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IFTTT — if this then that
Church Square
IFTTT is a service that automates actions on the internet. One can use or create recipes that follow the pattern “if this then that”, where this may be some sort of trigger or data retrieval, and that is an action, like posting on Twitter or sending an email.


A typical recipe may be triggered by a new post on one’s LiveJournal, and could then post the title and link to App.net. Or a recipe could be triggered by one being tagged in a photo on Facebook, with the action to save that photo to a folder in Dropbox. Or a recipe could be triggered at a certain time, or when one stars a story in Google Reader. There are lots of possibilities.

Most triggers are polled every fifteen minutes, but some are immediate (presumably where there is appropriate API support from the third-party sites).

Using a variety of site-specific triggers and actions, and the use of standard technologies, it is possible to build cross-site automation, even when a site doesn’t provide an API. For example, even though IFTTT doesn’t have specific channels for LiveJournal or for Google Plus, one could construct a recipe that checked LiveJournal for new posts (by checking a user’s Atom feed), and crosspost any new entries to Google Plus (by constructing an appropriately formatted email).

I had been intending to have a play with IFTTT when I first heard about it, but eventually got around to signing up yesterday; something to play with while kateaw watched the Strictly results programme.

It looks like they will be funding the service with premium features; will be interesting to see how it develops.

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Nice concept, shame Twitter clamped down on it

I've been using IFTTT for a while now - early on, they had some very nice Twitter facilities, but Twitter put a stop to most of them as part of their clampdown. (For example, I could get a list of who replied to my tweets, keep an archive of tweets in Dropbox, post a tweet when some other event was detected...)

For now, I have it tracking my Foursquare checkins into a Google calendar and forwarding me Dilbert each day; there are plenty of options to try: notifying you of new iTunes freebies, Craigslist search results, email you an RSS feed, track film releases, trigger Torrent downloads - and I like the community aspect, sharing the 'recipes' for public consumption.

Re: Nice concept, shame Twitter clamped down on it

Twitter is moving from being an open system to a very closed system. The API changes will hurt users, and dropping RSS & Atom feeds is daft.

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