#APIHackDay #London #FTW

Last Saturday we took part in an API focused hack day along with SendGrid, Twilio, Mashery and GoCardLess. It was a single day event which basically means the participants had just 6 hours to create an awesome hack – and the hacks were AWESOME!

For a full list of submitted hack take a look at SendGrid’s APIHackDay London post.

I’d like to highlight some really cool uses of Pusher.

API Roulette

API Roulette used a combination of Twilio and Pusher to let users phone in to a game of roulette, place a bet, instantly see their bet within the web app and then wait to see who would win.

Twilio communicates with the application server using their WebHooks and the WebHook events were pushed to the web client using Pusher.

The demo worked amazingly at the event and it was another great example of how telephony and realtime web technology can work together to build a really fun game for audience participation – a great 2nd screen example!

Watch the video below to get an idea:

A shout out to Mark Burn and Alex Heaton who won an iPad for this fantastic hack.

Twilio Pusher Pong

Another great example of using Twilio and Pusher was Twilio Pusher Pong. Users call a number and then a paddle appears in the game. From there they use their phone keypad to control their paddle and they get points for blocking the ball.

As with API Roulette the key press events were sent from Twilio to the application server using WebHooks and those events where then delivered to the web client using Pusher. The beauty is in the simplicity of the setup and how well these two services work together!

Note: I did take a video at the event which potentially demonstrates this app better but at the time it displayed full phone numbers

Congratulations to Jason Lee and Peter Jones for their seriously fun hack. They won the Pusher prize which was £250 Amazon vouchers (I’m pretty sure will be put towards a couple of Nexus 7’s) and 6 months Pusher Startup plan access.

Peter and Jason are working on PositiveBid with funding from Nesta.


Pusher2Talk is perfectly described by the creator Sam Machin as

Recreating the fun of Walkie Talkies in a browser,

Like IRC but with voice, login to a channel and then press & hold the talk button and speak after the beep, everyone else on the channel hears you.

Again, uses Twilio and Pusher and is lots of fun. Sam won the Twilio prize.

Note: Pusher and Twilio Tutorial
If you’d like to get started using Pusher and Twilio check out this Pusher & Twilio Tutorial

Honorable Mentions

iPhone apps

It was great to see libPusher getting some love and being used in a couple of very nice looking iPhone apps.

Rotten Toms by Matt Glover An app that pulled in reviews of films from Rotten Tomatos but then let users vote by throwing tomatoes. The twist was that anybody else viewing the same movie in the app would see those votes coming in as a real splat! Lots of fun to watch.

ChattR, by Michael Armstrong, searched for hot topics and then let you see realtime streams of Tweets. The idea was very simple but the slick UI of ChattR, as with Rottn Toms, clearly demonstrated the benefits of building a native app.

Web Apps


Drinks on Who [registration link] This app by Oras Al-Kubaisi was used to determine who should buy the drinks round by looking at Klout score among a group of friends. Go to the app, enter your twitter ID, phone number and drinks choice and then the person with the lowest Klout score would be shown on screen along with the order. That person would also be called and told what the drinks order was. Another fun and innovative use of Pusher and Twilio.

Battle Blocks BattleShips but blocky. These guys all work for Outside line and decided to come along to their first hack event. They used Pusher to send turns between users. The team consisted of Mike Mackay, Stugoo (I don’t think that’s his real name) and Adam Brewer. For more information read Adam’s write-up of APIHackDay – London.

If I’ve missed anyone, please give me a shout – so many awesome submissions.

A shout out to…

A big thanks to Stevie Graham, Amit Jotwani and Tim Falls for organising. Also, thanks to General Assembly London for letting us use their fantastic office space at White Bear Yard.

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