This Should Make You Happy: Filepicker Announces Webhooks Beta

When we created Filepicker, we made it simpler for apps, services and devices to work together. Instead of implementing APIs from every possible cloud storage environment, the Filepicker API grabbed content updates from almost anywhere. Still, getting all of those user updates was resource-intensive. Because apps had to poll for changes, many companies had to set aside dedicated servers to keep apps updated in real time.

This year, a couple of industry leading companies have started doing some great things using webhooks:

  • Last spring, Dropbox made webhooks for file changes available to developers. Instead of polling Dropbox for changes, apps could receive a notification every time users made a Dropbox file or datastore change.
  • Amazon SNS also facilitated webhooks so that apps could respond to different notifications.

In keeping with our mission to keep app development simple, Filepicker is beta testing webhooks not only for Dropbox and AWS but also for every type of file uploaded by Filepicker. Let’s take a look at how webhooks work and how they’re going to make your life a whole lot easier.

The Lowdown on Webhooks

Webhooks are HTTP POST messages that send data from one app to another. They can be passed either as POST keys and values or, if you use Javascript, in a format like JSON. You can write responses to webhooks in Ruby or Ruby on Rails for almost any imaginable third-party update. To create a webhook, you need at least the following parameters:

  • The name of the service being called
  • The config for the webhook, which (among other things) specifies the URI where payloads are delivered
  • The events for which the webhook is triggered

For Filepicker’s beta webhook, the name would be any service from which Filepicker collects data for your app. The config is a dedicated URI receives a message every time the webhook is triggered. The event that triggers the webhook would be a change to an existing file, the addition of a new file or the deletion of a file.

Here’s the beautiful thing about webhooks: There’s no more constant polling for updates. Filepicker receives a notification, calls back to get the payload and updates almost as soon as the user changes, adds or deletes content. Your users see updates in real-time, and you get to user your dedicated polling servers for something else. You look like a hero, and you use fewer resources in the process.

Be a Part of Our Beta Test

We’ll be versioning Filepicker’s webhooks as we go along using input from our beta testers. Join Filepicker’s webhooks beta test today:

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