Blog Entries from July 2013
Posted on July 29, 2013 by Andy Jones
I've spent the last few weeks collecting feedback from folks and spreading the word about PipeThru.com. In addition, I've looked at some of the search string that you are using to find PipeThru using various search engines.
There are two common themes in all the feedback I've received. First is "what can I do with it?" and second is "I need service X now."
As frustrating as both are to hear, everyone is exactly correct. In the first case, I need to be better addressing new users and getting at exactly how I'm helping. In the second, I'm working on it.
PipeThru offers a series of building blocks. With the building blocks, you can build whatever you want, but unless you have an end goal in mind already, they've fairly useless by themselves. Which, I imagine, is why selling a ready made kit is easier than just a bunch of building blocks . With this idea in mind, I need to improve upon (1) the availabilitiy of pre-made pipes, and (2) a suggestion generator that shows how we can connect the services you use to the other tools you currently or may use.
On the second topic, I simply need to get better about building the services that people want. I'm still changing this as I go along, however, I have improved upon the order in which I implement new websites. Through my search engine efforts, I now have an idea about what websites people want to connect. I used to stab in the dark. Funny enough, my first guesses on social networking sites were absolutely wrong. Social networking websites are at the bottom of searches associated with my site. I suppose Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like are good enough about keeping people within their own empire and no outside connections are necessary.
What I build next is also largely a function of what you request. If you have some need to connect website A and B and move data between them, let me know! I'm available at email@example.com or call our toll-free number 888-404-2904. If you can think it, I can probably implement it.
 Even Legos and Lincoln Logs start with some concept of what to build. The first is sold in a variety of kits, while the second I've always associated with log cabins. Or more generally, house building. You can buy Legos in bulk, but I find it more fun to buy the readymade Lego Empire State Building kit.
Posted on July 1, 2013 by Andy Jones
As I work on my 18th and 19th integration, I'm beginning to realize how INSANELY hard some of these APIs can be. If you're looking for help with implementing or integrating a website API with your project, please contact me. Most likely I can point you in the right direction, if not help outright.
For the technically minded, I've run into many idiosyncrasies. I won't name names, but among them are: XML for the post body, except when we don't use it for search, so make OAuth work accordingly; documentation completely wrong; function accepts 6 or 8 arguments, exactly in order, nothing else works; OAuth access token expires with no method for renewal; paging starts at page 0, whups we mean 1; useless error messages; wrong examples; and, oh yes, we have an app approval process where we may forget about you.
Having the ability to work with any 1 website API represents a good deal of domain knowledge. Kudos to anyone who has integrated Twitter, Quickbooks, Infusionsoft, Stripe, or Twilio for any of their projects, work, or websites. I hold great appreciation for the work that goes into that.
Working with 20+ APIs? While the concepts of a RESTful API and uniform data representation are in each website API, the implementations are across the board. The most inane decisions cumulatively throw me into fits when trying to integrate with any given website. For example, what should a website do when you click "Not allowed" when asking for permission to connect? From my experience, you may flip a coin on whether the website will direct the user back to my website or do something entirely different that does not involve my website at all.
If you need help - I'm the person to contact. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 919-357-5565. Since I've been most of my implementations from the ground up for more control, I have a great deal of power and flexibility when adapting my work toward a specific application.