Evernote Tech Blog

The Care and Feeding of Elephants

Take our 2014 Developer Survey

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We need your help.

The Developer Relations team has several responsibilities, but they can be summed up in a single sentence:

The Developer Relations team at Evernote supports apps and developers with the tools and resources required to build excellent products that sync with the Evernote platform. 

To accomplish this goal, we spread our attention across several areas of developer interaction, including

  • Documentation and tutorials
  • Evernote App Center listings
  • Developer events, hackathons, and meetups
  • SDK and API support

We focus our attention on these core areas and while we examine site analytics and trends in support requests, it can be difficult to gauge what our developer community needs from us.

So, instead of taking somewhat-educated guesses, we figured the best way to learn what our people need is to find out the old fashion way: ask.

That’s why we put together the 2014 Evernote Developer survey.

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It only takes a couple of minutes to complete, but the input and feedback we receive will be instrumental in helping us decide where to focus our efforts this year. The more developers and platform users, the better we’ll be able to serve you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an existing platform developer or somebody looking to kick our tires — we want to hear from you.

Take the survey and we look forward to helping you find what you need!

2014 is going to be a banner year for Evernote’s platform developers and partners. We wouldn’t be here without you and we want your experience to be nothing less than stellar.

So — do you have five minutes?

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Demo Day & The Evernote Accelerator Recap

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The Evernote cloud platform is used by thousands of apps and millions of our users take advantage of the collection of great apps that work with Evernote.

This fall, we pulled together all available resources and launched the Evernote Accelerator. This intensive 4 week program had a singular focus: to support the top Devcup apps as they build great ways to sync with the Evernote cloud platform.

From Devcup to Accelerator
During the majority of 2013, the Evernote Devcup was opportunity to find and promote new apps that work with Evernote. We travelled around the world in search of top developers and existing startups willing to build interesting ways to save any form of content, files, etc into Evernote. After months of judging and community voting, we had 6 handpicked teams:

These 6 teams spent their summer improving their apps and traveling to our Evernote conference to show off their products.

The Evernote Accelerator – 4 weeks in Silicon Valley

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For any startup that builds great apps that sync with Evernote, we want to ensure they get great support from our team. For the 6 startups in the Evernote Accelerator, our goal was to introduce them to our friends, start up connections, resources, and advisors that can help them build their apps on a strong foundation.

Multiple ways we support these startups include:

Partners for the Evernote Accelerator
We are proud to have 3 strong partners that supported all the teams in getting the best Silicon Valley experience possible.

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  • Wayra Global Accelerator – a worldwide innovation arm of Telefonica, that actively seeks out and finds new startups to bring to market.
  • Honda Silicon Valley Lab – The R&D group within Honda that finds new technologies to developer and integrate with their family of products.
  • Docomo Innovation – The Japanese telecom group works to support new startups that can bring value to their large community of customers.

Results
We believe many of the teams are on their way to having a strong, viable product for users to enjoy and use regularly. Already several of the teams are closing their seed rounds of funding and formalizing partnership deals for exposure to users in new markets.

As the new year begins, we continue to actively mentor and support these apps, in addition to encouraging our community to extend their Evernote experience with them. Go ahead and try out these apps for yourself!

We look forward to a similar program next year as we fill the App Center with great apps that save content into Evernote.

As a recap, here are some new product videos from the Accelerator teams:

BONUS : Check out the Accelerator photo journal: http://eacc2013.postach.io/

Download the Evernote Accelerator 2013 Demo Day Guide [PDF]

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Special thanks to Josh and Andrew for the Demo Day highlight video!

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Evernote Dev Relations 2013 Wrap-Up

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2013 has been quite a year for our developer relations team at Evernote. Between the dozens of workshops, meetups and hackathons we’ve hosted this year and the major work we’ve been doing on the platform and our SDKs, we’ve been busy. As we close out the year, we are excited to share with you what we have been up to.

Here’s a quick recap:

Platform Growth

Since last year, the number of developers building on the Evernote Platform has doubled to over 30,000. Our worldwide developer community is responsible for thousands of Evernote-enabled applications.

The Evernote platform allows you to extend your app using our cloud API. To get started, create your API key, and read through our quick start guides at dev.evernote.com

Outreach & Events

We travelled around the world in 2013:

SDK Development & API Updates

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Integrating the Evernote API into your app extends your product and helps millions of users get more from your app. We want to make the integration as seamless and straightforward as possible.

Here are some highlights from our year:

Check out these and all of our SDKs on github.com/evernote and remember: if you’re so inclined, we happily accept pull requests from our developer community!

The new Evernote App Center

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One exciting aspect this year was having the Evernote Trunk evolve into the new Evernote App Center: Our collection of great apps that work with Evernote. From amazing partners such as Pocket, Feedly, Expensify, Postach.io, and more – we look forward to next year’s batch of new apps that help extend Evernote for all types of users.

If you are considering having your app listed in the App Center, we are seeking out more apps to share and promote to our community of Evernote Business users. The Evernote Business API allows third-party developers to build integrations on our new Business platform currently in use at thousands of companies. Several platform partners have already built dozens of integrations that work with Evernote Business and we can’t wait to see what you guys do next.

Check out the rebuilt and redesigned App Center at appcenter.evernote.com!

What’s next?

2014 is shaping up to be our biggest year ever. Here are a few things we’re looking to build—or build better—in 2014:

Dev Education & Resources

We have a lot in store for our developer website and we plan to launch new features throughout the year such as video tutorials, new and updated documentation, and more guides for getting started. Developers rely on well-written documentation and tons of sample code when learning how to build with our API, and we’re committed to providing the best, most complete resources we can.

Coming in the new year, we will sending out our first annual Evernote Dev Survey. We look forward to more feedback and making our cloud platform more useful for your projects.

Developer & Startup Opportunities

Heading into 2014, we look forward to meeting new developers and startups looking to work with the Evernote API. We are finalizing our list of conferences, hackathons, workshops, and meetups to be a part of this year; if you are interested in having us at your events, shoot us a tweet at @evernote_dev.

Thanks for the amazing year and we look forward to supporting and growing the community of developers building on the Evernote API!

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Evernote API Rate Limits: Important Update

We’ve heard from several of our developer partners that they’d like a bit more time to finish updating and testing their integrations to work with the new API rate limiting we announced back in July. For this reason, we’re delaying the production rollout of rate limits (for existing integrations only) until Monday, November 18, 2013.

Note that new API keys will be subject to rate limiting immediately. For more information on rate limits, see this article.

If you have any questions or concerns about rate limits or anything else related to the Evernote API, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Inside Evernote: Gerardo Lopez-Fernandez

Gerardo Lopez-Fernandez is an Operations Architect at Evernote. He is focused on helping scale the environment and provide tools and direction in support of the Operations team efforts.

What role do you play on the Operations team?

As the Operations Architect I primarily focus on making sure the production environment and the tooling we use to run it fit together in a cohesive fashion. This also includes evaluating new technologies and approaches to solving challenges we face. I also spend a fair amount of time writing and integrating tools, contributing some of them as open source to the community at large.

What are the big challenges?

The usual suspects: availability, scalability, performance, while always keeping data integrity and the user experience in mind. No decision is ever made without ensuring our users’ data is always safeguarded, even from us. And thus we invest heavily in automation, ensuring we have the right set of safeguards (aka belts and suspenders) around tools and processes.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I have been a very active Evernote user for years (long before I started working at the company), which has been rare in my professional life. And so I directly benefit from the fruits of my labor, so to speak, making heavy use of the products in my personal life. From a company-oriented perspective, there is always a very palpable sense of accomplishment that involves the team and the company at large. This is an incredibly gratifying aspect of the culture at Evernote, which is imbued with openness, talent and humility across the board. It’s an incredible place to work.

What’s your background?

I’ve been deeply interested in Operations since my college days at the University of Florida. Tinkering with the innards of a computer was always interesting but not necessarily exciting. Orchestrating the work of said systems to provide a service is where I found the excitement, the embodiment of “this is what I do”.

Two companies have played defining roles in my professional life: Loudcloud & Ning. When I joined Loudcloud in late 1999 (which was among the first companies to do automated operations at scale) I found nirvana. I would later join Ning, which put me very close to the end-user, where I was able to really see the effects of automation, normally in the background, on a vibrant user community.

Evernote is, in some respects, the perfect combination of those two: our users’ data, its safekeeping and availability, is the driving force behind everything we do and how we do it, and automation is how we meet those goals, again, for a very active and engaged user community.

What’s your favorite Evernote feature?

My thoughts, ideas and everything else, anywhere I am, on any device I may have handy, fully searchable and organized, shareable at will. That was the primary reason I started using Evernote, it it continues to be. The slew of new features and additional products (i.e., Skitch, Penultimate, etc) are the icing on the cake.

How do you use Evernote?

I have been an Evernote user and fan since the very early days of the service, circa 2008, and I have used it for all sorts of things: meeting notes, random thoughts, book inventory, cooking recipes, school notes, blog drafts, where I park my car, etc. Over the past two years it has been the control center for the work we’ve been doing renovating a 100-plus year old historic house. It is truly an extension of my brain!

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Inside Evernote: Phil Jensen

Evernote Principal Deployment Engineer Phil Jensen.

Evernote Principal Deployment Engineer Phil Jensen.

Phil Jensen is a Principal Deployment Engineer at Evernote and is a member of the Operations team. Phil helps keep the service running in top form, working closely with the development team.

How is Operations handled here at Evernote?

We have a talented team of excellent engineers and system administrators in the US, Europe and China providing Operations engineering and support.  We work very closely with product development teams to deliver services, provide reliable system and network infrastructure and troubleshoot when required.

What role do you play on the Operations team?

I am currently involved in production deployments for the Evernote web service as well as general system and configuration automation.  I’ve been spending a lot more time with database administration in our production environments.  In the past I have helped with bringing up the Evernote service in China (Yinxiang Biji), our V3 shard architecture, writing Puppet code for our production services, automating package construction, production deployments and service maintenance.  I also help maintain our production kernel and Xen virtualization builds and packaging.

 What are the big challenges?

Some of our big challenges include scaling the service to support tens (to hundreds) of millions of users while working to make tasks and processes as efficient, reliable and repeatable as possible.  We are constantly iterating on our major maintenance tasks to ensure that we have excellent documentation and mitigate risk.

 What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

This is a tough question.  I enjoy taking general tasks and processes and helping to scale them as safely and efficiently as possible.  I also really enjoy getting my hands dirty, building new packages and core operating system components for Xen and the Linux kernel.  I enjoy using tools like Puppet, Fabric and Ansible to create and deploy configuration and services.

 What’s your background? Who’s your biggest mentor?

I’ve worked in system administration and operations for 18 years.  Working with Linux 0.98pl1 in 1993, I started my professional career working at an internet service provider in 1995.  I’ve done quite a bit of work in network engineering, consulting and training, having founded a small consulting unit at a web hosting provider in the 90s and providing instruction in web services at a small technical college.  My biggest mentor would have to be our CTO, Dave Engberg, who has taught me more about working with Java, Tomcat and MySQL than I ever thought I’d learn!

What’s your favorite Evernote feature?

My favorite Evernote feature would have to be the quick note functionality in Evernote for iOS 7.  It’s really helpful to be able to have a thought and immediately be able to start on a note with a single tap.

How do you use Evernote?

I use Evernote on a daily basis as I work on production systems, writing code, documenting service configurations, planning changes and attending meetings.  I spend most of my time with the iOS and Web clients.

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Graphite at Evernote – Open Source Release

In July I wrote about how we use Graphite at Evernote and the enhancements we made for our environment. These changes include templated dashboards, multi-device templated dashboards, and UI adjustments. The addition of templated dashboards allows us to create and maintain just dozens of dashboards instead of thousands. Not long after that article, graphite 0.9.12 was released. Our internal version has been updated to this latest release.

Today we are announcing the open source release of this code now available on GitHub. While this is an unsupported, unofficial fork of graphite-web, we will have occasional public releases to coincide with our internal graphite updates. As noted in the documentation, there are some configuration items to be aware of in order to use this version of graphite.

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Updates From EC3: The Devcup Finalists

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The Evernote Conference is our annual event for developers, designers, and our avid community of users. Among the many talks, panels, and workshops we have put together, attendees can help shape the exciting conclusion to the 2013 Evernote Devcup.

The six finalists from our annual developer competition pitched their apps to an audience of 900 yesterday morning. Each finalist team has the chance to win Devcup Gold, Silver, or Bronze, which includes up to $20,000 in cash prizes!

We want you to help determine the best of class this year. You can vote now for your favorite app via our friends at Poll Everywhere.

Vote today by texting a KEYWORD to 22333 or tweet to @poll with your KEYWORD of choice. Polling closes at 12 Noon PDT.

EC3 Highlights – The Finalists

Postach.io, KEYWORD “POST”

 
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Postach.io is a publishing app that lets users blog directly from Evernote. Tag any note with “published,” and its content will appear on your personal Postach.io blog. At EC3, Shawn Adrian highlighted Postach.io’s rich suite of custom themes and seamless publishing capabilities. Postach.io is a powerful tool for content creators.

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Context Booster, KEYWORD “CONTEXT”

 
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Context Booster is an intelligent assistant for your Evernote experience. Tag any note with “contextboost,” and this service will populate your notebooks with a well-organized list of information from throughout the web. On stage Sebastian Kupers demonstrated recent improvements in UX and overall efficiency.

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Xing, KEYWORD “XING”

 
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Xing is a mobile client for travelers. Built on the Evernote platform, Xing syncs with users’ pre-planned travel notebooks and integrates destinations with its own geolocation feature set. On stage the Xing team highlighted their app’s impressive and meticulously designed UI.

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Biscuit, KEYWORD “BISCUIT”

 
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Biscuit is a mobile dictionary app that translates clipped content across multiple languages. Biscuit formats a clean interface, and syncs content to Evernote in formatted lists. Team member Johnny Seo demonstrated the seamlessness inherent in Biscuit’s transition from clip to translate to sync. Biscuit is your mobile companion for honing language skills.

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SmartTM, KEYWORD “SMARTTM”

 
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SmartTM is a feature-rich productivity app that syncs with Evernote. Users can follow the GTD methodology to organize complex lists of tasks efficiently. Karol Stojek took the stage to demo SmartTM’s deep integration with Evernote notes and reminders.

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Lightly, KEYWORD “LIGHTLY”

 
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Lightly is the next step in the mobile clipping experience. Users can easily highlight, annotate, and clip content from their iOS devices. The Lightly team highlighted their new app design, ready for iOS 7 today.

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We will announce the winners of Devcup 2013 during our afternoon keynote at the conclusion of the Evernote Conference. In the meantime, remember to vote for your favorite team–polling closes at 12 Noon!

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Announcing the Evernote App Center

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Today Evernote is upgrading the catalog of applications and services that work on the Evernote Platform. We’re launching the Evernote App Center. This new directory replaces The Trunk. It offers users a better experience for finding and learning about the products that developers are building.

The big change as we move to the App Center is focus. The App Center is designed to highlight only the software and services that users can access immediately. Its new design features improved hero graphics for the apps in it, and better pages explaining each product. We’re also creating collections of apps so users looking for Evernote add-ons in a category get see related products all together. Check out the sample collections Travel and Productivity, for example.

Only apps and services that we have approved will be in the App Center. We will continue to work with developers to improve apps that are submitted to the App Center so visitors only see the best apps in this directory.

We will be promoting App Center products in our social feeds, on the Evernote main blog, and in the new and compelling in-app Announcements feeds. Again, we’ll work with developers to make sure we promote the best apps at the best times.

The App Center isn’t the only place that products for the Evernote ecosystem will be listed. Today Evernote is also announcing the Evernote Market, a new in-app store that will directly sell products that enhance the Evernote lifestyle. We will work intensively with a few select vendors to get products into The Market in the future.

We are excited about the new App Center. We think its new, clear name, its laser focus on independent apps, and the associated marketing we’ll be doing for App Center products will all drive interest to your Evernote integrations. We look forward to working with you as we launch and grow this new catalog.

The new Evernote App Center.

The new Evernote App Center.

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EC3 Preview: Augmented Intelligence Talk

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The Evernote Conference (EC3) is next week and we want to give you a peek at interesting talks and sessions you’ll be seeing there. Today we’d like to take a closer look at a talk about intelligent experiences at EC3 titled “Augmented Intelligence: Your Mind as the Most Important Device” hosted by our VP of Augmented Intelligence, Mark Ayzenshtat, and Zeesha Currimbhoy, Senior Software Engineer on the AI team.

Here at Evernote, we are obsessed with creating products and experiences that allow you to live better and work smarter. No matter how you use Evernote, we want the experience of using it to feel magical – like it’s finishing your sentences. We’re on a mission to develop these connections between all the bits of information you keep in Evernote and expose them to you in a way that feels intuitive, personal, and intelligent.

Mark Ayzenshtat (@shtat) and Zeesha Currimbhoy (@zeeshac) of our Augmented Intelligence team will talk on how they build smart experiences for millions of users while putting privacy first. They’ll talk through the challenge of building products to serve an incredibly wide user base while making each user feel that the product understands their unique traits and behaviors.

Why do we use the term Augmented Intelligence to describe what we do here at Evernote? Mark and Zeesha explain how, instead of building systems to mimic human thought, we’re focused on augmenting the processes that people already excel at for a better, more natural experience with the product.

Mark and Zeesha will also discuss the future of search, and how we’re working to maximize the time people spend with their ideas. How do we make searching smarter, or avoid search altogether and help anticipate what a user wants before they even have to ask?

We hope you’ll join us at the Evernote Conference for this exciting session. Click the register button below to get your tickets now!

register

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