How Talkbase doubled its integrations with Nango

Thanks to Nango, Talkbase today ships 2x as many integrations with 70% less engineering time. Learn how!

Robin Guldener
November 7, 2023
min read

Quick facts

Company: Talkbase

Description: Community management made easy

Integrates with: Discord, Slack, GitHub & HubSpot

Main benefits realized with Nango:

  • Shipped 2x as many integrations, with 70% less engineering time
  • All integrations are customized for Talkbase’s use case
  • Fully white label and native integration experience for customers
  • Quickly expanding their integrations thanks to 100+ APIs available on Nango

Integrations are a core part of the product for Talkbase:

As a first step in setting up your Talkbase workspace, we recommend syncing your community with Talkbase. This way you have your CRM contacts added automatically, and member data and activities are automatically synced.

Thanks to the deep, native integrations of Talkbase today, the team could significantly increase the value provided to customers.

Before Nango: Building integrations in-house

Before Nango, the Talkbase team was building all their integrations in-house.

“Almost from day one, integrations with Slack and Discord were a key requirement for our customers,” recalls Jiri, a backend engineer working on integrations at Talkbase.

Building in-house was slow & painful

“Both Slack and Discord are very modern systems with mature, well-documented APIs,” Jiri elaborates. “Kind of a dream scenario. We were confident we could ship an initial version in a few hours, maybe a day or two.”

“But things took much longer than expected,” adds Roman, the CTO of Talkbase.

“We quickly realized that we had underestimated the task: Different OAuth flows, dealing with rate-limits and different API responses, building out recurring data syncs, handling incoming webhooks, caching and data-change detection…

Instead of hours, our initial integrations took weeks to ship and the whole process felt painful from start to finish.”

Internal framework to the rescue?

“Clearly, things needed to change,” says Jiri, “So we contemplated building an internal framework for all our integrations.

OAuth, background data syncs, retries, rate-limit handling, monitoring and change detection seemed like good candidates to abstract.

But as we looked closer, we noticed subtle differences between our integrations: It would not be easy to abstract these concepts away, and it was likely that our framework would need to evolve, as we add more integrations constantly.”

“While integrations are key for our product, we are not in the business of building them,” Roman confirms.

“Our roadmap is already packed with things we want to build on top of the data we get from the integrations. Spending even more time on the integration internals would have been a step in the wrong direction.”

Flexibility & control are key

Talkbase was building integrations in-house for the flexibility and control it provided them.

According to Roman: “Our integrations are a core part of the value proposition of Talkbase. Our customers expect these integrations to work in a certain way, and we are constantly learning about additional needs.

We need to have full control over the integrations and the end user experience for something that is so core to our product.”

Why Nango?

As Talkbase grew, it became clear that the integrations would also need to expand. The team decided to search for a more scalable solution.

They created a list of must-have criteria for their new solution:

  • Full control: Ability to build exactly the integrations their customers need
  • Support for all existing and future integrations: Developer tools, communication systems, CRMs, etc.
  • Fast to ship new integrations
  • Low maintenance: Offload as much maintenance work as possible
  • No hacks & workarounds: The system should solve integrations for them, not create additional headaches

Most existing tools are limiting and require hacks

“We looked at a lot of different solutions over the span of several weeks,” Roman reports.

He explains further: “We noticed that they all offered fully pre-built integrations. These were fast to ship but limited the APIs we could offer and the data we could access from the external API.

After our experience building in-house, we knew that working around an external provider with proxy requests and background jobs on our side would not be a good experience. It also would not set us up to scale even faster in the future.”

Nango has a different approach to integrations

With Nango, the team was confident it would be a true solution for all their existing and future integrations.

“Nango stood out to us because they have a different approach to integrations: An open platform instead of rigid pre-built integrations. We can leverage their pre-built integrations, but we can also customize them and even build entirely custom integrations on their infrastructure if needed.” Roman explains.

“Of course, pre-built is always fastest,” Jiri adds, “but the ability to dive in and customize integrations when needed really made a difference for us: We will never be constrained by the APIs we can integrate with. We keep full control over the integration and can ship exactly what our customers need.

It also meant that we could migrate our existing integrations over and would not have to maintain them separately. This consolidation helped us a lot in reducing maintenance.”

Delivering fast on the integrations roadmap with Nango

By leveraging pre-built integration templates, Talkbase was quickly up and running with new integrations on Nango:

“With Nango we shipped an improved Slack integration in less than a week!” Jiri reports.

He further adds: “Connecting our app with Nango was straightforward.The frontend SDK made it simple and fast to have a fully white-label authentication flow that fits well with the rest of our UX. And on the backend side we listen for the Nango webhook and process new data as it comes in. The fact that Nango tells us for every record what has been changed is very helpful for us.”

Building custom integrations became faster & easier

Within the first month of using Nango, the team shipped three new custom integrations with Discord, HubSpot and GitHub.

“It was a step-change compared to our pace before,” Romain says. “The fact that we can build custom is huge for us. For instance, we were able to easily import email open events from Hubspot, which allows our customers to correlate marketing and community activities. Things like this are just not feasible with a pre-built solution, but they make our product so much better.”

Nango is improving fast

Even with an open integration platform, not all things are perfect.

“I sometimes wish the catalog of pre-built templates was bigger,” Jiri says. “Building custom still means we need to have some understanding of the external API. Some of it is inevitable if you want to be able to customize like us. But as the community grows, we hope there will be more templates available, so the tweaks we need to make to them are smaller.”

Thanks to the open approach of Nango, and the open-source community, every customer can contribute integration templates and unified APIs.

The Nango support truly cares

“To be honest, a big factor in our decision to go with Nango was also the interactions we had with the team and the support we received,” Roman reveals.

“We have direct access to Nango engineers and integration experts on our Slack connect with them. Thanks to this, we could resolve most issues in minutes, got help with developer approvals for new APIs, and they proactively warn us if they detect any issues with our integrations.”

In summary: 70% less engineering time, 2x more integrations, bigger deals

Nango has enabled Talkbase to build more deep integrations faster. This has changed how larger prospects perceive them and, at the same time, reduced the maintenance work of the engineering team.

“We are excited for the next chapter of Talkbase and Nango,” Roman concludes: “We are still just at the tip of the iceberg of what we can enable for our customers with deep, native integrations.”

Robin Guldener
Co-Founder & CEO

Originally an engineer himself Robin has worked on product integrations for 6+ years. Today he is a co-founder at Nango.

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