Try It With Free Tools + Zapier First
Prototyping your apps and backend services
Over the last 3 years I’ve become well acquainted with Zapier. So much so that I often say it would be my company of choice if I could own any company outside of the huge players. Zapier is a simple platform that allows you to hook different apps together in what are called “zaps”, each one starts with a trigger and then performs an action.
Many people use it to automatically do things like data entry, or updating statuses on multiple platforms, the list of things you can do is endless. Plus, Zapier keeps releasing new tools within the platform that allow you to do more and more stuff that would normally require custom code.
With more than 700 apps integrated with the platform you can do just about anything you would possibly need to without writing a single line of code.
I often find that simple solutions to problems we are experiencing can be solved by a bit of automation with Zapier. We use that to prototype ideas and solutions and work out the bugs of what we are trying to build for our own internal integrations and then we have a really good feel of exactly what we need when we build it out custom.
There have been instances where we’ve set up 9 or 10 step zaps to get the thing done and it really become quite efficient, such that we are able to clone it across to multiple instances and scenarios.
There are loads of free tools one can use and access them real time via zapier to run backend services and jobs. For example, google sheets. We are all well acquainted with the cloud hosted spreadsheet software, I use it everyday for different things. It’s a PERFECT place to prototype a simple data schema and populate with a small set of data, especially if that data is coming in realtime from some other app. Then Google Sheets is connected to basically every other app out there so you can push data in or out with ease.
It seems that many people and developers especially get themselves caught in an instance where they build something custom that already exists within zapier, and they could learn a lot by prototyping within that ecosystem first.
We have hundreds of zaps running all the time for different things, from triggers in slack to create tasks in asana for us, to notifications for new leads that were automatically input into our CRM to complex processes that let us run our systems and move data around from app to app.
Whatever it is you are working on, chances are you could automate a good portion, if not all of what you are doing and have it run easily with great stability.
If you have questions or are stumped by a zapier problem, let me know, I love tinkering with automation and figuring out solutions to make it work!