Open source workflow automation tool

#1 Product of the WeekOctober 08, 2019
With n8n everyone can have their own free node-based workflow automation tool.
n8n is self-hostable, so the data stays with you. It can be easily extended and so also used with in-house tools and allows to automate complex tasks.
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16 Reviews4.1/5
Thanks for hunting n8n, @chrismessina ! Very excited to have n8n now finally properly out in the open. n8n is a free node-based "Open Source" (Apache 2.0 with Commons Clause) Workflow Automation Tool. It can be self-hosted, easily extended, and so also used with internal tools. Currently, there is no hosted version yet but you can sign up on the website if you are interested to get informed once it is ready. I created it initially because I realized that every time I wrote a script to automate a small task it took me a very long time. Depending on the task it normally involved: reading documentation, writing code, committing to Github, deploying on a server, error reporting, SSL, make sure it restarts on a crash, and so on. So even very small tasks took at least half a day or day till everything was up and running properly. Existing Open Source solutions were not up to the task and also commercial ones like Zapier did not work for various reasons. Some being that they do not work well with in-house tools or complicated tasks and it gets expensive quite fast, ... So hope n8n is as helpful for other people as it is for me. Also, all help with further improving the project and create more integrations is very welcome! You can find the source code on Github: https://github.com/n8n-io/n8n The whole project is written in TypeScript and uses Vue for the frontend. So it should be easily extendable for everybody with web development experience. If you have any problems, questions or need an integration which does not exist yet you can post it to the forum: http://community.n8n.io Documentation can be found here: https://docs.n8n.io Your feedback is highly appreciated! Thanks a lot!!
I can attest that this works like Zapier on Steroids. Personally have used it to sync Google sheets which can be finicky with =importrange and n8n works wonders. We also use this to sync between a bubble.io created app and our back-end and it works like a charm. @janoberhauser also a very responsive guy who helped me a lot in the early set-up. Cannot recommend it high enough. It was a total game changer for our company.
@bentxu Thanks a lot Ben! Also thanks for believing, using and supporting the project for a while now!
@bentxu I'm super curious about how you did this, any details you can share?
Hi @ben_picard let me describe it in untechnical terms on the Google sheets stuff, hope that is fine. Probably a dictionary definition of DAU. If Bubble is of interest, I will ask the colleague if he can say something about it or even @janoberhauser who has been very helpful with this. The way it effectively works is that you can specify read and write operations. All you need for this to specifiy two things: i) Google Sheet ID ii) Range (i.e. Tab plus Rows and Columns Identifiers) n8n will then go and fetch the data in the source sheet and overwrite or append the data in the target sheet. You can trigger this manually, via cron tasks or webhooks, as you please. Mega flexible. We have a host of sheets that are interlinked and Google specifies a maximum of 50 Importranges. We had more and our sheets stopped syncing. n8n did away with this and we have been running very stable for months now. The only thing one needs to be aware of is that each read/write operation does create a history stamp in the sheet. If you continuously sync at small time increments, this can cause the google sheet to become too bloated due to the history it builds up. Unfortunately there is no to delete history in google sheets so sheets can stop working. Not a n8n problem but more a Google Sheets issue. It is very easy to change Sheet IDs at scale though, so when this happens, one can make a copy of the sheet that stopped working which erases the history, search and replace the Sheet ID in the Nodes and you are up and running again in the new sheets. Really has been a game changer for me, as the notoriously buggy Google Sheets interactions caused me sleepless nights.
Congrats on launching, @janoberhauser 🚀 We have quite a few scripts buried in our website code that do stuff like Slack notifications. For easier maintenance, I could totally imagine moving them to n8n. You mentioned a hosted solution. Does that mean people can use n8n without having to set up a server with Docker etc, similar to Zapier where you just sign up? I think this would be a great addition, as the local/Docker version could be a blocker for some folks who are not familiar with deployment. What are the next steps for n8n?
@einkoenig Thanks, that is very great to hear! Yes, a proper hosted solution is planed and one actually already kind of exists. It is however currently not automated and I have to deploy it manually to the servers. Anyway, if anybody is interested they can write me an email to hosting@n8n.io
@janoberhauser This looks like an awesome tool to help automate some of the No Code workflows @bentossell is cooking up with @makerpad
Thanks a lot! Yes talked with him a few weeks ago but it does probably not really get interesting for his audience till the hosted version is in place.
@janoberhauser Maybe include a DigitalOcean 1-Click install for the n8n Docker image. Happy to help if needed.
Looks like a great alternative to Zapier, nice work!
@lachlankirkwood Thanks a lot Lachlan!