Butler Bot vs. Butler in Trello
You may find a number of tutorials on the Internet about Butler that look remarkably different from the Butler Power-Up. While we cherish and feel incredibly honored by the people who used their talent to create these tutorials, especially at a time when we were just starting out, this has become a source of confusion amongst many users new to Butler. Out of respect for our users and customers, we have always tried to be transparent about our product and the rationale behind our decisions.
Butler started its life as a bot: a user (@butlerbot) that you add to a board. You write commands in cards added to a particular list and the bot responds. This proved very popular, and we quickly developed the bot to be the most powerful form of Trello automation short of programming your own through the API.
While bots are very popular in messaging applications such as Slack, they are not the preferred integration method for a visual tool like Trello. The official way to create 3rd-party apps for Trello is called a "Power-Up". Power-Ups offer deep integration into the Trello user interface.
As Butler Bot's popularity grew, we started to experience the problems associated with it not being a Power-Up. Some of these problems are:
- The card-based user interface interferes with the board, and anyone can delete or modify a command.
- The bot communicates through comments, which end up issuing notifications to every one subscribed to the board.
- Inviting an external user, such as @butlerbot, to your boards is not be allowed by some organizations because of security policies.
- Trello is not designed to have a user in tens of thousands of boards. Our success brought challenges to the Trello infrastructure. Many early users have noticed that user @butlerbot can't be added directly to a board because it causes timeouts in the Trello user search (this has now been banned by Trello).
While we experimented with multiple solutions to these issues, it ultimately became evident that the right user interface for Trello is a Power-Up, which offers better integration within your boards, with less interference, and working harmoniously within the platform.
To Trello's immense credit, they have been very patient as we continued to build our Power-Up to the same level of functionality as the bot, and also as we nudge (rather than force) our users towards the Power-Up to avoid disrupting existing workflows.
Aside from a vastly superior user interface, we've been adding (and will continue to add) new features that are Power-Up only, such as command chaining (the ability for one command to trigger other commands).
IMPORTANT: There is currently a substantial difference in how command runs are accounted for Bot and Power-Up commands. This means you may require a plan upgrade when using the Power-Up, depending on the type of commands you use. The reason for this change was not to increase profit, but for technical performance reasons and in order to help ensure continued excellent customer service.
If you're starting out with Butler, we strongly encourage you to use the Power-Up.
If you are an existing user, we strongly encourage you to consider building any new workflows using the Power-Up. If you have difficulty migrating a Bot workflow to the Power-Up, do not hesitate to contact us and we'll try to assist.
FUTURE SUPPORT OF THE BOT INTERFACE IS NOT GUARANTEED.