Getting Started#

Anyone can add an app to the Zapier Platform—in your local development with our CLI, or in your browser at in our visual builder. When you're finished, you’ll be able to use the app in your own Zapier account, share it privately with others, or if you're affiliated with the app, you can submit your integration to be available publicly to anyone with a Zapier account. Plus, you'll have integrations with the 1,300+ apps on our platform instantly.

Before we start, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Zapier account
  • An app with an API that you can access
  • Optionally, a bit of programming knowledge if you want to add custom API calls or use the Zapier Platform CLI

If you're unfamiliar with the core concepts of Zapier, our Common Questions overview walks you through how Zapier works, and our How Does it Work page gives more technical details on the Zapier platform.

This quick guide will familiarize you with the Zapier Developer Platform and get you pointed in the right direction building your own app.

Add Your App to Zapier#

Building a Zapier app requires connecting an API to our Developer Platform. Essentially, the platform shows us how to translate the way you access and update data within your app into Zapier terms. Most Zapier apps include Triggers (reading new data from an app) and Actions (writing data to an app), using authentication from the end user so the data is specific to their account.

Depending on your app, you may have only triggers or actions. Zapier's end-users build workflows with these Triggers and Actions. A Trigger is the event we watch for that kicks off a workflow, and an Action is the task we complete on their behalf.

When you're ready to add your app, the easiest way is to open App Builder to create your first app.


Zapier supports 5 popular authentication schemes:

  • Basic Auth, with a form that requests usernames and passwords
  • Session Auth or cookie auth, where Zapier exchanges usernames and passwords for a token
  • API Key Auth, with a form to request API keys
  • OAuth v2 Auth for users to login directly to their app accounts, similar to Twitter and Trello's OAuth v2 implementation
  • Digest Auth, for a flow similar to Basic auth with credentials encrypted with a nonce key

When users add an app account to Zapier, they'll see something like the following:

Example Zapier authentication

If you add an integration in Zapier's Platform UI, you'll set those auth settings in a dialog like the one below:

Zapier Auth settings

Learn more in Zapier's Platform UI auth docs and CLI Auth docs.

Your first trigger#

Zapier triggers either poll an API for new or updated data, or use rest hooks for instant notifications when data is updated. Every Zap starts with a trigger step, and Zapier then uses that data in subsequent steps.

What users see inside Zapier:

Zapier Trigger

What developers see when adding a trigger in Zapier Platform UI:

Zapier Trigger Development

Learn more in our Zapier Platform UI trigger docs, or our CLI trigger docs.

Your first action#

Zapier then uses actions to send data to your API. Zapier includes Search actions to send a search query and return data from your API, or a Create action to add or update data in your app. Zaps can include as many action steps as users need to build a complete workflow, using input form fields for users to add data that Zapier will send to your app.

What users see when adding an action step to a Zap:

Zapier action step

What developers see when adding an input form to an action step inside Zapier Platform UI

Zapier Input Designer

Learn more in our Zapier Platform UI action docs, including a dedicated guide to using Zapier's input designer. Or learn more in our CLI action and input fields docs.

Next Steps#

A Zapier app with authentication, a Trigger, and an Action is a great start! If you’re ready to enhance your Zapier app, consider adding a couple more Triggers or Actions. Our App Development guide recommends starting with no more than three of each, so choose the most common ways people use your app.

Want to make your Zapier app available publicly to any user? Now would be a good time to review the app lifecycle to get an idea for what’s needed to make you most successful. Once your app is public, we’ll work with you to launch your app with co-marketing to support your app’s newfound superpowers.

Other questions or ideas? Let us know.

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