Zack Michener


My apartment building, like a lot of buildings in Seattle, has an intercom system for guests. When someone comes to visit, they punch in my apartment number, I get a phone call, and I can press “9” to have the door buzz open. This is super convenient for letting people up, or even letting people in to check on my plants while I’m traveling. However, it’s less convenient when I have a bunch of people over for drinks. I keep having to respond to phone calls from the door to let people in.

So, of course, I decided to automate it. I actually stole the idea from my friend Alex, who built a similar solution in python, but the project was simple enough that I used it to learn a couple new technologies. In fact, Doorman is in perhaps it’s fourth or fifth version, since it’s so useful for learning new Web frameworks — I originally wrote it in Node.js, then Rails, then AWS serverless, and now in Phoenix (Elixir). I also wrote a simple iOS app for it, but the app never felt as polished as I wanted — but I’m sure I’ll resurrect it someday.