If This Then That = IFTTT

This is a very cool service I found when looking at news on Internet of Things (IoT): IFTTT (short for “If This Then That”) is a service that enables users to connect different web applications (e.g., Facebook, Evernote, Weather, Dropbox, etc.) together through simple conditional statements known as “Recipes”. If This Then That (IFTTT) is a free network service and related application that allows you to create rules, recipes calls, with which you can connect applications and automate processes to make your life easier. In addition to its default web-based application, IFTTT released app versions of the service for iPone and Android. With  IFTTT you are easily syndicating services.

Simply put the idea of service is: if action x happens, then do y. After creating an account, you can activate channels which represent your presence different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Twitter, and text messaging (e-mail, SMS). There are also channels for weather, news, and RSS feeds. Setting up this logic is just a series of clicks on the IFTTT web site.

There are many connected home related channels. For example Belkin WeMo remote controllable mains power outlets can inter­act with web-based social media and apps through a great ser­vice called IFTTT. And so are Philips Hue LED lamps. It can talk with Nest IoT devices. And many other things (over 100 other products and services). These Guys Want to Hack Your Home. And You Should Let Them. Their service sounds like an OCD geek’s dream. This sounds like a very great tool for quick hacks. Simple Ways to Create Face-Melting Digital Experiments article tells that what took two weeks to build with Arduino, took two hours with a Wemo and IFTTT.

Platforms for Connected Homes article mentions that you could for example use IFTTT’s weather channel to turn on my lights within 15 minutes of sunset.

You can even control thing based on your location when have app in you smart phone. Maybe you want to turn on heating or air conditioning to “at home” settings when you are approaching your home so that house is comfortable when you enter it? Ask HN: What’s the most creative use of IFTTT you’ve seen? and The 101 Best IFTTT Recipes pages lists many other ideas to experiment with.

I have registered IFTTT account and started some testing with it. It looks promising, but I am only starting my experimenting. I have already tried few simple recipes to get e-mail and SMS when I want them.

IFTTT looks like a great service that you can interface with many ready available cloud services or commercial hardware. The next idea is how to connect your own device (Arduino, Raspeberry Pi, etc..) to this service easily. IFTTT has e-mail, SMS and Twitter interfaces that could be useful in this…

15 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I tested some location based triggers with helpf of IFTTT Android app, and they seemed to work OK.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Yo now lets you send links, “Yo” hashtags and set up IFTTT-style alerts with other services
    http://thenextweb.com/apps/2014/08/12/yo-now-lets-send-links-post-hashtags-set-ifttt-style-alerts-services/

    Yo, a simple messaging app that sends nothing but the word “Yo,” just got a little more complicated.

    Growing tired of a simple “Yo?” The updated app now lets you attach any link saved to your clipboard; simply long-press the username in your home feed to attach and send the URL. A simple upgrade, but one that gives you the ability to explain why you’re messaging (or just virtually prodding) someone.

    There’s also the Yo Index, which transforms the app into a more advanced notification system. By plugging into third-party websites and services, the app can send you a “Yo” when a user you follow on Instagram posts a new photo, or when a post on Hacker News breezes past 500 up-votes. It’s similar to If This Then That (IFTTT), although the resulting action is obviously just a “Yo.”

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Intuit Acquires ItDuzzit, An IFTTT-Style Service For Businesses To Connect Cloud Apps
    http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/13/intuit-acquires-itduzzit-an-ifttt-style-service-for-businesses-to-connect-cloud-apps/

    More acquisitions for Intuit as it continues to build out its cloud services platform for small and medium businesses. It has bought itDuzzit — a Chicago-based startup that provides tools for businesses to integrate different web and mobile apps with each other: think IFTTT for enterprises.

    The idea here is that Intuit will add itDuzzit to its QuickBooks platform, which provides accounting and increasingly many other adjacent services to businesses. “[itDuzzit's] technology benefits the entire QuickBooks Online ecosystem: third-party developers, accountants and small businesses,”

    ItDuzzit competes against the likes of Zapier, a YC alum that counts Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ and others among its investors. The dozens of apps that can be linked up using the itDuzzit include the likes of Asana, Box, Coinbase, Freshbooks, PayPal and Shopify, with promises of further apps to come

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    9 Free Business Productivity Tools For Startups
    http://tweakyourbiz.com/technology/2013/04/08/9-free-business-productivity-tools-for-startups/

    # 9. IFTTT.com

    IFTTT.com, which is short for “if this, then that,” functions like a computer program repeatedly uttering if/then logic all day long. With IFTTT, you set up “recipes” to assist you with task automation. For a recipe to work, you have to have a channel, a trigger and an action. Examples of channels are Facebook, e-mail, Evernote, LinkedIn, just to mention a few.

    For instance, if you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, you can create a recipe that would automatically download the image into Dropbox.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Who needs CarPlay? Ford brings Siri to the car dashboard now with the help of Automatic Labs
    https://gigaom.com/2014/09/16/who-needs-carplay-ford-brings-siri-to-the-car-dashboard-now-with-the-help-of-automatic-labs/

    Ford and Automatic have figured out a way of shoehorning Apple’s Siri personal assistant into older model vehicles. The two are also connecting Ford cars to the internet of things through a project with IFTTT.

    Linking Ford to the internet of things

    The second integration Automatic and Ford announced on Tuesday was support for If This Then That (IFTTT), which links together disparate web services, apps and connected devices through a library of cloud-based recipes.

    Automatic has been connected to IFTTT’s network since February, adding vehicles to its list of triggers. For instance, IFTTT could unlock that smart lock or turn on a Nest thermostat when you pull into the driveway. You could create a recipe that logs all of your trips to a Google Doc or emails your mechanic car diagnostic data whenever your check engine light comes on.

    The additional integration with Ford, though, lets drivers trigger actions directly from their steering wheels by pressing Sync’s push-to-talk button. If you tell the Automatic Link to share your location with friends, it will trigger an IFTTT recipe that posts a map on Facebook. Or instead of waiting for IFTTT to detect when you’re arriving home so it can turn on the thermostat, you can use voice commands to crank up the heat 20 minutes before you arrive, ensuring things are nice and toasty when you get home.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Somewhat related:

    Amazon Launches Lambda, An Event-Driven Compute Service
    http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/13/amazon-launches-lambda-an-event-driven-compute-service/

    Amazon Web Services announced a new service today called Lambda, a stateless event-driven compute service for dynamic applications that doesn’t require provisioning of any compute infrastructure.

    As AWS’s CTO Werner Vogels pointed out, this will enable programmers to reduce their overall development effort. You simply write the code and define the event triggers, and it will run for you automatically when the conditions are met. This automation should save time and money because instead of running the whole stack for something that may only run infrequently, you can now run it without any resources and it runs automatically.

    Lambda will take care of managing, scaling and monitoring for you. Milliseconds after an event is triggered, it’s processed through stateless cloud functions, and thousands of these events can run in parallel (and you aren’t limited in any way by resources).

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:
    Pinterest taps IFTTT and Polyvore as the first two services to integrate its APIs
    http://venturebeat.com/2015/07/08/pinterest-taps-ifttt-and-polyvore-as-the-first-two-services-to-integrate-its-apis/

    In May, Pinterest announced a new platform for developers to help them build apps that would “bring Pins to life.” Today, the interest-based social networking company announced the first two services that have integrated with Pinterest’s API: IFTTT and Polyvore.

    Pinterest says it has received many submissions for ideas on how to integrate its API with third-party services, ranging from helping people plan their travels to designing their homes and gardens to even ordering the ingredients on recipe Pins. IFTTT, a web-based conditional platform, and Polyvore, the fashion site, are only the first, as Pinterest tells us additional integrations and apps will start rolling out after today.

    Here’s how the Pinterest integrations will work: with Polyvore, users will now be able to easily save their items — fashion, beauty, and home decor collections — to Pinterest. This can be done on an iPhone, iPad, or desktop.

    With IFTTT, anyone can connect their Pinterest account with hundreds of products and devices through the Pinterest channel. This also means users can save Pins to boards with a specific set action on third-party apps, such as upvoting a Reddit post, favoriting an Etsy item, or simply liking an Instagram photo.

    If you’re a third-party developer interested in integrating with Pinterest, the company says it’s happy to chat.

    As you can see, the workflow has striking similarities to something one might see when authenticating third-party sites with Facebook data.

    The integrations with Polyvore and IFTTT are clearly just the beginning.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android Candy: If You’re Not Using This, Then Do That
    http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/android-candy-if-youre-not-using-then-do

    The “If This Then That” site has been around for a long time, but if you haven’t checked it out in a while, you owe it to yourself to do so. The Android app (which had a recent name change to simply “IF”) makes it easy to manipulate on the fly, and you’re still able to interact with your account on its Web site. The beauty of IFTTT is its ability to work without any user interaction.

    I have recipes set up that notify me when someone adds a file into a shared Dropbox folder, which is far more convenient than constantly checking manually. I also manage all my social network postings with IFTTT, so if I post a photo via Instagram or want to send a text update to Facebook and Twitter, all my social networking channels are updated. In fact, IFTTT even allows you to cross-post Instagram photos to Twitter and have them show up as native Twitter images.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    More control: Amazon Echo gains advanced trigger commands with IFTTT
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/more-control-amazon-echo-gains-advanced-trigger-commands-with-ifttt/

    It’s easier than ever to create custom voice actions with an Amazon Echo and If This Then That: See how using the new trigger command puts Alexa to work for you.

    I call IFTTT an “API for Dummies” implementation because it ties apps and cloud services together in a way that anyone can use. You create what are called recipes to connect apps, data or actions between two different things. Previously, IFTTT that relied heavily on the Echo’s To-Do and Shopping lists, which isn’t ideal.

    The latest Amazon Echo support – which IFTTT actually calls Amazon Alexa – expands your recipes to work with more third-party devices and services.

    Some examples that IFTTT notes, and some I found on my own via its site, include:

    Alexa, trigger find my phone
    Alexa, trigger Next to 72 degrees
    Alexa, trigger lights to blue
    Alexa, trigger unsilence my phone
    Alexa, trigger Smarthings to lock my front door

    You get the idea.

    With IFTTT’s widespread (and growing) support for various objects and cloud functions, your Alexa voice commands are only limited to what works with the service.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:
    Disposable phone number service Burner opens webhooks to developers, now integrates into IFTTT recipes; some limitations in place to prevent spam

    Burner’s new developer tool lets you control your smart home by text
    http://venturebeat.com/2015/11/24/burners-new-developer-tool-lets-you-control-your-smart-home-by-text/

    More than a month after Burner launched its native integrations with Evernote, Slack, Dropbox, and SoundCloud, the provider of disposable phone numbers is opening itself up to developers. The company has released a way for third-parties to connect Burner with any number of applications or create new custom ones through the use of webhooks.

    Developers interested in finding better uses for phone numbers can tap into these webhooks to create their own “If This Then That” (IFTTT) recipes that’ll perform specific actions. Burner’s chief executive, Greg Cohn, told VentureBeat that while his company has been working on native partnerships with Evernote and Slack, there are some integrations that it could never have thought up. With the release of this developer connection, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

    Webhooks are more simplified versions of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that you often hear companies releasing. When you want one application to pass information on to another, the first one submits a POST command to a web address with the information needed. The second application has been programmed to always know what to do with that data.

    Although one might imagine that a developer would be needed to set this up, Burner said that anyone can take advantage of its developer connection by using a service like IFTTT or Zapier. By doing so, a custom integration can be made so that if a text is received at a Burner number, it can be programmed to, for example, cause your smart lights to flash in your home. Or perhaps store that message in your Trello board.

    “The open Web will do more interesting things than Burner can,” said Cohn.

    Right now Burner is only allowing outbound connections, meaning that its service is sending information to third-party apps. What this means is that you cannot program Slack, Trello, or your August smart lock to send data to your disposable phone number or to the Burner app. Cohn said that this decision was made to reduce the chance of abuse of the system.

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I can see some similarities and differences between AWS Lambda and IFTTT:

    AWS Lambda Makes Serverless Applications A Reality
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/24/aws-lamda-makes-serverless-applications-a-reality/?ncid=rss&cps=gravity_1462_2880799555608892#.ojwuxm:bZ6K

    Most companies today develop applications and deploy them on servers — whether on-premises or in the cloud. That means figuring out how much server, storage and database power they need ahead of time, and deploying all of the hardware and software it takes to run the application. Suppose you didn’t want to deal with all of that and were looking for a new model that handled all of the underlying infrastructure deployment for you?

    Amazon Web Services’ Lambda Service offers a way to do just that today. With Lambda, instead of deploying these massively large applications, you deploy an application with some single-action triggers and you only pay for the compute power you use, priced in 100 millisecond increments of usage. You can have as many triggers as you like running in tandem or separately. When the conditions are met, it triggers the programmed actions.

    Welcome to the world of the serverless app.

    Over the years, the rate of deployment speed and how long these deployments live has gone down dramatically — and Lambda reduces that to milliseconds.

    We are in the midst of an evolutionary shift where Lambda encapsulates shifting developer priorities and requirements. As I wrote last year when Lambda launched at AWS re:invent:

    As AWS’s CTO Werner Vogels pointed out, this will enable programmers to reduce their overall development effort. You simply write the code and define the event triggers, and it will run for you automatically when the conditions are met.

    Triggers could be actions like a user uploading a file from a smart phone or clicking the Buy button on a website, or they could be machine-to-machine actions without humans involved. The idea is that they are flexible so just about anything can be a trigger. What’s more, developers can use familiar programming tools to create the triggers, and Amazon provides a list of prewritten common ones.

    Those conditions could be met every fraction of a second as with an Internet of Things scenario with sensors constantly feeding an application a stream of data or it could be weekly.

    Brave New World

    Technically no application can be serverless of course. There has to be some sort of hardware underpinning the application, but what Amazon has done with Lambda is enabled developers to automate programming to the point AWS takes care of all of the complexity related to the server deployments, storage and the database, Matt Wood general manager of product strategy at AWS explained.

    “Most people were baffled by Lambda, but lots of people [have been] thinking about serverless architecture. You’re not scaling machines up and down. It lets the machines be invisible and is a very cost-effective architecture,” he said.

    When Lambda Comes Into Play

    Lambda works best in two types of scenarios, AWS’s Wood says. On one end of the spectrum, you might have a situation where actions happen rather infrequently and it makes little sense to pay for servers you’re not using most of the time such as the weekly drone photos scenario.

    On the other end, you might be building something big and complex that needs to scale quickly and trying to deploy the infrastructure would be challenging. Suppose you have a network of weather sensors feeding you information and once that information is collected a number of things have to happen. You could trigger an event each time the sensor sends data, and program the series of required actions, keeping mind that this is likely is quite often, measured in fractions of seconds.

    One client using this technology is Major League Baseball. The trigger is the action of the pitch being thrown, the ball being hit, the runner taking off and so forth. They can then track this data in real time and Lambda deals with all of the infrastructure for them, providing as much firepower as needed at the time to capture the information and run the data. And for the six months of the year where there isn’t any baseball, MLB isn’t paying for infrastructure it doesn’t need.

    While this approach to programming isn’t a magic bullet by any means, it’s a new tool for developers who might not need a more traditional server set up, and it gives them options when they are designing the program and deciding how to deploy it.

    “Lambda lets [developers] focus on developing applications without worrying about the heavy lifting of all the behind the scenes stuff of building the application,” Wood said. And it’s ushered in a world of serverless app deployment.

    Reply
  12. James Grayston says:

    Hello:

    My name is James.

    I know that you must be very busy and so I will keep this brief.

    The reason why I am contacting you is to let you know about a very detailed article that I have written about IFTTT.

    It is 3500 words long and I have made it as reader friendly as possible by using lots of graphics and splitting it into different chapters.

    It is incredibly detailed and includes chapters on;

    *Popular applets,
    *Creating an IFTTT account and
    *An analysis of some of IFTTT’s competitors
    *As well as lots of other information…

    If you think that it could be a useful source of information to your readers please let me know and I will give you more details.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Best Wishes,

    James

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If Not This Then Stringify
    http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/if-not-then-stringify?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+linuxjournalcom+%28Linux+Journal+-+The+Original+Magazine+of+the+Linux+Community%29

    I love IFTTT (If This Then That), but although it usually works well, it’s more and more common for triggers to fail. Sometimes they don’t fail, but take several minutes to activate. When you want a light to turn on as you enter a room, several minutes of delay clearly can be a deal-breaker. I’m not sure if the problem is capacity issues or individual API problems, but I no longer feel confident that IFTTT will fire reliably. Although it’s still in beta, Stringify aims to be more reliable, but also more robust.

    With IFTTT, simplicity is king. You have a single trigger (If…) and a single action (then that…). With Stringify, you have “flows”, which allow multiple results along with conditionals. Basically, you write a logical flow of triggers and results using the same sorts of triggers and results IFTTT offers. Granted, the number of connected services is significantly smaller, but the number is growing all the time. There’s also no web-based interface for the Stringify building process, which bums me out. I would rather have a big screen to build flows, but it’s only possible to manipulate your account on a mobile device (Android or iOS).

    It’s not clear whether Stringify will end up being more popular and/or more reliable than IFTTT. It certainly has the promise to surpass the usefulness of IFTTT though.

    https://www.stringify.com/

    Reply

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