Get Sentimental About SMS with Twilio, Bluemix and AlchemyAPI

IBM’s Bluemix platform is home to an ever growing number of cognitive computing services that, as developers, we can use in our applications to learn more about our data. Earlier this year Ricky showed us how combining Watson’s question and answer API, Twilio and Node.js could get us answers to health questions. Also living under the Watson banner, AlchemyAPI is a set of services for understanding content… Read More

4 Ways to Parse a JSON API with Ruby


The Ruby Toolbox lists no less than 25 HTTP clients. Let’s look at how to retrieve and parse JSON results from a RESTful API using the four most popular Ruby HTTP libraries. The four code snippets below will: Define a URL to be parsed. We’ll use the Spotfiy API because it allows requests without authentication. Make an HTTP GET request to that URL. Parse the JSON result.  Each snippet is… Read More

Delay API calls to Twilio with Rails, Active Job and Sidekiq

Performance is key in web applications. Snappy websites make for better user experiences, higher conversion rates and better user retention. A swift application response causes less stress on servers trying to respond to many users too. There are many ways to improve the performance of a web application in Rails and I want to look at one of those today. Performing long running, blocking tasks during… Read More

Send Branded SMS Messages Using Twilio Alphanumeric Sender ID


It’s been a few months since we hosted Signal (if you missed it, don’t forget that videos from all the sessions are available online) and in this post I wanted to spend some time exploring one of the announcements that I found pretty exciting: alphanumeric sender ID’s. Being based in the UK and traveling often in Europe I regularly receive SMS messages with a business name as… Read More

Record Bad Customer Service Calls in 30 Lines of Ruby


tl;dr If you’d like to record a phone call, three-way call 888.909.1024 or +44 203 389 52 12 into the conversation and you’ll get a text with the recording when you hang up.  About this time last year, Ryan Block’s “Comcast Call from Hell” made the social network rounds. It was an infuriating eight minute clip of him trying to cancel his service but getting stonewalled by the customer service rep… Read More

You Too Can Tweet like Larry King

Earlier this year I wrote about sending and receiving Tweets using the Twilio and Twitter API. It turned out that I published the post on the same day as this article in the Washington Post on veteran broadcaster Larry King. Ricky, my buddy and fellow developer evangelist, sent me the link because of the following description of how Larry King sends Tweets. When Larry King wants… Read More

How to build SMS Phone Verification in Rails 4 using AJAX


You’ve undoubtedly done something like this before: That’s the SMS phone verification for AirBnB, which uses Twilio to allow hosts and guests to chat without sharing their actual phone numbers. In this tutorial, we’ll integrate SMS phone verification into a Rails 4 app using AJAX and Twilio. Warning: There are a bunch of great reasons to grab a user’s phone number, but if your end goal is two-factor authentication, you… Read More

Receive Twitter Notifications by SMS with EventMachine and the Twitter Streaming API (Send and Receive Tweets Using SMS with Twilio Part 3)

I’ve been having fun with the Twitter and Twilio APIs recently. First was the release of a tool to send and receive Tweets using SMS and Twilio. In part 2 I started to dig into how the app was built, starting with how to send a Tweet with SMS. Now it’s time to look into how the other side works: how to send SMS notifications when… Read More

Validate Phone Numbers in Ruby using the Lookup API

Twilio Lookup

How do you know if a phone number is valid? Maybe you wrote a regular expression to validate a phone number. But does that regex work for all phone numbers, or just ten digit American phone numbers? Maybe you use Google’s libphonenumber to check if a string could be a valid phone number. But libphonenumber can’t tell you if that number is actually in service. Twilio… Read More