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Cover image for TxtJokes - A Twilio Hackathon project
Glenn Paquette
Glenn Paquette

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TxtJokes - A Twilio Hackathon project

Let's be honest, the world is a pretty lonely and sad place for most of us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-isolation sucks, Quarantines suck, etc. I thought it would be fun to get a few laughs while creating a project for the #twiliohackathon

What I built

Send nerdy jokes by SMS. Just create an account, login, and put in your number and get a joke text on your phone!

Demo Link

Link to Code

How I built it (what's the stack? did I run into issues or discover something new along the way?)

I built this project using Django as my backend and the built-in templating engine paired with a bootstrap 4 template (bootswatch minty) as a stylish front end.

I'm using several libraries in this build: Twilio's python package to facilitate sending SMS, Pyjokes as a joke library, Docker, Pipenv, and the demo is running on Heroku.

I ran into several issues that had me pulling out some hair. Dealing with phone numbers in a Django form and converting the input into a usable number for Twilio was a bit of a hurdle. I found Django-Phonenumber-Field; which uses Google's phone number library. I was able to leverage this package to help parse the input into the right format for Twilio.

I added user registration and forced the user to be logged in to send SMS msgs.

Email transactions for authentication are sent via SendGrid-Django package.

Additional Resources/Info

Find the app live at

This project was a fun one day build. I found Twilio's tech and docs pretty user friendly for python.

I have ideas to expand the project:

  • Txt counter to show how many jokes were sent.
  • Notification bubble to show the joke sent
  • Expanding joke library
  • Subscription service for daily jokes

And I also think that this project would be a great base for many spin-off ideas such as:

  • Daily motivation messenger (Don't give up!)
  • Reminder service ("Don't forget the milk" - texted as you finish your workday)
  • COVID-19 daily info msgs (Daily stats send in brief to your phone)
  • Daily Gifs -- Combine this service with Giphy API
  • Anonymous SMS service
  • Daily riddles (24 hours to solve before the answer is sent)
  • Chess by SMS - learn to play blind chess with notations

If I get a lull in dev work, I'll be sure to pick one of these great projects to expand on Twilio's tech - I especially love the chess one. :D

You can find me typically lurking here on Dev, or developing web applications for money! I love working with Django. Currently also learning some Nim. Always happy to make new friends, collaborate, and talk shop.

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