Web API automation

June 4, 2020 — January 31, 2023

computers are awful together
doing internet
faster pussycat
Figure 1

Like browser automation but without the browser, web API automation tools use the published access points of various web services (dropbox, facebook, github etc) to do automate stuff for you.

For a while there this was how we thought the internet would be run - a smooth and integrated automated flow of information for the benefit of users. There has been a lot less hype about that recently, as it turns out the best way to monetise users is not to make them more efficient but to make them slower so they will look at your advertising or watch your antivax video. Despite the claim that APIs are dead, these web APIs are still a going concern. There are too many automation tools here if anything.

A lot of them are examples of low code development adapted to a particular domain, or application of graphical flow based programming, and there are more examples on those pages.

1 Commercial automation services

  • IFTTT is the classic here, although they’ve been a bunch of cocks recently.

  • zapier might be lesser cocks than ifttt? They cost money, but come more highly recommended, e.g. by NGO coryphée Joe Moran and look terribly useful. But they do not have great entry-level plans for occasional users and the cheapest option is USD19/month so I have not used them.

  • Botize might be lesser cocks than ifttt? Their interface is nicer to my eyes

  • Pipedream seems to be Zapier for developers, with low-friction hosting of code.

    Pipedream is an integration platform for developers to build and run workflows that integrate apps, data, and APIs — no servers or infrastructure to manage!

    • Develop any workflow, based on any trigger.
    • Workflows are code, which you can run for free.
    • No server or cloud resources to manage.

    In other tools, you typically have to setup infrastructure to process events— typically you setup an HTTP endpoint, then run a script on a container, or have to manage a serverless function. This takes time to write and maintain.

    Pipedream is purpose-built for running workflows on event data, so we take care of the infrastructure and boilerplate configuration for you. Pipedream lets you focus on what you want done, and we take care of how to do it for you.

  • Microsoft flow is a commercial entrant in this domain, which your large enterprise might have already licensed.

  • conditionalactionprogrammer has hot AI tech to do automation apparently but clearly no hot AI tech coming up with usable names.

  • n8n.io - a powerful workflow automation tooln8n pricing

2 Self hosted open source IFTTT alternatives