Getting Started#

Note: Much of this guide refers to the Web Builder interface, but we also have a Command Line Interface. What's the difference?

Anyone can add an app to Zapier, usually without writing any new code. This quick guide will familiarize you with the Zapier Developer Platform and get you pointed in the right direction building your own app. When you're finished, you’ll be able to use the app in your own Zapier account, share it privately with others, or even submit your app to be available publicly to anyone with a Zapier account. Plus, you'll have integrations with the 750+ 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 get advanced with our Scripting API

If you're unfamiliar with the core concepts of Zapier, this overview explains our service from the non-technical user view. Each step below aims to show both the developer and user perspective as we put together the pieces of your app on Zapier.

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 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, go to the App Builder to create your first app.

Authentication#

This is how Zapier authenticates with your application.

What a user sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/3023cd90bd11c834d9b0cfd0ddf153e5.png

What a developer sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/a388de695af223acb5a7392ff7d7a569.png

Zapier supports several authentication styles, but a quick overview of the common techniques are below:

Your first trigger#

Zapier supports several data retrieval techniques (or triggers) which can be mixed and matched inside a developer app.

What a user sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/4565db71b75e27328b3dabd28cc6cf6d.png

What a developer sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/337634a3c1335171449421a6707347da.png

The common techniques are below:

Your first action#

Actions are how Zapier inserts data into your application.

What a user sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/7cbd14d2419f6d670f5a6536e58fbdd0.png

What a developer sees:

https://cdn.zapier.com/storage/photos/c8a38f76baa86bdd521f56c98ff0570e.png

You can read more about actions, and almost all of our examples show actions.

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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Overview#

What is Zapier?#

Zapier is a tool for primarily non-technical users to connect together web apps.

An integration between two apps is called a Zap. A Zap is made up of a Trigger and one or more Actions or Searches.

Whenever the trigger happens in one app, Zapier will automatically perform the actions or searches in another app in order.

Example

Zaps are very lightweight and easy to set up. Zaps do not import or export old data (they only operate on new items created after the Zap is enabled). Zaps are also not kept in sync ("two way syncing") after the Zap is triggered.

Zaps are deceivingly simple if you're used to dealing with complex and difficult integrations. Their simplicity is what enables anyone to create them.

What is the Developer Platform?#

The Zapier Developer Platform is a way for anyone to add their app or API to Zapier. There are two main reasons for building an app:

  1. So that you can hook your own internal API up to other apps for yourself or co-workers
  2. So that you can let anyone on Zapier hook your app up to others

Building an app is easy and should take a developer (or someone very familiar with APIs) about a week to build a completed app ready for the activation process. There are two interfaces to the Developer Platform. We cover the differences between the CLI and Web Builder here.

Why build on Zapier?#

The main reason you should build your app into Zapier is customer retention. Zapier enables you to say "yes!" when customers ask for integrations with other apps.

If you've built integrations before, you know the ongoing pain of supporting them. Zapier insulates you from ongoing API maintenance, migration, monitoring, failover and customer support for other APIs.

Building an app on Zapier is easier than integrating with other APIs and you only have to do it once. You'll automatically get integrations with everyone on Zapier today and into future.

Building your app on Zapier is free for vendors. Zapier is a Software-as-a-Service product and Zapier charges end-users to connect apps together.

Once your app is Public on Zapier, there are a lot of opportunities for co-marketing on the blog and email

Who can help me?#

If you have questions, you can always contact us! There are Trusted Zapier App Developers who may be able to help build an app/integration for you.

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