How to Receive and Respond to Incoming MMS Messages in PHP with Laravel and Plivo

Overview

This guide shows how to receive and automatically respond to incoming MMS messages on a Plivo number, as you might want to do for someone who’s out of the office or who leaves the company.

Here’s how to use Plivo’s SMS APIs to build this use case.

Prerequisites

To get started, you need a Plivo account — sign up with your work email address if you don’t have one already. To receive incoming messages you must have a Plivo phone number that supports MMS; you can rent numbers from the Numbers page of the Plivo console or by using the Numbers API. If this is your first time using Plivo APIs, follow our instructions to set up a PHP development environment and a web server and safely expose that server to the internet.

Create a Laravel controller to receive and respond to messages

Change to the project directory and run this command.

$ php artisan make:controller SMSController

This command generates a controller named SMSController in the app/http/controllers/ directory. Edit app/http/controllers/SMSController.php and paste into it this code.

<?php

namespace App\Http\Controllers;

use Illuminate\Http\Request;
use Plivo\XML\Response;

class SMSController extends Controller
{
    public function autoresponder()
    {
        $from_number = $_POST["From"];
        $to_number = $_POST["To"];
        $text = $_POST["Text"];
        $media_url = $_REQUEST["Media0"];
        echo("Message received - From $from_number, To: $to_number, Text: $text, Media: $media_url");

        if (strtolower($text) == "hi")
            $text = "Hello!"
            $media = ["https://media.giphy.com/media/888R35MJTmDxQfRzfS/giphy.gif"]
        else if (strtolower($text) == "bye")
            $text = "Bye and have a nice day!"
            $media = ["https://media.giphy.com/media/QM5lHSyFjz1XW/giphy.gif"]
        else
            $text = "I'm glad that we connected"
            $media = ["https://media.giphy.com/media/888R35MJTmDxQfRzfS/giphy.gif"]

            $client = new RestClient("<auth_id>","<auth_token>");
            $client->client->setTimeout(40);
                $response = $client->messages->create(
                   [  
                    "src" => $to_number,
                    "dst" => $from_number,
                    "text"  =>$body,
                    "type" => "mms", 
                    "media_urls" => $media, 
                 ]);
                 echo json_encode($response);
    }
}

Replace the auth placeholders with your authentication credentials from the Plivo console. Replace the phone number placeholders with actual phone numbers in E.164 format (for example, +12025551234). In countries other than the US and Canada you can use a sender ID for the message source. You must have a Plivo phone number to send messages to the US or Canada; you can buy a Plivo number from Phone Numbers > Buy Numbers on the Plivo console or via the Numbers API.

Add a route

Edit routes/web.php and add this line at the end of the file.

Route::match(['get', 'post'], '/autoresponder', 'SMSController@autoresponder');
Note: If you’re using Laravel 8, use the fully qualified class name for your controllers — for example:
Route::match(['get', 'post'], '/sendSMS', 'App\Http\Controllers\SMSController@sendSMS');

For ngrok test, add this line to mylaravelapp/quickstart/app/Http/Middleware/VerifyCsrfToken.php.
protected $except = ['*'];

Run your code.

$ php artisan serve

You should see your basic server application in action at http://localhost:8000/autoresponder.

Set up ngrok to expose your local server to the internet.

Create a Plivo application for the autoresponder

Associate the controller you created with Plivo by creating a Plivo application. Visiting Messaging > Applications and click Add New Application. You can also use Plivo’s Application API.

Give your application a name — we called ours Autoresponder. Enter the server URL you want to use (for example https://<yourdomain>.com/autoresponder/) in the Message URL field and set the method to POST. Click Create Application to save your application.

Create Application

Assign a Plivo number to your application

Navigate to the Numbers page and select the phone number you want to use for this application. From the Application Type drop-down, select XML Application. From the Plivo Application drop-down, select Autoresponder (the name we gave the application). Click Update Number to save.

Test

Send a text message to the Plivo number you specified using any phone. The message should be replied to the destination number you specified.

Note: If you’re using a Plivo Trial account, you can make calls only to phone numbers that have been verified with Plivo. You can verify (sandbox) a number by going to the console’s Phone Numbers Sandbox Numbers page.


Haven’t tried Plivo yet? Getting started is easy and only takes minutes. Sign up today.

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