Backpack API Throttling

A few weeks ago Greg received an email from Jeremy over at 37signals asking us why we were hitting the Backpack API so frequently (we were hitting it every 10 seconds looking for reminders that were in need of attention). At that time he informed us that they would be implementing some API throttling in order to limit how many requests could come in from one IP. We were a little unsure what the actual throttling would be so we did what any great new two man company would do…we did nothing. The thought was that when 37signals finished up their API throttling implementation, our code would break and we’d fix it appropriately since then we’d know what 37signals was doing with their API. Well, it looks like that throttling was put in place because our code broke with the API returning this error. WebServiceRequesterError: Error occured (503): You have exceeded 10 calendar requests in a 5-second period. Please wait 5 seconds before retrying. We added some code to the begin rescue blocks that surround the API calls to sleep for 5 seconds when we get this error message. The end result is some uglier code and processing that’s a little sluggish but it works now. If you are a Reveille customer that was impacted by this issue, then please accept our apologies. If not then check out Reveille, it’s a sweet little app that automatically creates Backpack Reminders for your Backpack Calendar...

Create Reveille reminders in Backpack via SMS

Recently, 37signals rolled out an update to Backpack that allows calendar events to be created with an SMS message from your mobile device. This is a pretty cool new feature for Backpack users on the go, just like us. The great news is you can use Reveille via SMS too. How does it work? To create a Backpack event via SMS that includes Reveille reminders, simply add the reminder hash-tags to the event description as you would if you were logged into Backpack. Here’s what it looked like when I created a few: You can add as many reminder hash-tags to the description as you want, but be careful to not exceed your maximum SMS message length. Once the event is created, Reveille will do the rest to create the reminders for you. They will also show up in your schedule view in Reveille as you would expect. That’s it! SMS event creation in Backpack enhanced with the power of Reveille reminders. Thanks for using Reveille! Learn more about...

Reveille: From Start to Finish in 85 Days

A few weeks back we introduced Reveille as a slick new way to tie your Backpack Calendar to Backpack Reminders.  Today we’re proud to say that Reveille is now available for anyone to check out. Only 85 Days…Part time mind you We built this fairly simplistic, but extremely useful application in 85 days while maintaining our current full time jobs, keeping our wives happy, spending time with our kids and helping with homework, serving at church, etc.  So, basically while we were living our normalish lives, we whipped this product out in our spare time. How we 4HWW’d and Got Real with Reveille As a “side” project, we had to make the most of our time and efforts.  We’re avid followers of 37signals and Tim Ferris so we applied many liberal doses of Getting Real and 4HWW to Reveille.  The end result of all the minimalist effort is that Reveille does basically one thing, it could do more, we’d like it to do much, much more, but for the time being it simply does this one thing:  Reveille automatically creates reminders for you based on your calendar items. We’re bootstrapping the project so we are very picky about what we actually spend money on. We actually developed Reveille on a PC turned server in DL’s basement. We purchased a slice from Slicehost to run our production site on.  We used Basecamp to help us manage the project so we could easily see what was left to do and make judgment calls as to the importance of those tasks.  We took advice from Guy Kawasaki and Dharmesh Shah and we...

Introducing Reveille

We are very excited to introduce, and give you a little preview of the first application from Wikid Labs. It’s called Reveille, and it is going to add some great new features to 37signals’ Backpack application that aren’t available today. Before we tell you more about the features, we want to explain a little of the history behind the idea for Reveille.  We have been happy users of 37signal’s Basecamp and Backpack for about two years. In fact, we’ve used Basecamp to manage the development of Reveille.  The idea for Reveille came as Greg’s wife was trying to move the family calendar completely into Backpack from iCal on her Mac, but was finding the management of reminders to be a bit of a challenge.  She wanted an easier way to add the reminders she was used to having, for instance, reminders for friends birthdays, or other important appointments. The solution hit Greg one day, late October, in the place where all good ideas seem to come, the shower. What we’ve ended up developing is a system for being able to automatically create reminders for Backpack calendar events by using special hashtags in the event names.  For example, you might want to create an event for an important meeting and be reminded of it two hours prior. Today, you have two choices in Backpack for doing this.  You could use the built-in event reminders set for 30 minutes before the event, which may not remind you when you want. Or, you could manually add a reminder for the event, which is way too much work in our opinion.  The new...