Automation describes a variety of service platforms ( PaaS ) which allows you to connect systems together, trigger business logic on specific events and schedules, and make your business run more smoothly.
It is a form of programming, but because actual code-writing is not generally required, it is often classified as "No Code" programming.
Note that advanced automation platforms like n8n may used code extensively when you want to perform complex data manipulations. Even in Zapier, there are code steps where you can write script or python code to perform special tasks.
What can I do with Automation in Webflow?
Automation is the primary way that people connect their Webflow sites with external systems. It is easiest to think of it as triggers, and actions.
- When a new item appears on an RSS feed, create a new blog post in Webflow's CMS with that article content.
- Every 2 hours, check the tides, and update my CMS with the weather report, which displays on our home page.
- Once a day, get the major COVID alerts, and add them to our alerts CMS Collection.
- When a new Member enrols on our site, and they have ticked the "add me to the newsletter" box, add their email to our SendInBlue account.
- When a new lead comes in for commercial painting, add the lead to Salesforce, and send an SMS to the sales team to follow up immediately.
- When a new customer review appears on Google, and it's 4+ stars, add it to our website automatically for display.
Webflow's Integration Points
For a Webflow site, automation can connect with these categories of operations;
- The Webflow CMS
- Your Form submission entries
- Site publishing events
- Webflow Membership ( BETA )
- Ecommerce orders
Webflow API Limitations
From a practical standpoint, these are some of the biggest limitations I've encountered;
CMS Item APIs
- Inability to determine a "first time published" status on CMS items
- Inability to get a basic count of items in a collection
- Inability to find a CMS item by slug
- Inability to get/update/delete a specific CMS item directly by slug as a unique key
- Inability to change the Access Groups of a User.
However this is in BETA.
I'm hopeful to see those abilities in 2023, as Webflow is making some big investments in expanding CMS capability.