GitHub adds 21 new partners to its free Student Developer Pack – gpgmail


For a few years now, GitHub has been running a program that gives students around the world free access to GitHub Pro and various free and discounted services from other partners as part of its GitHub Education program. In total, over 1.5 million students have now signed up for the program, with about 750,000 being currently active, and with the new school year about to start, the company today announced that it is doubling the number of partners in the Student Developer Pack program by adding an additional 21 companies to the list.

The new partners cover a wide range of developer tools and services. They range from web design tools like Bootstrap Studio, which actually quietly joined the program over the summer, to the domain registrar .TECH, SSH client Terminus, ConfigCat for feature flag and configuration management, and Icons8 for making applications look better.

“Our philosophy what it comes to the pack is that it is about preparing students for all the premier tools they are going to encounter in the workplace,” said Scott Sanicki, the Senior Program Manager for the GitHub Student Developer Pack. That means that there can be partners with competing products, too, but as Sanicki noted, GitHub hasn’t seen any pushback from existing partners so far, including Microsoft.

Indeed, over the summer, GitHub’s new owner, Microsoft also added its Azure cloud computing services to the Student Pack. That’s no surprise, but it’s worth noting that AWS, DigitalOcean and Heroku were already part of the pack and offered students free and discounted cloud computing resources. They remain in the program and as Sanicki told me, it’s part of the company’s promise to remain open, even after having been acquired by Microsoft.

“[GitHub CEO Nat Friedman] was asked directly at the time of the acquisition whether we were going to sunset the student developer pack and he committed that we were continuing the pack and, in fact, make it stronger and that’s what we’ve we’ve attempted to continue to do,” Sanicki said. “We’ve seen support from Microsoft, from leadership, to give us the resources that we need to not only dream bigger with what we want to do with the pack and GitHub Education but to actually now attempt to accomplish it.”

Sanicki expects that the team will continue to add new partners over the course of the next few months. To sign up and see if you qualify for the program, head over here.

Below, you can find a list of all the new partners and what they are offering.

  • .TECH domains — A powerful domain extension to convey that you belong to the technology industry. One .TECH domain free for 1 year: https://get.tech/github-student-developer-pack
  • Better Code Hub — Better Code Hub provides a definition of done for code quality and actionable refactoring feedback for every push and pull request. A free upgrade to an Individual license to analyse your personal private repos: https://bettercodehub.com/github-student-developer-pack
  • Bootstrap Studio — Bootstrap Studio is a powerful desktop app for creating responsive websites using the Bootstrap framework. A free license for Bootstrap Studio while you are a student: https://bootstrapstudio.io/student-pack
  • ConfigCat — Feature flag service with unlimited team size, awesome SDK documentation and super easy integration with your application. 1000 feature flags, ∞ users for free: https://configcat.com/student
  • Cryptolens — License and sell your software securely. 10 licenses and any number of end-users for free for students: https://app.cryptolens.io/user/githubstudent
  • Frontend Masters — Advance your skills with in-depth JavaScript, Node.js & front-end engineering courses. Free 6-months access to all courses and workshops: https://frontendmasters.com/welcome/github-student-developers/
  • Gitpod — An online IDE for GitHub that provides a complete dev environment with a single click Free personal plan subscription for six months for students: https://www.gitpod.io/github-student-developer-pack/
  • Icons8 — Design resources: icons, UI illustrations, photos and software to class up your projects. 3-month All Access subscription with icons, photos, illustrations, and music: https://icons8.com/github-students
  • LogDNA — Log management platform that offers aggregation, monitoring, and analysis of server and application logs at any volume, from any source. $100 of credit every month for 1 year: www.logdna.com/github-students
  • Name.com — Domain names, web hosting, and websites. Unicorns and rainbows come standard with our customer support. One free domain name and free Advanced Security (SSL, privacy protection, and more): https://www.name.com/partner/github-students
  • Netwise — Turnkey data centre services for the hosting of critical IT infrastructure systems. Free single unit server colocation package free for 12 months: https://www.netwise.co.uk/students/
  • Next.tech — Learn tech skills and build software directly from your browser with real, online computing environments. 10,000 minutes of compute time for students: https://next.tech/github-students
  • Phrase — A cloud-based translation management system built to accelerate the development of multilingual digital products. Phrase Lite Plan free for up to 12 months for students: https://www.phraseapp.com/lp/github-student-package/
  • PomoDone — With PomoDone, hack and track your time and boost your productivity by applying Pomodoro technique to your workflow — eliminate distraction, sharpen focus and prevent burnout. PomoDone Lite plan free for 2-years: https://pomodoneapp.com/pomodoro-app-for-students.html
  • PushBots — The easiest way to engage your mobile & web app users via push notifications. Free Premium account for 6 months: https://pushbots.com/for/education
  • SQL Smash — Productivity plugin for SQL Server Management Studio for writing maintainable SQL scripts and faster navigation. Free standard license for students: https://student.sqlsmash.com
  • SymfonyCasts — Master Symfony and PHP with video tutorials and code challenges. Free 3-month subscription for students ($75 value): https://symfonycasts.com/github-student
  • Termius —SSH client that works on desktop and mobile. Termius securely syncs data across all your devices. Free access to the Premium plan (normally $99/year) while you’re a student: https://termius.com/education
  • Transloadit — A versatile uploading & encoding API to automate any file conversion. The Startup plan for free, including 10GB of encoding credit (valued at $49/month): https://transloadit.com/github-students/
  • Working Copy — Powerful Git client for iPhone & iPad. All Pro features for free while you are a student: https://workingcopy.app/education/


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Twilio launches SendGrid Ads and new cross-channel messaging API – gpgmail


At its annual Signal developer conference, Twilio today announced a couple of new features for developers on its core messaging platform and users of its recently acquired SendGrid email service. The new Twilio tools now allow developers to create multi-channel messaging tools and to get real-time streams of conversations in order to run them through transcription services, a translation tool or other machine learning models.

The company’s $3 billion acquisition of SendGrid closed less than half a year ago, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Twilio would use its biggest event of the year to showcase the service to its developer community.

It’s a bit of an odd one, though. See, SendGrid already announced the beta of SendGrid Ads back in November 2018. As best as I can tell, Twilio SendGrid Ads, which is now launching in beta, is the same product, but a Twilio representative tells me that the ads product is now more deeply integrated into SendGrid Marketing Campaigns, and also got a bit of a redesign. A form of this integration already existed in the previous version, though.

The general idea here is to allow SendGrid users to run multichannel display ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Google from their SendGrid accounts. The advantage of this, the company argues, is that marketers will be able to use data from their email campaigns and website data to then retarget users on other channels. Similarly, they can use lead ads on Facebook to get potential customers to sign up for their SendGrid mailing list.

SendGrid Ads will cost $50 per month, plus the cost of the ads. SendGrid will also take its own cut of 5% of any media cost over $500.

The new developer tools are pretty straightforward. Twilio Conversations, now in public beta, is a new API that allows developers to create solutions that integrate various messaging channels like SMS, WhatsApp and other chat tools.

“Over the last two decades, we’ve watched businesses evolve their communications with customers from the phone call, to website chat, to native mobile apps,” said Chee Chew, chief product officer at Twilio. “Leading companies have figured out that the next evolution of great customer experience is through messaging. Twilio Conversations empowers businesses to build personal, long-lived connections with their customers on the channels they prefer.”

Twilio Media Streams does exactly what it promises to do. Previously, you could get a recording to a call. Now, you can tap into the real-time call to analyze that stream in real time. That’s useful for all kinds of AI tools that aim to help call center agents, for example. This service is now also in public beta and will cost $0.004 per minute, in addition to the rest of the fees associated with the call.


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Dark emerges from stealth with unique ‘deployless’ software model – gpgmail


Dark has been keeping its startup in the dark for the last couple of years while it has built a unique kind of platform, it calls “deployless” software development. If you build your application in Dark’s language inside of Dark’s editor, the reward is you can deploy it automatically on Dark infrastructure on Google Cloud Platform without worrying about all of the typical underlying deployment tasks.

The company emerged from stealth today and announced $3.5 million in seed funding, which it actually received back in 2017. The founders have spent the last couple of years building this rather complex platform.

Ellen Chisa, CEO and co-founder at the company, admits that the Dark approach requires learning to use her company’s toolset, but she says the trade-off is worth it because everything has been carefully designed to work in tandem.

“I think the biggest downside of Dark is definitely that you’re learning a new language, and using a different editor when you might be used to something else, but we think you get a lot more benefit out of having the three parts working together,” she told gpgmail.

She added, “In Dark, you’re getting the benefit of your editor knowing how the language works. So you get really great autocomplete, and your infrastructure is set up for you as soon as you’ve written any code because we know exactly what is required.”

It’s certainly an intriguing proposition, but Chisa acknowledges that it will require evangelizing the methodology to programmers, who may be used to using a particular set of tools to write their programs. She said the biggest selling point is that it removes so much of the complexity around deployment by bringing an integrated level of automation to the process.

She says that there are three main benefits to Dark’s approach. In addition to providing automated infrastructure, which is itself a major plus, developers using Dark don’t have to worry about a deployment pipeline. “As soon as you write any piece of backend code in Dark, it is already hosted for you,”  she explained. The last piece is that tracing is built right in as you code, “Because you’re using our infrastructure, you have traces available in your editor as soon as you’ve written any code,” she said.

Chisa’s co-founder and company CTO is Paul Biggar, who knows a thing or two about deployment having helped found CircleCI, the CI/CD pioneering company.

As for that $3.5 million seed round, it was led by Cervin Ventures with participation from Boldstart, Data Collective, Harrison Metal, Xfactor (Erica Brescia), Backstage, Nextview, Promus, Correlation, 122 West and Yubari.


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