Bubble X Unifiied API providers

Dear beloved bubblers out there!

There are a lot of startups (some already quite mature) emerging out there helping developers radically speed up their integration strategy via offering unified APIs.

Let´s say you are for example building out an app in the Human Resources space which should integrate with big market leading Applicant Tracking Systems (Greenhouse, Teamtailor, Personio, Bullhorn, etc.) you could implement API Integrations to each of the separately - or you use a unified API. With a unified API you only build one integration in order to integrate with the whole landscape.

Other use cases could involve CRM Systems (Pipedrive, Hubspot, sugarCRM, zendesk, etc.) or Accounting Software (Xero, moneybird, etc.).

However, I have not found any thread in the forum discussing bubble´s strategy on a future collaboration with a unified API provider or a plugin/ implementation guide.

There are a lot providers out the at the moment with different pros and cons such as

  1. Merge.dev (https://www.merge.dev/)
  2. APIDeck (https://www.apideck.com/)
  3. Unified-to (https://unified.to/)
  4. IntegrationOS (https://www.integrationos.com/)
    … just to name a few - there is a lot more out there.

My Question now is: Has anybody yet implemented an integration with any unfiied ATS provider and could share their learnings/ Procedure?

1 Like

I can’t speak to the integration of a unified API service as I haven’t done that but I imagine it’s not vastly different than simply using the API connector or making a custom plugin to connect to any other API.

As for creating a unified API service from scratch, I have done that for search providers such as Algolia and Typesense in the form of SciousSearch - one plugin that allows any Bubble app to add either of those services.

Creating a plugin/product like that has the challenges of:

  • Needing to identify services that have the same or mostly similar offerings.
  • Having to workout how to smooth over differences between services.
    • for example, Typesense makes it very easy to sort search results but Algolia doesn’t… so I had to figure out how to make it easy for my customers to use either service in the same way.
  • Communicating to customers that the unified API service is an additional cost to the underlying services (I had a customer the other day tell me that they thought they were paying for my service because they were paying for Typesense).

Then there are the Bubble specific challenges to work through:

  • Since this plugin should be able to switch providers (in our case you can do this by simply selecting the different provider via a dropdown), there’s no way to do that cleanly via pure API calls… you’ll need to bake the switching logic within Server Side Actions.
  • Bundling all of the logic to perform switching, product authentication, and perhaps some other things can require using large node packages. Large node packages translate to having SSAs which can take 12 or more seconds to run which is unacceptable for end users. So to fix this you’ll need to add a code minification and treeshaking (bundling) step to your code development process. Given Bubble’s lack of tooling around plugin development, adding this bundling step really slows down the pace of development. This was such a huge problem for me (while working on Scious Search itself) that I created a VS Code extension to streamline Bubble plugin development. It’s called Bask and you can learn more about it here and here.

Surely you wouldn’t need to recreate something like Bask to create a unified API service for Bubble (you can just use Bask!) but I mention it to describe some of the headaches you may run into when trying to make something like this from scratch.

Wishing you the best of luck!