Articles by Heitor Sergent

Heitor is a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Passionate about hackathons, games and entrepeneurship.

Hackathon: To Theme or Not to Theme?


Hackathons are already a giant movement worldwide, especially in the US and now in Europe with the recent launch of the MLH season in that region. They’ve been growing more and more in South America as people, communities, and companies are exposed to them and see the value in helping and organizing. A common question that hackathon organizers ask me is: Should we have a theme for our hackathon? Well, let’s do a blog post to help answer that question! What’s a Hackathon? So let’s start by quickly defining a hackathon: Hackathons are time-limited events that will usually vary between 1-3 days, where mostly tech-related people such as developers and designers, and non-technical people get together to work on projects.

Double Opt-In Email With Node.js


To get a good reputation as a sender, one of the email best practices we encourage our users to implement is the double opt-in. It’s actually a very simple practice: after a user gives you his/her email, you store their information with an authentication token and a boolean variable. The authentication token is just a randomly generated value. After the user signs up for your newsletter or service, you want to send a simple email asking them to click on a link. This link will have their token and take them to a URL that will make a request to the database, search for the same token, and set that user’s boolean variable to “true.” This means they have a good

NSLog(@”Updated iOS Library”)


Most ESPs make sending email through their services super easy. On top of that, we at SendGrid have libraries for most languages/frameworks like, Node, C#, Java, etc. Last year Kunal Batra created the Objective-C library, and we had great feedback from a lot of people saying how easy it was to use. During the past couple weeks I spent some time working on the Objective-C library, and getting it more up-to-date with the others. Now, as in other languages, we have a library called “SMTPAPI,” which helps easily build the X-SMTPAPI headers for additional functionality while sending email. We also have the SendGrid library that contains an object called SendGrid, which takes care of authentication and sending email. Finally, we have a class called SendGridEmail,

Productivity Tools for Work-Life Balance

Unending paper

Working smart is part of any job. As a developer evangelist, I have to play multiple roles, and there are some tools that I always rely on to help me do a better/faster job. Here are some of them, and hopefully they can also be of use to you. Email Tools Boomerang Boomerang for Gmail is a Chrome/Firefox/Safari extension that lets you schedule emails to be sent later, or set reminders. I love this tool and have been using it non-stop since the day I installed. Replying to emails at 1am (not recommended, but it happens) and don’t want to bother people? Just schedule it to be sent in the morning of the next day. Want the email to get

Animated GIFs Inside Your Inbox


Want to bring a smile to your face? Try sending yourself an animated GIF. Once a sign of Web 1.0, these graphics are now such a form of expression that there’s a startup just to search them. In this post, I’ll show you how to use an API to find GIFs and the SendGrid Inbound Parse Webhook to request specific search terms. The end result, of course, are animated GIFs inside your inbox.   The demo application uses Giphy to search for animated GIFs. Before I show the technology behind the application, try it out using either the email or web interface: Email with your query in the subject Or check out the web interface The application is built

Developer Organizers of Brazil Unite

sao paulo

I’m a developer. I try to be an active member of the developer community, in Brazil and the surrounding region. I wrote a Latin America year in review about the unique opportunities and challenges in my community. There aren’t as many developer events here and we need to change that. Much of my role at SendGrid is finding out what communities need to grow, and helping them with that, or co-organizing and starting events. Here are a few recent and upcoming events that I’ve had a hand in: devbeers API Hack Day SP BRAPPS Hackathon Docker Meetup SP Startup Weekend Education To encourage these sorts of events, I started a group with the leaders/organizers of all the communities in São

How to Help your Local Developer Community


Part of being a developer evangelist is helping support and nurture the local community. When you’re just starting something new, like developing in a new language, starting your own company, or even starting a new habit like reading a book every week, being a part of a community can be the difference between having a great…or having an awesome experience. But the thought of it may seem a little intimidating, so here are some tips to help you get started. Look for communities First things first–look for existing communities. There are a myriad of social networks /community sites that you can look into, but some starting points would be: Facebook (searching or asking for friends–people love helping) Google+ Google Groups

Latin America Developer Ecosystem: A Year in Review

sao paulo

Four months ago I started working for SendGrid as a Developer Evangelist in Latin America. It was a big challenge to take on, and I’ve been in touch with more people than I can count in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Colombia. Here are some of the challenges I’ve been facing and my impressions about them: Hackathons Hackathons have been growing a lot during the past couple years. They have been growing so much that they are gathering crowds of hundreds of people, giving 1 million dollar prizes, and causing some controversy. And now, there’s even a college league just for hackathons. But there’s a different story going on in Latin America. Hackathons have not yet become these million dollar, thousand people events in

Send Email From Your Unity Game


There’s a huge opportunity for email games, as I wrote in a previous post. There’s also a need for email within games. Unity is a popular tool for publishing multi-platform games. But what about sending email from Unity? I decided to share how I did this with SendGrid. When you’re developing in Unity you can use either C#, Javascript, or Boo. I’m going to show an example using C# to send email through SMTP using SendGrid’s SMTP API and by making a simple HTTP request using the Web API. First, to send using SMTP is really simple. You can use the System.Net.Mail library to use the MailMessage and SmtpClient classes: To use SendGrid’s SMTP API all you have to do

Find Email Games in Your Inbox

Company, Technical
A crazy game of chess

Since my early days I’ve been a fan of games. Besides having fun and exploring fantasy worlds, they have basically taught me English, and I bet they improved my rational thinking and hand-eye coordination, amongst other things. My passion for games didn’t just stop at playing them. Before joining SendGrid I was developing games for a living. I made some games for Windows Phone (I loved my HTC Ultimate), a couple Flash prototypes, and an iOS game. So, as soon as I started on this job I was thinking, how can I put together my passion for games together with email? Before jumping in and starting to develop a game, I decided to look further into what people have done,

A Day at a Hackathon as a Developer Evangelist

Ping pong at API Hackday Denver

I had a lot of experience participating at hackathons, but not too many participating as a Developer Evangelist. Last month’s API Hackday Denver edition was my first time representing SendGrid. I thought that the event, which took place at our Denver offices, would be an interesting glimpse into how the typical hack day goes by for us. 6am – Waking up! The day starts early at the hotel, wake up with my alarm clock set at 5:30, 5:45 and 6 to make sure I don’t oversleep. Shower, put some SendGrid clothes on (always an easy choice), pack my notebook, chargers, my extra Innergie battery and grab some coffee at a café nearby. 7:30am – Breakfast Arrive at SendGrid’s office to

How to Win a Hackathon (or Increase Your Odds)

Photo by Adam Goode

Though I am a new SendGrid developer evangelist for Latin America, before landing the job I attended a lot of hackathons. That track record was a big part of me getting the job. I have competed in more than 10 hackathons in the past years, winning prizes at several. I even took first place at Evernote’s hackathon and The Next Web Hack Battle in São Paulo. I honestly love hackathons. They are a great way for you to learn new things, improve workflow, improve communication with your team, build cool things, meet new people, and get awesome prizes. And now I want to share some of the things I learned after participating in so many of these events, and hopefully