Getting Started#

Anyone can add an app to the Zapier Platform—in your local development with our CLI, or in your browser at zapier.com/app/developler 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.

Authentication#

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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Common Questions#

What is Zapier?#

When you want to to automate your work, Zapier is the tool over 3 million people turn to. Zapier is an app automation platform that connects over 1,300 app APIs into customized, multistep workflows—what we call Zaps.

Zaps start with a Trigger, which watches for new or updated data from an app. Zapier then uses that data to run Searches that find existing data in apps, and Create Actions to add new items or update existing items in apps. Zapier also includes built-in tools such as Schedule to run routine tasks, Formatter to manipulate data, and Paths to run different workflows based on filters and data from previous Zap steps.

Example Zap

Zaps can be as simple or detailed as needed for a task. Most people start with Zap Templates, pre-built Zaps that make it easy to automate popular use cases such as adding new contacts to your address book or saving new customers to a CRM. Or, users can build custom Zaps with two or more steps to accomplish any workflow, mapping data from previous steps to create what they need.

Zaps only run when data is added to or updated in an app account. Zaps do not import existing data, nor do they sync similar data between apps. Instead, they automate workflows around data to free you up to focus on your more important tasks.

Your app's API could instantly connect to hundreds of other popular apps with a single Zapier integration. It's the easiest way to fulfill your customers' top feature requests while keeping your app focused on what it does best.

What is the Zapier Development Platform?#

Example Zapier integration

The Zapier Developer Platform is a self-serve way for SaaS companies to integrate their app with Zapier. You can build a basic integration in minutes if you're a developer or familiar with APIs, and should be able to build a complete integration ready for Zapier's activation process within a week.

Zapier Developer Platform includes two ways to build your integration. The easiest is with Zapier's Platform UI, an online visual builder to add app info, set authentication details, and triggers, searches, and create actions with input forms. It requires little developer knowledge, though does let you add custom code if needed.

The more advanced option is Zapier's Platform CLI, a command line interface to build new Zapier integrations with JavaScript code in your local developer environment and push them to Zapier's server. It's the best way to build integrations in a development team with shared code, code versioning, and CI systems.

Why Build a Zapier Integration?#

A Zapier integration is the easiest way to say "Yes!" when customers ask for integrations, something that may help reduce your app's churn rate. Build and maintain a single Zapier integration to connect your app with over 1,300 of the most popular business apps, with every other new app that integrates with Zapier automatically connecting to your app, too.

Zapier insulates you from ongoing API maintenance, migration, and monitoring. Instead of maintaining and supporting dozens of different integrations, you only have a single Zapier integration to maintain and support.

It's free to build a Zapier integration. All it requires is the time to build a single integration. With that, your app will be included in Zapier's app directory, the first place Zapier's over 2 million users look for new apps. Zapier also offers a wide range of co-marketing opportunities through our blog and email newsletter.

What Apps May Partner With Zapier?#

To be a Zapier partner and publicly launch a Zapier integration, Zapier requires you be directly affiliated with the app and API integrated. If you are part of that app's team or have been contracted by that app to build a Zapier integration, then you may build a Zapier integration with the Zapier platform.

Then, to launch your Zapier integration publicly, you will need to:

Can I Build a Private Integration?#

Yes. If you are not directly affiliated with the app or API you want to integrate with Zapier, you may still use the Zapier development platform to build an integration for your private use. You can also build integrations for internal, non-public apps and share them privately with your company or team if you want. Those integrations are not eligible to launch as a public Zapier integration, but may still be used in live Zaps on your and any collaborators or testers' Zapier accounts.

Where Can I Get Started?#

Ready to build a new Zapier integration?

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