Articles by Brandon West


Brandon West

As Director of Developer Relations for SendGrid, Brandon's focus is on empowering developers to build things, gathering feedback for new features and improvements, and fostering a cooperative developer community for anything that needs email integration.

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How to Migrate From Mandrill to SendGrid

Brandon West Product
how to migrate from Mandrill to SendGrid

With yesterday’s announcement that Mandrill is becoming a paid “add-on” to MailChimp, we understand that current Mandrill customers are looking for other providers to help send their mail and to do it quickly. We want to make that as easy as possible here at SendGrid. This how-to will highlight some of the main differences between sending email via Mandrill and sending … Read more ›


How to Open Source Your Code in 11 Steps

Brandon West Community, Technical
checklist

Before you open source a library, there are a few things that you need to do to ensure you’re following all the rules and that the code is ready for the community. Here’s the 11 step pre-flight checklist that we put together internally at SendGrid: Check the code to make sure that no proprietary information like usernames and passwords are … Read more ›


Simple Webhook Testing Using Sinatra and ngrok

Brandon West Technical
Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 1.04.34 PM

Webhooks allow for simple, deep integration between apps and services, but debugging them can be a little painful. We have a general guide to debugging webhooks, but you probably want to know what the quickest webhook test environment is for setting-up and using. It’s hard to beat Sinatra and ngrok for this purpose. Or, if you’d rather use node.js, you can check-out Martyn’s … Read more ›


Docs Antipatterns (Part 2)

Brandon West Technical
Antipattern

I previously wrote down a few documentation antipatterns, or descriptions of commonly seen bad solutions to problems. If you’re not quite sure what an antipattern is, it’s explained in that blog post. I’d like to present a couple more documentation antipatterns to avoid, both drawn from experiences that we’ve had in the past, but have solved along the way. Antipattern: … Read more ›


The 4 S’s of a Good API Demo

Brandon West Community
scotty_optimized

Guy Kawasaki’s “The Macintosh Way,” is packed with good advice and is a quick read that you should absolutely check out. You can get The Macintosh Way as a free download. In it, there’s a chapter called “How to Give Good Demo,” where Kawasaki suggests that good demos should be short, simple, sweet, swift, and substantial, and that starting with … Read more ›


Open Source Documentation: One Year Later

Brandon West Community, Technical
SendGrid docs

A year ago, we open sourced our documentation, with the hypothesis that it would improve the docs by adding feedback loops and removing barriers that discourage contribution. We also wanted to share what we had learned during the process. I’m glad to say that so far the results have been good, and the decision to open source our documentation continues … Read more ›


The 3 C’s of Developer Relations

Brandon West Community
PuzzlePiece

A lot of people ask what a Developer Evangelist does, and the answers can vary a bit depending on which company they work for, and how the team is placed within the organization. Regardless of the tactics in place, all of them are based on a few core principles of Developer Relations, which I call the 3 C’s: Community, Code, and … Read more ›


4 Common Antipatterns to Avoid in Your Documentation

Brandon West Technical
Apple iTunes RSS

Design patterns are powerful things. They help us short-circuit a lot of trial and error by relying on the past experience of others. They provide a common lexicon for communicating complex concepts. And, applied thoughtfully, design patterns improve our understanding of our craft as well as its effectiveness. And you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned software. Design patterns exist for many … Read more ›


Technical Debt is Not a Bad Thing

Brandon West Technical
question-mark

If you work around developers, you have probably heard the term “technical debt.” It’s a widely used metaphor that is useful when considering how to build and maintain software. The term was coined by Ward Cunningham, a computer scientist who created the idea of a wiki and contributed heavily to the development of object-oriented design patterns. But even though the … Read more ›


How I Evaluate A Developer Evangelist Candidate

Brandon West Community
hollywood-hack-day-6

Interviewing a developer evangelist is tricky because there’s a variety of hard and soft skills required. An evangelist has to be a strong developer, but also has to wear many other hats, work horizontally across departments, and be an engaging and helpful participant at events. If you’re wondering what the day-to-day duties of an evangelist might look like, check out … Read more ›