Rapid Product Development with n8n
eBook - ePub

Rapid Product Development with n8n

Jason McFeetors, Tanay Pant

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  1. 236 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Rapid Product Development with n8n

Jason McFeetors, Tanay Pant

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About This Book

Learn n8n to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity in your development process

Key Features

  • Discover best practices, advantages, and case studies from the n8n team
  • Explore practical techniques to build market-ready low-code solutions using n8n and Bubble
  • Learn how to develop enterprise-scale web applications without any engineering support

Book Description

Explore how n8n enables you to connect different systems and cloud services without having to hire specialists or develop technical skill sets across multiple tech stacks. This book will show you how n8n can reduce the time required to develop new products, helping you bring them to the market quickly compared to building a whole development team.

This official n8n guide will assist you with adopting and integrating n8n in your development workflow in the best possible manner. You'll begin by learning where n8n fits in the tech stack of your business and how it provides opportunities for reducing cost as well as increasing efficiency and revenue. Once you've identified opportunities where you can leverage n8n's connectivity and automation functionality within your working environment, you'll progress to building an n8n-based toolset that will increase the profitability of your operations.

By the end of this product development book, you'll be able to identify real-world opportunities to generate income, improve efficiencies, and then build tools to capitalize on these opportunities.

What you will learn

  • Identify opportunities to use n8n in your organization and develop a business use case
  • Understand how to use APIs and webhooks with n8n
  • Build a custom production-ready API endpoint for your n8n applications
  • Create an end-to-end web application by connecting an API to the frontend
  • Automate your digital processes based on time and external triggers
  • Develop complex business applications rapidly using a low-code approach

Who this book is for

This book is for web developers and low code enthusiasts who have basic knowledge of JavaScript as well as some basic understanding of web concepts such as APIs and webhooks. Developers looking for a digital platform to enable rapid prototyping and automation for their workflow will find this book useful.

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Section 1 – An Introduction to Your Toolkit

In this section, you will learn about the low-code space, install n8n, learn how n8n works, and build workflows for your specific use cases.
In this section, there are the following chapters:
  • Chapter 1, Introduction to No Code, n8n, and Bubble
  • Chapter 2, Using the Editor UI to Create Workflows
  • Chapter 3, Diving into Core Nodes and Data in n8n
  • Chapter 4, Learn by Doing: Building two n8n Apps

Chapter 1: Introduction to No Code, n8n, and Bubble

A movement is slowly building in the tech industry. This movement sees ordinary computer users developing digital solutions and integrations with tools that abstract away computer code complexity. These tools, collectively referred to as no code tools, empower people who, previously, would never have been able to build solutions.
By the end of this chapter, you will have an understanding of no code and why it is becoming important to businesses and technology. You will also become familiar with n8n, a no code automation tool, and Bubble, a no code development platform.
This chapter will cover the following main topics:
  • What is no code?
  • Why does no code matter?
  • An introduction to n8n
  • How do people use n8n to solve problems?
  • An introduction to Bubble

Technical requirements

For this chapter, you will need the following requirements:
  • A computer running a Debian-based Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Raspberry Pi OS
  • Internet access to install n8n

What is no code?

Software has completely revolutionized how we work and live over the last half-century. In as little as half a century, expensive and bulky systems reserved for science and academia have evolved to become as ubiquitous as the kitchen sink, and often more affordable. We now collaborate with people on the other side of the planet as effortlessly as we talk with our neighbors over the back fence.
These systems have transformed modern society with their ability to automate complex tasks and manipulate data consistently. Instead of handwriting a letter, putting a stamp on it, and mailing it across the country to be received several days later, we compose an email. Thanks to the underlying infrastructure systems and automation that's been deployed over the last few decades, this information arrives in seconds.
But what happens when you want to do something unique or specific to your environment? What if you're going to do something niche? What do you do when there isn't an app for that?
Historically, you would learn a programming language and write a script or application to perform that task. Unfortunately, for many ordinary users, this is more than they are willing to take on. The idea of learning an entirely new language to save a few minutes each day does not feel like a favorable return on investment.
The other option is to hire a software developer to build the application. This option sounds like a logical one. But with the average annual salary of a software engineer in the United States being $110,000 (https://www.indeed.com/career/software-engineer/salaries), this may be too costly an option with little return on investment.
So, where does that leave us? Do you abandon the project, deciding that the savings are not worth the cost or the effort? Previously, that probably would have been the outcome of such a dilemma, but a third option has recently appeared on the horizon. It is at this point where no code steps into the picture.
Ordinary people use no code tools to create applications and services without learning a new programming language. They are often web-based tools that are intuitive to learn with minimal coding (if any) required. When coding is needed, the solutions are usually easily found on the product's community forums or built for a nominal fee by an entrepreneurial hobbyist.
This doesn't mean that having a coding background isn't helpful. Knowing the basic concepts surrounding computer programming such as how to write out the steps for a process from start to finish will help speed up the successes that a no coder experiences. But they are not strictly necessary.
Now that we have a better understanding of no code tools and the entire no code movement, it is essential to look at the ramifications of no code on the tech industry, business, and the average citizen. Is it something that completely changes how we, as a society, look at computers and technology in general, or is it just the latest tech fad that, in the end, will be quickly replaced with the "next big thing?"

Why does no code matter?

If you speak to certain developers today about no code tools, many of them will tell you that they are nothing but toys that don't have any real power. They may say that this is nothing but a fad and that if you genuinely want to develop applications, you need to use traditional programming languages.
Simultaneously, many businesses see these no code tools as a distraction, which takes their employees away from their tasks and duties. Rather than writing reports and filling out spreadsheets, these people waste their time making shiny phone apps that don't solve real problems or create bonafide value.
To be fair, these perspectives were once very valid. But in recent years, the no code landscape has significantly changed, and the gap between no code and traditional development tools has been shrinking. As the no code tools have been improving, the value that they bring to business has also been increasing.
Ironically, these two arguments are incredibly similar to statements that were used in the earlier days of computing. But they weren't talking about no code tools at that time. They often referred to flashy programming interfaces and upstart programming languages such as Visual Basic or JavaScript because real developers wrote in low-level machine language!
Many of these "distracting" toys are now valuable tools. For example, JavaScript was once just a tool used to create dynamic web pages. Now, tools written with JavaScript, such as Node.js, which is used by millions of developers worldwide, or jQuery, which can be found in over 75% of the websites on the internet, have proven how a once simple, niche idea can have a profound impact.
But there is a third perspective. These are the people who have embraced no code tools and see the potential that they truly offer. No longer is the business handcuffed to expensive developers or left to be dissatisfied with an off-the-shelf software package that performs some of the functions you require, but not really.
Instead, the worker who does the task every day has the power to use these no code tools to reduce their workload, increase their productivity, and reduce human error through data validation, automation, and eliminating repetitive tasks.
And because the worker is developing a solution, this end product can often quickly and accurately create value compared to a more expensive custom solution created by a developer who does not truly understand the role that this employee plays within the organization. No code tools are quicker to develop, cheaper to own, and often more efficient than development big brothers.
There is one final point about developing applications with no code tools. Because the barrier to entry is so much lower than complete development suites, tasks that would have otherwise been too cost-prohibitive to automate now become something that the employee can realize programmatically, by themselves.
Outside of daily business, we are starting to see a whole new class of entrepreneurs developing before our eyes on the internet. These are people who identify problems in day-to-day life and identify a win-win situation for both themselves and others. They are then using these no code tools to create applications and full-blown systems to solve these problems.
These entrepreneurs have also discovered that because the cost to develop these applications is so minimal and the time to market from initial co...

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