What is IFTTT and how does it facilitate automation?

Automate almost anything in just a few clicks.

Smart home devices bring convenience to our homes by making it easier to control devices remotely and bring a new level of automation. The easiest way for devices to work with each other is to make sure they are from the same manufacturer or ecosystem. The new Matter protocol promises easier mutual communication between different products and the removal of borders between brands. However, at least at the moment, not all products are compatible with the Matter protocol or with each other. But they can support IFTTT, which makes it easier for devices from different manufacturers to work together.

IFTTT stands for If This Then That (if something happens, it triggers something else) and is a platform that combines many solutions and systems. You don’t need in-depth technical knowledge to use it. In addition to smart home devices, IFTTT works with most web services you already use, such as Gmail and Twitter, so this service is worth your attention if you’re looking for ways to create conditional workflows.

What is IFTTT?

Next to Tasker, IFTTT is perhaps the most well-known automation tool. It’s been around since 2010 and helps you create applets, which are simply simple scripts or scripts that work with many services and devices. You can trigger these programs manually or automatically based on rules and conditions that you pre-determine.

You’ll come across products and services that won’t support IFTTT by default, but you can work around that limitation with these webhooks.

IFTTT programs are based on conditions or triggers, which means that a certain event automatically starts a script that you have composed. For example, you can use IFTTT to create a scenario where the lock automatically locks when you leave the house and activates the house alarm at the same time. Or to turn on the sprinklers twice a week on a sunny day.

The possibilities are huge, if not endless. The main advantage of IFTTT and similar services is the excellent interoperability. You’ll be combining platforms and devices that aren’t usually best friends. IFTTT is also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so it can help you control some smart speaker devices even though they aren’t compatible with each other.

You can also play with more advanced features, such as adding a delay after a triggered event before continuing to run the same or a different program. You can add multiple actions within one program, meaning that one event/trigger can turn on multiple other actions. For example, if it’s a particularly hot summer day, you can set the air conditioner to automatically turn on at 30°C and close the blinds. Those who are more skilled will be able to create more advanced programs with JavaScript.

Some features are locked for free use. Fortunately, the monthly subscription fee for the paid Pro packages is not exorbitant.

Create your profile and browse through the already created IFTTT programs.

How to get started with IFTTT?

You can create your own program or choose from an existing IFTTT library. A huge community regularly shares their programs, so you’re likely to find at least one suitable program for your needs. To get started, create a profile on the website and follow the steps below.

  1. Log in to your profile, but you’re done install the app on a smartphone.
  2. If the website does not redirect you to the section Exploreyou can do this in the upper right corner.
  3. You can filter by already created programs (applets), services (Facebook, Twitter…) or stories that are like a manual for certain scenarios.
  4. When you find the appropriate program, click on Connect.
  5. Check again that the conditions match and test the program as well.

You can also create a program according to your wishes.

  1. Log in to your profile and click on Create in the upper right corner.
  2. Besides If This click on Addto define the trigger.
  3. Do the same at Then Thatwhere you will define what should happen when the trigger fires.
  4. If you click on the + symbol (between the two sections), you can choose the delay time between the trigger and the executed action.
  5. This is where the journey ends for free users. The Pro subscription allows you to add and perform multiple actions with a single trigger.
  6. When you’re done creating, click Continue. Name your program and start using it.

Is a free profile enough or should we consider a paid subscription?

IFTTT allows for endless combinations unless you are a free user. Free profiles are limited to only 5 programs, each of which can perform only one action. This is enough for those of you who are just starting to learn about automation. You can partially bypass the program limit by creating multiple profiles, but you’ll still miss out on those more advanced features, especially multitasking.

Pro subscription increases the number of programs to 20 that can perform multiple actions at the same time. The subscription makes sense for more advanced users and smart home owners who want to automate a large number of devices, preferably from different manufacturers. The entrance fee to this elite club is not even exorbitant. You will have to pay €2.5 per month.

There is also a Pro+ package that allows the use of an unlimited number of programs. In addition, it allows you to link multiple accounts, which is convenient for those of you who, for example, have several properties that you want to automate. You’ll get access to advanced features including queries, filter codes, and developer tools. The monthly subscription is €5.

Advanced IFTTT features

IFTTT offers advanced features that developers, tech enthusiasts, and the curious love. Among them are the very popular webhooks, which allow you to integrate IFTTT with services that are not supported by default. Unlike existing applets, you create a webhook and specify different values. The learning curve is a bit steeper than when creating applets, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have more advanced options to choose from. For example, if you have your own server at home, you can use it with IFTTT via Webhooks.

With a Pro+ subscription, you can use queries and filter codes to customize programs. The query allows you to add an additional condition before the trigger fires. Filter codes are snippets of JavaScript code that you can run within IFTTT to further customize programs.

Automation within everyone’s reach

IFTTT is suitable for both basic and more advanced users. Basic customization of the programs does not require any technical knowledge, nor does it require any financial investment. For more advanced features, however, you will need time, some knowledge and a monthly financial investment.

Source: Računalništvo in telefonija – Računalniške novice by racunalniske-novice.com.

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