Roger Stringer   About ▾

I'm Roger Stringer: a father, writer, developer, consultant, chef, speaker. Founder of TheInterviewr.


How to get a roll call during a Twilio Conference Call


In an ideal world, the start of every conference call would be seamless. Everyone is on the line and everyone knows who is on the call. But, things don’t always work that well. The start of a conference call can leave people talking over each other in an effort to introduce themselves and leave others pretty peeved about the whole process.

Twilio’s conference calling functionality is great in that it is simple to set up, but powerful with just a few tweaks.

In this post, we’re going to set up a moderated conference system with a twist, we’re going to buld a roll call system, so that when a moderator presses the * button, they will redirect to a page which will read back a list of participants, then <Redirect> the moderator back into the conference.

I know, that sounds like a useful feature when you’ve got a scheduled conference call and want to make sure everyone has called in before starting.

So, today, we’re going to show you how to set up a roll call system. To do this, we need a bit of setup.

First, let’s set up the non-moderated caller TwiML when participants call in:

Let’s call this file conference.xml.

Callers who call into this number will be met with a message that the conference will begin when the moderator joins.

Second, we need the TwiML for moderators. So that when a moderator joins, we could append an action on to the <Dial> that would trigger a call to a file which would then announce the end of the conference.

Let’s call this file conferencemod.xml.

Finally, we want to add the code to handle when a moderator presses the * button on their phone.

This will call a file called rollcall.php, which will present the moderator with a list of participants as a roll call, then forward the moderator back into the conference.

Notice, we set the endConferenceOnExit to false? This is because we don’t want to end the conference at this time, we just want the moderator to hear a list of participants, then get forwarded back into the conference. In this case, the conference would end when everyone hung up their calls.

First, we would get a count of particpants still on the conference.

Second, we would cycle through each participant and <Say> that participant’s phone number to the moderator.

Finally, we <Redirect> the moderator back into the <Conference>.

Let’s create rollcall.php:

[This post was originally published on the Twilio blog]

Filed Under: Code


Maple Lemon Chicken



My daughter and I made this for dinner tonight and it was tasty.

One great thing with this dish is it’s easy to modify, swap the maple syrup for honey and you have a tasty honey lemon chicken dish, for example.

What you need

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

How you make it

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, lemon juice, water, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper and then dust with the flour.
  3. Heat a pan over medium heat until hot and then add the olive oil and garlic, swirling the oil and garlic around the pan. If you are using skinless chicken, add an extra teaspoon of olive oil.
  4. Add the chicken in a single layer and fry undisturbed until browned on one side (about 5 minutes). If the chicken starts spattering too much, remove the pan from the heat and use a paper towel and tongs to sop up some of the extra oil.
  5. Flip the chicken over and fry the second side until the chicken is mostly cooked through (another 3 minutes).
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and use paper towels to sop up as much oil as possible.
  7. Return the pan to the heat and add the sauce. Turn up the heat and cook the sauce down until there is almost no liquid remaining and the chicken is coated with a thick layer of glossy red sauce.

Filed Under: Food