You have important dinner plans, you’re stuck late at the office, your phone is dead, and your charger is at home. There is nothing worse than not being able to call to say you’re going to be late, wondering if your date will still be there by the time you manage to show up.
TextThem saves the day – the simple and easy-to-use app allows users to send text messages to family and friends from a computer, tablet, or any other device with Internet, free of charge. In this post, we explore their application stack, how they picked it, and how they’re using Stormpath for user management and authentication.
“There are a lots of forums out there, but they don’t let you get in contact with friends and family if your phone dies,” explains Brandon Moore who created the open source project. “If you needed them to find you, TextThem has a geo-location option.”
The app also has a convenient phonebook feature that allows you to store important phone numbers, ensuring that even when you are without a phone, you are never totally out of communication.
And while the app supports these serious use cases, you can also have a bit of fun. The app will generate a random message for your recipient, or even anonymously rick roll an unsuspecting friend.
TextThem is a Flask app hosted on Heroku. Moore chose Flask specifically for its ease of use and versatility. “At work I was actually working in Flask doing some Web apps. It’s still very lightweight compared to Django.” Moore said. “It’s very easy to get an app up and running and just very little boilerplate code that needs to be used and just makes it so much easier.”
However, because Flask is so lightweight, he had trouble finding a good solution for login and user management.
“I tried a couple of different things, like Flask Login, and it was just very hard to get user session management. Stormpath takes care of all of that. It’s really great.”
Beyond session management, the Stormpath-Flask Integration, sample app and tutorial meant that he could focus his development time on features rather than building a custom user management. “I just saved so much time. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel all over again.” He was able get authentication and a user directory features in a matter of minutes.
Although Heroku has a wide variety of database options, the configuration of a database for a user store can take time. “Stormpath really cuts down on a lot, because I didn’t have to go and get a database, set up my user table. Stormpath took care of all of that,” he said. “I never have to worry about keeping my database data in shards. It’s already done for me. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
TextThem is still a work in progress, and the developers have a number of new and exciting features in the works. “We’ve just recently added the geo-location, so if you click the geo button, it will ask for permission for your location and send a text with your location for someone to come find you. It will send a link, and it will open up your location on Google Maps,” Moore said, adding that they hope to continue adding features.
If you want to contribute back to TextThem, you can contribute to their repo
If you’d like to rickroll your friends, prank your friends or text when your phone dies, you can use TextThem for free.
And if you’re building a Flask app and need complete user management and secure authentication in minutes, not hours, check out our Flask resources: