Introducing our API and Command Line Interface: Flex.io for Developers

March 16, 2017 by Ken Kaczmarek

In the course of our private beta, I’d estimate that two-thirds of our sign-ups have come from developers and other IT folks. But, when you’re kinda, sorta reinventing the query builder for data prep and ETL, why would a developer—a demigod who can pump out a script on demand—care?

The short answer: data glue is annoying. For everyone.

Even for engineers who can integrate APIs into their PHP or make data prep magic happen with Python, it’s often a time-sucking sideshow — particularly when there’s a long to-do list of core development tasks. Also, it’s not always the script itself that’s so bad, but setting up of all the related infrastructure to make it repeatable or handling permissions or writing custom code to connect to third-party APIs.

When you’re doing almost any type of development, there’s a ton of hacky data glue in various scripts and files all over the place. Flex.io is aiming to help with this last mile of data wiring.

The Goods

To that end, we’re pleased to announce our first step into a larger world: introducing the Flex.io command line interface and public API!

We’ve been working on this for a couple months now and, I’ll say this, it has been a lot of fun to play with, particularly on the command line.

Frankly, prior to this, we had a walled garden. We’re very pleased to punch a big hole in that wall.

Examples

So what does it look like? Well, basically, you just invoke your pipe from command line or API and make it do your bidding.

For example, while we were creating our documentation, we built this pipe to help everyone on the team upload images to S3 without passing secret keys around. It simply calls a pipe to take a local file and move it to S3. Simple, but it proved very handy.

S3 Pipe from Command Line

Here’s another example we built for a blog post we did on mainlining the SaaStr Podcast. It’s a static web app that passes a search term to a pipe, which then dutifully returns the result of the search:

CSV Search App

If you’re interested in how we built it, check out our how-to post here.

Getting Started

Since APIs are useless without documentation, we bit the bullet and cranked out a bunch of docs for you to use:

If you have a login, give ‘er a try.

If you don’t have an invite yet and want to play with the API or CLI, sign up for the beta from our home page and, in the comment section, type in “API” and we’ll bump you up in line for our next beta invite.

Thanks!