Marshmallow, the (unofficial) Campfire API, is hot Marc Hedlund 23 Jun 2006

22 comments Latest by John Puckett

Marshmallow is hot. At our company, we've set it up to send Subversion checkin notices and Capistrano deploy messages into our Campfire Development room:

Marshmallow screenshot

This turns out to be extremely useful. Not only are all the updates going to the same place; you also get to see how the checkins and deploys relate to the conversation. Awesome. I had been bugging Jason for a Campfire API, but now I don't need it. Ajax is API enough.

(Tip: remove 'import Reloadable' and change 'cattr_accessor :domain' to 'attr_accessor :domain' in order to run Marshmallow standalone (instead of as a Rails plugin).)

22 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Andrew Hollister 23 Jun 06

to a non-programmer it was like reading greek
but hey if you’re happy than I am happy

now just kill that file size limit in basecamp
and i’ll be really happy ;)

Cliff Spence 23 Jun 06

Though we haven’t implemented it yet, we’ve been looking into using Marshmallow with our Campfire account. It would definitely be useful; just need to find the time to mess with it.

I think an official API for Campfire would probably be even more useful than those available for other 37s products, hope there’s one on the way. :)

Luke Redpath 24 Jun 06

We’re also using it for checkin and deployment notices here at Campfire - its really useful to see when checkins occur. For our clients, to help them during the testing stage, I’ve also written a script that prints a list of all changes since the last deployment whenever we do a new deployment.

Luke Redpath 24 Jun 06

Here at Campfire? Doh. Here at Agile Evolved.

Marc Hedlund 24 Jun 06

Cliff, for the record, it took me about 20 minutes to get subversion checkin messages working. It’s pretty straightforward.

Amr Malik 24 Jun 06

Now how’s about an “official” api ? :)

Andrew Hollister 25 Jun 06

ken -

thanks for the tip, i have seen and even used it in the past. trouble is, when my corporate clients need to upload large files to me, i can’t ask them to jump thru the hoop…

it all falls in line with that “keep it simple” rule.

mike toreno 26 Jun 06

37 signals’ greatest flaw is not acknowledging prior art. this marshmallow thing appears to consist of the same basic ideas as IRC bots and IRC scripting.

lesson: if you can establish a cult of personality around yourself the way 37signals has, you can take old ideas, put a fresh coat of paint on them, charge money for it and people will love it. amazing.

Anonymous Coward 26 Jun 06

Mike, 37signals isn’t claiming anything about Marshmallow or bots or scripting. It was was just called “hot” and linked up.

Anonymous Coward 26 Jun 06


pwb 26 Jun 06

that DesignByFire article is funny how it bashes bad design and the examples it uses are 5 of the very most successful web properties. The lesson is that value trumps design. Pay more attention to functionality than to pixel pushing.

Mike 26 Jun 06

Not sure how much ammo DesignByFire can use considering they have an enormous grey scrolling bar in the middle of the screeen that obscures the text. As the saying goes, do as I say, not as I do.

Bill P 26 Jun 06

I agree 100% - DesignByFire is painful to read. I couldn’t even focus on the content.

I’ll take Jakob Nielsen’s ultra-simple readability over that big grey anchored monstrosity anyday.

Christopher Fahey 26 Jun 06

I wish there was some way of knowing what the hell it is you’re talking about. You announce that Marshmallow is hot, but you don’t describe what it is. Then you link to a site that announces the release of Marshmallow but which also neglects to spend even one word describing what it is.

You might answer “If you have to ask, it’s not for you”, but I doubt that’s true. I generally like things that are “hot”!

Ali Daniali 26 Jun 06

I have created a audioNote add-in for Backpack (, now I’m going to try to build a audio chat feature into Campfire. We’ll see :)


Mike Swimm 27 Jun 06


They actually do say exactly what it is in the headline “Campfire API”. It is the unofficial API or “Application Programming Interface” for Campfire.

An API is basically a tool to exchange information with a particular application. Sort of a back door to the data. I hate to say it but if you don’t know what it is you probably don’t need it :) It is undoubtedly hot for the people who want to extend the functionality of Campfire.

BTW your site is beautiful, I really like it.

Christopher Fahey 27 Jun 06

Thanks Mike, for the answer and the kind words! I do in fact know what an API is, but it’s such a generalized term that it still didn’t say to me what Marshmallow does specifically. It could be an API just for reading and not writing the data, or vice-versa. It might be something that only works for people who are development/business partners of 37s, not something open to the public. Maybe it’s a complete back door to *all* of the data, I suppose that makes sense. I guess I wanted to hear more along the lines of “You can do this with it, you can do that with it”. That’s what I meant by “what it is”.

Dan Wensley 27 Jun 06

Hmmm. He probably doesn’t need it if he doesn’t know what it is? Yikes Mike, I have a hard time with that. We speak a different language. He possibly could need it very badly, but we’re explaining it in a language he doesn’t understand.

Mike Swimm 27 Jun 06


I wasn’t trying to imply anything or be condescending with that statement. I was just sort of responding to his original comment where he said �If you have to ask, it�s not for you�.

John Puckett 06 Jul 06

I need a business card with a marshmallow on it for a scavenger hunt. Can any one help me?

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