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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Two Years: A Long Time as an Evangelist

Brandon West Company
Two years of lanyards

24 months. It doesn’t seem to add up; “Developer Evangelist” still seems like the job I just started. I guess after writing code for a third of my life, that’s true. Learning and doing new things keeps me busy enough that I haven’t paid much attention to time sneaking past me. You could say that a lot has happened in those two years and nobody would call you a liar. SendGrid has raised more money, quintupled the number of employees, hit a couple bumps in the road along the way and continued a rapid pace of growth. When they offered me a job two years ago, I could tell this was a great company with a lot of potential. It

Learn to Code: Build a Conceptual Framework

Brandon West Technical

When we last talked about learning to code I recommended learning program design before jumping into choosing a program language and writing code. The hardest thing about learning new tech is getting the conceptual framework. My question may be simple, but I don’t know how to ask. — Sarah Allen (@ultrasaurus) July 4, 2013   Sarah Allen is speaking about complex systems in general, but her tweet gets right to the heart of why it’s important to learn flow control structures, simple data modeling, and program design if you want to be a developer: these tools give you the conceptual framework and vocabulary needed to discuss programming with other developers, which is necessary for you to be able to effectively comprehend

Advanced Statistics Available Via API

Brandon West Best Practices, Product, Technical

Earlier this year we added a few beta statistical reports that show you the location, device and browser information, and ISPs of the recipients that click and open the emails you send. We have been working hard on improving these reports and integrating them more fully with the rest of our offerings. You can now retrieve these statistics via our Web API so you can crunch the numbers as you see fit or display them in your application’s dashboard. Head over to the Advanced Stats API documentation for more details and example calls. Happy coding!

Announcing the Official SendGrid Perl Library

Brandon West Company, Product, Technical
Good news, everyone!

Good news, everyone! We’ve open sourced an officially supported Perl library for SendGrid. We have used this library internally for some time and decided to release it for the community to use and improve. The readme on github has more information on how to get things going, but the code for sending a simple email and using some SendGrid features looks like this:   Packaging this library and getting the tests to run was fun since I had never touched Perl before. There is tons of good material out there regarding Perl, as you would expect given its history and popularity. Like any language, there are several different ways to accomplish the same tasks, so I got caught up a

What’s in Your Developer Evangelist Travel Kit?

Brandon West Company
Evangelist tools

Evangelists arrive at airport gates with just enough time to board. They have stockpiles of frequent flyer miles and memberships in a variety of hotel loyalty programs. They know exactly how to pack their bag depending on where they’re heading and for how long. I asked a few fellow road warriors what ends up in their travel kits when they prepare to head out. The most common items are a supplemental battery pack like a Mophie Juice Pack or Zagg Sparq for those moments when your phone is at 5% and you’re trying to map your way back to the hotel, a variety of display adapters for plugging in to monitors and projectors, a mobile hotspot, a notebook, and some

New SendGrid Documentation Launched

Brandon West Company, Product

Today SendGrid is excited to announce our new and improved documentation! Some of the highlights of the new system are: Quicker load times Improved navigation and organization More relevant search results Increased legibility Cleaner presentation of code samples Ability to toggle between JSON and XML examples The new system will allow us to collaborate on updates and changes much more quickly, and we hope that the changes will allow developers to find what they need quicker than before. We’d love to hear your feedback on how you like the changes or what we can do to make things better, so feel free to email us.

Lone Star Ruby Hackathon Recap

Brandon West Events
LSRC Hackathon

Last weekend after the Lone Star Ruby Conference in Austin, a group of developers gathered at Capital Factory for an overnight hackathon with a focus on communications. In addition to the awesome support and space donated by Capital Factory, the event was put on by, Twilio, SendGrid, and Searchify. The prizes were big ticket items, with first place taking home a MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and the runner-up getting a Thunderbolt Cinema Display. There were also prizes for the best use of Twilio and the best use of SendGrid. Read More ›

A Hackathon with a Civic Focus: Colorado Code for Communities

Brandon West Events
Code for Communities Logo

I see a lot of ideas at hackathons that are fun but not necessarily useful, or that are useful but not solving big problems. That’s not a judgment on building things solely for fun or as novelties; that’s a big part of the spirit of hacking, and it’s hard to tackle big problems in a couple days. But the focus was a little bit different at the Colorado Code for Communities hackathon last weekend at Uncubed in Denver, where a group of hackers, local representatives and local sponsors got together to “build and improve the latest apps that bring sustainability into the forefront of everyone’s lives.” The structure of the event was a little different as well. Everyone was asked

Hacking for Stacks of Cash: API Hackday Portland recap

Brandon West Events
Stack of Cash

Stack of CashPortland is one of my favorite cities. There’s amazing beer, ridiculously good coffee, a variety of awesome restaurants and food carts, a great public transit system, and a bunch of friendly people. There’s also a solid tech scene that is growing with the help of incubators like PIE. It’s easy to see why companies and their employees might want to start in Portland or relocate there, and that makes it a great place for hackdays.

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SendGrid’s API Workshop – Interactive API Documentation

Brandon West Best Practices, Product, Technical

We have updated this system and moved it, please check out our Code Workshop here.

Sometimes it’s easier to understand how something works by seeing it in action rather than by reading about it. To make it easier to explore what our API is capable of and let customers try out API calls without having to write code, we’ve created our API Workshop.

Ready to take it for a spin? Start by putting in your SendGrid credentials:

API Workshop Credentials

Read More ›

Use SendGrid SMTP with SocialEngine

Brandon West Partnerships, Product, Technical

SocialEngine is social network software that helps users build their own customized community websites. With over 8,000 websites utilizing their software, they are one of the most popular social networking web applications around. The following video shows how you can setup SocialEngine to send emails through the cloud-based SendGrid SMTP service. If you haven’t checked out SocialEngine and are thinking about adding social networking features to your website, give them a look. If you’re an existing SocialEngine customer, integrate with your SendGrid and start seeing the benefits of analytics, improved deliverability, and a flexible API for your email needs.