Creating chatroulette with node.js, socket.io & OpenTok

This tutorial will create a simple chat roulette app using node.js, socket.io and OpenTok. Socket.io allows us to pass data between clients in real-time using only javascript and eliminate the need for a database. OpenTok allows us to quickly publish and subscribe to webcam streams without having to worry about server requirements and bandwidth usage — all we have to do is implement a simple and free javascript API.

Read More

Hack For Change – A Weekend about Doing Good

One thing is for sure: the developer and hacker community cares about sparking positive change. After spending a weekend as a hacker at the Hack for Change event (superbly hosted by Change.org), I saw over a dozen great ideas to hear about problems, find solutions and get people involved in those solutions. I wanted to highlight some of my favorites:

  • GoodNeighbor: Help get small tasks done like changing a lightbulb or taking out the trash for an elderly or disabled person in your neighborhood.
  • FindMeAPet.org: Save an animal from being put down by subscribing to data on incoming animals from local shelters.
  • IGotUGot: Backyard gardening exchange that helps you connect with the community and barter using whatever you grow at home (or have extra laying around).
  • PDB: Personal Daily Breifing the way Obama gets on his desk every morning, stay in touch with issues that you care about.
  • PicketLine.us: Voice your protest against a corporation and the practices you dislike. Profile the company and what people think about their choices.
  • SafeHood: Take your neighborhood watch digital via SMS notifications, simple and anonymous.
  • AnonyMouse: Connecting LBGT youth with mentors that can safely and anonymously answer difficult questions for someone who needs a conversation to help them get through a challenge.
  • AnonyMissing: Report lost friends without compromising yourself by keeping it anonymous
  • ShoppingAdvisor: Using data from GoodGuide to give you an aggregate view of your Amazon shopping history based on impact on the environment, carbon footprint, and other social awareness metrics.
  • What’s About My City: Spread the word about problems in your town and vote on those you agree should be fixed.
  • GreatDebate: Embed widgets on your own sites to connect with a cause and get decision maker feedback on that cause right away.
  • Alerter: Better emergency response is one tap away. Uses your medical profile, your select contacts (incl. Facebook), and your selected messages to get the word out when you need help.
  • GoChip.in: Event management for volunteer coordinators
  • Corrupt: report acts of corruption around you and hold those people accountable publicly (I worked on this one)
  • GovContrib: a bookmarklet that gives you a quick reference on how much certain companies have contributed to certain parties (uses Sunlight API)
  • Piece of Mind: An online and offline way for veterans to connect and voice stories through art. Kickstarter donation funded mosaic to be built.

Congratulations to GoodNeighbor (first prize), AnonyMouse (runner up), FindMeAPet (second runner up), Alerter (honorable mention) and all the teams that hacked though the wee hours on their projects. These ideas weren’t about building the next Fortune 500 company and retiring early, they were about making a difference in people’s lives. Seeing people staying up all night for that, truly is admirable.

Read More

OpenTok jQuery plugin available

We have designed the OpenTok JavaScript library to be easy for all JavaScript developers to use. But the jQuery OpenTok plugin, created by jQuery developer Jose Torres, could make it even easier to use OpenTok audio-video sessions in your web-based apps.

The plugin is hosted at github.com:

https://github.com/jmtorres/jquery-opentok

Using the jQuery plugin, you can fully integrate OpenTok into your jQuery-based apps.

To use the plug-in, include the OpenTok, jQuery, and jquery.opentok scripts in your HTML page:

Read More

OpenTok JS Plugins – Widget

I have began to create a set of OpenTok JavaScript plugins to provide boilerplate solutions for some common use cases.

The first plugin is the _OT.widget, which makes it simple to create a videochat widget similar to the HTML embed widget seen here.

Read More

HAPI Hack Weekend

We will be co-hosting HAPI Hack Weekend at our San Francisco office June 10 – June 12.

HAPI Hack Weekend is a hackathon focused on leveraging APIs to create cool new software. The event brings together designers and developers for a chance to win prizes, create products and meet talented people.

Read More

Startup Poker Night

We will be hosting Startup Poker Night at TokBox’s San Francisco office on Tuesday, June 14th.

Ante up for Startup Poker Night hosted by TokBox. If you’re interested in startups, work for one, or are in town for Founder’s Showcase, stop by to play cards and meet like-minded people. In celebration of the launch of Poker View’s new webcam poker tables, powered by the OpenTok API, the munchies and booze are on us. Just show up and be ready to play.

Read More

Startup Weekend Education

We will be at Startup Weekend Education in San Francisco this weekend (June 3-5).

If you’ve ever felt like you have a solution to a problem in education, or if you just want to be a part of a solution, then it’s time to turn words into actions! The weekend of June 3rd 2011 we will bring together makers, founders, creators, developers, teachers, students, designers and the business inclined to launch real start-ups to address the real problems in the multi-trillion dollar education, training and learning markets.

Read More

StartupXLR8R II

We will be at StartupXLR8R II in Maryland this weekend June 4-5.

The startupXLR8R will included both an invitation only code-sprint + pitch track, as well as an open un-conference for entrepreneurs.

Read More

*Snap*, *snap*, *snap* with OpenTok

One of our first partner applications took OpenTok videos and turned them into a virtual photo booth. Meet me under the MistleToe is one of our favorites here at TokBox. They were one of our early users of the AS3 library, which gives developers a little more power because they can access the video feeds and do really fun things with them.

We didn’t want our JS developers to be left out in the cold, and so we’ve added video stream snapshot functionality to the OpenTok API. What would one use snapshots for you ask?

Read More

Using signals to pass real-time data

Problem

You are developing a multi-user OpenTok application and you need a way to pass data between user in real-time.

Solution

Use Session.signal() to notify user when there is new data on the server to be retrieved.

Tutorial Overview

In this tutorial I will show you how to implement this solution by creating a simple chat app that uses OpenTok signals to pass data between users in an OpenTok session. The app will allow connected users to communicate through both video chat and text chat.

I will use Rails for the backend portion of the app, however this technique can be applied to any server-side technology. I also use jQuery for DOM manipulation and AJAX and the OT_LayoutContainer class created and explained in this blog post for managing the layout of the video streams.

Read More