Have you ever wondered what an API is and why you should care?
Have you ever had a mid-career crisis and considered going back to uni for a computer science degree because coding is the future?
Have you heard me talk about the Messaging API and want to try it yourself?
Then you've come to the right place!
Automation and web integration are absolutely key parts of any cutting-edge technology solution. But you don't need to be a software developer to implement your own API driven outcome! In the below video, we'll hear about some non-techie use cases for Communications as a Service APIs (i.e sending a text with a line of code) that can transform any workplace by reducing manual work. Be you a restaurant shift worker, a senior marketing specialist or a plumber, I want to empower you across every industry and level of software expertise!
An API, or an Application Programming Interface, is just that: an interface to an application
They allow different software services to communicate with each other to; access data, hide complexity, extend functionality and implement security layers of the services and apps we use every day. When you re-share articles to facebook, or get a delivery alert from the post office, you're interacting with APIs!
Think of APIs as the 'middle person' that deals with all the many databases and integrated services behind it. Just like how a waiter takes your requests for meals and responds with some yummy food, without YOU as the client having to care about the recipe or stock levels of the fridge. All you need is a menu (we've got API menus, aka API documentation, right here on the TelstraDev portal too). I just LOVE this analogy, read more here.
The Messaging API in particular, allows scalable automation of services that make workflows faster and more productive. Texts are much more likely to be opened that emails, which is key for critical communications like Alerts, Confirmations, Warnings and One Time Passwords. Think about a medical receptionist having to text all of the patients booked that day to confirm their appointments... no way! They would just run a script which sends automated reminders out and updates the doctor's availability if they reply 'cancel appointment'. Are you seeing how simple these API things can be?
If you're not quite with us yet, don't fear! I've recorded a short video to introduce the benefits of Web APIs in simple, non-technical, no-jargon human speak, and given an easy step by step guided tutorial through the Messaging API for someone who has never written a line of code before!
By the end of the 13 minutes, you will be able to send an SMS to yourself using an API call! (did I mention, NO CODING EXPERIENCE necessary!)
[updated 31/8/20] - Please note that the below tutorial was created BEFORE the implementation of the new BNUM endpoint, which you now need to register before sending an SMS. Consider your new virtual mobile number as the A number, the B NUmber (BNUM) = the mobile number who will receive the text.
If you are using the Postman Collection from the Messaging API documentation, you will need to open the NEW collection which includes the BNUM endpoint in a "Free Trial" subfolder: https://dev.telstra.com/content/messaging-api#section/Getting-Started
After you have created an OAuth token and provisioned your mobile subscription, then you can set the list of registered numbers to whom you can send messages with the API.
Open the body of this API call, and replace the default "BNUM1" text with "+61487654321" (replace with your number). I recommend you only start by provisioning 1 B number first, to check that it works, and send a few SMS messages to that number.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, and want to take the next step in your API journey, let me know in the comments! What should we cover next?
Michelle, TelstraDev Developer Advocate