This is a bit of a rant but I do think it sheds some light on why these processes are as complicated as they are. Feel free to ignore/skip this post if you are just looking for technical answers!
I am finding that this type of “while standing on one foot with your right index finger on your nose and singing You’ll Be Back from the musical Hamilton as performed by Brian d’Arcy James (not Jonathon Groff), type (not paste) the 69354 alphanumeric character API key into the proprietary keyboard that you ordered 4-6 weeks ago” process has become the standard in the industry.
I had a very similar experience a few weeks ago attempting to set up a “simple” powershell script (I would have used n8n but there were political reasons around the need to use powershell) to pull data from a database query and store the information in a Google Sheets document. The hoops that I had to jump through (i.e. setting up apps, creating API keys, storing and updating temporary keys, designing a security model, etc.) was far more effort than what should have been required (in my opinion). But, I got the job done in the end. It just all seemed so convoluted.
But then I remembered camp…
When I was a university student, I would spend my summers as a camp counselor at a camp for children. The camp was isolated, being a several hour drive from any real civilization. It was not uncommon for camp staff to arrive in early April and not leave the camp premise until late August.
Every year, we would hear back from camp staff in the fall about how difficult it was returning to school because their university friends “just didn’t get it”. They didn’t know all the inside jokes. They didn’t understand the new meanings we gave to common phrases. They didn’t participate in the lifetime of shared experiences that can occur in 4 months when you are together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And occasionally, university friends would part ways because they no longer recognized the friend they had prior to going to camp.
I think this is what is happening in these organizations with their development teams when they are working on processes for creating access to their services. Because the development teams work together for long periods of time with their sole focus being the services that they are creating, the complex processes that they are putting together becomes second nature to them since they live it all the time. But when we step onto the stage, we also no longer recognize the tools we used before the development team started working on the API because we have not been along for the journey.
And this is why they look at us “outsiders” so strangely when we react negatively to being told to “while standing on one foot with your right index finger on your nose and singing You’ll Be Back from the musical Hamilton as performed by Brian d’Arcy James (not Jonathon Groff), type (not paste) the 69354 alphanumeric character API key into the proprietary keyboard that you ordered 4-6 weeks ago”. It’s simple because they do it a 1000 times every day, often without thinking because it has become a reflex.
It’s not their fault. We just have different sets of experiences and it’s human nature to believe most people’s experiences are the same as (or at least very similar to) our own. And this is where developers can start thinking “why can’t they get this because it is really quite easy” and users start reacting with “why does it have to be so complicated to perform such a simple task”.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers and I believe that this experience will continue to occur for the foreseeable future. But, do not lose hope because I believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel (and, no, I don’t think it is just another train!).
I believe that it is this exact pain which made people like @jan and others look at the situation and say “there must be a better way”. And I think one of these better ways is n8n! It can take all of that complicated multistep processes away from the end users (who really just want to live their day to day lives, not become coders) and put it back where it belongs, with the developers (who truly understand the process as it is their day to day life!).
So, I guess all of this is to say thanks to the n8n team for all the work they are doing on our behalf to make our lives easier. We realize that it takes a lot of time to compress all of those long complicated processes into a simple Click Here button. We know that for every new integration you put out, there has been 20 new ones added to the Feature Requests list. Your efforts do not go unnoticed.