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Shubox JS Library Now With Webcam Support

A few months ago I was out to lunch with my friend, Matt Sly. When he and I get together to catch up, we’d normally shoot the breeze about anything and everything — our families, our day jobs, basketball, politics, what have you. Inevitably it would end up with one of us opening up our laptop to discuss what’s going on with our passion projects. For me that’s Shubox, of course, and for Matt it’s FutureMe. FutureMe has been around for a long time. Eighteen years! That is a significant amount of time. That’s a window of time to accrue a healthy amount of cruft and old tech, a patina of bits and bytes in a long-lived codebase. Which leads us to this particular lunch for Matt and I. This time there was something specific that caught my eye while Matt and I were looking over the FutureMe code — something so stark that I was compelled to ask, “Friend, what on earth is this SWF file?”

He replied that “that is a remnant from the days I allowed people to take photos of themselves and attach them to the letters they’d send to themselves in the future”. It was a Flash component that interfaced with webcams.

We bandied around the idea that with the native controls available in browsers these days he, we, could replace that old relic with good old JavaScript.

“Why don’t you build that right into Shubox? Think you could?”, he asked.

Think I could? Was that a challenge? Well. Challenge accepted.

That little feature is now released to npm with version 0.3.0 of the Shubox JS library. It’s a preliminary take on support for webcam(s) where there exists some opportunity for further refinement and growth. Things to be added in the future — selecting from available cameras, video and audio support, event lifecycle callbacks, etc.

To give you an idea of what it takes to get this set up, let’s show you a little code. If we have a div that’s properly sized to hold the camera preview:

<div id="webcam-photo"
     class="webcam"
     style="width: 640px; height: 360px;"></div>

<script type="text/javascript">
  new Shubox('#webcam-photo', {
    key: '[shubox key]',
    webcam: 'photo',
    success: function(file) {
      console.log(file.s3url)
    },
  })
</script>

Done! That is it! If you’ve set up your bucket correctly, clicking the div will start the camera. Clicking it again will take the photo. And then finally upload it to S3.

For more information, documentation, demos, gifs, visit the GitHub repo and take a look! If you’d like to see this in action head over to FutureMe and write the future you a letter. Attach a selfie while you’re at it!

Follow us, or let us know what you think, on Twitter at @shuboxio