So many site have well defined APIs but making a mash-up still involves coding in some sort of script language and having access to an environment that can run the code. I have recently played with Zapier which is taking the hassle away.

First, Zapier gives you 14 days of trial. I’m not going to dwell on the commercial model but a minimum model is fee.

What it does is that it automates a function for you. It uses a trigger from one API and let’s this trigger and event over another API. The number of connected APIs are extensive (whereof I am familiar with only a fraction) and the sky is the limit to what you can do with it.

The example I had in store was to trigger based on new entries in the Instagramflow. I want to store the pictures to my Google Drive.

1) So set up the following (and it will ask you to connect to the services in question).

zap

 

2) Then you can define the triggers in Instagram to filter for only certain of the entries in the flow. I wanted to save all so no fiddling with that.

3) Key portion is the definition of the Google Drive, which I set per below. I created a GDrive folder called Instagram, store full resolution, do not convert and then give it a handy file name.

zap2

4) Test the Zap (which will give you a file in the GDrive as a result) and give it a name. DONE.

There is no end to the opportunities – let me just outline a few;

– Post upcoming meetings from Outlook to a Hipchat

– Pick text from a Google Talk (should now be Hangout?) and post to Facebook

– Extract Facebook posts and store on Evernote.

– Send notification via Jabber when a document on your SkyDrive is updated.

– When a relation in Streak advances, send a notification SMS

– When you receive and SMS on the allocated LongCode, post it to Facebook (=Provide your own SMS to Facebook bridge)

– Send an AIM whenever your WordPress blog gets a comment

Please mind that when you have accounts for the services, you easily do each of these things in a few minutes. They might take a few additional minutes to polish, but in no case should it take more than 15 minutes to implement a fully configurable business rule.

And yes, there are other similar services (for example IFTTT) but I have only played with this one and like it a lot.

 

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