It’s 2017. We almost have flying cars. You could be controlling your smart home with a chip under your skin soon. Heck, there’s even technology to control turtles’ movement with your mind. Travis Kalanick now knows what women are. So much progress. So much advancement. Amidst this accelerated march towards the future, did you really just spend an hour manually entering data into an HTML table into a spreadsheet? If so, you’re doing it wrong. Instead of spending valuable time on boring, low-returns grunt work, you should probably be using Automate That Shit to build API to do it.
Automate That Shit (ATS) is a newly launched web service that automates the tedious administrative work that is sometimes a necessity for completing a job. We all know of such a task, whether it’s extracting email addresses from a bunch of documents or even something as simple as taking a screenshot of a website. The web app automates a variety of such shallow work tasks. “This will free users up to do the deep work that will allow them to continue improving their craft, whether that be spending more time designing, interacting with customers, or working to achieve product-market fit,” says founder Craig Miller.
At the moment, there are nine different kinds of tasks you can get done using ATS. That includes comparing the data in spreadsheets, finding the frequency of most commonly used words in a document, converting HTML to Markdown, and rendering AutoCAD files in PDF format. These are all jobs that you would either have to find individual tools to carry out or do yourself manually. Having a central location on the Internet to which you can turn to get all of them done is handy.
The ATS development team is currently composed of two developer-engineers with expertise in API development, scientific programming, and system automation. Tasks are put on autopilot using the Python programming language, which is a popular choice for people looking to execute such a function. There are courses online such as this one dealing specifically with using Python to get repetitive or simple tasks done.
Thankfully for those of us who don’t want to get our hands messy with code, the makers of ATS plan on steadily expanding its capabilities. “Tentative ideas for new services include Automated Web Scraping Reports, 3D Model conversion, and a Spreadsheet to Database Converter,” Miller reveals. There’s a ‘Custom Solutions’ tab on the website using which anyone can request a particular automation feature. Miller tells me the team is eager to hear suggestions from this first wave of users.
There are a few other things that ATS is working on internally. The first is an API using which developers can integrate ATS’s tools into existing business processes. “Additionally, we’re developing scheduling and pipelining functionality so that users can take the output of one of our services and use it as the input for another,” Miller says. A premium suite of applications will be offered as a subscription service to users.
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Bret Jones says
Being able to take this system and add it to my productivity tools for work is pretty sweet. I am game for a test run.
June Jung says
Does something like this work similar to how IFTTT can help a person out administratively?
Craig Miller says
Hi June! ATS is sort of similar to IFTTT in that sense. A slight difference is that we’re developing our own automation tools as opposed to stitching together existing ones. If there’s anything specific you need automated, definitely let us know!
Bonnie Mayfield says
There is a lot to be said about automating tasks, especially those that you do no a regular basis. The door is wide open for making these types of tasks more efficient and it seems like this company has a good, head start.
Craig Miller says
Thanks Bonnie! You’re absolutely right. By automating the administrative/shallow work that is sometimes necessary, we can free ourselves up to do work that truly matters.
Joseph Sutera says
Thanks for the additional feedback on this. The system seems pretty new and I am excited to see where it all goes!
Jeremy Litten says
Other co-found of Automate That Shit here. Thanks for this excellent write up Prateek!
We look forward to hearing what SnapMunk readers think of ATS. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments we’d be happy to answer them here, or feel free to tweet us @automatethatsht. Thanks!