Chat interface for SMS / text messages
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README.md

enviar

Real-time, multi-user chat interface for SMS / text messages. Imagine a call center where customers can send a text message to a single number and have a live chat with any agent(s) available.

screenshot

Installation

You can run enviar entirely on free hosted platforms: Heroku for the application and Cloudant for the database. But you may prefer to run it locally or on your own server.

Account credentials

To use enviar in production, you'll need a Twilio account for sending SMS and a Postmark account for sending password reset emails. If you're setting enviar up for production, I recommend creating those ahead of time because you'll need your twilio account's "Account SID" and "Auth Token", and your postmark account's "server token" as part of the application install process. If you're not setting up enviar for production, you can skip this part for now.

Free hosted installation

Database

You can use Cloudant's free tier for the database by setting up an account there. Create a database called enviar once you've signed up.

Application

You can run the application on Heroku's free tier.

Deploy

Fill in the parameters from the accounts you've setup, including your Cloudant account in the COUCHDB settings.

You should be able to view your application at https://<app-name>.herokuapp.com and login using your Cloudant credentials.

Local / self-hosted

Database

This application uses CouchDB to store messages. Follow their install docs to run CouchDB locally.

By default, CouchDB considers everyone an admin, which is known as "Admin Party." Disable this by going to the control panel (usually at http://localhost:5984/_utils) and disabling it (image credit @nolanlawson). In doing so, you'll create your admin account with a password.

Application

  1. Clone this repo using git clone https://github.com/timwis/enviar.git
  2. Install node dependencies via npm install
  3. Copy .env.sample to .env
  4. Fill in your the COUCHDB_HOST in .env (ie. http://localhost:5984), along with the COUCHDB_USER and COUCHDB_PASS you setup. The other variables are only required in production mode.
  5. Enable CORS by running npm run cors from the terminal

Usage

Development mode

  1. Run the server using NODE_ENV=development npm start
  2. Access the server at http://localhost:3000

You can simulate sending messages using the interface. To simulate receiving a message, send a POST request to http://localhost:3000/api/inbound.

Sample inbound POST request: (note the + in the phone number is encoded as %2B)

curl -X POST -d 'SmsSid=123456&From=%2B12597150948&Body=hello' http://localhost:3000/api/inbound

Production mode

  1. Make sure all the credentials are filled out in .env
  2. Run the server using npm start
  3. Point twilio's incoming message webhook to http://<your-server>/api/inbound (check out ngrok to expose your localhost)

Access the server at http://<your-server>:3000 (override port using PORT environment variable)