How to use Connectors with Rows
A quick guide on what Connectors are and what you can achieve with them alongside Rows
What are Connectors
With the recent release of our API, this brings with it the ability to use 3rd party Connector platforms such as the popular Zapier, Make (formerly Integromat) and Google Looker Studio (formerly Data Studio).
Imagine you have two different tools you use for work - a project management tool and a communication tool like Slack. Normally, you might have to manually copy information from one tool to the other, but with Zapier or Integromat, you can automate that process.
Using these platforms, you can create a connection between the two tools, allowing them to "talk" to each other. You can set up a trigger in one tool that will initiate an action in the other tool. For example, you could set up a Zap or Scenario that says "when I add a new task to my project management tool, send a notification to my Slack channel."
Once you've set up the connection, the platforms take care of the rest. Whenever the trigger is activated, the platforms automatically carry out the specified action. This saves you time and effort, allowing you to focus on other important tasks.
Overall, these platforms provide a user-friendly and efficient way to automate repetitive tasks and improve productivity by integrating different applications and automating workflows between them, something we are not a stranger too either. In fact, you can achieve similar results through using only Rows as an automation platform but that's the focus of another article.
Triggers are typically events or conditions that occur within a specific web application, for example in Zapier, a trigger could be when a new email arrives in your inbox, or when a new entry is added to a Rows spreadsheet. These triggers are the start of any automation. Most of the integrations in Zapier or Make already have predefined triggers for each web application. At the time of writing, the Rows integrations within Zapier or Make do not offer any native Triggers but luckily there is another method we can use to mitigate that problem.
A common way to create a trigger inside a Zap or Scenario, (if it does not offer such functionality natively), is to make use of webhooks.
A webhook is a way for web applications to send information to other applications in real-time.
Think of it this way - a trigger is like a button that you press to start an automated workflow, while a webhook is like a notification that a web application sends to the automation platform to tell it that an event has occurred.
If you want to see an example of how setting up a webhook in Rows might look, then check out this article
Actions are the next step in an automated workflow - once the trigger event happens, the platform automatically carries out the specified action or series of actions that you've set up.
Think of it this way - if the trigger is the event that starts the automated workflow, then the action is the task that the platform performs in response to the trigger event.
For example, if you set up a trigger to send you a notification whenever a new email arrives in your inbox, the specified action could be to automatically add the email as a task in your project management tool. This would save you the time and effort of manually adding the task yourself. Likewise, you could have an action to create a new row in a Rows spreadsheet.
Best practices working with connectors and Rows
Here are a few tips to ensure you have the optimal experience working with connectors and Rows.
Organise and structure your data
It's important to ensure that your data is organized in a structured and consistent way. This will make it easier to create automation workflows that can accurately read and manipulate your spreadsheet data.
Don't delete the structure of the tables
You shouldn't delete the table you're using with any connector. Otherwise, that automation will stop working. If you need to change/delete/rename the table's and page's structure, first you should disable the automation on the Connector platform and enable it again once you're done.
Use clear column headers
Make sure that your spreadsheet has clear and descriptive column headers that accurately reflect the data that is being stored in each column. This will make it easier for automation platforms to understand and work with your data.
Test, test and test again
Before deploying your automation workflows, it's important to thoroughly test them to ensure that they are working as expected. Use test data to verify that your workflows are properly reading and writing data to your spreadsheet.
Automation workflows can encounter errors when working with spreadsheet data, such as data formatting errors or missing data. To prevent these errors from causing problems with your workflows, use error handling techniques such as data validation such as
COUNTIF() or even
VLOOKUP() as well as conditional logic such as
Monitor your workflows
Once your automation workflows are deployed, it's important to monitor them regularly to ensure that they are working correctly and to catch any errors or issues that arise. Use the logging and reporting features of your automation platform to track the performance of your workflows.
Maintain your spreadsheet
Keep your spreadsheet well-maintained by regularly reviewing and updating your data, removing any duplicate or unnecessary information, and fixing any formatting issues. This will help to ensure that your automation workflows continue to function properly over time.
Questions or feedback
If you have any questions or feedback about Rows API beta, please contact our support team at email@example.com