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Programming finally making sense for the masses

An Internet of Things startup, IFTTT (If This Then That), announced last week it had raised $30 million in funding, its largest round yet, from the venture capital firms Norwest Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. Yet another IoT startup? Well, basically IFTT is more or less a giant switchboard to connect disparate services, anything from Facebook to text messages to telephone calls. Users can create “recipes” in which an action on one service can trigger an action on another entirely different service.

You can, for example, connect your Instagram and Dropbox accounts to IFTTT and make a recipe that uploads any new Instagram photo to your Dropbox online storage account. More interesting, IFTTT supports a list of connected objects which you can also include in recipes. Like connecting your Jawbone UP to Belkin’s WeMo to turn on space heater when you wake up.

Of course, anyone with a background in technology understands this is simple programming. You get two APIs and write a very simple program to trigger an action (If This Then That). What I find wonderfully clever with IFTTT is that it makes this simple programming not only understandable by the masses but also easily actionable.

This, for me, is the highest programming abstraction I have ever seen and and I can’t wait to see more and more similar applications.

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