Sending Messages from FileMaker to WhatsApp Users with Twilio

 

Last month I attended the Twilio Engage + Superclass events in Melbourne, Australia. This was my second Twilio Engage event after attending last year’s Sydney event, but my first Superclass session. Superclass is hands-on training for developers to learn how to use all things Twilio, with Twilio engineers on hand to help as you work through code challenges in TwilioQuest, their self-paced training video game. The use of TwilioQuest makes the day lots of fun with your awards flashing up on the big screen every time you compete a new challenge.

Even though I’ve been developing with the Twilio APIs for many years ( see my article from last year about how we’ve integrated FileMaker with Twilio for two-way messaging, voice calling, number lookups and polling for incoming messages) it’s always great to spend a day away from work with other developers and the Twilio staff to learn new skills and immerse yourself in the content without distractions.

My aim for this year’s Superclass was to spend time learning some of the other Twilio APIs that I wasn’t very familiar with, with a particular focus on the Twilio API for WhatsApp. I was aware that Twilio had recently launched the API for WhatsApp which allows you to send SMS messages directly to WhatsApp users – there are over 1.5 billion people using WhatsApp – and I was keen to see if I could get this working from fmSMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving SMS messages from the FileMaker platform.

The Twilio API for WhatsApp is currently in beta and you can use their Sandbox to setup access from a Twilio number and start sending messages using their sample templates. The API works in a similar fashion to their standard Message API and I was able to get up and running quickly and send my first message from fmSMS to my WhatsApp account. Here’s a screenshot showing the message I sent from fmSMS:

and here’s how it appears in the WhatsApp app on my iPhone:

I then enabled a Webhooks for incoming messages and was then able to receive incoming messages from WhatsApp back in to fmSMS. You can learn more about pricing for the Twilio API for WhatsApp here and API documentation here.

Once the Twilio API for WhatsApp is out of beta and you can easily request your own numbers we’ll definitely be adding this as another supported Gateway for fmSMS. We’ve put together a short video showing sending and receiving messages between FileMaker and WhatsApp in action:

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