How Gmail’s Structured Data ( Can Shape The Next Generation of Email Marketing

How Gmail’s Structured Data ( Can Shape The Next Generation of Email Marketing

Once every couple of days I take out a few hours just to explore new and interesting stuff which I can somehow use for my next side project. I got my last side project idea – Chrome extension for when I stumbled upon Yahoo Query Language. I knew I had to scrape something and what better than

This time I stumbled upon Gmail Integration because I’ve been flirting with the idea of making a completely free add-on to schedule your emails in Gmail inbox, something like Boomerang or Yesware but totally free. This lead me to Gmail Actions which are structured data markups using standard in email. It allows marketers to include different structured data to make it easier for users to interact with emails.

If you use Gmail you must have seen this in your inbox –

One click action in Gmail Inbox


Increase conversion by adding modal overlay at the end of video

How to add conversion overlay window at the end of a video?

Many companies use videos as a medium to communicate their solution or the problems they are trying to solve for users. It has already been seen that videos have better conversions than text or images and they still do not optimize it for conversions.

One of the simplest ways to enhance conversion from a video is to add a message with call to action buttons at the end of the video (post roll) which guides users to take the next step once they have finished watching it. For different businesses it can mean guiding users to download a software or create a new account or just collect their email address.

In this article you’ll learn how to implement this simple conversion tactic to your videos with or without any help from a developer. If you understand a bit of HTML, CSS and Javascript then you can follow the steps and code provided in this tutorial to implement it by yourself or you can pass along this article to the developer who can implement it for you.

Unofficial Chrome Plugin of GrowthHackers - Snooptank

Unofficial Chrome Browser Extension

Being a member of, it feels awesome to release the first version of unofficial Chrome Browser Extension for the community.

I never planned on creating something like this but when the idea struck me, I knew I can’t let it go. chrome browser extension screenshot

This plugin came into existence because of two main reasons:

1. Being a tab junkie I always have 3-4 GH tabs opened in my chrome which uses quite a lot of computer memory. Moreover, every time I want to read latest GH stories I have to switch tabs leaving any other important work incomplete. A browser extension seems like an ideal solution.

2. I recently started learning Javascript and wanted to start a side project and hence this plugin came along.

Single table inheritance with Eloquent (laravel 4)

Eloquent is a great orm. It provides a very usable api powered by very clean, readable code. Eloquent opens itself up to extension, thus allowing you to implement powerful patterns over it that help you retain the power of an orm while maintaining a proper separation of concerns.

One of such patterns that I am going to discuss about in this blog post is Single Table Inheritance with Eloquent. This pattern is used whenever you need to store entities in a single table, which have the same fields, but different behaviors. For example, different types of orders like delivery and pickup. Or different types of users for a school system, like student, teacher, official etc. Each of these entities have certain common behaviors and relationships, while the sub-types can have new behaviors and relationships of their own.

So how do you go about implementing this ? You create a base model which extends eloquent and overrides a few eloquent methods and adds 2 small methods.

On Taking a Break from PHP

I have been learning programming properly for 2.5 years now (I had a few brief stints before that, separated by years, but 2.5 years ago is when i really started learning programming with the aim of making a living out of it). And I have been working as a web developer for a little more than 2 years. Over these two years, I have learnt a lot, I have grown a lot. And a lot of what I know and have learnt is because of the people I met in open source communities. There are so many of them, so, so many, some gave me some very important insights in the very brief encounter I had with them, others have guided me throughout these two years, very much like mentors (would specially like to mention Matthew Machuga( and ShawnMcCool( over here). Then there have been people (most prominent: Taylor Otwell( whose works I consider a piece of art, and studying those works has given me a lot of ideas to improve myself as a developer. All of these people, and many more, who go unnamed deserve the credit for me being good enough to consider myself a “good” programmer.

Testing with database in Laravel 4

I recently needed to write some tests in which test code needed to interact with database (which is usually the case with integration tests*). These tests were for the core business logic of one of the applications i am working on, so i had to be sure that whatever is happening in code, is reaching the database properly. Laravel 4 Provides a pretty good base class for all your application’s tests which can be found in

However this base class does not provide any helpers to deal with setting up and tearing down the database. So i put in some quick helper methods for the same in it, and with an in memory sqlite database, all the tests that touched the database were running at a decent speed. I am sharing the class below, use it, modify it, do whatever.

(* by the way, the best place to get a jump-start on testing concepts is , don’t worry if its in ruby, there is very less and simple code and the way testing theory is described there is pretty pragmatic )

On Laravel – Journey Of An Artisanal PHP Framework

Laravel is a great shiny php framework. Even though its only two years old , it has gone through 4 versions, and now, its BIG. The forums are active and full of great q&a’s and serve as an excellent resource to anyone willing to learn laravel. The IRC channel #laravel always has around 350 members active and helping each other out all the time, and the framework itself is a piece of art. I myself have been an  active contributor to the project, and have several open source projects going around laravel. You can find them here :

I started tinkering with laravel when it was in 1.0, around October 2011. Built a simple experimental thingy, a picasa-albums gallery with laravel 2 in Jan 2012 ( … the last URL-segment can be replaced by anyone’s picasa-id and it’d load up a gallery of their albums). And since then I have worked on three big projects using laravel, two of which used laravel 3 , and one of which uses laravel 4. All this time, I saw laravel grow and mature as a framework, and saw php community embrace the artistic dev experience it offered with open hearts.

When I started hanging out on #laravel irc , there used to be only 5-6 people around. Last night, when laravel 4 was launched, the number of people on #laravel went upto 550 !!! Thats a huge number, and from what I have observed, its a sign of how much momentum laravel has (it has been my observation that the popularity of a technology among developers is directly correlated to the number of people hanging out on its IRC channel). The whole environment in laravel community was euphoric last night. People were keeping an eye on public github feed of Taylor Otwell (the man behind laravel), announcing as he merged each component one by one into the to-be-released branch, while waiting for the shiny looking new website to be released. All and all, it was a great experience. Something that reminded me yet again that open source is a big community, and bound together by the stacks of tcp/ip that came out of it.

And a Programmer Joins In

Till now, this blog has been featuring the “musings of a marketer”. Now a programmer, that’s me has joined in too and we hope to rope in a designer as well. We are a group of friends each working in different areas of the whole IT business and we in ourselves pretty much cover all the aspects that one needs to run a web/mobile tech company. So our aim with this blog is to give out as much of good information as possible so people can take tidbits from it and implement in their own startups. We will focus on quality, no sub-standard stuff here.