Using Zapier as for a production Web App - Thoughts?

  • 4 May 2020
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Userlevel 2

Hello community!

 

I’m not coming with any real questions, I’m more interested to know how you may feel about using Zapier as a key aspect for the back-end of your SaaS product or web app.

Zapier in a production back-end

I’ve personally been having trouble reconciling my thoughts on this, I want to be in full control of my back-end in all aspects, even if using Zapier could save me time and energy. I don’t know if it’s a pride thing, a control thing or maybe a matter of wanting to hone my craft and feeling like using Zapier for that purpose would almost be ‘cheating’.

I love Zapier and I’ll gladly use it to automate tasks whenever possible, except in this specific context.

I’m interested to know if anybody else here struggles with that mindset, or on another note, are there some things that you would never do without Zapier again now that you’ve used it?

 

The Firebase Effect

Not all that long ago, I had noticed that tons of services were outsourcing OAuth to Firebase. Now it’s become a normal and expected method of user-authentication, even for services otherwise not hosted on Firebase or GCP.

I’m wondering if Webhooks or API connections with Zapier may someday feel the same way to me as Firebase does for authentication. Is it strange that I feel this way? It may have something to do with being afraid that a spike in usage could run through a large number of Zaps although there are ways to mitigate that.

 

APIaaS

I do wonder if I use services on a regular basis that may use Zapier behind the curtains. I’d be really interested to know if Zapier is being used for API connections with any large or well-known services on a large scale. I’m really wondering if “APIaaS” may be a newly sprouting frontier and if it’s just so early that it feels unusual at the moment.

 

Just some food for thought. I’ve been thinking about this lately and was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on this. Needless to say, I love Zapier. I think everybody does. I’m speaking more to the context of when and where to use it.

 

What do you think?


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It’s all about tradeoffs I would say. 

It would be nice to be in full control of your backend, but when you start out as a business, you’ve got bigger problems to solve and quite likely minimal cash and resources to play with. You need the most basic setup possible to sell. The much talked about MVP.

Zapier works well, it can solve a lot of headaches quickly and provide a smooth setup where customers probably won’t even notice things are run on Zapier.

At some point, as you grow, you might want to start swapping stuff out, but then, of course, you’re growing, and things work, so you start to down that “isn’t broken, don’t fix” mindset.

 

Personal experience, I’ve got a client running 3 e-commerce operations entirely on Zapier. They grew much quicker than expected and then hit the holiday season where they were doing tens of orders per minute during peak hours. Swapping from Zapier to a custom-built system was out of the question at that point - so we had to scale up their Zapier setup to match demand.

It was a struggle, it needed lots of hacky workarounds...but it held together.

November last year they processed close to 3 million Zapier tasks. It’s been less, but not much less ever since.

They are now building a custom app to manage things, but it will be a least 6 months before it’s handover ready, and when it is, it will be a gradual process of shifting order flow % across while making sure everything works.