Easy Email Processing with Postmark

If you’re a web app developer, no doubt you’ve come across the often painstaking task of sending email within your app. If you’re just starting out, chances are you’re going to be using a small server that you’re maintaining yourself, and because email is a part of almost every app, it’s also your job to ensure that everything runs as smooth as possible.

But you’re a developer. You shouldn’t have to worry about taking care of the server and making sure it’s running when that important email comes in. Plus, even if it all appears to be working fine, how can you be sure how many emails are bouncing?

Postmark is an app that takes care of just that. It provides developers with an API that makes sending transactional emails from inside their apps a breeze. With its simple and to-the-point interface, your sent and received emails can be viewed just as easily. Read on to find out more!

Overview

Editor’s Note: Postmark is designed for developers to integrate email functionality into their apps. If you’re wanting a new email app, perhaps a replacement for Gmail, this isn’t for you. If you don’t want to setup a SMTP server, then this might be just what you’re looking for.

Postmark is here to make sending emails from within web apps simple again. Developed by Wildbit, the team behind Beanstalk, it’s made by a team that knows how to handle email right and is possibly the best candidate for the job. It provides an API that can be used with just about any programming language so regardless of your app’s infrastructure, email can be done the Postmark way.

However, it’s worth noting that Postmark is built for transactional emails – meaning that emails sent should be sent to those that will be requiring and expecting the emails. As a web app developer, these would typically be for actions such as confirming a user’s email address following registration and notifications sent from within the app. It’d be great of sending notifications from your web app, perhaps of a comment on a user’s post, but it wouldn’t be designed for sending out email newsletters. Postmark also handles inbound emails, including individual emails and replies to emails you’ve sent, so if you’re looking to process incoming emails immediately within your app, Postmark has it covered.

Overview

Overview

Setting Up

Postmark provides users with the option of adding several shared servers to their account. If you’re using Postmark to provide several apps (or sections of an app) with email, servers are the most logical way to separate these. All the app requires is a name and a colour (to make each one look pretty within the list, obviously) and it’s immediately up and running. Users are then provided with an API key which Postmark recommend should be rotated frequently to ensure security.

Adding a Server

Adding a Server

Before you can begin to send emails, users are also required to add a sending signature. This proves to Postmark that you’re not a spammer and that you have access to the email domain you’re attempting to send them from. It’s a very quick process and once that’s complete, you’re set.

Adding a Sender Signature

Adding a Sender Signature

Analysing Email

I won’t go too into the process of actually using the API to send emails as this is detailed on the website but you can use it to send emails and can set up hooks to process bounced and incoming emails directly within your app. After the emails begin sending or being received via the app, the stats immediately begin showing within the Postmark interface. You can see how many emails have been delivered and how many have bounced over the specified period of time and these stats are presented in a very simple way. Same for the inbound; the app also provides stats about how many have been processed and how many have failed.

Email Stats

Email Stats

The app also provides tabs where a list of all of the emails is stored, and these emails can be searched – a method that can be used to identify certain ones for analysis. When sending email through the API, tags can also be specified that are attached to each one and make the searching process even easier – tags can simply be selected and users are presented with a list of all of the emails that are tagged with that particular word or phrase. Overall, the process is incredibly simple and Postmark simply provides an easy means of checking emails and their status.

Individual Message View

Individual Message View

Pricing

I thought I’d mention this last because the app’s not really priced the same way that most others are. It provides users with credits that can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis, priced at $1.50 per 1,000 emails – with bulk purchasing also available for larger requirements. These credits then decrement as inbound or outbound emails are processed – at a rate of 1 credit per email. It’s really that simple. All new accounts come complete with 1,000 free credits – enough to test and make full use of the app.

Purchasing Credits

Purchasing Credits

Final Thoughts

One of the main reasons why I’ve come to love Postmark (and all of Wildbit’s products, I suppose) so much is that it offers a human approach to doing everything. For projects, I’ve looked at various different services that handle email for this purpose and most are just filled with jargon that as an everyday developer, I find hard to get my head around. Postmark just makes everything ridiculously simple, from setting up the servers to actually sending the email through their API and while it’s a little more pricey than other competitors (though I’ve seen more expensive ones), you’re paying for the app as a whole and I believe that Postmark is definitely worth it. I’m sold.


Summary

Send and process emails within your app easily using Postmark. It makes sending and managing transactional emails a breeze and makes mail server maintenance a thing of the past.

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