This week, my technical apprenticeship at Sailthru (through General Assembly) officially comes to an end. As such, I thought I’d take a quick look back at my initial goals and objectives to provide a short debrief on my experience overall… Continue Reading…
Last week, I walked through a bit of a tutorial on how to use data feeds to populate and repeat blocks of html content in html emails for Sailthru’s personalization service.
This past week was all about digging further into JSON feeds and more specific data sets that can be passed into Sailthru’s system via APIs. Continue Reading…
So the past couple weeks at Sailthru, I’ve really settled into the day-to-day routine pretty nicely. We’ve had a steady amount of work, which has generally been a mix of building out raw html emails templates and programming those templates with Sailthru’s Zephyr scripting language.
I thought I’d try something new this week. Rather than doing a general overview of the work week and dropping in a few animated gifs for comedic value, I thought I’d dig into the code a bit and explain a little more about our process for adding programming snippets into html emails. Here goes… Continue Reading…
This week’s coding adventure at Sailthru was fairly similar to last week, but my workload was much more varied in terms of coding HTML emails vs. actual programming (i.e. using Sailthru’s scripting language, Zephyr). I spent quite a bit more time digging through Sailthru’s dev docs to find solutions to programming challenges in order to add content and user data to a variety of email templates. Continue Reading…
After last week’s “slice fail” and general spinning of wheels at Sailthru, I felt quite a bit more comfortable coding up html emails this week, which was the bulk of our workload.
We learned a key lesson last week, that it’s always better to code emails fresh and not rely on any kind of quick fix html export. With that in mind, I dug into the code with purpose and I was actually able to churn out two solid templates in a much shorter time than the last full template I attempted. Although it was still a pretty tedious process, I definitely felt like I was getting the knack for it and picking up some little tricks along the way. In fact, I even surprised myself when I was able to quickly dig into someone else’s rather messy code and handle a few quick fixes for an account manager who was in a time crunch. While I don’t see myself wanting to code html emails all the time, I do like being able to chalk it up as a useful arrow in my quiver of web dev tools. Continue Reading…
This past week at Sailthru was all about digging back into the painful process of coding HTML emails.
First the rough spot….one of the key lessons for this week is all about coding from scratch vs. using some kind of pre-baked code or using exported code from a program. The latter can be helpful, but it’s never a panacea in the world of web development. I knew this, but now I know it even better. Continue Reading…
The week at Sailthru started off a bit slow, with some follow-up from last week’s first full html email coding session. Overall, my take on coding html emails from last’s weeks post still stands, but I don’t really mind it when it gets mixed in with some more programming-heavy projects. And that’s a pretty good description of this week’s workload…a mix of a few different projects. Continue Reading…
CODING HTML EMAILS — Yes this DOES suck
Per last week’s post, I was just starting to get into the details of coding up HTML emails, but hadn’t gotten a chance to really get my hands dirty. And while I still think it will be a very useful skill to have, I can now say from experience that coding HTML emails really does suck and really is dirty. Continue Reading…
I just completed the 1st week of my wed dev apprenticeship at Sailthru, which helps businesses and brands engage with “smart data” to deliver custom, real-time experiences to millions of users. As often happens with the 1st few days at a new company, we spent a good amount of time on HR items, orientation and some training, including a full-day orientation session. Continue Reading…
So I’ve decided to take an interesting next step in my immersion into the world of web development (which I began last fall). In partnership with General Assembly, I’ve become a web dev apprentice for the next couple months at an NYC startup called Sailthru.
Sailthru helps businesses and brands engage with “smart data” to deliver custom, real-time experiences to millions of users. They seem to have carved out a decent niche with publishers and some solid players in the ecommerce space. I’ll mainly be focused on front-end development but I may also get a chance to dig into some backend and learn a little PHP. Overall, I feel like it’s a good next step that allows me to keep on learning and practicing, while also connecting with an interesting and growing NYC startup (and making a little cash too).
To keep tabs on my experience, I’m going to try to blog about it each week on this site. I’m just starting, so I don’t have much to report yet, but I thought it’d be helpful to set some key goals and objectives for my time there. I’ll be sure to revisit these along the way, but here’s what I’ve got so far, including some the WHAT and the HOW for each goal, along with some examples:
WHAT: Master HTML email creation from top to bottom
–learn how to design/style via tables/rows
–learn how to incorporate personalized data
–learn limits of CSS and CSS3 as used in html emails
–build a number pr presentable templates for portfolio by May
HOW: This will naturally be a part of my day-to-day work at Sailthru. I’d like to be fluent with basic template-building process by end of 1st month.
WHAT: Find one decent-sized NEED at Sailthru and improve upon it
–NEED: might observe that their user-facing documentation needs improvement
–DO: provide major edit to all (or at least one key section) of documentation
HOW: This is TBD, since it will completely depend on their client needs and critical issues. But the point is to have some measurable impact on their business.
WHAT: Keep my eye on the ball for my longer-term job search
–keep applying, interviewing, networking, and building up my “story”
–continue expanding on my Product Manager skill set (wireframes, user stories, UX, Omnigraffle, etc..)
–daily emails, job searches, networking emails (or weekly events)
–month 1 – pick two key PM projects to complete (wireframe of site, user stories for certain app, etc…)
WHAT: Learn basic PHP
–Sailthru programs in PHP, so I’d like to understand the basics of this programming language as compared to Ruby
This is TBD, as it will really depend on Sailthru project needs and availability of Engineers to help teach me basics.
WHAT: Finish one of my side projects
–I’d like to further improve one of my ongoing side projects. Best Ever Live Version and Gigmarklet are prime targets.
–Of course, I may decide to build something entirely new, since I’ve got a few ideas in the hopper.
HOW: This one will be hardest to track and stay on top of, since it will really depend on the amount of free time I have outside my day-to-day gig. For now, I’m going to simply set a deadline for choosing the project to work on…I’ll do that by the end of March.