Articles by Scott Motte

Hacker in LA. I believe the future is bright. It's up to us to build it - as programmers we get a big say. Follow me on twitter @motdotla.

Follow Scotty

How We Found the Cloud Integration Trifecta

SendGrid, AppDirect and Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry makes developers’ lives easier. You can build, test, deploy, and scale applications quite quickly – freeing you up to focus on the core of your product. It’s great, but what will prove to be even greater is the Cloud Foundry services. The ability to quickly use services from Cloud Foundry adds a lot of power to you the developer. You can add databases like ClearDB, MongoLab, and Redis, application monitoring with New Relic, or email sending with SendGrid. Did you know that you can also create your own services? You can, and you can add them to the marketplace. If you have a developer focused product, I’d highly recommend you do so. You’ll be getting your product out

Beginner’s Technical Guide to the SendGrid Parse Webhook

Parse Webhook diagram

The SendGrid Parse Webhook is a powerful tool with many use cases. Once set up, all incoming email for a domain or sub-domain is directed to your application. What you can do is endless, but it can be a bit tricky to grok if it is your first time. In this tutorial, I am going to take away any confusion and show you how to set up your first SendGrid Parse API implementation. Sometimes, it helps to have a full working example so I’ve created one for you. It’s built in Node.js, and you can find it on GitHub. We are going to use it in this tutorial to speed up your learning process. It is also great for your

Send Email with Meteor and SendGrid

Partnerships, Technical

Meteor is a cool new framework for rapidly building modern web applications. At PayPal’s BattleHack in Austin I had the chance to watch David Brear use it. He built a lot of functionality in a short amount time. In this post, I am going to quickly show you how easy it is to use SendGrid with your Meteor application. Add The Email Package Once you have Meteor installed, add the email package. meteor add email Setup the MAIL_URL Next set up the MAIL_URL in server/smtp.js. touch server/smtp.js Paste in the following – replacing your_username and your_password. Meteor.startup(function () { process.env.MAIL_URL = 'smtp://'; }); Send an Email In your Meteor code place the following where you want to send the email(s).

My First Major Hackathon

Penn Apps

I have attended many hackathons, both as a participant and an evangelist. But before earlier this month, I hadn’t been to one like this. PennApps is renowned. It started with just 17 teams in the fall of 2009. This event has over 1,000 people. I’m sitting in the beautiful Palestra basketball arena at the moment, and the hackers are starting to file in. Great basketball games have been played here, and now great hacks will be demonstrated. Some of these hacks will go on to become the next great startups. Over 200 teams are pitching and demoing their hacks. Judges are walking around – myself, Kunal, and Yamil included – watching the demos and listening to the pitches. From these

Sipping from the SendGrid Java Library

Product, Technical

There’s a new addition to the family of SendGrid libraries. Java developers can now use sendgrid-java, a module for sending emails through SendGrid using Java. You’ve always been able to send emails through SendGrid using Java. You could use one of Java’s built in SMTP libraries to communicate with our SMTP API or you could use an http request library to communicate with our Web API. However, you had to write a fair amount of boilerplate code for both of these approaches. I recently had to build a Java application using SendGrid, and I was discouraged with this boilerplate code. As I coded the application, I started pulling pieces out into a file. This evolved into the SendGrid Java

Parsing Every Contact into a Daily Email

Product, Technical
Photo by Adam Goode

In a previous blog post, I showed you how to remember people’s names with a digestible daily email. I’ve been using the approach daily. It has been helpful but has had one big downside: it requires me to make an API call by hand every time I want to add a person to the database. This is tedious. Let’s change that by automating it. SendGrid’s Parse API can help us here. The Approach The majority of people’s names I want to remember are people I have interacted with over email. Likely I met them in person, followed up with them over email, and might run into them again in my travels. So let’s forward all our emails to SendGrid’s Parse

Movies Now Screening in Your Inbox

Product, Technical
Movies in Your Inbox

The Dilemma I like movies. My girl does too. Watching a movie is a nice way to unwind at the end of the day, and we often find ourselves doing so. The problem is we spend at least 30 minutes each night just trying to decide what movie to watch. That sucks. Plus, we’re at decision fatigue. We’ve both been making decisions all day at our jobs. I’d rather not have to make another one. The Solution So I came up with a simple solution that would take the decision making process out of it and save me 30 minutes each day. I’d have the computer send me an email in the evening with a movie to watch. Additionally, I

Hollywooding My First Hackathon as a Developer Evangelist

Photo by Adam Goode

Earlier this month I attended Hollywood Hack Day, a weekend event that also happened to be my first as a developer evangelist. Hi, I’m Scott Motte. Arriving Saturday, 7am. My buddy Jacob picks me up at my house and we begin the drive from Riverside to Beverly Hills. Spotify is playing through his speakers, and we’re talking JavaScript. An hour in and we’re on the 101, then Santa Monica Blvd. The sun is shining. The homes are getting bigger. The palm trees are growing taller. We see a dog with shoes on. We’re close. We pull up to the venue – the United Talent Agency building. It’s a glassy structure with poolside-style outdoor furniture, and a rumored private screening room.

Easy-loading Environment Variables in Node

Best Practices, Product, Technical

Recently, we created a small node.js module for handling environment variables better. It’s called dotenv and is inspired by the rubygem of the same name. Why we created it Building modern web applications requires a handful of environment variables that vary between deploys. The tenets of a twelve-factor app describe this well. For example, if you are building your own SaaS product, you might have a Stripe secret key to process payments and a url to your Postgres database. Both of these will be different between production and development. By putting these keys in environment variables, we give ourselves a couple advantages: They are easily changeable between environments and even isolated deploys. This leads to less complex deploys which saves

Remember People’s Names with a Digestible Daily Email

Product, Technical
Who is it?

When you remember a person’s name you pay them a subtle compliment. You add to their feeling of importance. Additionally, it benefits yourself to remember someone’s name. They will more likely like you. But many of us are bad at remembering people’s names. I’m guilty of this. So let’s change that to great effect. Let’s build an app to improve our recollection of people’s names. I’m calling it visage-grid. It will send me an email each morning. In that email will be the visage of a person I’ve met. At the bottom of the email will be her name. That’s it. Simple can be powerful. The small size of the email makes it easily digestible. The morning delivery makes it