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Posted by on Dec 7, 2011

#ifttt: using APIs from social media without all the pesky programming parts

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Someone posted this on Twitter just a few hours ago and I was intrigued enough to give it a whirl and it has been a lot of fun. ifttt stands for “if this, then that” and basically refers to a simple logic statement/command for linking activities together. What is being linked here are the myriad of social (and non-social) services we use on a daily basis and it is done in a way that doesn’t exclude the non-programmers amongst us. 

So, you can link any number of services (for me, Posterous, Google Reader, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Gmail, Gchat, Google Reader and Calendar) and haev them interact with one another via these simple logic commands. The easiest application of all of this is to autopost (If post new photo to Flickr, send this link to Twitter), but it is much more flexible then that. ifttt uses all the metadata from the social media services (Date Posted, Creator, Title, Pot URL, etc.) as embedded segments into other feautures. So essentially you can craft a fairly readable blog post based solely on a favorited YouTube video (as an example). 

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ifttt has a section called Recipes, where users have created plug and play type applications for these connections, some of which are rather devious (sending tagged message to Google Chat calls phone to get you out of a meeting), while others are just downright practical (when the weather calls for rain (based on an RSS from a weather site) call my phone or send an SMS or chat message). Lots of applications and I think the first venture into making APIs a bit more accessible for the non-programmers of the world. Make it simple enough and everyone will start to play. Now, I would love to see ifttt for data publicly avaialble that isn’t my own. Route it all through a service like ifttt and then map it. Baby steps, though. 

I suppose I posted this to let you know there might be a higher volume of posts (which might come off initially as a little stunted as I work out the kinks) based on a series of automated rules I set up. 

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