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Turn Gtalk Into A Command Line for the Web With Zapier (zapier.com)
63 points by bryanh 1631 days ago | hide | past | web | 15 comments | favorite

Brian, whenever we bill the monthly subscription fee to our users for our saas app, we send them an email with their username and the amount. I get a copy of each such email in my gmail inbox. Is there a way I can use Zapier to parse the amounts into a google spreadsheet so I know the total amount billed for the day? (Currently I have to do this manually by opening each email and copying the username and amount inot a google spreadsheet).

I should have our dev build this report, but don't get me started on that rant :-)

You can use something like Google Apps Script to plug data into a google spreadsheet (http://developers.google.com/apps-script/storing_data_spread...), but the big problem you're going to have, as Bryan mentioned, is getting the data out of your email.

It really would be easier if you just had the creator of the email not BCC you on the subscription fee and just had them cobble together a daily sheet for you. Doesn't need to be anything fancy, just a CSV would do nicely.

Interesting use case!

Unfortunately we don't have that clever of a parser. We've definitely talked about it but aren't 100% sold on any sort of internal implementation.

We've thought about a "reverse template" where you would mark blocks of text as "variables" across a few examples and we'd parse it out. Not sure if that is feasible though...

Any HN'ers done this before and have ideas or tips?

I think postmark and mandrill (and maybe others) do inbound email processing and then fire a webhook. Maybe hooking those together via zapier could provide a solution? I haven't actually used any inbound mail processing yet (or I'm ashamed to admit, zapier), but it sounds doable.

p.s. Hey Bryan!

We definitely support catching inbound email (https://zapier.com/zapbook/email/ and https://zapier.com/zapbook/mailgun/ comes to mind). I'm curious if there is a clever parsing solution...

Dumb question: let's say I want to link gchat with twitter, and all the text after "tweet " I send to the zapier bot I want to be tweeted. Naively, I set things up (pretty easily, too!) to tweet ALL of the text I sent to the zapier bot. Is there an easy way to be able to tweet just parts of text? (maybe following a regexp, altho that's already getting too sophisticated for something so simple, especially since you guys just posted into turning gchat into a command line)

Yup there is. Check out our variable syntax: https://zapier.com/support/questions/119/passing-named-varia...

It's certainly much simpler than a regex but imposes more structure. We're always open to suggestions, so let me know if you've got any cool ideas on how we can parse smarter.

This reminds me of a side project I've been working: http://autobot.io. Idea is to have a chat bot in your email that can handle mundane tasks. I started with scheduling as that's a particularly acute pain-point for me.

Awesome idea guys! We've been doing some of this with Hipmob - giving users commands to interact with all their integrations but we're purely CRM/Chat - this is an insanely useful tool.

We were largely inspired by GitHub's Hubot in writing this list of examples. Additionally, it's fairly trivial to use our developer platform to spin up new, private actions for custom services and APIs.

Happy to answer questions!

Can you provide a bit more explanation on to set up something like this? Is it a Zapier feature? The article just lists 5 faves and skips the "turning Gtalk into" part.

Sure, I can elaborate. The article assumed a little bit of familiarity with Zapier. The basic mechanics are creating a new Zap on Zapier (which is a pair of one trigger and one action).

For the trigger, choose "GTalk" and "New Message". Specifically, the Zap will trigger whenever you send a message to our always-on bot.

You can pick any action that suites you, see the article for ideas.

We'll automatically perform the action whenever the trigger occurs.

There is a lot of flexibility in the system but that's the 500 foot view.

That's really cool -- certainly very nifty for Zapier users.

The title, though, implies a service (or hack) that isn't dependent on any other system -- maybe it might be better titled "Turn Gtalk into a Command Line for the Web using Zapier" or something?

Good call! I've updated it.

I've been doing this for a while with Ifttt, which has some instant hooks and no stupid limits.

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