Getting Started With the Box API in PHP

We’re running a contest this week with our friends at Box, so I thought I’d write up a quick tutorial on how to get started using the Box API in PHP. In this short tutorial, we’ll create a simple app that adds comments to a file by SMS.

To get started, you’ll want to setup your project on Box. Head over to http://www.box.net/developers/services and click on the “Create New Application” button on the top right of the page.

Fill out the general information with whatever you’d like. I called mine “Twilio Commenter”. Take note of the API key Box gives you after clicking “Continue”, you’ll need it later.

After your project has been setup, click on “edit applicaton”. Scroll down a bit and set the “Redirect URL” to your project’s URL on your server. Box will take users to this page after they’ve added your application. (It’ll make sense in a bit.)

Now, on to the code. First, grab Box’s PHP helper library. After unzipping, you’ll need to make one minor edit to boxlibphp5.php. Edit line 33 and change var $_debug to false. Upload boxlibphp5.php and class.curl.php to your server (no need for box_config.php, we’ll take care of that ourselves). Create a file called index.php and paste in:
[php]
<?php
require_once(‘boxlibphp5.php’);

$api_key = ‘XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX’;
$auth_token = ”;

$box = new boxclient($api_key, $auth_token);

$ticket_return = $box->getTicket();

if ($box->isError())
{
echo $box->getErrorMsg();
}
else {
$ticket = $ticket_return['ticket'];
}

// If no auth_token has been previously stored, user must login.
if ($ticket && ($auth_token == ”) && ($_REQUEST['auth_token']))
{
$auth_token = $_REQUEST['auth_token'];
}
else if ($ticket && ($auth_token == ”))
{
$box->getAuthToken($ticket);
}

// Save the auth token to a file (don’t do this in production)
file_put_contents(‘creds.txt’, $auth_token);

$box = new boxclient($api_key, $auth_token);

$tree = $box->getAccountTree();

// Dump the file tree to output
print_r($tree);
?>
[/php]
Be sure to replace $api_key with your API key.

When you browse to index.php, you’ll be redirected to Box which will ask you to log in and add your application. Once you do that, you’ll be redirected to index.php, the authentication token will be saved to creds.txt, and you’ll get a dump of your Box account’s file tree. If this is a new account for you, it’ll be blank. Upload a file and refresh. Take note of the file_id of the file you want to comment on. It’ll look something like 869161393.

(Note: the code is missing all the bells and whistles like properly storing the authentication token, pretty layouts, and actually letting users choose file elegantly because I wanted to keep the focus on working with the API. Be sure to dress it up in your app.)

Next, create a file called handle-incoming-sms.php and paste in:
[php]
<?php
header(‘Content-type: text/xml’);

require_once(‘boxlibphp5.php’);

$api_key = ‘XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX’;
$auth_token = file_get_contents(‘creds.txt’);

$box = new boxclient($api_key, $auth_token);

$params = array(‘api_key’ => $api_key,
‘auth_token’ => $auth_token,
‘target’ => ‘file’,
‘target_id’ => ‘XXXXXXXXX’,
‘message’ => $_REQUEST['Body']
);

$response = $box->makeRequest(‘action=add_comment’, $params);

if ($response[1]['value'] == ‘add_comment_ok’)
{
echo ‘<Response><Sms>Comment added!</Sms></Response>’;
}
else {
echo ‘<Response><Sms>Woah, there was an error–bummer.</Sms></Response>’;
}
?>
[/php]
Replace $api_key with your API key and target_id with the ID of the file you want to comment on. Grab a Twilio phone number and set its SMS URL to handle-incoming-sms.php and you can now comment on the file through SMS!

Now go out and build something cool using Twilio and Box and you could win a MacBook Air, a Galaxy Tab, or a Parrot AR Drone in this week’s contest!