Author Archives: Nick Quinlan

About Nick Quinlan

Nick Quinlan is a SendGrid Developer Evangelist based out of San Francisco. He works to make developers lives easier by providing them with the help they need to grow their ideas. Give him a shout, @YayNickQ.

Nick Quinlan on Twitter

Articles Posted by Nick


The SendGrid Internal Hackathon!!

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If this were a normal hackathon, I’d start this post by telling you the thirty hackers still at the event at 2:00am sat heads down, faces lit by the glow of their screens, frantically coding and debugging in a rush to finish their hacks. But this wasn’t a normal hackathon, this was the SendGrid Internal Hackathon, and instead hackers jumped on two-hundred feet of bubble wrap. The SendGrid Internal Hackathon Thursday and Friday of the last week of June, we held the first SendGrid Internal Hackathon. Technically speaking this wasn’t our first run at a hackathon for the company, but

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What’s a Webhook?

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A webhook is an API concept that’s growing in popularity. As more and more of what we do on the web can be described by events, webhooks are becoming even more applicable. They’re incredibly useful and a resource-light way to implement event reactions. So, what exactly is a webhook? A webhook (also called a web callback or HTTP push API) is a way for an app to provide other applications with real-time information. A webhook delivers data to other applications as it happens, meaning you get data immediately. Unlike typical APIs where you would need to poll for data very frequently

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The Importance of Projects

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Time and time again, people ask me the best way to get into programming, or the best way to learn a new language, or the best way to understand a framework, and time and time again, my answer is to start a project. Over the years, I’ve worked on countless projects, ranging from stupid ideas that got featured on tech blogs, to stupid ideas with vulgar names, to a few useful open source works. Each of these projects have taught me a great deal about one concept or another. From learning how to scale a site, to learning how to

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Schedule Email with SendGrid and Iron.io

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There are tons of reasons to schedule an email: maybe you want to send an email daily or weekly, or perhaps, you just want to send an email in the morning rather than the evening. Luckily, with Iron.io and SendGrid this is easy. Iron.io is a cloud platform that gives developers tools to solve many common problems. One of these tools is the Iron Worker, a way to asynchronously run code in a number of languages. Workers are run by “tasks” which can be queued, scheduled in advance, or even repeated. Tasks can contain JSON Payloads which the worker can

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The Magic of Email Headers

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Email amazes me. It’s an open, decentralized, and evolving means of communication that allows you to message someone on the other end of the world–-and it’s been around for fourty years. One of the amazing things about email is the depth of the specification. Email has many intricate and little-known parts, many of which are hidden in message headers. Message headers are essential to any email communication–they describe the message, who sent it, and who it’s going to. To, From, Date, and Subject, are all headers most people are familiar with, then there’s the commonly discussed DKIM and SPF, however

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Don’t Tell Developers What To Build

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Don’t tell developers what to build–simple advice that should be central to all hackathons. However, it’s all too frequently ignored by hackathon organizers. Hackathons are a time for developers to learn new technology, meet new people, and pick up new skills. As a rule, it’s better for open exploration to have an unstructured environment rather than a highly regulated one. However, organizers often make the mistake of thinking that rules and structure will create a better event that better conforms to their preferred outcome. A developer’s job is to solve problems and get around obstacles. When an organizer tells a

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Teach Coding Concepts With GitHub

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Getting started with coding is hard. We’ve addressed it many times on the blog, including posts on building a conceptual framework and thinking about it from a program design standpoint. In my mind, one of the easiest ways to get going is to be sitting near someone who knows what they’re doing and can offer advice when you get really stuck. There are, naturally, problems with this method–the person helping can become a crutch and of course you need the person to be there with you. One interesting solution that I and others have been exploring is moving the process

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