The Texas Tribune’s news apps team is looking for its newest member — a developer in charge of maintaining our flagship explorer news apps. You’ll be joining the team that creates news apps for texastribune.org and you’ll be the go-to person for our salaries, prisons, campaign finance and public…
Weekend Fun, or, I build API Integrations for Laughs
I have been having some nerdy fun lately building chat bot integrations with the new messaging and file sharing app, Slack. Slack was created by the same folks who made the web game Glitch, many of whom were also previously involved in the creation of Flickr and the web game that predated it. Point being, Slack is pretty rad and fun to use.
All you need to know is that Slack, amongst other things, provides a chat room for my company that can be connected to various external services that can then send and receive messages in the chat room alongside all the real people.
The first thing I did was build a bot using Node and hosted on Heroku that would query my Google calendar and respond with the next upcoming scheduled event. I wrote a quick Node script to parse the provided ICS file, do some time zone conversions, and tied it in to Slack via a simple webhook.
Voila, @Bot is now in my Slack chat room available to help me and my team at XOXCO stay organized.
But why stop there? It was so easy to build this, I decided to keep going. I added commands to see the day’s full schedule. I added a command that queries Toggl, our time tracking app, and displays a summary of everyone’s billed hours for the week. I even taught the bot to help us choose where to eat lunch.
Next, I added a JSON (and plain-text) endpoint to the services offered by tableflipper.com, allowing my bot to request a random table flipping GIFon demand. You too can request GIFs by hitting tableflipper.com/json or tableflipper.com/gif. Why?
So, tables flipped, I taught the bot about anger and the release thereof:
Get BelowRez, the low rez camera app that my pal Adam made. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks, and the results are frequently surprising, beautiful and interesting. It has a lot in common with my own low rez camera app PixelPix, but with more of a focus on photography and less on silly pixel art stickers.