Most software tools are organized into “screens” or “views” or “features” that graphically display your data. API geeks refer to these discrete data elements as “resources.” (Watch this excellent video explaining how resources work in an API.)
A modern API closely mirrors this organizational structure, and thus ingests or sends data in in an obvious, structured way. The API’s representation of these resources are known in software talk as “endpoints.”
When an Integration Platform enables an API on its system, it leverages specific API endpoints to provide access to specific resources. These endpoints usually map closely to an obvious use case that a user would want to perform, i.e. “Send an Email” or “Add person to this other database.”
Once an endpoint is enabled on an integration platform and made available for universal use, it is referred to as a Connector.
If the endpoint SENDS data to the integration platform, it is frequently described as a “Trigger.”
If the endpoint RECEIVES data, it is frequently described as an “Action.” (Not all platforms use these conventions, but they are clear and descriptive.)
A bundle of endpoints enabled on any one integration platform is a known as a “Connector Set.”
Our partner Zapier has more than 700 different Connectors Sets. (Zapier and others refer to a Connector Set as an “app,” while other platforms call them “integrations.”)
Let’s consider Gmail as an example. Its Zapier Global App lists twelve different discrete Triggers (“New Email Received”) and Actions (“Send Email.”) Zapier’s own glossary is helpful, as is this blog post.
When Left Hook refers to a “Connector Set,” we are using a general term describing all of the various Triggers and Actions (or endpoints) enabled on any one integration platform.
Importantly, not all Connector Sets are created equal. It is rare for all available endpoints to be enabled in any single Connector Set, and common for very few endpoints to be enabled.
Two different Integration Platforms could have the same software tool listed (“Google Sheets”), and both could have a Trigger for “Row Updated.” However, one platform might have a very simple Connector (i.e. “Send the new data in the row”) while another might have a more robust Connector (i.e. “send the new data in the row, but also include the time the row was updated, and by whom, and from what IP address.”)
Rich Connectors that include all the available data points are much beloved, but often complex. For most users most of the time, simpler the better. Until you need complex.
Lucky for you, Left Hook can quickly tease out which platform, and which Connector Set, actually achieves your use case. And if you strongly prefer a particular platform, we can often build a custom Connector that achieves your use case, even when that platform’s universal or global Connector Set cannot.
Final example: We built a custom Zapier App that turns on sharing of a Dropbox folder, and then passes the new sharing link into any follow-on Action. This functionality is available in the Dropbox API, but is not currently available in the Dropbox Global App. Cool, huh?