Telstra launch new SMS API preview at APIdays in Sydney

The latest two days in Sydney have been important to Australia’s growing developer community. APIdays is a 2 day event which featured 4 keynotes, 2 streams (strategy and execution),...

Img credit: MYOB API - https://twitter.com/MYOBapi/status/565355006061477889

The latest two days in Sydney have been important to Australia’s growing developer community. APIdays is a 2 day event which featured 4 keynotes, 2 streams (strategy and execution), 34 speakers, workshops & exhibits! As the name suggests APIs (or application programming interfaces) was the focus. APIs provide access for developers to data from different providers and allow the easy transport of this data between apps and services that you use every single day.

During the event, ex-Microsoft evangelist, Frank Arrigo spoke about Telstra’s Path to API Enlightenment as their new API Evangelist. At the event Telstra announced a new preview portal (currently in beta) for developers to access Tesltra’s API information. Right now they’re launching with a single API for SMS. The SMS API sends SMS messages to Australian mobile phones in a single request. This API allows apps to send and receive messages. You can also query the status of a previously sent SMS message.

REGISTER WITH THE CODE: TECHAU

If you’re a developer who’s interested in using this API, you will need to register for an account. To do this, visit https://dev.telstra.com and signup using the code above. To get an API key, you’ll need to registering your application on the portal, if you’ve ever done Twitter or Facebook development, this is a familiar process. If you want your application to receive SMS messages from mobile devices it is important to register your call back URL. For now the, the first release of the SMS API is simple, like the limit of 160 characters and a single sms per request, although developers could chain multiple messages to work around this.

There will be more functionality coming in the future, as well as other APIs, this really is just the start. There’s already a forum thread on future APIs where developers can let Telstra know what information they’d like to see added. Things like Network coverage and outages would be a great addition, as would be volume metrics which could be combined with location information (cell-tower triangulation) to highlight congestion or incidents.

There is a limit of 1000 free SMS messages per month and 100 per day, if you need more than that, you’ll would have to contact Telstra at api.support@team.telstra.com. Along with the new website, Telstra have also launched a new developer focused Twitter account at @TelstraAPI and while right now the account has just a single post, this will publish new news relating to the development and release of APIs.

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Here’s some important information you need to know if you want to use the Telstra SMS API, these are listed on the developer site, but worthwhile highlighting here..

  • Telstra does not Guarantee that the provision of the SMS developer service will be fault free or continuous, or that SMS messages will be sent in a timely manner.
  • You are not permitted to use SMS services for the purpose of sending marketing messages (which are designed to promote the sale or demand for goods or services) unless you comply with the Spam Act 2003 (Cth), the ACIF guidelines for SMS, the eMarketing Code and any other applicable laws, industry standards and codes. Telstra may cancel your access to the Telstra API system if it has reason to believe that your are not complying with the law.
  • Important restrictions apply on the sending of large volumes of message. The send SMS API should not be used for time based initiatives that may result in a sudden peak of message traffic to the Telstra Mobile SMS network.
  • Delivery reporting – delivery reports may not be available where the SMS is send to another carrier’s network.
  • Two-way messaging capability – you will only be able to send to and receive SMS messages from non-Telstra customers where we and the other phone company have agreed and fully implemented the necessary technology.
  • Telstra has no control over the networks of other carriers and cannot guarantee that a message will reach a final destination on another carrier’s network.

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If you’re a Ruby developer, there’s a sample application called ‘Let me in’ available on GitHub. This sample will get you up and running quickly.

Before the world freaks out about user data being at risk, APIs are developed in a way that mean the data accessibly by developers is restricted, in the case of the SMS API, very limited. When it comes to future APIs, expect information to be anonymous.

Telstra has one of the largest customer bases of any company in Australia and certainly have the biggest network, so allowing developers to get access to that data and services will spawn a whole new generation of creative applications. Exciting times ahead, especially if you’re a developer.

More information on http://syd.apidays.io/ and https://dev.telstra.com/

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