A month or so ago I bemoaned the lack of any kind of universal queue for keeping track of web stuff. The basic idea is that I want to take my various interactions with interesting web stuff and stitch it together into one manageable work flow. Instapaper is pretty close to what I want, but not it’s not quite universal enough yet.
Now along comes ifttt, which comes at the same problem from a different direction. I was thinking about the noun, the big queue that I would use to keep track of stuff: Flickr pictures, RSS feeds, movie reviews, newspaper articles. But ifttt is all about verbs. They just opened their doors, and it’s a very impressive service. The name “ifttt” stands for “if this then that,” which in turn is short for the sort of instructions you would give your personal assistant:
“If I put a picture on Flickr, then put it in my Dropbox account.”
“If someone tweets about me, tell me right away.”
“If the gin is cold, bring me a martini.”
Like Instapaper, ifttt is service-agnostic. So it’s well positioned to make friends with everybody. Most of all, I think it’s a proof-of-concept of what comes next, once we agree on standards that can bridge between various proprietary fiefdoms. Things like ifttt will get easier and easier. We’ll look back and realize that Yahoo Pipes was too early, but ifttt showed up right on time.
Here are two good reviews with extensive examples. First this from Scott Hanselman: Essential IFTTT (IfThisThenThat) – Programming Workflows for Humans using the Web’s Social Glue. And here is ReadWriteWeb: How To Back Up Your Life Automatically with Ifttt