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  • By Paul Hallett
    Build an Office Phone Manager with Django, Heroku and Twilio logo

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    A common desire that I often hear from office managers is the need to replace their entire office phone stack with a collection of “work” phone numbers that they can program to call employee’s personal or work phones. This would remove their need to invest in at-desk phone hardware and get tied into long term contracts. They also want to be able to easily change what happens when those numbers are called. People often want to use Twilio for this, and I often get asked if Twilio can. The simple answer to that question is yes.

    The more complex answer is: Yes… if you have a bunch of developers who can build a system like this for you. A lot of these folks just want a solution, but don’t know how to produce one with the toolbox of features that Twilio provides. It became obvious to me that ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Build your own Pokédex with Django, MMS and PokéAPI pokedelg

    Remember the Pokédex from Pokémon?

    It was the hand-held, all-knowing super machine that was invaluable to any Pokémon trainer trying to Catch ‘Em All in the late 90’s and early 00’s. With it’s encyclopedic knowledge of Pokémon, the Pokédex was the tool you whipped out of your pocket whenever you wanted to learn about a new Pokémon you had discovered in the games, the television series, or the card game.

    But to the disappointment of millions of children, the Pokédex wasn’t real, or at least, a Pokédex that had the same functionality as the one in the television series. There were quite a few knock-off products that provided a mediocre experience and the craving for the cool gadget was never really satisfied. Even now, at 25, I still dream of a Pokédex as good as the one in the television series. Luckily, with ten extra years ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Adding MMS Support To The Twilio.org Rapid Response Kit twilio_disaster_relief_dog

    Communication is a huge part of our lives and it is never more important than during times of need. When something bad happens or you need to make an important change in your life, communication is the medium with which you begin that process. We developed Rapid Response Kit to facilitate that communication during those times by providing a set of tools that could be downloaded and setup to provide some of most useful SMS and voice features one might want to use.

    Sometimes though, SMS and voice calling isn’t the right tool for a job. For example, it might be easier to share a photo of a map rather than describe the directions. I hate to be clichéd but as the old adage says, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

    While looking at Rapid Response Kit, we had to ask ourselves “What value could MMS provide to ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Monitor your Twilio applications with SMS alerts using the Twilio App Monitor, Python and webhooks. featured-alerts

    2094749782_4f5f003c49_bWhen you are using Twilio to power communications in your business or your software applications, you want to know what is going on all the time, especially if things go wrong. There are plenty of tools in the Twilio cloud to help you dissect these errors and figure out what went wrong. One particularly useful tool is the Twilio App Monitor.

    The App Monitor will log every single error that Twilio encounters talking to your application- failing to validate or parse a TwiML document, or not being able to get a response back from a url. If any of these operations (and many others) go wrong, Twilio logs it in the App Monitor for you.

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    Please don’t make fun of how many mistakes I make

    One of my favourite features of the App Monitor is the App Monitor Triggers:

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    There are three triggers created by default in every account ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Upgrading Your Django Reusable App To Support Django 1.7 now_migrating

    Anyone who knows me will know that Django is my favourite web framework. On the second of September 2014, Django 1.7 was finally released to the public after a much anticipated wait. Some of the new features coming out in 1.7 include App Loading refactoring, custom Queryset methods and a bunch of minor updates to make Django development smoother than it has ever been before.

    However, the most exciting feature present in the new version is database schema migration management. This feature update was driven primarily by Andrew Godwin, after a successful Kickstarter campaign to work on the integration. Andrew is the author of the original schema migration package South and the entire community is forever grateful for the contributions he has given to the platform.

    When I first used Twilio, I stumbled upon Randall Degges’ helper library for Django, django-twilio. I offered my technical support to Randall ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Creating a Click to Call Service with Twilio Client, Pusher and Python twilio

    Let’s be honest: traditional call centers have a terrible user experience.

    You see something interesting on a website that you want more information about. Email takes too long, so that option is out of the question. What do you do? You search for a phone number (hidden in their contact page at the bottom in tiny text), place a phone call, give away all your details, and (eventually) you end up getting to a human who might be able to help you. In this day and age of technology, why can’t the website know what I’m looking at and put me in touch with a human just by clicking a link?

    This solution to this does exist and it is called Click to Call.

    Click To Call is a bit of a buzz at the moment, with big names like Twitter looking at ways to support ads ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Build an IVR system with Twilio and Django logo

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    Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are everywhere – when you call the bank, when you use the hotel room telephone, even when you call the Queen! Okay – that last one probably doesn’t happen very often, but I bet the Windsors have an IVR for routing to the appropriate member of royalty. If you’re still a little bit unsure what an IVR is –  you have probably used one when you’ve called a number and heard something similar to this:

    “To talk to a human, press 1. To talk to an Owl, press 2.”

    This type of service is called an Interactive Voice Response. It provides a solution that would otherwise leave the telephony services of companies and large call centers in complete and utter chaos. By routing people through to the correct humans, IVRs help speed up the process of getting things done.  Even if you’re routing between ...

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  • By Paul Hallett
    Building a Simple SMS Message Application with Twilio and Django logo

    me_wootyDjango is often referred to as a “batteries included” Python web framework due to the many features that come with it out-of-the-box. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice for developers who want to build web applications in Python.

    Django is my personal choice when developing web apps as I love the huge collection of contributed libraries and the great community developing the software. When I think about how MVC web frameworks should work; Django fits it almost perfectly. Let’s build a simple application that responds with an SMS message when you send an SMS message to it.

    What You’ll Learn

    In this post we’re going to use Django to build a simple SMS application:

    • Linking a Twilio phone number to your Django web application
    • Responding to an SMS message with some basic TwiML
    • Using twilio-python to build responses pythonically
    • Using Django-twilio to make Django respond securely ...
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  • By Paul Hallett
    Introducing Twilio Developer Evangelist Paul Hallett bike-1

    me_wootyI’ve always had a fascination with how things work.

    One of my earliest memories I have is sitting on my grandfather’s lap staring with pure fascination into the black and white MS-DOS screen as he wrote a simple application in an attempt to predict numbers in the lottery.

    At eight my Mother asked “What do you want for your birthday Paul?”. “A padlock!” I replied. The object of desire wasn’t intended to secure my action figures or Lego, but taken apart and examined, to reveal its inner workings to an eight year old with a developing fascination with how things work. At twelve it happened again: “What do you want for your birthday, Paul?” “A watch!” I replied. I unwrapped the gift, took it apart and broke it within six hours.

    The Kicker

    And then a key series of events happened that drew my attention to how ...

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