Sending email from your Apostrophe project

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Any module in an Apostrophe project can send email easily. Here's an example. This example builds on apostrophe-pieces, which we have already learned about.

// in app.js
  modules: {
    suggestions: {},
    'apostrophe-email': {
      // See the nodemailer documentation, many
      // different transports are available, this one
      // matches how PHP does it on Linux servers
      nodemailer: {
        sendmail: true,
        newline: 'unix',
        path: '/usr/sbin/sendmail'
// in lib/modules/suggestions/index.js
module.exports = {
  name: 'suggestion',
  extend: 'apostrophe-pieces',
  email: {
    // default "from" address for this module
    from: ''
  construct: function(self, options) {
    self.afterInsert = function(req, piece, options, callback) {
      return, 'emailInserted', {
          piece: piece
        }, {
          // can also specify from and other
          // valid properties for nodemailer messages here
          to: '',
          subject: 'A new suggestion was received'
{# In lib/modules/suggestions/views/emailInserted.html #}
<h4>A new suggestion was received</h4>

<p>A new suggestion was inserted. <a href="{{ data.piece._url }}">See it on the site.</a></p>

What's happening in this code? First, we must configure the apostrophe-email module. If we don't, Apostrophe doesn't know what to do with email messages. In this example we configure the sendmail transport, which works with Postfix, sendmail and various other common mailer daemons on Linux servers. But you can pass any configuration, which will be passed on to the createTransport method of nodemailer.

For instance you might set it up with credentials to send SMTP email via a gmail account, or via a service like Postmark or Amazon SES, to guarantee reliable delivery. And you should definitely do that if your mailserver isn't set up very carefully with both DKIM and SPF. Those are a lot of work, so think about letting the pros do it.

Once apostrophe-email is configured, we can invoke the email method of any module to conveniently send email, formatting it with any Nunjucks template in that module. All we have to do is provide req, a template name, an object with data to be exposed as data in the Nunjucks template, and an object with email headers such as from, to and subject. We can also set from conveniently at the module level, as shown here.

A plaintext version of the email is also automatically created, with valid URLs replacing links, so you don't have to provide a separate template for plaintext.

You can also use promises. If you invoke the method of your module without a callback, a promise is returned.

"Hey, all of my emails wound up in the spam folder!" Staying out of the spam folder is outside the scope of Apostrophe... but see the above advice re: using a reliable delivery service like Postmark or Amazon SES, or configuring your own mailserver carefully to sign everything well.

"Hey, a suggestions module sounds great, where's the rest of the code for that?" We're just demonstrating email here, but check out the apostrophe-pieces-submit-widgets module, which is what you're looking for. Add the above afterInsert method to send email to the administrator when new submissions are made.

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