Author Archives: Elmer Thomas

About Elmer Thomas

Elmer Thomas is SendGrid's Hacker in Residence. His mission is to help SendGrid live up to its slogan: "Email Delivery. Simplified" by improving the lives of developers, both internally and externally. Via all sorts of hackery, of course. Follow his exploits on Twitter and GitHub.

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Articles Posted by Elmer


Tracking Email Using Microsoft Azure and the SendGrid Event Webhook (Part 2)

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Welcome back to the second part of my series about building a Windows Phone 8.1 app to track email powered by Microsoft Azure and SendGrid’s Event Webhook. If you haven’t read part one in this series, please do so before continuing. Recap In part one, we implemented the SendGrid Event Webhook listener using C# ASP.NET hosted on Microsoft Azure. In this post (part two), we will create a Windows Phone 8.1 app that displays email tracking data via the SendGrid Web API. In part three of this series, we will send push notifications from our SendGrid Event Webhook listener when

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Tracking Email Using Microsoft Azure and the SendGrid Event Webhook (Part 1)

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At the end of this three-part blog post, you will have created a Windows Phone app that can receive push notifications when certain email events happen (e.g. email opened or link clicked), in near real-time. In this first post, we’ll implement the SendGrid Event Webhook listener. Specifically, a C# ASP.NET application on Azure. Part two will cover creating a Windows Phone 8.1 app that displays email tracking data via the SendGrid Web API. In part three, we’ll send push notifications from our SendGrid Event Webhook listener when certain events, such as a bounce, occur. Prerequisites/Assumptions This code (source) was developed

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Quantify Thyself: Creating a Personal Life API

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I recently had the great privilege to speak at self.conference 2014 in Detroit. I used this opportunity to share the idea of creating a Personal Life API with Detroit’s amazing developer community. Following is the summary of that talk. Be sure to check out all the other interesting talks at Github. We all know that data is easy to collect, but difficult to collate and decipher. With the Personal Life API, we will simplify that process and liberate your personal data. In this post, we will learn what data to quantify, how to automagically gather that data, and then we

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Develop Native Android Apps on Your Chromebook

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If you were fortunate enough to receive a Chromebook Pixel at last year’s Google I/O (or picked one up on the after-market), your glee was likely replaced by frustration as you tried to use it as a dev machine. Enter Crouton, a solution that allows you to run Ubuntu Linux within your Google Chrome environment, no reboot necessary. When I wrote a blog post about sending email within a native Android application, I decided to give Crouton a spin and find out if it was possible to do Android native development on a Chromebook Pixel. I came across a few

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Create and Use Life Automation Bots

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If you’re expecting to build a Terminator, this is probably the wrong post. But you may remember from my earlier bot automation post that bots are clever pieces of software or hardware that automate one or more tasks. Hopefully your mind is stimulated with a list of tasks for your Bot Army, so let’s look at platforms, APIs, and other tools to help you create your own customized Bots from scratch. Apps There are a ton of ready made apps dedicated to the overall umbrella topic of Productivity. Here, I’ll point you towards a few that I have found to

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Automate Your Life with a Bot Army

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When I upset my 8 year old daughter, she sent me a text message with a digital Poop Army. In this post, I want to show you how to create your own digital Army, but instead of Poop, our Army will consist of Bots. And instead of wielding your Bot Army in anger, we will use our Army for peace and happiness. Why do we need a Bot Army? Because there are only 24 hours in a day and we need more like 48 hours these days, so lets train the Bots to handle those extra 24. For the purpose

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Your Programming Style Guide Checklist

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Every programming language or framework has a defined coding style guide. It’s generally a good idea to conform to that style guide for the sake of collaboration and maintainability. In this post, we will walk through the process of creating a personal programming (project level) style guide and templates that will combine to serve as a checklist for your projects. Over time, you will have created several checklists for various development scenarios. The upfront investment to create these documents should save you many hours of time throughout your hacking adventures. Location I suggest you create a directory to store these

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