We should upgrade WebHooks so that they can be created by submitting a form/template of the callback request to be generated. This will allow users to connect APIs together arbitrarily without having to wait for providers to do the work to make it happen.

The long version..

In case you don’t know what “WebHooks” are, here’s a quote from the official wiki:

The concept of a WebHook is simple. A WebHook is an HTTP callback: an HTTP POST that occurs when something happens; a simple event-notification via HTTP POST.

A web application implementing WebHooks will POST a message to a URL when certain things happen.

WebHooks are great - they’re being used in a lot of places on the web, but they aren’t achieving their full potential. They haven’t had as big an impact on the web as they probably should.

One small improvement in how they are designed and implemented could lead to a huge gain in their usefulness. Before the solution, let’s look at the problem..

The Problem

Assume you are paying for two external services who both expose an API. One is a todo system, and the other is email delivery. Your todo service provide a WebHook that fires on completion of a task.

When you complete a task in your todo, you want it to make a WebHook request to the email service’s API and get it message you with an email saying “Tremendous. You finished #{the_task}”.

The problem is that the request emitted by your todo service is nothing like the request that your email service is expecting.

The Solution

If you were able to supply a template for the todo service’s WebHook, and not just a URL callback, then you could configure it to produce a request which would feed the email API and produce your desired outcome. So, the solution is to make WebHook’s more sophisticated and dynamic i.e. they are created by supplying a template of the request, rather than just a URL.

So you could configure your todo WebHook by submitting something like this:

There are some other issues to address here such as auth (afaict, OAuth would work ok), but I think this presents a significant improvement in how users are able to compose together external services using WebHooks.

Any thoughts?