Dev

Twilio’s new usage APIs are just what devs have been waiting for

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Twilio, the telephony startup developers love to love, has just taken the wraps off a suite of new APIs, handy tools that will have developers asking, “Great! What took ‘em so long?”

The new goodies are threefold: First, a way to test your Twilio apps without incurring costs or sending real calls via Twilio’s REST API. Second, an API call to get all your usage records in one request. And third, a trigger-based notification that can ping you when your app starts tipping the usage scales.

“We have a lot of stuff in the pipeline, this is just a small amount of it,” explained Twilio dev Andrew Benton in a phone chat with VentureBeat. “Some of them have gotten stacked up and waited for TwilioCon, but we have a lot of stuff we’re releasing all the time.”

He also noted that the reason it’s taken Twilio as long as it has to roll out these seemingly necessary features is that the startup was tackling low-hanging fruit (writing documentation, assigning phone numbers on signup) first. “These are a little more complicated as products.”

Complicated on Twilio’s end equates to a little more simplicity and a lot less infrastructure and process for third-party developers.

For example, for the app-testing tool, said Benton, “You use the same API that you always have .. and use a different username and password for your API request. Those two pieces of information identify the request as a test, and we’ll never charge you or send a phone call.”

The usage requests and usage notifications are even more useful. The former lets you make a single API request and get your usage stats for a given time period in return. That information, said Benton, “allows our customers to build dashboards or internal tools to figure out what they’re doing with Twilio without having to set up a bunch of infrastructure on their side.”

As for notifications, that functionality will be especially valuable for Twilio devs whose apps include bundles of text messages or calling minutes. The tool lets you specify a usage trigger, then sends you a notification when you hit that limit.

“We can do automated monitoring for you, essentially,” said Benton. “If you know your application doesn’t usually send more than 1K text messages a month … you can set up a notification.” And with the notifications in place, you can automagically cut off or upsell your whales, implement a plan for rapidly scaling, or even just do some research on where all that lovely traffic is coming from.

That functionality in particular came in handy for Burner, the disposable phone number startup, Benton told us. Alpha testing the new features with Twilio customers like Burner has made all the difference in the final product, too.

“We’ve been working with them all through the product cycle,” Benton told us. “They’re really the ones who’ve driven this forward.”

Altogether, Benton said, the new tools will “allow [Twilio] customers to build a much more reliable application.”

Stay tuned for more as Twilio’s annual developer conference unfolds in San Francisco over the next couple days.

Top image courtesy of ARENA Creative, Shutterstock


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