Some advice on running online meetups

IBM Developer SF hosted over 100 online meetups in the past two years and I also shared how to scale Developer Relations with online meetups. In this blog post I want to share what works for us, how we run the online meetups, what we do before, during and after the event. Pick what you believe will work for you.

Online meetup on Crowdcast

Before the online meetup

This is what we do or try to do before an online meetup.

  • Publish the online meetup 3-4 weeks before the event (like a regular in-person meetup)
  • Promote the event via regular channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn (like a regular in-person event)
    • If hosting an event with a partner, ask them to promote the online meetup to their community
  • Publish on Meetup, Eventbrite or any other platform you usually publish events on
    • A note about Meetup: they seem not to like when people post to many online events but I don’t know their official policy on that
  • Make it clear where to register for the online event
  • If the event is with a remote employee or external partner, schedule 15 minutes dry-run a few days before to make sure the software you are using works for them and they can share their screen
Continue reading “Some advice on running online meetups”

How to measure Developer Relations – DevRel meetup recap

This week I attend the first DevRel San Francisco meetup in 2020: How to Measure Developer Relations with Amir Shevat. This blog post is a short recap, notes and pictures from the event.

The topic of the event was how to measure success in Developer Relations. Amir is a great speaker and used examples from his experience running Developer Relations at Google, Slack, and Twitch.

Speaker picture
Amir Shevat
Continue reading “How to measure Developer Relations – DevRel meetup recap”

Developers don’t hate marketing

A few weeks ago I attended Evans Data Developer Marketing Summit. During a panel one person said:

“Developers hate marketing”

I don’t agree with that.

I think developers don’t like bad marketing.

People in general don’t like bad marketing so I don’t think developers are any special here.

When someone says “developers hate marketing”, I always associate this with an old car salesperson:


No one would disagree that this is bad marketing (or sales), most of us probably experienced that. These folks usually use shady tactics and push features, not solutions.

Most will agree that (most) organizations today don’t do this.

At Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in March 2019, Willie Tejada, IBM Chief Developer Advocate said this:

On marketing to developers:

It’s not true that developers don’t want to be marketed to, they are simply very very educated “consumers”.

Here is an example of buying an espresso machine (such as Nespresso)
People will spend a disproportional amount of time learning about the machine and how it works. When they go to the store to buy it, if the sales person knows less than the buyer the buyer will be frustrated. We don’t like when we go to buy something and we know more about the product than the person selling it to us.

There are many great books on marketing out there. A great book I recently read is This is Marketing by Seth Godin. Here is how the book defines marketing:

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.

and this one:

Marketers offer solutions, opportunities for humans to solve their problems and move forward.

There is nothing inherently bad about marketing to developers. Companies simply need to be helping solve developer’s problems. If we do this, then we won’t need to say that developers hate marketing (hopefully).

Our goal should always be to share outcomes and results, not features. My all time favorite resource is Adam DuVander’s Share Knowledge, Not Features.

I think here is one good example of that (there are thousands more of course):


Webflow is a No Code platform to build websites. Above is their home page. Webflow is not telling people that they have a visual HTML editor – that’s a feature. They are telling people what problems they can solve, what is the outcome – build a better website, faster, without coding.

Whether you call it developer marketing or something else – let’s help developers solve their problems, show them solutions, outcomes and share knowledge 🙌

What Is Machine Learning for the Enterprise – Video Recording

The San Francisco team hosted What is Machine Learning for the Enterprise Lunch-and-Learn event. This event was an absolute beginner’s guide to machine learning for the enterprise. Kanishk Priyadarshi, Head of Engineering and Innovation at IBM, covered strategic and design-thinking inspired conversation for beginners to explore and apply machine learning at your enterprise! In case you missed it, you can watch the video below. If you want to learn about Watson AI, Containers, Blockchain, Serverless, APIs and other topics, please check out our upcoming developer workshops.


My Last Day at

Conference badges

Friday, May 5th 2017 was my last day at I’m taking a small break right now and will be starting my next adventure next week.

Exposing a SQL Database via REST APIs: A Video Guide for Developers

Many organizations that are building mobile apps need to connect and reuse existing (internal) systems. One of the most common system is a relational (SQL) database. The question is — how to a relational database from a mobile app.

I have prepared two short videos that will show you how to do that using API Express.

API Express connects to a relational database and exposes the database tables via REST APIs. Once the APIs are created, the mobile app can easily consume the APIs.

There are two approaches exposing a database:

The first approach automatically generates CRUD-like APIs to work with a database table. In many apps, this is close to 80% of what an app might need. This automatic approach also comes with very sophisticated offline support. In other words, you app can work offline and sync data with a remote database when a connection is reestablished.

With the second approach, you get full control as you write the actual SQL query (or Stored Procedure) that will be executed. With this approach, you can use a visual service editor to orchestrate the REST API. In addition to the SQL component (connector), you can use connectors such as Web Service (WSDL), REST  and others.

Check out the API Express video playlist to learn more.

A Quick Guide to Sending Push Notifications

Being able to send Push Notifications to users is one of the fundamental capability in an enterprise mobile app. platform comes with Push Notifications component out-of-the-box and allows you quickly to send targeted messages to iOS and Android devices. In this blog post we will show the four ways to send a Push Notification message to a user:

  1. Push Notifications Console.
  2. Server Code Push Notifications API (server-side).
  3. Push Notification REST API.
  4. Customer Console.

Push Notifications Console

This first option is probably the simplest way to send a Push Notifications once you have installed an app on a device. Select device types, enter the message and send. The Push Notification message should arrive on the registered device instantly.


Push Notifications console.


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Here Is a Super Fast Way to Test Your Mobile App

When you are building a mobile app in, you are starting with HTML/JavaScript app which then can be packaged as a Cordova (PhoneGap) app, published and installed on a device. You can also use any Cordova APIs in your app and add any 3rd party Cordova plugins.

Everyone knows that testing is one of the most important steps when building a mobile app and also the part that usually takes the most time. Luckily there is a very fast way you can test your app, let me show you how to do that.

When you are working on an app inside the App Builder you are seconds away from testing your app. Simply click the “Test” button in the toolbar:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.03.42 AM App Builder

When you click the “Test” button, a new browser tab will open where the app will be loaded. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.07.12 AM
Testing the app in browser

This is important – this is the real app running in the browser. This is not an emulator or simulator. This is the actual app running in the browser. The phone frame is just to make it look like a mobile device. It can be easily removed by clicking the “Remove frame” button. The app looks exactly the same without the frame:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.21.30 AM
Testing the app in browser without the frame

You can go back to the App Builder, make any changes you need and click “Test” again to see the newest changes. It’s that simple and fast. You don’t need to wait for the app to package or compile. You can see updates almost instantly.

Continue reading “Here Is a Super Fast Way to Test Your Mobile App”

Building a Barcode Scanner App with Backend Services

This video shows how to build a barcode scanner and covers:

  • Using the barcode scanner
  • Using cloud database to store and search for scanned products
  • Using server script for:
    • Searching the database to find products that have low inventory
    • Sending a push message to notify of low inventory
    • Sending an email (SendGrid API) to notify of low inventory
  • Scheduling server script (job) to run periodically to check for low inventory and perform the actions above

Instantly Build REST APIs with Server Code

The Server Code allows to build any app logic and instantly expose it via REST APIs. You use Javascript to write the script which runs on the server. You don’t need to worry about deploying or running any servers, all is done in the cloud. An example is the best way to show it, so let’s do that.

To keep the example simple, let’s say we wan to build an API (script) that takes a developer’s name returns a greeting and also returns the time when the greeting occurred. It’s basically your HelloWorld example.

To create a new Server Code script you just need to click Create script button:

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 2.29.54 PM

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