Zapier CLI vs Web Builder: Which one should I choose?#

Note: This doc references Zapier's legacy web builder. To learn about the differences between Zapier Platform CLI and the new Platform UI and its visual builder, check out this doc instead.

Everyone has a different comfort level with development tools. That's why we offer two ways to interact with the Zapier Developer Platform: the Command Line Interface and the Web Builder.

Both enable you to expose your app to Zapier users by connecting your API to our auth, trigger, action, and search structure, and the two interfaces are geared towards different technical levels and organizational needs.

Command Line Interface#

Best for: Engineers with JavaScript experience who plan to support their Zapier app long-term.

The Command Line Interface (CLI) to the Zapier Developer Platform is based on Node JS. Engineers—or those with high technical skills—describe their apps using a JavaScript definition format. Functions you write call Zapier’s helper libraries to receive inputs from a user’s Zap and pass back outputs from your app.

Advantages of the CLI:

  • Write your app entirely with JavaScript, including transpiler support for newer versions
  • Easily collaborate with teammates via GitHub or another source control tool
  • Control migrations between versions of your app
  • Reuse code through request handling middleware
  • Prevent unintended breaking changes through unit testing

Disadvantages of the CLI:

  • Slower startup: It may take more time to get to your first working functionality
  • Much harder for non-engineers to understand and contribute to your integration

How to Get Started with the CLI#

Interaction with the Zapier platform happens via the command line after installing our Node module. You can run tests locally, then zapier push the app to Zapier’s production servers, where you can test the end-user experience.

Web Builder Interface#

Best for: Non-engineers or those looking to get started quickly.

Most of the apps you see on Zapier were built using the User Interface (UI) to the Zapier Developer Platform. A good number of those apps have been built by non-developers. Even if you don't write code on a day-to-day basis, you should be able to get an app up and running if you have a solid understanding of APIs.

Advantages of the Web Builder:

  • Get started fast
  • Build app using a Web interface
  • Write little to no code
  • Optionally use Scripting to alter API calls

Disadvantages of the Web Builder:

  • Some use cases require workarounds and repeated code in the Scripting API
  • Collaboration on teams is only possible via sharing Zapier credentials
  • Version migrations can be more dangerous to execute

How to Get Started with the Web Builder#

All you need to get started with the Web Builder Interface is a web browser and an understanding of how APIs work. It also helps to have an API in mind to use (such as your own!).

Some Things to Consider#

While both interfaces provide access to the Zapier Developer Platform, they're not interchangeable. For technical and logistical reasons, CLI app cannot be converted into a Web Builder app. On the contrary, it's possible to convert a Web Builder app to a CLI app with our CLI toolchain.

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