Letters for your applications (in 24 hours)

    Hello. Most of the time I manage the development of shopium.ua and zakaz.ua projects, but the engineer inside me periodically requires entertainment. Having no free time for hackathons, garages, start-up saunas, etc., I came up with my own format “to do what the soul wants”:
    • I need it myself
    • time to implement MVP - up to 24 hours in total
    • budget - up to $ 100
    • commercial potential

    In our projects, we send letters to users. We send newsletters to users, and MailChimp does it very well, but until recently, the niche for sending transactional letters (confirmations, notifications, etc.) was relatively empty.

    In most projects that I know, transactional letters directly in the code are created from the letter template (and it is good if it is taken out in a separate file, and not sewn together in the code), and transferred to the local SMTP server. And wherein:
    • only programmers can change the text of messages (it’s slow and expensive, and it’s impossible to delegate work with texts to a content manager, but for any change in the text of letters you need a re-system)
    • opening letters and clicks on links are not monitored (there is no data to improve the text of the letter)
    • bounce is not processed (you can constantly send letters to non-existent addresses, and this affects the spam rate of the address from which letters are sent)
    • only some of them have signed letters through DKIM (also reduces the chances of delivering a letter to inbox)

    I decided in 24 hours to make a service with which it will be possible to reliably send beautiful letters, quickly change their text, and track statistics. Meet Notifout .

    What is Notifout?

    Notifout.com is a service for sending transactional messages to your users, and it works like this:
    • you in Notifout announce a list of email templates that you want to send
    • when you need to send a letter to the user, you make an HTTP POST request from your application, passing the identifier of the template, and any additional data in the form of JSON
    • Notifout using your template, and the transmitted data will form HTML and plain-text versions of the letter, collect them into one letter, put tokens to track opening, write down code for tracking clicks in the links, put the correct headers for Return-Path and List-Unsubscribe, sign a letter using a DKIM key, and will send to the recipient.

    All information about the recipient’s interaction with the letter

    If the addressee is unavailable - Notifout will correctly work out the bounce, and will reflect this in the status of the letter.

    About time and resources

    Development was carried out mainly in between trips and meetings, in the evening under the favorite series. It was possible to fit into the planned format almost completely. The first version, which took 23:30 (including localization of ru / en and payment via PayPal / LiqPay), sent everything, accepted and worked in every way, but in order to fit into the timing, it was necessary to exclude the DKIM / SPF implementation. After the release, adding SPF + DKIM took about 4 hours more.

    Financial expenses:

    • Ginger Tea and Burkifly in Vienna Buns - $ 4.4
    • Domain - $ 10.87
    • Hosting from Linode - $ 28.21
    • Black Tea and Donut at Vienna Buns - $ 4
    • SSL certificate - free, from StartSSL
    • Personal time is priceless

    It remains: $ 52.52

    The plans were not to call a standard bootstrap eyeballs - to buy a nice theme at https://wrapbootstrap.com/ , but for now everything is pretty nice and so.


    Of course, such a result in 24 hours would not have been possible without excellent FOSS software, and excellent services:


    We already use it in our projects, but I want to share it with others, therefore, for all users of the Habr, the action is valid until 08/01/12:
    Register at http://notifout.com , and write the passphrase “I am” at serg@notifout.com from habr ", with a link to your profile on the habr, and the address under which you registered in Notifout and I will increase your free limit to 10,000 messages per month.

    And for dessert - a 24-hour video of Notifout creation, compressed to 11 minutes, to the accompaniment of the beautiful psi-trance Etnica - Full-on:

    UPD1: By the way, I recommend reading an excellent article from MailChimp Email Delivery For IT Professionals to everyone who is interested in the topic

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