Articles by Martyn Davies

Martyn Davies is a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid and a creative developer based in London. He has worked in technology for over 14 years with a background in both the music industry and technology. A serial hackathon organiser, mentor and startup advisor, you’ll find him presenting, demoing, hacking and chatting at hack days, conferences and meetups in the UK & Europe on a regular basis.

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Test SendGrid Webhooks with ngrok

Best Practices, Technical

SendGrid’s webhooks for inbound parse (receiving email) and events are great for hacking with, but they can be difficult to test in a productive manner because you have to keep deploying your code to the live server in order to get our webhooks to hit it, right? Wrong. In this post I’m going to show you how to work with ngrok to make local development with webhooks easier than ever. Install ngrok on Your Development Machine It’s always nice when there’s a good set of installers for things like this, you can download ngrok for OSX, Linux and Windows. It’s worth noting that ngrok doesn’t automatically symlink to your /bin folder, so to start out just copy the ngrok file Read More ›

Oh, Cardless: My Business Card Email App

Events, Product, Technical
Screengrab of Martyn's use of Oh, Cardless

Due to a recent printing fail, I’ve found myself without any business cards and I’m about to head out to How To Web in Bucharest for 3 days where I’m certain I’ll meet a few folks who ask for my details. Luckily, I work for a company that makes sending and receiving emails from an application easy, so I whipped up this quick app using SendGrid and Heroku to give me a quick autoresponder on my vanity email address that will send a digital version of my business card out to whomever emails that address. It’s quick to turn around and gets my details direct to their inbox. Install Start by cloning the repository: git clone Then follow these Read More ›

21 cities, 11 countries, One Year as a Developer Evangelist


Friday 27th July 2012 was the day I concluded the interview process for the role of Developer Evangelist at SendGrid. After talking with all of the team and the VP of Marketing, my final ‘chat’ was a late afternoon call with CEO Jim Franklin. An interview that will stay with me because we hardly talked about work stuff, mostly the kind of British food Jim liked and, somehow, something about trousers. Jim wrapped up the call by saying that he should probably let me get on. After all, wasn’t the Olympic opening ceremony about to start? It was a great interview process, very different to the usual two interviews I had done for previous roles. Each member of the team Read More ›

Handy Little Library to Check Legit Email Domains

Best Practices, Product, Technical

Maintaining good sending practices is key to ensuring your reputation with ISPs remains high and your emails get through in a timely manner Our sending practices documentation states: Typos happen. Pre-screen the email addresses you collect before you send the invitation. Ensure addresses are syntactically correct, and that the domain part of the address has a DNS MX record (which indicates that the domain accepts mail). Even if you do all the appropriate checks on the client side, such as checking for valid formatting, you’re still going to end up with some addresses in your system that are probably less than perfect. The format of an email address is a little more straightforward than determining whether the domain can accept Read More ›

European Developer Evangelists: How to Hire One, How to Be One


It’s been nearly a year since I made the move from developer to developer evangelist. As I see it, I get paid to do what I’d been doing anyway: hacking on projects and helping developers across Europe do the same. There are now more of my brethren on this continent, as I shared in The Rise and Rise of Developer Evangelism in Europe on The Next Web. Let’s look at why we’re seeing growth in Europe and what it takes to hire an evangelist or be hired as one. Why Evangelism is Growing in Europe Most current evangelists in Europe represent US-based companies. My fellow evangelists and I have noted a trend toward European startups looking to hire. Why now? Read More ›

Build a Natural Language Processor and Keep Things Sorted

Product, Technical

Our inbound parse webhook makes it easy to start receiving emails into your application. Once you dig in you can start creating some really awesome internal tools to deal with what’s being sent to you. One of the types of emails you might be receiving is from your customers, and if you have a lot of customers this is probably going to amount to a huge pile of emails that may or may not get addressed in a timely manner, especially if you have no way of knowing which emails you should be prioritising. But what if you did know? In this article I’m going to intro you to the basics of Natural Language Processing, and more specifically how to Read More ›

Join the Queues Using Messaging and SendGrid

Partnerships, Product, Technical

When building applications there are often many tasks you require your user to perform that can take up quite a lot of time. Processing avatar images, preparing large files for download or importing data from a series of connected accounts are all tasks that, whilst they might be essential, should feel quick and seamless for the user. Handling tasks such as these inside application logic may be fine at first, but at a certain scale, if you’re making users wait whilst their account information imports because you’ve got several processes tied up doing it, they’re going to start considering their options elsewhere and hey buddy, those options don’t include you. One of the ways to achieve this is to pass Read More ›

Launch48 Weekend Proves Birmingham (UK) is Ready to Blast Off


After stops in Sheffield and Newcastle in an attempt to get better insight into what is happening in tech and startups outside of London, my tour of the UK continued this weekend with a stop off in Birmingham to sponsor and mentor the Launch48 Weekend being held at Aston University. What is Launch48? Launch48 run three events regularly around the world, from evening showcases of early stage startups, to intensive pre-accelerator prep programmes. This event, Launch48 Weekend, is for the budding entrepreneurs; those with a seedling of an idea that would like to not only find out if other people think it’s viable, but to learn some of the skills involved in breaking it down and working it into something Read More ›

Process SendGrid Events in Real-time with TempoDB

Product, Technical

If you’re a SendGrid customer you will no doubt have taken a look around your statistics dashboard a few times. It’s great isn’t it? Being able to get such a granular view of what’s happening with the email you send through us. I’m fascinated by statistics and analytics so when I stumbled upon Techstars Cloud graduate company TempoDB recently I had to check them out. What is TempoDB? TempoDB is a database designed specifically for storing time series data. This data could be anything really but it’s better used for little pieces of information like thermostat temperatures, network latency or heart rates. Perfect for storing data over extended periods of time, or where the storage requirement is very, very frequent. Read More ›

What’s Forging Now in England’s ‘Steel City’?


One of the really great parts about being a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid is getting to meet with companies when they’re just a touch more than an idea. I get to do this a lot thanks to the SendGrid Accelerate programme that supports accelerators, startup incubators and co-working spaces around the world. Along with providing companies technical help with SendGrid integrations we get asked to spend some time talking to the companies in these programmes and answer questions about anything we have knowledge about. I’ve been asked everything from architecting an out of the gate server setup that would scale, to how best to tackle brand partnerships, to who at Microsoft can get us a tablet device for testing. It’s Read More ›

Devs Battle in Amsterdam to be Kings of Code


Following on from Tim’s post about our hackathon adventuring in Europe over the past week, it’s my turn to highlight some of the excellence that came out of our time at the Kings of Code ‘Hack Battle’ during The Next Web conference that took place last week in Amsterdam. After taking the rather scenic train from Paris, Tim and I arrived in Amsterdam to discover that I’d booked myself into a hotel 120 miles away from where we were supposed to be. Several confused minutes later Spotify Hacker Advocate, and fellow Hack Battle supporter, Andrew Mager rocks up with some local knowledge of a place we can stay. Crisis averted, I no longer have to commute 240 miles a day. This Read More ›

Command-lining SendGrid for Developer Productivity

Product, Technical

I’m pretty bad at letting things break my flow. Twitter, Hacker News, the actual news, buying tech I don’t need; all things that are likely to happen if I leave my editor and head into the browser. Those tabs are just too damn easy to click on. Inspired by other developers and my fellow developer evangelists, I’ve been looking for ways to maximise my productivity when I’m coding. So, I decided to start building an application that would take the elements of SendGrid administration I was doing, remove the browser element, and bring it back to the terminal. The end goal here is to render me, hopefully, distraction free. In this post I’ll show you how to quickly make an Read More ›