Sunday 7 September 2014

API Integration with Zapier (Gmail to Salesforce)

Recently I attended a training session with +General Assembly  in London titled, What and Why of APIs. It was a training session focusing on usage of APIs and it was not technical at all. I find these type of training sessions very useful as they describe concepts and controlling ideas behind technologies rather than the hands-on, involved implementation details.

What grabbed my attention from the many different and very useful public and private API tools, 'thingies', introduced in this training session was Zapier. -

Zapier looked to me as a platform for integrating APIs with clicks rather than code, with declarative programming. Is a way of automating the internet. What you get when you sign up with them is the ability to use 'Zaps', or create your own zaps. Zaps are integration of endpoints, like connecting Foursquare to Facebook or Gmail to Salesforce and syncing them. One of the Zaps available does that, connects your Gmail emails to Salesforce using the Gmail and Salesforce APIs and lets you sync between them. Not only that, but Zapier Zaps also put triggers on the endpoints which allow you to sync only when certain conditions are true. For example the Gmail to Salesforce Zap can push your email into a Salesforce Lead only when an email with a certain subject arrives to your gmail inbox. This is what a Zapier platform looks like:

An individual Zap looks like this and is nothing more than a mapping of the Endpoints with some trigger actions and filters.

The environment is self-documenting and very easy to use. All you do is drag and drop gmail fields and match them with the Lead, or other custom object Salesforce fields. Then you configure the sync to happen only under certain conditions/filters. Really easy to set-up. The free version runs the sync every 5 hours, well good enough for me. The paid version runs the sync every 5 minutes. 

There is even capability to track historical runs and trigger a manual run via the Zap menu. See below the 'Run' command to run a Zap whenever you like. 

In my case I used the tool to create a Zap to do exactly what I just described. My Zap creates a Salesforce Lead automatically in my Salesforce org whenever a 'special' email is sent to me. Great automation!

This is a taste of the 'platform cloud' tools out there to do API to API and App to App integrations with clicks and not code. With tools like Zapier all you really need is, imagination!

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