Felix: a PHP / Twilio Group Messaging Tool

Keep the whole group in the loop

During my first year as an Industry Advisor at Business Horizons (a week-long summer program for Iowa high school students) it occurred to me that we really didn’t have a way for everyone to quickly get messages to the group in the event of a schedule change or emergency.

There were about 20 or so advisors. Some had iPhones, some had Androids, and some had flip-phones.

In just a couple hours, I put together a SMS tool using Twilio that we’ve used for the last two years.

Recently, I updated the tool to use Twilio’s updated PHP library, put everything on Github, and named it after my 6-week old baby boy.

No smartphone required

Felix could be very useful for event organizers, summer camp counselors, schools, or anyone looking for an easy and inexpensive way to keep a group connected without requiring anyone to download an app or own a smartphone.

Features

  • The onboarding flow allows users to join the group by texting anything to the number, then following simple directions.
  • Members can leave the group by sending: -stop
  • Members can change their nicknames by sending: -name, followed by their new nickname.
  • The group administrator receives an alert when new members join.
  • All messages are logged in the database.
  • Messages can contain up to 1600 characters.

Join Flow

Members join the group by texting anything to the phone number. After replying with your name, you’re all set.

Use

As you can see, Felix is also handy for some good old trash-talking.

Requirements & Setup

Felix requires a Twilio account, a verified phone number, MySQL, PHP, and a web host. Everything you need to know can be found on the Github page.


Give it a try!

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or run in to any issues. If you fix any bugs or add any features, send me a pull request on Github!

If this came in handy for your event, I’d love to hear about it!