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Building an Automated Door Lock System with Drupal 8

If you've been in web development for any length of time, a relative, friend or stranger has had an idea for you. This typically involves listening to a lengthy plan of how their idea will make them rich while you try to pretend that you care.

Finally, a friend of mine had a good idea. He had just purchased a Bed & Breakfast with an automated door lock system. He wanted to create a method to automatically send a guest their door keycode on the check-in date. My wheels started spinning, can I build this in Drupal? Yes!

Key Components:

  • Webhooks - Booking engine with webhook functionality. Anytime someone books a room or a booking is updated, this webhook is fired and pings a url in D8 that has been configured to consume the JSON data passed from the webhook.
  • Drupal’s Queue System - The JSON data from the webhook is added to Drupal's Queue system to be processed later as a booking entity containing the start date of their stay, contact information, etc.
  • CRON - Using Drupal's cron system, a check is made to see if any bookings are starting today. If there are, they are added to an Email queue and/or SMS queue to be sent out.
  • Twilio - For SMS notifications
  • SendGrid - For email notifications 
  • Home Assistant - Using the REST API from Home Assistant (open source home automation software running on a Raspberry PI) we'll be able to automatically remove and add new PIN codes.

Although a complex setup, this method provides you with the security of ensuring the right people have access to your house. By leveraging Drupal, I was amazed how easily this could be pulled of. With all the great functionality in core, the solution requires minimal custom code.

Some base understanding of Drupal 8 code and concepts will be helpful as we dive in and look at:

  • Scalability - Using Drupal's Queue System to delay process intensive actions.
  • Security - Integration with the Key module for storing API keys.
  • Reliability - Integrating with third party services like SendGrid and Twilio for notifications.
  • Reusability - Leverage Drupal Services for code organization and reuse.

My hope is that you'll leave with a renewed appreciation of how flexible Drupal can be.

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