Conferous by David K. Pham
Conferous makes it easy to create conference calls through its
easy-to-use online interface. Receive a toll-free phone number with
support for multiple conference rooms, create rooms with general or
specific purposes, automatically record conference calls (beta
feature), and track the number of participants.
Interview with David K. Pham
What gave you the idea for Conferous?
Well, actually, Twilio gave me the idea for Conferous. I saw the
attractive promo for simple conferencing on the home page on Twilio
and, being one who loves to play with shiny new things, I wanted to
create an application that used this feature. After checking out some
other conferencing applications on the market, I decided that a simple,
easy-to-use conferencing application would be valuable to businesses
that don’t have time to learn how to create conference calls.
What technologies/languages/frameworks etc. did you use to build Conferous?
built Conferous using Ruby on Rails with a slightly customized
version of the Twilio gem from Webficient to communicate with the
Twilio API. The Twilio API was so flexible and easy to use that I was
able to develop the core functionality very quickly. In addition, I
deployed the application on Heroku, which sped up the
development/deployment process even more. On the front-end side, I used
jQuery to create some of the UI effects and for AJAX interactions. You
could say I’m a sucker for technologies that make my life easier and
let me focus on functionality and not nitty-gritty details.
How long did the application take to build?
The application took me 4 days to complete during my college’s fall
break. I worked on it mainly in the late hours of the night after
hanging out with my family during Thanksgiving and my sister’s birthday
– yes, I’m quite the nerd and I’m fine with that. The conferencing
functionality only took an hour or so to create, but the rest of the
development time was devoted to creating a billing system from scratch
and the design of the user interface.
Who do you see as the main customer for this product?
I see businesses with no single physical location and employees
around the US or the world as Conferous’s main customers. I think that
online chat for businesses is great and a big part of the future, but
phones will also always have a big part since it is a close relative to
physical interaction and a good medium of communication.
If you had all the resources in the world, what would you build with Twilio?
I would build an online school system in which the conferencing
ability would lend itself nicely. The teacher would be able to create a
moderated conference and have the students phone in to attend class.
Students would be able to create schedules and simply call in to their
classes or they could even be automatically transferred to their
classes one after another. I could definitely see this taking root in
nations where computers aren’t as pervasive and there are many
obstacles to getting an education.
Any else you'd like to share?
It’s refreshing to see such a clearly documented and simple API for
my applications to consume. Twilio has opened up many possibilities for
developers and given me many great ideas.