Friday, March 20, 2015

App Review: IFTTT

A few years ago I discovered probably the most useful web application on the Internet.  Yes, I know that's a pretty bold statement.  However once you've seen what it can do, I think you'll agree.

IFTTT stands for "If This Then That", which is a reference to a conditional statement in programming.  Now don't get all glazey-eyed on me, this isn't an application just for programmers or technogeeks.

The app features the most simple interface; which honestly almost put me off the first time I saw it.  I never would have imagined that something so simple looking could be this powerful.

So what does it do?  Simply put, it allows you to select from many different events that, when triggered, will cause an action.  For example, using the ESPN app and Hue (Internet connected) light bulbs, you can set up IFTTT to make your lights flash if your team scores.  Other examples include:
  • If the date is May 4th, then update your Facebook status to "May the fourth be with you"
  • If your iOS device arrives at home, then text mom that you've arrived home.
  • If you press your Do Button then immediately call your phone to get you out of a conversation with that crazy coworker who doesn't seem to understand when the conversation is over and just won't take social hints or cues that you need him to walk away now... oh, maybe that's just me.
There are hundreds of of channels that you can set up as triggers or as part of the action, and you can set them up in whatever combinations (or "recipes") that you want.  However one that really sounds fun is IFTTT's own "Do Button".  This is a software button that you can add to you iOS or Android device to trigger an event.

IFTTT is a free service that is available at

Pro tip: If the endless possibilities are so overwhelming that you can't figure out where to start, then (after you log-in) click Browse at the top to see recipes that others have created.

And don't forget to let me know in the comments how you end up using IFTTT!