Showing posts with label nodejs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nodejs. Show all posts

Friday, August 3, 2012

Passing Cookies to a Node.js REST Client

In Node.js if you want to pass the current user's Cookies to a REST call your making from the server here's a simple way to do it:

var cookies =, function(val, key) {
    return key + "=" + encodeURIComponent(val);
}).join("; ");

rest.get("", {
    headers: {
        Cookie: cookies,
        "Content-Type": "application/json"
  }).on("complete", function(data) {
    return console.log(data);

This example uses the popular Restler library, but I assume you could do something similar with other libraries or without using a library.

CAUTION: I'm using encodeURIComponent on the cookie value. Ruby on Rails seems to expect their cookies to be encoded like this. On the other hand, I've looked throw a few Node.js libraries that deal with cookies and they don't seem to manipulate the value at all. So you can play with adding or removing encodeURIComponent.

If you start to get errors when making the REST request, be sure to check the cookie encoding/format versus what Firebug sends on a normal request to the site. Pay particular attention to any special characters.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Add support for LESS to Node.js connect-assetmanager package

The connect-assetmanager Node.js package allows you to combine multiple javascript and CSS files into one and also do other manipulations like minification.

It's part of Mathias Pettersson's (mape) excellent node-express-boilerplate template.

If you're also using LESS for CSS here is some code you can add to get connect-assetmanager to process you're LESS files:

var assetsSettings;
assetsSettings = {
  js: {
    route: /\/static\/js\/[a-z0-9]+\/.*\.js/,
    path: "./public/javascripts/",
    dataType: "javascript",
    files: ["libs/underscore-min.js" "libs/", siteConf.uri + "/nowjs/now.js", "site.js"],
    debug: siteConf.debug,
    stale: !siteConf.debug
  css: {
    route: /\/static\/css\/[a-z0-9]+\/.*\.css/,
    path: "./public/stylesheets/",
    dataType: "css",
    files: ["libs/", "style.less"],
    debug: siteConf.debug,
    stale: !siteConf.debug,
    preManipulate: {
      "^": [
        function(file, path, index, isLast, callback) {
          var match;
          match = path.match(/\.less$/);
          if ((match != null) && match.length > 0) {
            return less.render(file, function(e, css) {
              return callback(css);
          } else {
            return callback(file);

The import part is the preManipulate line under css but I include my entire assetsSettings from a project to make it easier to understand.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Using Siri For Home Automation

I've created a Twilio, Node.js mash up that allows me to control appliances and the thermostat in my house using the iPhone 4S's Siri voice recognition.

Here's a demo of turning on my bedroom fan.

How does this work? From Siri to the end result the chain goes:
  1. Siri 
  2. Twilio SMS number
  3. Node web application
  4. Indigo Web Server
  5. Insteon thermostat/appliance

Let's go through the setup in reverse order in more detail.

Insteon and Indigo

I purchased the following items last year from Amazon to add some basic home automation to my house.

I have a Mac Mini I use as a server which is connected to the PowerLinc Modem via USB. The Indigo software communicates two-way with the Insteon devices in my home via the PowerLinc. In addition to a native iPhone app, the Indigo software has both a web interface and RESTful Api you can use to control your devices.

Node.js Web Application

The Node.js application is the middle man between Twilio and the Indigo web server. When Twilio POSTs the incoming SMS message to the Node app, it parses the message and determines the appropriate Api call to make on the Indigo web server. I wrote some semi-fuzzy logic so the phrases you use don't have to be exact.

For hosting the Node app I picked Heroku because it's convenient to use and free.


Setting up Twilio was super easy. I created a Twilio account, purchased a phone number for $1/month, and entered the Url of my Node app that receives the incoming SMS messages.


To make communicating with my Twilio phone number easy I added a contact called "Gladys" (could be anything but I'm a Portal fan) and associated the Twilio number with her.

I can now control my appliances using the following commands:
  • Tell Gladys to set thermostat to 73
  • Tell Gladys to turn off the bedroom fan

I originally wanted to turn this into a public Siri to Url web service, but I question the demand for such a thing considering trying to make this "generic" would take a lot of time. So if you're interested in adding Siri control to your own use case and don't have programming skills, I'm available for hire and can whip you up something to suite your exact needs. ;)

UPDATE 10/28/2011:
Big thanks to technabob for the coverage! He brought up a good point though, this could easily be faked. Here's a screen shot of my Heroku logs with debugging output on the left and Node.js code for the "fuzzy logic" on the right. Not indisputable evidence but I assure you it's working exactly like it does in the video. ;)