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SMS and MMS Notifications with Python and Django

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Wish your server would alert you automatically if something goes wrong? Well, this application has got your number - we're going to look at how to use Twilio to send server pages from Python and Django.

Get started by cloning our sample application from here. Next, head to the application's README.md to see how to run the application locally.

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

Let's get started! Click the button below to move to the next step of the tutorial.

Make My Server Send Texts

Listing Our Server Administrators

Surely you've got a list of people who should be alerted if something goes wrong. Create that list, as shown in the example JSON in this code snippet.

The only essential piece of data you'll need is a phone_number for each administrator.

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      config/administrators.json

      JSON Administrator list

      config/administrators.json

      Excellent work. List in hand, let's configure a Twilio REST Client to send notifications if (well, when...) something goes wrong.

      Next

      Configuring the Twilio Client

      To send a message we'll need to create a Twilio REST client. It will require reading a TWILIO_NUMBER plus our 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

      Click the eyeball icon to expose your Auth Token in an easy copy/pastable form.

      Phone numbers will be in the hash ('#') phone number pane. You will have to use a purchased number for the TWILIO_NUMBER variable.

      Setting the environment variables is platform dependent. The link above will explain how to set variables in Windows, Mac OSX, and *NIX (but may vary depending on your choice of shell). If you are using a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution such as Heroku, you may set them from the console. Check your platform's documentation if you need help.

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          twilio_notifications/middleware.py

          Load Twilio configuration from environmental variables

          twilio_notifications/middleware.py

          Now that we have what we need for our Twilio REST Client, let's look at how to handle exceptions.

          Except the Unexcepted

          Notifying Based on Exceptions in the Application

          We will implement error handling and message delivery as a piece of Django middleware, and make all the Twilio API calls from there.

          Note that it's important to return None so default Django exception handling can run.

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              twilio_notifications/middleware.py

              With exceptions now wired to notify the folks who can help, let's zoom in on each step of sending these alert messages.

              Sound (Text) the Alarm!

              Creating a Custom SMS or MMS Alert Message

              Here we demonstrate crafting the perfect alert message for an exception. (You know, either that or a terse message with some boilerplate exception text.)

              You might also decide to include a picture with your alert message... maybe a screenshot of the crashing application or some variation of an 'Everything is Fine!' meme?

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                  twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                  Zooming in on exception processing

                  twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                  Your alert message is going to go over well, we can already tell. Next, let's look at the steps to follow to send it out to the whole list of administrators.

                  Send Those Messages Out

                  Triggering Notifications for Administrators

                  Next, we send alert messages to each administrator with the send_message method that was defined in the MessageClient class.

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                      twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                      Loop through the Administrator list

                      twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                      Now, let's see how we send the messages themselves.

                      Next

                      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 as an MMS (uncomment media_url). The rest of the world will have image links with automatically shortened links.

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                          twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                          The MessageClient class

                          twilio_notifications/middleware.py

                          That's a wrap!

                          We've just implemented an automated server notification system that automatically alerts the server administrators when something goes awry.

                          This Was Simple with Twilio - Where to Next?

                          Where to Next?

                          Like Python? Twilio does too! Here are some other tutorials that might pique your interest:

                          Call Tracking

                          Call Tracking helps you easily measure the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns. By assigning a unique phone number to different advertisements you're got running, you can track which ones have the best call rates (and get some data about the callers, to boot).

                          Appointment Reminders

                          Want to decrease the number of missed appointments at your business? Appointment reminders allow you to automate the process of reaching out to your customers in advance.

                          Did this help?

                          Thanks for checking out this tutorial! Tweet us @twilio to let us know how you did... and let us know what you're building next!

                          Kevin Whinnery Jose Oliveros Agustin Camino David Prothero Samuel Mendes Paul Kamp Andrew Baker  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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