Ben Morris wins Twilio/MongoDB Contest with PhoneTap!

August 30, 2010
Written by
John Sheehan
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

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Ben Morris’ brother is a journalist who conducts a lot of phone interviews. Needing a simpler way to record the calls than holding a microphone up to the phone, Ben was inspired to build PhoneTap, the winner of our Twilio and MongoDB netbook contest.

PhoneTap enables you to record a phone call and then download a MP3 recording when the call is completed. To use PhoneTap you input your number and the number you’d like to call. When you pick up they’ll dial your requested number, record the call and when the call is over, send you an email with a link to the download.

Ben originally developed PhoneTap in 48 hours, using Google AppEngine, as part of DjangoDash. After hearing about the Twilio developer contest he ripped out all of the AppEngine dependencies and updated it to run on a small Rackspace CloudServer with MongoDB as the datastore.

We asked Ben about his experiences building PhoneTap with Twilio and MongoDB:

What technologies are running behind PhoneTap?


PhoneTap is written using Python using Django, jQuery, TwilioSimple, django-twilio-utils and a few jQuery plugins.

It originally depended on AppEngine and the Google DataStore but when I heard about the Twilio and MongoDB contest I spent a few hours and ported it over to run on the Rackspace Cloud and Mongo with MongoEngine for Python.

How did you get started developing with Twilio?

Ben: I heard about it on a blog post maybe 6 months ago and had my first app built less than an hour later. Twilio’s $30 in free developer credit and good documentation makes it incredibly easy to get started.

How did you get started developing with MongoDB?

Ben: This contest was actually my first experience with MongoDB. I had always heard good things though.

How was the experience working with Twilio and MongoDB?

Ben: Mongo was great. Following a few tutorials I was able to get it installed and my app ported from AppEngine in just a couple hours.

Twilio is so easy to use I only had to spend maybe 5-10% of my 48 hours working with it. It let me get back to what was really important quickly. That sort of speed is important in regular development and doubly so in a competition like DjangoDash.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Ben: The entire app and libraries can be found up on my GitHub if anybody would like to have a look at it.

TwilioSimple is a Python wrapper for the official Twilio API that I used to create PhoneTap. It’s also available online at GitHub and could use some fleshing out if anybody is interested in forking it.

Stay tuned for more contest announcements including the winner of last week’s location-based app contest and the category for this week’s contest.