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SMS and MMS Notifications with Java and Servlets

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This Java Servlets tutorial will walk you through how you can automatically notify your system administrators if - well, when - something goes wrong on your server.

We'll dive in for a deeper look at all the wiring behind the scenes. Soon you'll see how easy it is to work notifications into your own application.

See how EMC uses Twilio SMS to send IT alerts to 68,000 employees.

Sound good? Let's get started!

Click the button below to move to the next step of the tutorial.


List Your Server Administrators

Here we create a list of administrators (and your choice of others) who should be notified if a server error occurs.

The only essential piece of data we need is a text-enabled phoneNumber for each person you list.

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      JSON Administrator list


      Next at the plate: we'll take a look at how to set up the Twilio REST client.

      Let's Configure the Client

      Configuring the Twilio Client

      To send a message we'll need to initialize the TwilioRestClient (for details, see the Twilio Java Helper LibraryTwilio Java Helper Library documentation).

      We'll have to read a TWILIO_ACCOUNT_SID and TWILIO_AUTH_TOKEN from environment variables.

      The values for your account SID and Auth Token will come from the Twilio console:

      Twilio Account Summary section of the console

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          Configure the Twilio client from environment variables


          Next, let's look at how we're handling application exceptions.

          Get Our Exceptions in Order

          Handling the Application's Exceptions

          Using a Servlet Filter, we can capture any unhandled exceptions thrown by any other Servlets or Filters set up to handle a given URL.

          And that's where we'll insert our logic to send out notifications to the server administrators.

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              Next up, let's look at how to craft a custom message upon spotting an exception.


              Crafting a Custom Alert Message

              Here we create an alert message to send out via text message.

              Feel free to also include a picture with your notification message. Perhaps a screenshot of the application when the exception happened? Some meme from a chain email?

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                  Next, let's look at loading the list of administrators.

                  Load those Administrators

                  Reading the Administrators from the JSON File

                  Next, we read the admins from our JSON file.

                  We're relying on the Gson Java library to convert our JSON text file into the Administrator objects from our application.

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                      Administrators Repository Utilities

                      Read JSON Administrator list

                      Administrators Repository Utilities

                      And for our next trick, we'll show how the text messages themselves are sent. Carry on!

                      Send My Administrators Some Messages

                      Sending a Text Message

                      There are the three parameters needed to send an SMS using the Twilio REST API: From, To, and Body.

                      US and Canadian phone numbers can also send an image with the message. Other countries will have the picture url automatically shortened.

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                          Send our custom crafted message to the administrator list.


                          And that's it!

                          We've just implemented an automated server notification system that can send your administrators push alerts if anything goes wrong. Twilio makes it easy to incorporate these important - and useful - functions for your own use cases.

                          Carry on and we'll look at some other useful ways our customers have used Twilio.

                          What Should I Build Next?

                          Where to Next?

                          We've built a lot of sample applications with Twilio and Java, and we'd love to share them all. However, we'll limit our suggestions to just two:

                          Automated Survey

                          Instantly collect structured data from your users with a survey conducted over a voice call or SMS text messages. That will help you quantify the impact of your support call handling, for starters.

                          Appointment Reminders

                          If you're having issues with customers missing booked meetings, this tutorial is where you should head next. We look at sending automatic reminders as a meeting approaches.

                          Did this help?

                          Thanks for checking out this tutorial! Tweet to us @twilio to let us know what you thought or what you're building next!

                          Agustin Camino Jennifer Aprahamian David Prothero Samuel Mendes Paul Kamp Andrew Baker Kevin Whinnery Kat King

                          Need some help?

                          We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.

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