Chatroulette on iOS with node.js, socket.io & OpenTok

We’re going to create a implementation of chat roulette that works on iOS devices. We’ll use OpenTok for handling the video streams, node.js for the webserver, and socket.io for messaging.

In a previous tutorial, I covered how to build chat roulette on the web using JavaScript. This tutorial will focus on how to build it for iOS. Both the iOS and web app will be able to interoperate with each other.

Check out the web version of the app here.
Check out the GitHub repo here.

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iOS Developer Contest

The OpenTok iOS SDK is now available! We’re kicking it off with a developer contest to see what kind of new, creative projects the community comes up with. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Second screen coviewing
  • Video social discovery
  • Remote real-estate tours
  • Real-time hot or not
  • Video dating
  • Mobile customer service

The top 3 apps will each win an iPad 3.

All apps must be submitted by May 6, 2012 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

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Using video customer support on our launch day

When I tell someone that we make an API for video chat, I always ask, “Can you think of a use case?”

Every time, without fail, I get the same response: “So… like for video customer service?”

In practice, few companies we’ve spoken to get excited about video customer service. It’s hard to see what value video brings in most support scenarios. Do customers really need or want to see the person on the other end? Are customers comfortable on camera? Is it worth the overhead for reps to be manning a video support queue? We aren’t sure.

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Rise of the Hack

I didn’t know it could be someone’s job to attend hackathons. I hadn’t heard of a developer evangelist before, so a year ago when I stumbled across an opportunity to become one, I was drawn by its novelty.

The mission was to build a developer community from the bottom up by saturating the hackathon scene, gaining allegiance from the early-adopters, the enthusiasts, the hackers. The kind of people who geek out over a new JavaScript library, smother their MacBook Airs with stickers, and maintain wardrobes consisting primarily of startup t-shirts.

If the goal is to build a business on an API, were hackathons the place to start? I wasn’t sure. The tactic seemed so niche. But hey, if someone wanted to pay me to travel and build weekend hacks, that sounded fun to me.

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Hacking Hollywood

Man, these hackers in Hollywood sure know a good API when they see one (*cough*, OpenTok, *cough*). I’m kidding, but I am genuinely thrilled about the uptake of OpenTok at this weekend’s Hollywood Hack Day.

I arrived Saturday Morning at Ashton Kutcher’s office in West Hollywood for day one of the hackathon. I was pleased to see that there were lots of developers and chocolate chip muffins. I spent the first couple hours getting acquainted with both.

I had come to the event thinking I was going to hack on a jeopardy game. Janine Yoong, who was attending Music Hack Day in Boston, was conspiring with me to build a jeopardy game that would mash up APIs from both events, and that way we could submit the same app for two different hackathons, and win all sorts of prizes. It was a genius evil plot.

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