If This Then What?!

IFTTT is withdrawing Pinboard support, kicking up controversy and earning some well aimed snark from Pinboard’s founder, Marciej Ceglowski. Although I can understand where IFTTT is coming from as they try to make others conform to their own API, the tactics they are using with those who have fed their business seem guaranteed to backfire. All I can say is don’t pick a fight with Maciej if you want to have supporters of the open web on your side.

Beyond this current controversy I am realizing more and more that relying on IFTTT for my cross posting may not be the right way to go in most cases. When I post a Snippet on my site I can syndicate that Snippet, edited for each platform, to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and now my private Day One journal. This capability is wonderful, and is one of the things I’m happiest about on my website.

When I first set up my cross-posting, everything was handled by RSS to Service IFTTT recipes. I quickly ran into limitations with Twitter; IFTTT couldn’t preserve @ mentions when posting to Twitter, the links were all masked behind the IFTTT url, and the character count was unreliable. So I built a custom plugin to post from my site directly to Twitter’s API. There are some small edge cases that I would like to clean up with the plugin, but I am happy with it. It’s kind of fun to notice that Twitter apps that expose a Tweet’s origin will show noahread.net for any Tweet originating from my site. I am running up against other frustrating limitations in IFTTT’s integration with other services, so I will likely follow the same route I did with Twitter and build custom code that posts directly to these services’ APIs.

IFTTT is such a cool service with aggrevating limitations for its heaviest users. There are other good alternatives, like Zapier, that I will investigate. However, as with other aspects of building your own site, the greatest rewards seem to be in digging in and doing it yourself.