Composer speaks SMS

Today I built an SMS API for Composer. It’s very basic, but it works. I just sent a text, had the message published, and got an SMS reply telling me which services succeeded (and sadly, failed).

Twitter failed because it wants to make every domain a link, and then wants to “shorten” that link to a 20 or 21 character link. Very stupid. So (10 characters) became (20 characters). With 3 domains (not urls) in my message, I gained at least 20 characters, and went over the 140 limit. But that’s another story!

I started out this morning (technically afternoon, but my morning 😉 ) building an SMS API for Composer. I wanted to be able to post from my mobile, without internet, and update my statuses. I chose Tropo because they’re free while in development. I figured it would be a while before I’d have the whole thing production ready, so a few months of free SMS gateway seemed appealing.

Alas, too many hours later, none of my texts reached Tropo, I couldn’t get a reply to work by IM or SMS, and so finally I decided to get agile and instead try Twilio. Bingo. It just worked. No issues, no bother. There are a couple of downsides. First, I got $30 bonus when signing up, but to “activate” my account I need to add a credit card. Second, it’s not free, it’s $1 a month per number plus 1c per text received and 1c to 7c or more per SMS sent, depending on the destination. But it works, and it worked in less than an hour.

I hard coded the mobile number to account id link, so if you want to use the SMS API, just let me know, tell me your mobile number, and I’ll add you to it! I’ll work on a better system where folks can register in time, but for now, it works. This is an MVP after all! 🙂

Now I can send one text message to Composer and update Facebook, Twitter, Identica and WordPress all at once. Happy days.

2 thoughts on “Composer speaks SMS

  1. Kasper

    I think I’d prefer a little Android app – cheaper to send like that. Still awesome though.

    Silly Twitter and their I guess there’s no way around their “shortening”?

    But… Twitter already has a lot of phone numbers:
    It could be interesting to fetch a user’s #cmpsr tagged tweets and send them to the user’s other services! Like that you can piggyback on Twitter’s phone service (and much more).

    1. Callum Macdonald Post author

      Android app would be nice, but I think a mobile friendly web interface would be a simpler goal with a result pretty close. I think an app would require an API, which I’d like to build, but probably after I build out a few more services. I don’t have much by way of API experience. Do you?

      Pulling content out of twitter is an interesting idea, but unfortunately banned by their Ts&Cs. Ifttt just shut down their pulling from twitter functionality for that reason. Plus, we’d be pulling the links!


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