Edit this page

How to send emails with Keystone

We often had to send emails in our Keystone projects, so we figured we might as well make that easier. With the standalone keystone-email package, containing Mailgun and Mandrill integrations, you'll be sending emails in less than 5 minutes!

Setup

  1. Install the keystone-email package in your project with
npm install keystone-email --save

That's everything there is to it from the Keystone side!

You will need a Mailgun account to be able to send emails though. (Mailgun gives you 10000 emails/month for free!) Let's create that:

  1. Sign up on mailgun.com
  2. When you've created the account you should see a message saying "You're signed up and we just created your sandbox server xyz.mailgun.org". Copy the link to your sandbox to a safe place, we'll use it soon!
  3. Click on "authorized recipients" on that page and invite yourself with your own email as an authorized recipient Mailgun Signup
Page
  4. Activate your account and agree to be an authorized recipient in the two emails Mailgun sent you
  5. Go to your dashboard, click on your name in the top right corner and show and copy your private API key and store it next to the sandbox URL, we'll need that too!

Mailgun Signup Page

Note: You can also use Mandrill with keystone-email, but since it has no free tier we'll skip it for this guide, see the keystone-email docs for more information!

Now we're all setup to start sending emails!

Sending your first email

For exemplary purposes, create a test-email.js file in the root of your project and require keystone-email:

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

keystone-email uses templates. You can use whatever templating engine you prefer (set it via the engine option) but for this guide we'll be using pug! (formerly called jade)

Create another file in the root folder called test-email.pug and fill it with this content:

<!-- test-email.pug -->

doctype html
html(lang="en")
  head
  body
    h1 Your first email sent with Keystone!
    p Congratulations on sending your first email with Keystone

Nothing fancy, a simple heading and paragraph for now.

Let's swap back to our test-email.js file and tell keystone-email which template we want to use. We pass that in as the first argument to new Email():

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

new Email('test-email.pug', {});

In the second argument, the email options, we tell it we want to use Mailgun as the email transport mechanism by setting transport to mailgun (surprisingly!):

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

new Email('test-email.pug', {
  transport: 'mailgun',
});

This won't actually send the email though! (how should it, we haven't told Keystone where to send the email to yet!)

When called, Email returns a send function that you can use to actually send an email with the specified template. It takes three arguments: the locals (the data that goes into the template), the senderOptions (where to send the email to/from, the subject, the mailgun options,...) and as the last argument a callback.

Since we don't have any data in our template yet, we'll simply set the locals to an empty object:

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

new Email('test-email.pug', {
  transport: 'mailgun',
}).send({});

The senderOptions are the meat of this function call. We need to tell keystone-email where to send the email to, where it should pretend to come from, what the subject is and finally the Mailgun API details and sandbox url:

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

new Email('test-email.pug', {
  transport: 'mailgun',
}).send({}, {
  apiKey: 'YOURAPIKEYHERE',
  domain: 'sandox123asdf234YOURSANDBOX.mailgun.com',
  to: 'yourauthorizedrecipient@email.here',
  from: {
    name: 'Your Site',
    email: 'hello@yoursite.com',
  },
  subject: 'Your first KeystoneJS email',
});

If you tried to run this, it would already work! 🎉 Let's add a callback though, to make sure we get errors logged if something goes wrong or a message logged if it goes right:

// test-email.js
var Email = require('keystone-email');

new Email('test-email.pug', {
  transport: 'mailgun',
}).send({}, {
  apiKey: 'YOURAPIKEYHERE',
  domain: 'sandox123asdf234YOURSANDBOX.mailgun.com',
  to: 'yourauthorizedrecipient@email.here',
  from: {
    name: 'Your Site',
    email: 'hello@yoursite.com',
  },
  subject: 'Your first KeystoneJS email',
}, function (err, result) {
  if (err) {
    console.error('🤕 Mailgun test failed with error:\n', err);
  } else {
    console.log('📬 Successfully sent Mailgun test with result:\n', result);
  }
});

Now run this file with node test-email.js, and you should see this logged in your console:

📬 Successfully sent Mailgun test with result
 { id: '<somelongid@sandboxsomestuffhere.mailgun.org>',
  message: 'Queued. Thank you.'

Go check your inbox! Congratulations, you just sent your first email with keystone-email!

Inserting locals

In a real world scenario you will almost always want to pass data into your templates, for example to say hi to your users by name. Let's do exactly that!

First, adapt your template to accept data. In Pug you use locals with the #{ recipient.variable } syntax. Change test-email.pug to have this content:

<!-- test-email.pug -->

doctype html
html(lang="en")
  head
  body
    h1 Hi %recipient.firstName% this is your second email sent with Keystone!
    p This is your full name: %recipient.firstName% %recipient.name%

As you can see above, we need to pass firstName and name to our template via the locals option. Go back to test-email.js and take a look at the Email(...).send() call we do:

new Email(/* ... */).send({}, {/* ... */}, function (err, result) {/* ... */});

See that empty first argument? Specify your first name and your last name in there like so:

new Email(/* ... */).send({
  firstName: 'Max',
  name: 'Stoiber',
}, {/* ... */}, function (err, result) {/* ... */});

Now send another email with node test-email.js! This is the text you should see once you've received it:

Hi Max, this is your second email sent with Keystone!

Let's hope that this is your first and last name: Max Stoiber

(replacing Max and Stoiber with your first and last names respectively)

Amazing, that wasn't too hard, huh? We've successfully sent a personalized email!

Now go ahead and add emails to your app!