The digital world has swamped us with an overload of information. Try and note down how many online services that we use on a daily basis, whether for work or for personal use. We access Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and much more. We universally agree that getting notified about a certain event say “a new post on your Facebook wall” or a “new blog post” is much better than constantly switching between applications and checking for updates. But getting notified of events is just one part of the puzzle. Once we receive an event, there are times that you want others to know about it by posting in your blog or tweeting about it. "If This Then That," or ifttt, is just the digital duct tape that aims to solve this problem in an intuitive and non-programmer centric fashion.
Ifttt is designed and developed by Jesse Tane and Linden Tibbets and their first blog post titled “ifftt the beginning...” makes for an interesting read. The idea is simple as explained here and consists of basically creating tasks that can be defined in terms of “If This Then That”.
Let us break it down:
- The This part is the event that happens or in other words is the Trigger. Examples are Stock price for a company goes above/below a defined limit, the temperature in your city reaching a max defined level, if you tweet and so on.
- Now if the trigger that you have defined in the above This part is true Then we need to execute the That. The That are basically actions that you want to do. And it could range from Tweeting, posting to Facebook, sending email, making a call and so on.
In other words, the This and the That work off what is called Channels. Channels connect the Triggers to the Actions and make it look seamless. Ifttt supports multiple channels that we are familiar with today. As of writing, there was support for nearly 30 channels and almost all internet services ranging from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Blogs, File Sharing, URL Sharing, etc are present.
An example Task is shown below pictorially:
Currently Ifttt is open by invite only, which is understandable since the developers would be accepting feedback from a small group to further refine the service and make it truly applicable to how we interact with the services on a daily basis. We believe the potential to create some interesting automated triggers and actions are limitless in this product. Do sign up for the beta.