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  • By Charles Oduk
    Build a Chatbot for your React App using Twilio Autopilot Build a Chatbot for your React App using Twilio Autopilot

    Chatbots have improved business-customer interactions in recent years. For business owners, it is important to have customers receive prompt responses to their queries at any time of the day regardless of their location; especially on your website.

    In this tutorial, we will work on building a chatbot for a React application powered by Twilio Autopilot, an AI Platform to build artificially intelligent assistants, bots, IVRs, and Alexa apps.

    Prerequisites

    You will only need two items to create this application and complete the tutorial:

    • Node.js installed on your computer
    • A Twilio Account (This link will provide $10 in free credit when you upgrade your account)

    Getting Started

    To get started, we are going to use Create React App to get us up and running. In your terminal run the following commands:

    npx create-react-app chatbot
    cd chatbot
    npm start
    

    The last command, npm start, will start your development server and …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    Automate a Confirmation Call in PHP with Programmable Voice and Autopilot Automate a Confirmation Call in PHP with Programmable Voice and Autopilot

    I recently had a dentist appointment. Two days before the appointment, I received a call from my dentist’s assistant, confirming if I was still available for the booking at the arranged time.

    While that was nice, I thought there would be an easier way to do it. It would be nice if this process could be automated and have assistants handle more complicated situations. In this tutorial we are going to work on a PHP application that automates this process using Twilio Programmable Voice and Autopilot.

    Tutorial Requirements

    This tutorial will require the following:

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  • By Charles Oduk
    Create Transactional Emails you can Reply to in PHP with Twilio SendGrid Inbound Parse Replyable Transactional Emails in PHP with Twilio SendGrid Inbound Parse.png

    You’ve probably received many emails sent in the format noreply@somedomain.com. The irony of no-reply emails are that they often contain information that we would like to respond to. It would be great for businesses sending transactional emails to empower customers to respond to these emails.

    Allowing replies to transactional emails is now possible with Twilio SendGrid. This tutorial will teach you how to use Twilio SendGrid Inbound Parse to place a second order to a mock e-commerce store, by replying to a transactional email.

    Tutorial Requirements

    This tutorial will require the following dependencies:

    Create a Development Environment

    From your console window, create a new project directory. Add three files to the newly created directory:

    • Webhook.php
    • Email.php
    • .env
    $ mkdir SendGrid && cd SendGrid
    $ touch Webhook.php Email.php .env
    

    Install Dependencies

    This project will require …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    Implementing the Open-Closed Principle in Laravel PHP with Twilio SMS Implementing the Open-Closed Principle in Laravel with Twilio SMS .png

    Introduction

    The SOLID design principles by Robert C. Martin, popularly known as Uncle Bob, are a set of principles that help a developer write clean, reusable, and maintainable code. The five principles that make up the acronym SOLID are:

    1. S - Single Responsibility Principle
    2. O - Open/Closed Principle
    3. L - Liskov Substitution Principle
    4. I - Interface Segregation Principle
    5. D - Dependency Inversion Principle

    In this tutorial, we are going to look at the Open/Closed Principle. It states that entities should be open for extension but closed for modification. Essentially, it should be simple to change the behavior of a particular entity without modifying the original source code. New developers may find this principle confusing at first. It is the goal of this tutorial to help developers understand Object Oriented Programming by demonstrating the use of the Twilio SDK for PHP in a Laravel application.

    NOTE: We are …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    Create a WhatsApp Chatbot that Books Appointments in Google Calendar Using Autopilot and PHP Create a WhatsApp Chatbot that Books Appointments in Google Calendar Using Autopilot and PHP.png

    Introduction

    It’s amazing how in recent years, Natural Language Processing (NLP) has transformed how we build conversational interfaces. Notably, more businesses are building chatbots that interact with their customers in real time. In my previous tutorial, I wrote about building a chatbot using Dialogflow. In this tutorial, we’re going to build a chatbot using Twilio Autopilot and Whatsapp. Our chatbot will allow users to book an appointment and have a Google calendar event created.

    This tutorial requires basic knowledge of Autopilot. If you need to read up, please do so from this guide.

    Tutorial Requirements

    Create a Google Project

    To start off, we need to create a Google Project and enable the Google Calendar API. From your project dashboard, click on the Credentials tab. Click the create credentials …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    Send an SMS When Your Build Fails on Travis CI send-sms-when-travis-ci-build-fails-cover-photo.png

    Introduction

    Every year just before Christmas, this tweet warning about holiday deployments resurfaces within Engineering circles. It is testament to the complications that could arise when we deploy changes to code. For this reason many companies have made the shift to Test Driven Development (TDD).

    Developed by @KentBeck ‏, TDD requires that you write tests before writing code. This guarantees that you get instant confirmation that your code behaves as it should. TDD together with Continuous Integration (CI) - the process of testing code and automating the build every time a team member commits changes to a shared repository - helps ensure that production code works as is expected.

    In this tutorial, we will, using TDD, build a small Laravel/Lumen project and use Travis CI for Continuous Integration. We will also build a webhook that listens for failed build triggers. When the build fails, we will send a Twilio …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    How to Create Twitter SMS Notifications Based on Tweets, Retweets, and Mentions twitter-mention-cover-photo.png

    Twitter released it’s 2018 Q3 report in October 2018 and it was way better than financial experts had estimated. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, in a statement following the report said:

    We’re achieving meaningful progress in our efforts to make Twitter a healthier and valuable everyday service.”

    Twitter realized a 29% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue, meaning more businesses are taking to the service to market their products and services. If you have a business on Twitter, you could receive tweets frequently, some within seconds of each other. It is very important that you respond to them promptly in order to satisfy your customers. While it is great that Twitter sends out a notification whenever there’s an event on your account, it would be even better to receive a real-time SMS.

    In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to send an SMS when an event occurs.

    Tutorial Requirements …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    How to Forward SMS to Your Telegram Account in PHP sms-forwarding-to-telegram.png

    When working, I prefer to have my messages delivered on the computer to minimize distractions. With the switch of a tab, I am able to read my messages and quickly resume my work. On WhatsApp and Telegram, this is possible via WhatsApp Web and Telegram Web respectively. If you have business or personal messages coming in throughout the day via Twilio SMS, and you’d prefer to read them on your computer, I have good news for you. In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to receive Twilio SMS messages on Telegram.

    Tutorial Requirements

    For this tutorial, you will need a:

    Setup our Development Environment

    We need to start off by creating a project directory for our application. I have named mine Twilio-Telegram. Inside the directory let’s create two files:

    • webhook.php
    • .env …
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  • By Charles Oduk
    How to use Google Sheets as a Database for your PHP App google-sheets-twilio-database.png

    Introduction

    Twelve years ago, Google had, in my opinion, the ambitious idea of releasing a product that would be in direct competition with Excel. Google Sheets has since gained popularity over the years and become much more than just a spreadsheet. Being an online application, it’s a lot easier to integrate it with different online tools that you use. In this tutorial, we are going to test the flexibility of Sheets by fetching data from Order Desk’s API, updating a Google Sheet and sending a Twilio confirmation via SMS. We will use Order Desk to simulate an online store fulfillment system that backs up it's data into a Google Sheet.

    Tutorial Requirements

    For this tutorial, you will need:

    Setup our Development Environment

    To start off, let’s create a new project directory …

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  • By Charles Oduk
    How To Build A WhatsApp Chatbot Using Twilio, Dialogflow and PHP whatsapp chatbot with dialogflow.png

    Introduction to Natural Language Processing

    Natural Language Processing (NLP), is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language. With the help of Natural Language Understanding (NLU), which is a branch of NLP, computers are able to handle the nuances of language. For example, there are different ways of asking about the color of a shirt:

    • Does it come in another color?
    • Are there other colors?
    • Can I get it in black?

    It is very hard to anticipate all user inputs in our code but thanks to NLU, we’re able to handle different inputs.

    Hello Dialogflow

    DialogFlow, powered by Google, provides a Natural Language Understanding engine that allows us to build conversational interfaces. In this tutorial, we’re going to use Dialogflow with a PHP fulfillment webhook to build a conversational experience for a WhatsApp weather chatbot.

    This tutorial requires a basic knowledge of Dialogflow. …

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