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


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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How to Judge a Hackathon

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At the end of a hackathon, when hacking is done, and presentations have just finished, there’s a pause, and a giddy excitement fills the air. The judges leave to some private room and begin to talk about which hacks were the best and which deserve prizes. As an evangelist, I’ve taken part in many of these sessions, and sat in on many more. I’ve seen great judging sessions, and terrible ones. At the end of the day, everyone wants the right person to win, but selecting the winner can get tricky. However, if the judges are picked well and good

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A/B Testing Explained and Used in Transactional Email

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A/B testing, also called split testing, is extremely useful to determine if a particular action is better than another. Today, A/B tests are run on many websites, by many services. However, it’s relatively simple to A/B test anything you want. In this post, I’ll discuss A/B testing, the statistics behind it, how to run your own A/B test, and how to do it with SendGrid’s General Statistics Endpoint. If you just want to compare A/B test results of SendGrid transactional emails, you can use this handy app I made. A/B Testing Explained A/B Testing seems simple at its surface. Simply

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Save All App Email to Amazon S3

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Sending email is great, but sometimes you want a little more. Maybe you want to store every email you send your users. Or maybe you want to allow your users to share your emails on their social networks. Maybe, you simply want to allow users to see the email online, in case their email reader breaks it. Well, I made a simple app to do that, with Amazon S3. The app (available on Github) is relatively small and easy to implement. Follow the Quick Start Guide to get an instance of the app up and running. This will get you

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Use a Mongo REST Interface to Store SendGrid Event Data

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Perhaps one of SendGrid’s most useful features (other than email sending, of course) is our Event Webhook. This webhook notifies you whenever an email is sent, opened, marked as spam, and clicked through, among a variety of other events. Notification is all well and good, but the real power comes in storing and analyzing the events. You can do this with third party services like Keen.io or store it yourself for slightly more power. Our event webhook POSTs JSON documents to any URL, this sounds like a job for… A Mongo REST Interface! Mongo has a number of community built

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Email Your Goals Using Ruby, Google Docs, SendGrid, and Iron.io

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With the New Year fast approaching, you, like me, may be considering your goals for the upcoming year. For me, the hardest part about goals is remembering them. I’ll often make them and forget I did. So rather than buy echinacea, I decided to write a hack! The hack, which I’m calling Daily Goals, emails you every day with a selection of your goals for personal growth. It’s written in Ruby and relies on Iron.io to run it every day. The Code All the code you need to get this working is on GitHub. I’ll highlight the key lines with

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You’re Pricing Out The Evangelist

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In the past, evangelists have been central to hackathons, a large group of helpful people meandering the event doing all they can to make the event better for the people there. Recently, however, I attended a hackathon where I was the only mentor wandering the event, the only one to stay past 3am, and one of only two evangelists at the event. The fact is, this isn’t just a single event, it’s a trend. This terrifies me. I love hackathons. They’re responsible for me being who I am today. To me, mentors are central to hackathons. They’re one of the

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