Applets to Zaps: A Beginner’s Guide to Connecting Your Cloud Apps 

 August 3, 2020

Integrating the applications you use up in the cloud is critical to getting things done these days.

Connecting cloud apps is often easy. The most popular apps you log into every day — like Dropbox or G Suite — offer many built-in integrations.

But not every cloud app — there are thousands — provides such convenience.

These you can integrate with two popular “consumer iPaaS” platforms: IFTTT and Zapier.

Both do much more than connect apps. They help you work more productively. You create action sequences to do all sorts of things, from logging social media posts to opening your garage door.

Connecting Cloud Apps

If you have a monthly or annual subscription, or log in through your web browser, you’re using cloud apps, or Software as a Service (SaaS).

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is what makes SaaS apps work together. If you want your every Facebook post to get entered into Google Sheets automatically, iPaaS makes that happen.

Zapier and IFTTT (“IF This, Then That”) let you connect pretty much any software you have to any other software.

They’re similar in what they do, but different in how they do it and what connections they offer.

From Applets to Zaps

Zapier is geared toward business and productivity. With more than 1,000 connected platforms, it covers most cloud storage, ecommerce, blogging, social media, and marketing platforms.

IFTTT is more catholic. It covers much of the same ground, but unlike Zapier, it’s all about the Internet of Things. Its action sequences, or “Applets” let you hook up your internet-connected appliances, home security system, garage door opener, and more.

Both of them provide a far greater range of actions than you’re likely to get from native integrations, and you can customize them. With Zapier, you can even integrate multiple platforms into a single action sequence, or “Zap.”

At What Cost?

Amazingly, IFTTT is completely free. No plans or upgrades. Just free. That includes mobile apps for Android and iOS. 

Zapier has a free personal version with up to five two-step Zaps from a limited number of channels. Above that its pricing amounts to basically $1 per zap, with all channels available. With a paid plan (and during your free trial) you can create Zaps with any number of steps.

If This, Now What?

Even if you don’t know yet what you want to integrate, browsing through either platform will give you lots of ideas.

Zapier auto-suggests recommendations based on the apps you connect. IFTTT has an active community where members create, save, and share their Applets or download those shared by others.

Today, most business computing — and more and more personal computing — is happening in the cloud. Knowing how to connect cloud apps will only become more important.

IFTTT or Zapier? Which do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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