Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mashing Up Multiple Web Services

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the one-size-bits-fits-all dept.

Social Networks 59

GMGruman writes "Ted Samson reports on a new Web application dubbed ifttt.com that mashes up all those Web services we routinely use. Today's Web is brimming with a staggering number of services where users can speak their mind (Twitter), grab vital information (any news or blog source), store important files (Dropbox or Box.net), collaborate with peers (Facebook or Google+), and much more. The dream has long been to devise ways to get these often disparate and siloed services to interact with one another, creating something greater than the sum of its parts. It serves as a measure of how far we've come from the early days of specialized, single-purpose mashups, or more complicated SOAs where services were cobbled together with complex tools and the coding equivalent of duct tape."

cancel ×

59 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

An decent start, but needs more (2)

suso (153703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430224)

Neat idea and I like the interface, but obviously they need conditionals. You can't just say Every tweet I make also call this number, you should be able to do something like every time I post about X then call this phone number and say Y that includes this part of X. If this catches on, Google will be kicking themselves that they don't have an API for G+ with write access yet.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (3, Interesting)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431102)

For this to be useful, you're gonna need counters, nested conditions, decision trees, etc.. Most people will only use part of them, or even just the one "if/then" functionality, but there's an opportunity to cater to "power users" by offering a more robust system.

That said, I think this thing is proof of how neurotic all of these "social services" have become. If we're setting up triggering mechanisms to make the multiple services work together, something's gone wrong with either the way we live, or how much bureaucracy we're willing to put up with. Are we really heading in a direction where we have to *program* how we communicate with friends? Isn't that what these services are supposed to *solve*?

Re:An decent start, but needs more (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431192)

Are we really heading in a direction where we have to *program* how we communicate with friends? Isn't that what these services are supposed to *solve*?

No, we are heading in a direction where no only FB, G+ and others will know more or less complete "fragments" of our identities, but there will be an entity (ifttt.com) that will know about all of them in the same time.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431194)

Yes. Unfortunately, capitalism (gives people a reason to try and build a better version, not that the lack of money wouldn't.) Hopefully, more capitalism (will cause someone to build a system that fixes all of these problems.)

Everyone's still stuck on the Parable Of OS/2, and so no one wants to be fully interoperable, unless it means importing users and locking them in forever.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432796)

The social messaging services are not all that this is for. For example, one of the recipes is for it to send you an SMS if weather.com says it'll rain in your town tomorrow. Another copies content into your Dropbox if you start it in Google Reader.

These are neat ways to streamline the way you consume these services. Too simple to really be called programming, but useful nonetheless.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37439424)

For example, one of the recipes is for it to send you an SMS if weather.com says it'll rain in your town tomorrow

Wow, truly the internet's killer app has arrived.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37440622)

Be fair. If Slashdot waited for earth shattering news before posting, as you seem to expect, we'd go months at a time without a post.

It's a neat tool for those who want it.
Nobody *needs* it, but some people may find it useful. I do.

Re:An decent start, but needs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37443626)

For the power users, isn't there Yahoo Pipes or rolling your own?

Re:An decent start, but needs more (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432762)

There are conditionals built into some of the triggers. For example, it can look for tweets containing a string.

I'm already finding it useful. I wanted a Facebook page and a Twitter feed to update every time a blog gets updated. Using ittt gives me more control than Facebook built in feed -> note mechanism, and polls more frequently.

I could roll my own of course, but why bother when this is here and it works. I thought about the security aspects and decided it was OK given my use case.

Quit calling web applications web services. (3, Informative)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430274)

It's confusing. I assumed it was a web service that somehow aggregated the interfaces of all these other web services. My immediate response was "Well, that's pointless. Why wouldn't I do that in my own code - that's what a web service is for.".

Only to go on and read that it's not a web service.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430322)

It's a service which is offered over the web. Isn't that the very definition of a web service?
However, what this is not is a mashup. It doesn't recombine content, but offers functionality across services.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430348)

Because "web service" is a separate term of art. It's like a news article saying a "fully automatic rifle" was used in a shooting, when it was a semi-automatic rifle. Reporter could say "Well, you pull the trigger 3 times and 3 bullets come out, that's fully automatic!". No, it isn't.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430664)

Your analogy is flawed. The gun situation you describe is blatantly not "fully automatic" by any definition of those words. The same is not true for web service.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432666)

No, it's not fully automatic by the definition that experts in that field use.

However to a layman, if you don't have to push anything down the barrel with a stick or do any cranky-slidy-lever stuff then that looks "fully automatic" to them.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 2 years ago | (#37439194)

it's not fully automatic because you still have to pull the trigger.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37439432)

it's not fully automatic because you still have to pull the trigger.

Yeah, and put bullets in it, and aim it and shit.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (3, Informative)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430372)

It's a service which is offered over the web. Isn't that the very definition of a web service? However, what this is not is a mashup. It doesn't recombine content, but offers functionality across services.

No. There are several (not necessarily equivalent) definitions of what a web service is, but they have, at their core, define a web service as a function or functionality that one can invoke programmatically (and that was designed with this in mind) over an IP-based protocol in general, and over HTTP in particular, either way exploiting, relying and/or being affected by the characteristics, positive and negative, of the so-called Internet architecture.

What it is being reported here is a web-based application (not a web service) that aggregates information from other web-based applications using web services provided by the later. So RightSaidFred99 is pretty much correct in voicing his objection for calling a web application a web service.

One can understand a non-tech reporter making such a confusion. But, in a supposedly tech-savvy site such as slashdot, I can only think what the fuck? We are not in the eras that preceded the widespread adoption of Internet technology, and it's not like web services are something new either.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430410)

No. There are several (not necessarily equivalent) definitions of what a web service is, but they have, at their core, define a web service as a function or functionality that one can invoke programmatically (and that was designed with this in mind) over an IP-based protocol in general, and over HTTP in particular, either way exploiting, relying and/or being affected by the characteristics, positive and negative, of the so-called Internet architecture.

Well, AFAICT all those things this site accesses fulfill that definition. Or do you really thing they parse web sites as presented to humans?

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430466)

Right. The site accesses web services, but it is a web application because people interactively use it.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430502)

And what does the summary say?

"Ted Samson reports on a new Web application dubbed ifttt.com that mashes up all those Web services we routinely use.

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430770)

And what does the story title say, well before it was changed...

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430374)

Web service does have a very different definition in software engineering, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_service
It is not just a website...

Re:Quit calling web applications web services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430522)

"Web Service" has a specific meaning to geeks. It means something else to non-geeks.
"Bricked" means a specific thing to geeks. It means a less specific thing to non-geeks.
"Hacker" means a specific thing to geeks. It means almost the antithesis of that to non-geeks.

With the exception of 'hacker' I don't think trying to correct the general public is even worthwhile. They know far more non-geeks than geeks, and the way they use the terms is the way all those other people use it. In the case of "web service" specifically, I don't believe the general public would even comprehend the difference between the geek and non-geek definitions.

That being said, a submitter to /. should know better.

Um. Hooray? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430314)

So, if I understand this correctly, I get the exciting chance to hand login credentials to a variety those accounts I deem important to some nascent .bomb outfit, whose TOS specifically says that it can change at any time, my responsibility to check(is there a trigger for that, by any chance?), and which currently doesn't make any mention of limitations on what they can do with those credentials(never mind what their eventual aquirerer might do...); but which is quite clear on just how hard I indemnify and hold them harmless pretty much no matter what?

Sounds Awesome!

Re:Um. Hooray? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430356)

Haven't looked through all the channels, but at least the services that support it (Facebook, Google stuff) are using OAuth so you can authorize a third party to perform actions or get data from your account in a way that can be revoked at any time without giving them your credentials.

Re:Um. Hooray? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430360)

So, if I understand this correctly, I get the exciting chance to hand login credentials to a variety those accounts I deem important to some nascent .bomb outfit, whose TOS specifically says that it can change at any time, my responsibility to check(is there a trigger for that, by any chance?), and which currently doesn't make any mention of limitations on what they can do with those credentials(never mind what their eventual aquirerer might do...); but which is quite clear on just how hard I indemnify and hold them harmless pretty much no matter what?

Sounds Awesome!

It's still too limited. It doesn't support your bank account yet. Just having unfortunate automatic twitters in your name is not sufficient. Automatic money movement is much more interesting. Especially when combined with the possibility to select from existing rules ... this could result in some very interesting money flows. :-)

Re:Um. Hooray? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430400)

It's still too limited. It doesn't support your bank account yet. Just having unfortunate automatic twitters in your name is not sufficient.

Don't be so sure. It could hazardous to your health. [cnn.com]

Re:Um. Hooray? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430554)

yes, it would be best as a traditional application, where everyone would just run it on their own servers.

no need for apis then. just hack it to work through the web interface - all else failing by mimicking human actions, no need for write api's, theyre not going to place captchas on everything, nobody would use those services(blogger is killing itself with that already).

Re:Um. Hooray? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430574)

HTC's "Friend Stream" will already post to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. Other apps will post to more social networks simultaneously. The contact list in the phone already shows you everybody's latest Tweet, Facebook post, and QIK video status, among other things.

What exactly are these people doing that is so special?

Re:Um. Hooray? (1)

wintersdark (1635191) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430732)

This is not a "mashup" program. It's much different.

Ifttt stands for "If This Then That", and basically allows users to easily build their own cross-site scripting.

It's a pretty simple setup, but does require some creativity. There are hundreds of triggers and hundreds of actions - most of which are very highly customizable.

For example, I have a trigger set up so when my wife stars an RSS article in Google Reader I'll get a SMS message, with custom formatted text.

While it's not particularly complex to build something like this for personal use, if you lack the skills required (or just the time) it's surprisingly awesome.

A great idea! (2)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430328)

If we could aggregate these services into a single site, that site could become a web 'portal' where you could accomplish some of your most routine web tasks. If you could get a service provider to create their own 'portal' that comes free with their internet access, that would be even better. Of course, you'd want to distribute sample copies to as many people as possible - preferably by sending them CDs several times a week. Maybe then you could truly get all of America online.

Re:A great idea! (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433898)

Somebody didn't read the article... This is basically an easy interface to making "cron job-like" things involving popular websites, like "call me every time somebody favorites one of my Twitter posts" or "when someone tags me in a photo, upload the photo to my Dropbox" and so on. This isn't a "portal" any more than a bash script is.

Re:A great idea! (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 2 years ago | (#37434838)

So you're saying that I've actually hit upon a 20+year-old idea that offers more functionality than a web service that counts as 'news'?

And this is persistent, even with you not at the.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430334)

..."dashboard" all the time?
That seems pretty resource intensive if you consider large amounts of users, which it might actually get considering how useful it would be.

They should create an extension to do this stuff on client-end as well if they are connected to the internet. It would save them on resources considerably, and most people would probably rather like an extension for it too.

Re:And this is persistent, even with you not at th (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431208)

..."dashboard" all the time? That seems pretty resource intensive if you consider large amounts of users, which it might actually get considering how useful it would be.

They should create an extension to do this stuff on client-end as well if they are connected to the internet. It would save them on resources considerably, and most people would probably rather like an extension for it too.

You see... what you propose is not in their interest. They will be interested to get as much information about you as possible transiting their "mash-up" - this is how they'll know you better and can sell these details (anonymized, of course... but the ToS may change in the future) to whoever pays better.

we round them all up .. (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430354)

so it makes it easier to get rid of them all at once?

Who is this "we" that the TFS mentions?? .. now git off my lawn.

Re:we round them all up .. (2)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430488)

Who is this "we" that the TFS mentions?? .. now git off my lawn.

We == all teh hipstas?

Mashup Mashups (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430420)

I tried Hootsuite for awhile, which promised similar management of multiple web services. It felt like a house of mirrors. I'm already getting my slashdot headlines on Facebook. Ultimately, it looks like the "portals" will pass like fashion and musical tastes, and maybe all will wind up with MySpace playing guest parts on Love Boat.

BTDT...stop with the "new" already. (4, Informative)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430440)

"Ted Samson reports on a new Web application..."

Ah, "new"? Where the hell has he been the last 5 years? Under a rock?

Facebook "Like" buttons popping up everywhere, Google map links embedded into every web interface and email program, practically Internet-wide single-sign-on capability with far too many websites acting as proxy authenticators to all of the major accounts (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.)

Tweetdeck, Trillion, Adium...the list goes on and on. There's nothing "new" about yet another program to "mash-up" the 17 accounts that everyone seems to have in yet another effort to create a single visual aggregator of endless streams of crap that you probably would have never had a reason to know your 4,471th "friend" said or did in the first place, yet somehow feel the undying pressure to get plugged in and monitor such nonsense with an almost childish infatuation to refresh it all every 14 seconds.

Re:BTDT...stop with the "new" already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430512)

"yet another effort to create a single visual aggregator" -- so you didn't actually try it out but decided to still complain?

I didn't find the app that useful but it's definitely not yet another aggregator.

Re:BTDT...stop with the "new" already. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430756)

"yet another effort to create a single visual aggregator" -- so you didn't actually try it out but decided to still complain?

I didn't find the app that useful but it's definitely not yet another aggregator.

What, put some Outlook-esque "if this, then that" rule wrapper around the aggregation of streams of babbling crap and I'm supposed to believe that's some sort of revelation? Whatever. Call it what you want.

Re:BTDT...stop with the "new" already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37431248)

Somebody wrapped an text message in HTML and called it a revelation. Imagine that. It's stupidly simple, possibly just stupid. I don't use it.I prefer IRC the original way. :D Then again, almost half the people you know have a double digit IQ.

Re:BTDT...stop with the "new" already. (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433926)

Well show us a website that does it at the same level as this one. That's why this is news.

Single Point of Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37430498)

One hack and you have everyone's Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, etc account info, packaged up nice and neat.
How convenient!

Re:Single Point of Failure (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431234)

One hack and you have everyone's Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, etc account info, packaged up nice and neat.
How convenient!

Hey... if ifttt.com knows so much about you, letting others to do it the same is not in their interest... hurts their business of selling aggregated views on the different "personas" you adopt on the net. As they aren't "selling" anything else to you (but a mashup), security should be the paramount for their credibility (this is not to say that it will actually be).

Re:Single Point of Failure (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432746)

Dropbox is a failure anyway - less security than even vanilla FTP as can be provided by every single hosting company on the planet. Don't people remember the string of incidents with the ultimate being the day that you could log into any Dropbox account you wished without a password? Why are they even still in business?

Re:Single Point of Failure (1)

slim (1652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432812)

Don't people remember the string of incidents with the ultimate being the day that you could log into any Dropbox account you wished without a password? Why are they even still in business?

Because people use them for stuff that's not confidential? Or not sufficiently confidential to get get up about?

Re:Single Point of Failure (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37439582)

Don't people remember the string of incidents with the ultimate being the day that you could log into any Dropbox account you wished without a password? Why are they even still in business?

Because people use them for stuff that's not confidential? Or not sufficiently confidential to get get up about?

There's a difference between stuff not being confidential and stuff being able to be defaced or deleted by random internet shitcocks.

Why do people view twitter as a non-subset? (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37430634)

Twitter's capabilities (follow, retweet, etc) have all been copied and become a subset of the features available on just about any collaboration suite (Facebook, google+). I've even seen it hacked into microsoft sharepoint. Why is the ability to publish a small message constantly defined as being separate from the standard features of most social sites? Just because they were first doesn't mean that we need to keep mentioning them. It's like being unable to not mention ford whenever an assembly line is brought up.

TL:DR: Twitter has become a subset of the modern web, quit mentioning it unless you are referring to microblogging or Twitter (with a capital T).

Re:Why do people view twitter as a non-subset? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433152)

They are mentioning it because the site can use Twitter.com (with a capital T).

anything mashup has to be hype (1)

mfearby (1653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431400)

For starters, they're calling it a "mash up" which is an instant reason to reach for the puke bucket. What's wrong with going to each "service" as and when you need them? Why trust some ".bomb" with all these services? You're just asking for trouble.

Bad summary, bad headline. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37431502)

So many people hating on this because they didn't read TFA or investigate what it really is. It's not a mashup and its not an 'aggregator'. It's more like Yahoo pipes for everything, rather than just RSS. It's cool. Slashdotters (geeks) should like this.

Wooph? (0)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37431504)

Didn't RTFA - is this WUPHF, finally realized?!? Man, I've been waiting forever for WUPHF!

Check also Tarpipe (1)

rnsimoes (1886500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432758)

I have been using Tarpipe.com, a really nice service to publish to multiple social media services, with conditional rules, etc. Just needs some additional work on the interface to make it user-friendly for the less tech savvy.

Aw350/\/\3z!!!oneeleven! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37432908)

So I can upload a video to my facetube whenever I tweet my iBlog?

What problem is this trying to solve, again?

Not a mashup (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37433118)

This site [ifttt.com] is not a mashup but an automation tool for the non-programmer folks on the web. To an extent I always knew that most web 2.0 users could be easily automated using simple scripts but I didn't suspect it was that easy.

Integration for web apps...love it! (1)

sfranklin (95470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471578)

I know I'm way behind on this, just now discovered IFTTT, but I have to say it's an awesome idea. I love the ability to automatically link up some of these web apps without requiring code. Could I code those linkages? Sure, but that makes me spend time, and host that code, and maintain it...with IFTTT all that work is abstracted away. This is just like the adapter integration model...build one adapter for each of your end applications, then hook up the adapters. Swap out an end application, and as long as you keep the adapter the same, your integrations still work. Same principle applies here and it's a great idea!

ifttt is (1)

ngc248 (1756742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37477330)

more like a rules engine for the web, where you can do actions based on certain conditionals with the input/output being webservices on the net. I got invited to the beta and I quite liked the concept.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>