What Is Pipedream? A Walkthrough on How to Use It

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If you’re wondering what is Pipedream and how it can help you as a developer, you’re in the right place!

Integrations are critical for development but often require complex coding and APIs. However, all that work can be simplified and automated if you can access a tool like Pipedream. 

The basic tier of Pipedream is free, which can be a good option for solo developers. It also offers paid tiers for development teams that require more resources and workflows. The paid option is better suited for a startup stack

In this article, we’ll cover what is Pipedream, how you can use it, and why you should consider using it for your development projects. 

What Is Pipedream?

Pipedream is a developer tool that simplifies integration workflows for developers. 

It enables developers to integrate APIs, applications, and data all in one place. 

With over 1,600 apps to work with, the tool allows developers to create integration with no or minimal coding. 

In other words, it offers the automation of creating glue code to integrate apps and processes. 

It offers serverless runtime, so all the code runs on Pipedream’s own infrastructure. Developers don’t need to set up and pay for a server. 

With its user interface, developing integrations is just a matter of filling out forms. That accelerates the creation of a workflow. 

With Pipedream, developers can quickly write production code with built-in authentication and error handling. 

How Does Pipedream Work?

The Pipedream platform comes with thousands of triggers and actions. The former defines the latter. 

When a trigger occurs, the action automatically executes. For example, a trigger can be an HTTP request. 

Actions are reusable code that can be used to integrate applications, APIs, or data. The action code tells the application or API to perform a specific action. 

For instance, a Google Sheet action may enter data on a sheet. 

Pipedream already has thousands of these source-available triggers and actions written for thousands of applications. 

So, developers can simply use the prebuilt triggers and actions to create their workflows for many use cases. 

For example, a developer can use Tweets mentioning a specific brand name as a trigger and use an action that writes the tweet metadata into a Google Sheet. 

Pipedream currently supports app-specific triggers (Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, etc.) and HTTP/Webhook, schedule, email, and RSS as other trigger sources that are not tied to a specific app. 

Besides these prebuilt triggers and actions, developers can create their own triggers and actions by modifying existing code or writing their own from scratch. 

Furthermore, they can use their proprietary triggers and actions for their workflows, or share them with other developers on the platform. 

In other words, developers can customize triggers and actions to create the type of workflow they require. 

As developers build workflows, they can also test them in the production environment. 

With Pipedream, it’s possible to integrate accounts from various apps and services through the user interface. 

Upon connecting an app account, you can associate that account with any step in a workflow, leveraging OAuth access tokens, API keys, or other authentication information to initiate API requests to the targeted service. 

This streamlined process ensures smooth connectivity and enables you to incorporate external services into your workflows.

What Can Developers Do with Pipedream?

There are myriads of possible use cases of Pipedream for developers. Here’s what most developers use it for:

Connecting SaaS Apps

Today’s enterprises heavily rely on Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. Although many come with built-in integrations with other platforms, there can be limitations. 

And that’s where Pipedream workflows come in, as they can use triggers in one SaaS platform to execute an action on another through workflows. 

This use case also speaks to non-tech people with some experience with building automations using tools such as Zapier or Make

Once you authorize Pipedream to access your SaaS tools by clicking a couple of links, you can build workflows with different kinds of triggers and actions.

API Orchestration

Developers can automate API orchestration for different applications. 

For example, developers can use a Pipedream workflow to fetch data from one API and modify it to use it on another API. 

Simply put, it transforms data received through one API to be useable with another API. 

Here’s an example workflow with API orchestration:

A developer can build a Pipedream workflow with three main steps:

  1. The workflow gets triggered through an API when a customer submits a support ticket.
  2. The workflow processes the information in the ticket to find the right customer service agent in the company. 
  3. And finally, the workflow assigns the ticket to the agent using another API.

Database Automation

Pipedream streamlines database automation by enabling developers to create workflows that automate database interactions. 

Developers can create workflows to automate frequent database-related events, whether it’s updating records, syncing data between two databases, or triggering actions based on database events.

This way, developers can automate routine database operations, ensuring efficiency and accuracy in data management.

Notification and Alerts

Pipedream has a myriad of triggers and actions for creating alerts and notifications from different applications. 

When a specific event occurs, the workflow can automatically send an alert, for example, through an email or Slack message. 

For instance, developers can create an alert whenever a new file is added to cloud storage or if someone tweets about their project. 

Data Transfer

Pipedream can be used to integrate data between applications or services. 

Developers can transfer data through triggers and events without requiring a lot of complex coding. 

For instance, data can be sent from a customer relation management (CRM) tool to an email marketing tool through an automated workflow. 

With data transfer workflows, Pipedream enables developers to connect two apps when there’s no native integration between the two apps.

My Experience Using Pipedream for Data Transfer

I had first-hand experience leveraging Pipedream for data transfer between two apps. At CitizenShipper (the company I work for), we wanted to connect the cohorts on Mixpanel (our product analytics tool) to Customer.io (our customer messaging tool). 

Thanks to this integration, we can easily send emails and SMS messages to our customers at the right point of their customer journeys.

Event Queuing and Concurrency Management

Pipedream aids developers in managing event queuing and concurrency by providing a platform to design workflows that handle and prioritize events. 

Developers can use the platform to create event-driven architectures, ensuring that events are processed as per policy. 

This is particularly useful for managing concurrency issues and ensuring that events are queued and processed sequentially or in parallel, as needed, to maintain system integrity and performance.

Prototyping and Demos

Pipedream is an excellent tool for prototyping and creating demos by allowing developers to quickly build and test workflows without requiring extensive coding or infrastructure setup.

Developers can prototype ideas, simulate API interactions, and showcase the functionality of their applications through easy-to-program workflows. 

This accelerates the development cycle, as Pipedream provides a user-friendly environment for experimenting with different scenarios and demonstrating the feasibility of concepts before they can be implemented permanently. 

Benefits of Using Pipedream

Developers can benefit from using Pipedream in many ways. 

Saves Time

The obvious benefit of including a tool like Pipedream in your tech stack is its efficiency. 

Coding for integration and API interaction can be a laborious process. Developers spend time on more complex development tasks by expediting these tasks with Pipedream’s user-friendly interface. 

Moreover, they don’t have to set up infrastructure to run the code, as it is included in Pipedream. 

Encourages Innovation

Pipedream is great for creating integrations, even those that may be unthinkable. 

It’s open source, so developers can take the code of triggers and actions and modify it to create even more workflows. 

It also helps entrepreneurs innovate their products with more integrations. As workflows establish connections and data sharing, the scope of the apps can be expanded. 

Better Developer Experience

For companies, investing in a platform like Pipedream is essentially an investment into improving the developer experience. 

Providing developers with tools that help streamline their projects is an integral part of a good developer experience. 

Empowered by Pipedream, developers will have better productivity, not to mention timely implementation of integrations with other apps. 

Affordable Plans

Pipedream offers a free plan for developers with three active workflows, three connected accounts, and unlimited users. 

The paid plans, designed to offer scalability, are also reasonably priced and suit the needs of development teams. 

The upper-tier plans also offer advanced features, including security ones such as two-factor authentication to protect the source code. 

Budding developers working on personal projects can easily use the free tier to create workflows as they cement their coding skills. 

Thriving Developer Community

As a preferred workflow tool for developers worldwide, Pipedream has created a thriving community of developers who use it and contribute to it. 

With a focus on code transparency, Pipedream encourages collaboration with peers.

Developers struggling to create a workflow may find help from their peers in the Pipedream community. 

What Pipedream Added to Me?

I have been using Pipedream since June 2022. As someone with some coding experience and not a developer, it boosted my productivity profoundly.

Here are some of the workflows I’ve been building with Pipedream:

  1. At Intale AI, I built the TaleBot AI and MamaRap products from scratch. You can see the details of how I built Talebot AI using Pipedream in this video:
  1. At CitizenShipper, I created a workflow to sync Mixpanel cohorts to Customer.io when there was no official way to make it happen.
  2. At CitizenShipper, I created a workflow to create coupon codes on the fly for each user before sending them an email or SMS message. Before this automation, our coupon codes were static, and were always leaking to the internet, causing us to lose money. Now, we create coupon codes that can be redeemed only once by a single user.
  3. Integrating the referral program software we use at CitizenShipper, Prefinery, to Mixpanel and Customer.io by catching Prefinery’s webhook events and triggering native connections of Mixpanel and Customer.io on Pipedream.
  4. At CitizenShipper, I integrated our payment processor’s webhook events into our partnership/affiliate management software, Impact, to track purchase conversions.
  5. Dispatching new Jotform form submissions to all other relevant apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the limit on Pipedream?

Pipedream uses a credit system, with one credit charged per 30 seconds of compute time at 256 MBs of memory per workflow execution. 

The free plan allows 25 credits per day. Paid plans include many more credits per month, starting at 2,000 credits. 

However, it’s possible to purchase even more credits with your plan.

What is Pipedream used for?

Pipedream is typically used to connect APIs to integrate apps or exchange data.

It offers pre-built workflows to integrate thousands of apps. However, developers can apply custom logic using Python, Node.js, Go, or Bash. 

Workflows can be deployed instantly without setting up a server to run the code. 

What is the rate limit in Pipedream?

For free plan, there’s a limit of 10 requests or queries per second for HTTP triggers. If requests exceed this limit, the system gives a ‘429 Too Many Requests’ response. 

The rate limit can be increased for paid plan subscribers. 

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