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Thread: Adding a breaking news section

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Adding a breaking news section

    I wasn't sure which section to put this in, so I'm hoping someone here can help.
    I am making a community information website for my town.
    One thing I want to have is a small section in the corner showing important information like water boil notices, snow emergencies, trash collection changes, etc.
    What I would love to do is to be able to update that right away without having to go to my computer to log into my web host.
    Does someone know a way to do this via text message or email?
    Thanks for reading this and helping if you can.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    1) This is the answer to your question about text message (SMS) to a website.

    No matter what, you'll need to pay for an SMS service, whether it be monthly, yearly, per call, etc.

    You'll subscribe to a service like Twilio: https://www.twilio.com/

    Twilio gives you a phone number that is yours. That will be the phone number that you text to.

    When you text to that number, Twilio sends the message to a URL that you have entered in your account, which will be a PHP script on your website.

    Your PHP scripts reads the incoming text message and writes it to a file or database on your website. The PHP script can send back a text confirming it was received.

    Whenever someone visits your webpage, or clicks refresh, the page (PHP scripts) display any or all text messages stored in the database.

    All of the website stuff (PHP scripting) is done on your website, at no cost to you, other than perhaps hiring someone to do the programming.

    You will pay for the SMS service though.


    2) Another method that requires a smartphone with a browser.
    This is what you said that you really don't want, because it takes more steps.

    This method is free, but it's not SMS texting. You have a page on your website that you view on your phone/browser. You log-in and submit a message. This requires opening your browser, visiting your site, logging-in, and submitting text.


    EDIT:
    Added bonus for Twilio ... When you text an update to your website, the PHP scripts on your site can text a list of people that wish to receive a notification. That happens through Twilio also, and you of course pay for those texts. You could even have a PHP script that sends texts to people at specific times, such as reminding people to attend a town-hall meeting at 7PM on February 11th. Perhaps at 5PM that evening, the list of people will receive a text reminding them about the meeting.



    Twilio Explanation of your website receiving your town notice:
    Receive and reply to SMS and MMS messages

    When you buy an SMS-enabled Twilio phone number, you can associate that phone number with a URL. When someone sends a text message to that phone number, Twilio makes an HTTP request to your URL with the body of the message and the sender's phone number. You can then respond to the Message by returning a reply message in the HTTP response to Twilio.
    Last edited by mlseim; Feb 07th, 2015 at 04:11 PM.
    Vapr_Arts and ismilelots like this.


  4. #3
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Not trying to hijack! Lol

    Twilio sounds pretty interesting im going to have to look more into this now. I havent came across a need for this but now that i know it exist i am inspired to see what i can make out of it.


    Regretfully sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk during lunch and other breaks
    ismilelots likes this.

  5. #4
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    Thank you for the information. I will look into that. I, of course was hoping for a free and easy answer. But it sounds like Twillio does more interesting things.

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    If sending a text is the way you want to go, because you want to save some time (which is true), then you will pay for it.

    It can be done free by not using SMS, but requires more log-in steps.

    ===

    If you decide to use Twilio and actually subscribe and receive your Twilio SMS enabled phone number, let me know.

    You didn't post a link to your town's website, but I assume it's on a normal shared webhost and that you will be able to use PHP scripting.

    Once you are set-up with Twilio and able to text to a URL, I can help you with the PHP part ... that will reside on your website.

    I also believe Twilio will let you test it out for a bit and decide ... if you don't like their service, they will refund you. They are a very good company.

    Post a link to your website so we can see what it's all about, and also post what experience you might have with HTML, PHP, etc.


    ===

    Also, you need to determine if your SMS project is cost effective. If you have a town of 5000 people and your town's website gets 2 visits each day, perhaps your website is not effective. If nobody visits it, they won't ever see your town notices. On the other hand, if your town's website is a 'focal point' and a gathering of residents who visit it daily, then the cost of Twilio would surely be cost effective.
    Last edited by mlseim; Feb 08th, 2015 at 08:58 AM.
    ismilelots likes this.



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