SMS Developer Contest – Week #2 Winner is Waiting4aTable by Geoffrey Simpson

Congratulations to Geoffrey Simpson, winner of last week’s developer contest for Twilio SMS.  For the second week in a row, we focused on applications using our newly released SMS API.

GeoffreySimpson_profile_pictureWaiting4aTable is for restaurants who are tired of keeping customers chained to a small radius holding on to those antiquated pagers.  Why not let your customers roam freely while waiting on a table?  Don’t worry about your pagers walking off with those pesky teenagers anymore!

Waiting4aTable keeps your waiting list for you, and it uses text messages to notify your customers when their table is ready.  Your hosts can manage the wait list with a click of a mouse, no more pages to get lost, accidental mark-outs, missed names on the list, etc.  You will need to have an SMS capable device to use the service.

Waiting4atable-logo

How Waiting4aTable Works

  • * Go to http://www.waiting4atable.com and register for an account.
  • * After you register, you should be on the “Waiting List” page. If not, click on the “Waiting List” tab to open the page.
  • * Add some parties to the waiting list by clicking the “Add Party” button and filling in the information.  You need to have at least a Party Name and a valid phone number (this is the one with text messaging).
  • * Now that you have at least one party in the waiting list, you can sit and watch it for a while.  It will auto refresh and update the wait time (cool, i know).
  • * To let the party know that their table is available, just click the “Table Ready” button.
  • * To have them come see you, click the “See Host”
  • * Once the party is seated, click the “Seated” button to remove them from the list.
  • * To remove them from the list because they left or you really just don’t like them, go ahead and click the “Remove” button.

Interview with Geoffrey on the Making of Waiting4aTable

How did you hear about Twilio?

I first heard about Twilio at the Startup Weekend Tulsa.  I came up with the GoalPrompt idea which let users setup personal goals to achieve and it used the Twilio API to call them to remind them about their goals and to celebrate with then when they achieved those goals.  We found that using the Twilio API was easy and extremely powerful.

How did you come up with the idea of Waiting4aTable?

To come up with the idea for Waiting4aTable, I brainstormed on the situations in life where I wish I could get a text message.  I thought about my dissatisfaction with restaurants that keep you tethered to the waiting area because the pagers they use won’t even let you walk down the block without getting out of range.  Giving the restaurant your cell phone number so they can send you a text message when your table is ready seems like a really good solution, and with the proliferation of cell phones today, it seems like it would be a great fit.

How long did it take to build your app?  How many lines of code?

I was on a business trip for the week of the contest, and I was able to get in some good development time on the plane and in the hotel.  I spent a total of about 20 hours of development time, coming up with a little over 1000 lines of code.  I am standing on the shoulders of giants though, I utilized the fantastic jqueryUI classes to make the user interface shine.

What technologies and tools did you use to create Waiting4aTable?

I am really just getting acquainted to web applications, and I have a strong Microsoft development background, so I used the ASP.Net MVC2 framework with the Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate.  As mentioned before, I relied on jQuery and jQueryUI for the user interface.  I am using Microsoft SQL Server as the database, and Linq to SQL as the intermediate data layer.

To communicate with Twilio, I grabbed the .Net examples that are available to everyone in the Twilio Helper Libraries.  I do also have to recommend the Microsoft BizSpark Program because it has allowed me to use the full suite of Microsoft products without any upfront costs for three years.

If you had all the time in the world, what would you build with Twilio?

There are still some ideas that I am kicking around using the conferencing API that was released earlier this year.  The integration of software and telephony is in its infancy, and once developers become comfortable with using telephony in their applications, I think the lines start to become blurred between software and telephony.  Years ago, I remember having to trick a modem using a Unix script to send a numeric page to a support pager.  Being able to send a text message or make a voice call with a few lines of code is something that was only dreamed about.

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Would you like to win a Netbook from Twilio?  Join our the thousands of developers who have already discovered Twilio is the fastest and easiest way to integrate voice and SMS into applications.  We announce a new contest category each week, and you can learn more on our contest page.  Happy coding!