awesome and I suggest you registering for their invites. Now.
Random rant: the biggest part of this post was written in WordPress’ iPhone app while raining in Thessaloniki and watching Champions League’s semi-final between Manchester United and Schalke. It’s a long time since 2008, isn’t it? I was 16 and now I’m graduating from High School in a month!
Update: I liked a Vimeo video and boom—here’s the relevant tweet from ifttt: