This is a guest entry by Syed Asim Imtiaz, the mastermind behind InDash.
InDash for Nexmo is an easy to use utility to process your incoming text messages without writing a single line of code. It is not only an SMS auto-responder, but it also helps you to quickly setup a dashboard for your Nexmo numbers and view your incoming messages. With InDash, you can forward messages to an email address, a web application or browser plugin in real-time. It also features a keyword-based processor which means that you can use a single incoming number for multiple / different scenarios, use-cases and applications by using unique keywords.
If you are a developer than Nexmo already provides an easy-to-use API bundled with an extremely developer-friendly documentation - which makes the integration job, a no-brainer. However, if you are looking to quickly prototype a proof-of-concept for your next SMS-powered application or to hack up a one-off script that harnesses the power of SMS — this is really where InDash can make your life easier. Let me walk you through an example:
We are organizing a High-Tea event for a local community of bloggers. The event is invitation based and the seats are limited (20 to be exact). We want to give the guests a very simple and quick way to tell us if they will be attending the event so that we can book the venue accordingly. Ideally, guests should RSVP by sending us a text message, e.g.:
SMS-based RSVP App
The idea is simple and straight forward. We will send out invitations and will request our guests to RSVP by sending a text message on a number. When we receive an RSVP request, we should reserve a seat and confirm it by replying to the text message with a reservation number. If there are no seats left we should inform the guest about it so as to avoid any last-minute inconvenience and disappointment.
2. If you’re a new user — you will have to point your Nexmo account to callback InDash when incoming messages arrive. You can do this by simply clicking on the “Auto-Configure” button and InDash will take care of the rest. If you have already done this before, you can skip this step.
3. Setup a unique keyword (or a dedicated incoming number) to callback your RSVP PHP script (we will create this in the next step). The CALL URL AND REPLY feature in InDash is the one we want. When a text message is received, InDash posts it to the URL and sends a reply back to the sender with the content returned by the URL. In our case, our PHP script will simply have to emit a line which will be sent back as an SMS reply, auto-magically, thanks to InDash.
4. Now, about the RSVP PHP script. As mentioned above, our script doesn’t need to do any thing complicated. It receives a call when a message is received, it tries to reserve a seat and emits out a response. InDash will automatically send the response returned as a reply to the sender. Here’s the code snippet that does the job:
Obviously there are bugs in the script but do note that our PHP script doesn’t know anything about Nexmo (or anything remotely related to SMS for that matter). Cool, isn’t it? You can imagine easily extending this app to talk to much sophisticated event registration systems like EventBrite using their API.
And that is it for now. Do give InDash a try - it is completely free to use and because Nexmo doesn’t charge you for any incoming messages (once you purchase a number) — combining them makes a very cost-effective yet powerful solution. Feel free to get in touch with me if you’ve any query, feedback or suggestion. You can reach me via my website or grab me on twitter.