Defrag 2014

Context.IO was a proud sponsor of the Defrag Conference, which was held November, 18-19th in chilly Broomfield, Colorado.

Context.IO at Defrag

Tony Blank and Dan Corbin at Defrag 2014

Defrag focuses on internet-based tools that transform information into layers of knowledge. The conference motto is “accelerate the “aha” moment” and that’s exactly what it does. The two days were packed with presentations that explored the frontiers of technology in a variety of arenas like business, government, education, and healthcare. There were in depth and fascinating discussions on cloud computing, APIs, mobile technologies, big data, devops, and the Internet of things.

Those in attendance included developer evangelists, entrepreneurs, business strategists, venture capitalists, engineers, and analysts. It was diverse gathering of people passionate about all types of technology.

Crowd at Defrag

A packed crowd of attendees at Defrag.

The first day featured a number of API related talks that I found extremely interesting. These included:

Day two featured cool sessions on the cutting edge and frontiers of technology:

Overall, Defrag is truly one of the best conferences going and we hope to see you there next year!

The Amazing AirHelp App!

AirHelp has developed one of the most unique and intelligent uses of email that I’ve seen in a while. I love the power they give consumers and I think you will too. So…what exactly does AirHelp do?

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Before we review their incredible solution, let’s describe the problem, because we’ve all been there. You’re at the airport when your flight is delayed, overbooked, or even cancelled. Most people don’t know that they are eligible for compensation when airlines cancel or delay flights. In fact, 26 million passengers are eligible for this type of compensation each year! Yet only two percent actually file a reimbursement claim. That means that airlines are sitting on about $16 billion of unclaimed money each year.

European and US airlines are often required to pay compensation when they screw up. The catch is you have to file a claim first. In Europe, you can claim up to $800 if your flight is delayed for more than three hours. In the US you can receive up to $1,300 if you’re involuntarily bumped from a flight that’s oversold. You have up to three years to file the claims so it’s worth seeing if you’re eligible. That’s where AirHelp comes in!

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AirHelp’s incredible app will scan your inbox for any flight itineraries. It then takes your flight information and cross-references it with their database of flights where passengers are eligible for compensation. If there’s match AirHelp will automatically file a claim on your behalf. The whole process takes about three minutes!

AirHelp_app_start screen

AirHelp averages $1050 or more in compensation per successful claim, which is way better than any voucher you’ll get from an airline. If a claim is successful then AirHelp will get 25% of what the airline pays you. If the claim is not valid then the claimant doesn’t owe a thing. You literally have nothing to lose so it’s worth signing up to see if you have money coming to you!

Inbox Love Conference

Context.IO and Return Path were proud to again sponsor the Inbox Love conference held on October 29th in Mountain View, CA. It was a packed house filled with designers, developers, product managers, startups, and angel investors.

Inbox Love Conference Kickoff

Josh Baer and Jared Goralnick kick off the Inbox Love Conference

The first session of the day was “It Ain’t Just IMAP: Building on Top of Email in 2014”, a panel discussion moderated by Jared Goralnick from AwayFind. The panel featured representatives from the Google, Microsoft, and Tony Blank, Developer Evangelist for Context.IO. It was an extremely informative session about on how to create amazing applications on top of email. As pioneers in the space, Context.IO is very excited to see both Google and Microsoft making it easier for developers to utilize the wealth of information in email.

It Ain’t Just IMAP: Building on Top of Email of 2014

Context.IO Developer Evangelist Tony Blank (far right) discusses the pros and cons of building on top of email.

There were also great sessions on email security and encryption, design strategies, how to make money in email, and an in-depth demo of Google Inbox app. It was fantastic to learn about incredible companies like Cirrus Insight which has built a number of powerful apps on top of email. The day wrapped up with a five minute lightning round of demos from FastMail, Front, Iterable, MixMax, Movable Ink, mxHero, TouchMail, Virtru, Vade Retro. Each company had their own unique and innovative features to make email better!

HackTX Winners: Best Context.IO Integration!

HackTX is an annual 24-hour university hackathon located deep in the heart of Texas. It has been student run on The University of Texas at Austin campus over the past two years, and Context.IO has been proud to sponsor the event each year.

HackTX

Teams work fast during HackTX

Almost 700 students on over 100 different teams competed for the top spots in the competition. A number of teams integrated Context.IO into their projects, and it wasn’t easy deciding which was most deserving of our prize for the best Context.IO hack.

The PushTV team

The PushTV team

Ultimately, we selected PushTV as the winners. Michael Li, Raymond Chee, Scott Zheng, Christopher Denny, and Gene Hsu were all part of the winning team. They integrated the API with DIRECTV’s web server so email messages could be displayed on the TV screen. Messages appeared on the top of the screen, much like a text message appears on your phone. Using a motion sensor, the user could either dismiss the message with the wave of a hand or read the whole message with a downward motion.

While the integration of email into such awesome technology was very cool, I was equally impressed with how they used the API to determine which emails to display and which to ignore. They used the contacts resource to tally which people you interact with the most via email and then parsed the subject lines of those emails to create a personalized list of keywords to look for when new messages arrive. In doing this, they created an algorithm that decides which messages are important enough to be displayed onscreen. Very clever!

The VR Dashboard team

The VR Dashboard team

While the PushTV team took home our prize, we want to give special recognition to the VR Dashboard team (Carlos A. Alaniz, German Zuniga, Dustin Torres, Jacob Figueroa, Casey Richardson). They used the Context.IO API to display live email data in a virtual reality headset. When wearing the headset, you got a 360-degree view of everything you needed to start the day – weather, important emails, top news items, etc. It was a great use of not only our API but also the virtual reality technology.

New Features!

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Last month we announced you could test Exchange accounts on Lite. We started with basic functionality such as authentication, pulling folder and message lists, and fetching a raw message. Our Exchange development continues and we’re happy to announce support for even more endpoints.

We’ll keep you posted as we continue to roll out new Exchange resources. WebHooks for Exchange are coming very soon. We’re also working on the ability to pull folder meta data, message flags, and message meta data.

Your feedback guides our development plans. The other features listed below are all requests that were sent to support@context.io. We’d love to know which updates to our platform will make your application even better!

  • Exchange on Lite
    • Connect_Tokens – Create connect_tokens on Lite with Exchange accounts. Please note that to test the connect_tokens you’ll need to make the calls through the API since the creation of connect_tokens through the developer console has not yet been implemented.
    • Message Headers – The message headers endpoint on Lite supports Exchange messages. You can use this resource to pull the subject line, recipients copied on the message, mime-version, content-type, etc.
    • Message Body – Pull the message body from Exchange accounts in addition to the raw message body. Fetching a message body allows you to display it to the user, filter or group it based on content or sender, and hundreds of other use cases.
  • API Call Limit Increased – The API calls per minute limit on Lite has been increased from 120 to 240 per user. If you have a use case which requires more than 240 API calls per user per minute, please contact us at support@context.io and we can explore the option of a further increase.
  • Send Error Code For Empty Message Body – We return a more descriptive and instructive error code when a user oversubscribes the system. The new error code explains the issue is probably due to throttling and provides steps for you to resolve the problem. This should allow you to handle the error gracefully, correct the issue, and hopefully prevent it from occurring again.
  • BCC Related Headers for Lite WebHooks – If the headers exist in the Lite WebHook postbody, they are returned in the response. This will alleviate the need for a separate call to pull the BCC header data (original-to, x-original-to, envelope-to, x-rcptto).

If you haven’t already, we highly recommend you register for our status updates and bookmark our roadmap. Please email us at support@context.io if you have any questions whatsoever!

Join the Context.IO Team!

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Want to work for one of the best companies in the country? Context.IO and Return Path are growing fast and looking for great people to join our team. We were just ranked the #2 Best Medium Workplace in America by Fortune Magazine. Not too shabby! If you’re a great engineer that cares about developers and helping them build amazing products, then we have an incredible job just waiting for you!

We’re looking to hire two Software Engineers for Context.IO. Are you curious with a drive to learn and ship code? Do you possess a versatile mindset with strong experience in at least one dynamic language? Then come work with us in the greatest city in the US, and possibly the world, Austin, Texas!

In addition to the software engineer positions we’re looking for an API Developer Evangelist to be located in Colorado, Austin, New York, or San Francisco. Your choice! This person will work directly with third party developers to help them solve real world business problems. We’re looking for someone skilled in web programming technologies, including JavaScript, REST and HTML5. Someone who’s great at writing compelling pieces and comfortable engaging all types of audiences, be it at hackathons, conferences or meetups.

Curious about working for Context.IO and Return Path? Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions!

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy

We wanted to make sure you knew that we updated our privacy policy to unify it with that of our parent company, Return Path and to present all of our policies in plain, clear language.

One of our core values is “People First!” This fundamental principle permeates every aspect of our culture, guides every decision we make, and is baked into everything we release. We think of privacy as a product in itself, and the decisions we make around privacy involve the same level of collaboration as any of our other product decisions. Every step of the way we asked ourselves, “How can we do even better for the developers who rely on our API and their users?” Our commitment to you is that we’ll always work to improve and innovate around privacy practices at Return Path.

These new policies go into effect immediately for all developers.

The new policies don’t change our existing agreements, relationship with you, or the API itself, but they should be easier to read. In the future we’ll tell you whenever we post new policies and we’ll summarize what changed.

You don’t need to take any action because of this update, but please read the new policy. If you have any questions about it, you can always reach us by submitting a request here.

Spotlight: PitchBox

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Client Spotlight: Pitchbox

Periodically we spotlight innovative companies building great tools with the help of Context.IO. One company we’re extremely proud to work with is Pitchbox. Learn how Pitchbox is making outreach and public relations teams across the world more efficient.

What is Pitchbox?

Pitchbox is an Outreach and Influencer Marketing platform built for SEO and PR professionals and agencies. Pitchbox allows users to identify, contact, and build relationships with influencers, PR prospects, bloggers, and subject matter experts. It’s an ideal application for those looking to generate buzz in the press and social media, amplify their message, increase their reach, and spread the word about their product or service.

PitchBox

How does Pitchbox do this?

Users identify relevant keywords, industries and topics, and Pitchbox crawls the web to find the most influential people in those fields. Then, users can view important site stats, contact information, email addresses, and social profile information right in the Pitchbox dashboard. This allows users to engage with influential bloggers on social media prior to pitching them. Plus, the built-in metrics give users a scorecard to better understand influencers.

Pitchbox also helps users streamline the outreach process through features like CRM, email management tools, customizable templates, automated follow-up, and performance metrics.

By pairing with Context.IO, Pitchbox is able to easily incorporate incoming email data. This key integration allows users to track email communications for each project, get notified of important updates, and ensures all of their outreach efforts are in sync.

Why are people flocking to Pitchbox?

Pitchbox understands the more you can streamline outreach, the more productive you’ll be. It doesn’t matter if you’re an agency with unlimited resources or a start-up operating out of a garage; Pitchbox can help anyone connect with influencers in just about any field.

Users of Pitchbox are establishing themselves as industry leaders through their streamlined outreach process. The bottom line is Pitchbox helps users spend less time chasing down prospects and more time closing them.

Test Exchange Accounts on Lite!

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You asked and we listened! Our top feature request is support for Exchange accounts and we’re working furiously to provide that functionality.

Early this month we released an Exchange MVP on Lite and we would love your feedback. The features in the MVP are limited right now, but building full Exchange support on Lite is our main focus. We will certainly keep you informed as we add new features.

What is the main purpose of the MVP?

The primary goal for MVP is to validate connectivity and authentication for a variety of versions and instances of Exchange. Beyond the authentication, there is basic functionality such as fetching folder and message lists. You are also able to fetch a raw message.

We’re looking to test authentication against as many flavors of Exchange as possible so the more accounts from different versions and servers you can test, the better. As we validate the authentication and credentials we are also working on WebHooks for Exchange as well as new endpoints.

How to connect

This can be run from the developer console, but it would be great if it were also run from actual code as well.

  1. Use http://context.io/docs/lite/users/email_accounts#post to add an email account to an existing user with exchange credentials. Make sure the ‘type’ is “exchange”.
  2. You can also hit these endpoints:
  3. Messages GET method: http://context.io/docs/lite/users/email_accounts/folders/messages#get
  4. Raw message fetching: http://context.io/docs/lite/users/email_accounts/folders/messages/raw
  5. You can also hit the method for both creating a user and adding an Exchange account (http://context.io/docs/lite/users#post).

Where to send feedback

Please send any comments, questions, and suggestions to support@context.io. Please include as much information as possible such as the version of Exchange, exact error messages, etc. We also are keen to hear which endpoints you would like us to build next or if WebHooks would be more helpful for your application.

Please let me know if you would like to schedule a call to discuss the MVP. We are always happy when we can speak directly with you!

What’s next?

Our engineers are busy creating WebHooks for Exchange and finishing the remaining Lite endpoints. We will keep you posted as we prepare for the full Exchange Beta launch on Lite. Follow our progress on our roadmap!

Follow Our Roadmap Progress!

We value our developer partners and pride ourselves on providing the best support possible. We work hard to quickly resolve any issues that may arise and offer advice on how to best utilize the API. We listen closely when you ask for new features that will make your app even more amazing.

Providing the best developer experience possible means keeping you informed of what features we’re building, what’s on our roadmap, and known issues that might affect your application. To help you keep up to date we’ve created the Context.IO Development board.

Context.IO Development board

The Context.IO team actively participates on this board and uses it to communicate its development priorities.

The board consists of four different lists. In each list there are cards where you can leave comments and feedback. The cards also are color coded so you can easily visualize the work being done on the Lite API, 2.0 API, Features and Bug Fixes.

Ideas
Check the Ideas list for features we may add to the roadmap. If you like a feature, add your vote, or leave a comment. You can also submit a feature request by contacting support@context.io.

Known Issues
These are things, usually bugs, we know about but haven’t had time to move into the schedule. Once we start the coding we’ll move the item to the In Progress column.

Accepted
Think of this as our “on deck circle”. These are items are engineers will work on next. The column contains new work that we’ve vetted and will begin as soon as resources are available.

In Progress
The Context.IO team is actively working on cards in this list. We might be at the white boarding stage but it’s part of our current workload and we’re working towards completion as soon as possible.

Live
When new features go live, they will be here. At least a few previous Live lists will remain to show what things went out a while back.

Comments? Ideas?

Feel free to leave a comment on the main Info card. If you would like a response, drop us a line at support@context.io.

We hope you find the Context.IO Development board a helpful way to stay informed of changes in the API. Please leave comments, send us your feedback, and let us know all of your feature requests. We love hearing from you and answering any questions you have about Context.IO!