Doing our part for Computer Science Education Week 2013

Obama Called. And We Responded.

Yesterday President Obama kicked off the Hour of Code Campaign for Computer Science Education Week 2013 with a inspiring video calling for every American to learn code.

Here at TokBox we are excited to help! In this post we will help you jump the next hurdle.

After learning the basics of web and/or mobile programming, most people get bogged down by technical complexity and knowledge.

Say, after building your first app, you want to add a feature to let users video chat with each other. Learning about real time video streaming itself, let alone implementing it, can take months! This is why we highly recommend playing with platforms and APIs after learning the basics of web/mobile programming. You will be able to put together interactive apps that you never thought were possible. For example, with just basic web and/or mobile programming knowledge, you can add live video chat/streaming to your web or mobile app with the right library.

There are many platforms out there that let you build technically difficult apps with basic programming knowledge. Here is a short list of our favorites that we have worked with at various hackathons. Because of these platforms, developers were able to use them and build amazing applications within 24 hours.

Firebase: Want to have a site where the content on your site changes in real time whenever your data is updated? Want to build a real time game? Instead of figuring out how to implement real time protocols around your database, you can use Firebase!

Sendgrid: Want to send emails that don’t end up in your users’ junk folder? Want to enable your app to receive incoming emails so you can analyze the content of the email? Instead of figuring out how email protocols work, you can use SendGrid!

TokBox: Want to integrate real-time video calling effortlessly? That’s us! Use our OpenTok platform to power a wide range of video chat applications (Talk shows, education apps, collaboration tools, etc)

Twilio: Want to build an app to make and receives phone calls? Send and receive SMS messages? Buy phone numbers? Instead of figuring out how telephone protocols work, you can use Twilio. Want to pull out attachments from your users’ email? Pull and analyze your users’ email? Instead of figuring how to access your users’ emails, you can use ContextIO.

Aviary: Want your app to be able to apply filters, resize, and combine multiple images together? Instead of learning how image manipulation works, use Aviary.

Stripe: Want to make money by charging your users’ credit cards? Instead of figuring out payment protocols and security, you can use Stripe.

Spotify: Want some music data for your app? Want to generate custom playlists based on certain parameters? Instead of building and indexing millions of songs yourself, you can use Spotify’s API.

OrdrIn: Are your users constantly hungry? Want to give users the ability to order food from a restaurant near them? Instead of finding restaurants and working out deals with them, you can use OrdrIn.

InkFilePicker: Want to access your users’ files across their cloud storage and computer? Need to store files? Instead of figuring out how to access your users files (which are often scattered all over the place like Facebook, dropbox, gmail, etc), you can use InkFilePicker.

ShirtsIO: Want to mail your users custom TShirts from your app? Instead of finding a shirt printer and mailing the shirts yourself, you can use ShirtsIO.

GraceNote: Want your app to identify music playing in the background? Want your app to figure out more information about a specific song? Instead of figuring out how to implement music recognition yourself, you can check out GraceNote’s API.

KeenIO: Want to understand how your users are using your site? Instead of storing user interaction data and building tools to visualize these data, you can use KeenIO to help you track and understand how users use your app.

Mashery and Mashape: Can’t find the api you are looking for? Mashery and Mashape power many apis out there (face recognition, video content recognition, etc) – you can discover more apis on their site.

* More Platforms and their descriptions can be found on our Github page. If you would like to add a platform company, simply send a pull request *

These are just a few examples of platforms that solve difficult and time-consuming problems so you don’t have to. All you need is basic programming knowledge to start building amazing applications. As an added incentive, we will be hosting live office hours from 5-6pm (PST) here for the rest of the week until Friday (inclusive), so feel free to come by to chat and ask questions!