Fauxtaux Booth – our Mashup-o-rama

We’ve been noticing that writing software for the web is becoming more and more like playing with lego blocks. We are currently working on projects using Ruby + Rails and Node.js + Express. For both of these technology stacks we have a lot of conversations like these:

“You need a library that does <this special thing>?”
“Oh yeah, it’s on github.”

“You need a javascript plugin that does <whatever>?”
“Sure, start from that thing on jQuery plugins and you’re 95% there.”

Such is the nature of participating in and taking advantage of the open source community.

We wanted to share our latest lego-block project. We called it

Fauxtaux Booth

A photographer friend was setting up a photobooth at a conference. She wanted to have the pictures sent directly to the subjects as they were being taken.

The blocks we used for this system were:

The basic setup was as follows:

The photographer was on the net at the conference, her camera tethered to the laptop. As photos were taken, they were written to a folder that sat under a shared Dropbox folder.

On a separate server, also sharing that same Dropbox folder, we setup a watch on that folder using Guard. When we saw a change, we sent an http request (basically a ping) to the Rails app. When the app caught that http request, it would look at the directory and figure out what had changed. If there were new images, it would run several image processing steps and finally email the current customer by way of Sendgrid.

The app also served as a customer signup form. So at the conference, the photographer’s laptop also had a browser window open to the app. As customers stepped up to the booth, they filled out a simple form on the laptop with name and email which we used to send the photos.

For each sitting, the final emailed image was a photostrip with the conference’s branding/data on it.

The majority of the special coding in the app was custom image processing. The rest was basically wiring a bunch of moving parts together.

At the event, our photographer took about 80 photos and we sent out about 400 emails.

This was the setup at the conference.
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