Archives For email

My last blog post was over 6 months ago, so I think I’m technically way past due for a new post. In this post I wanted to take a tour through the new functionality in Magento 1.9.1 with regards to sending emails from your store.

The astute among you will have noticed there were some changes to email in Magento 1.9.1 from the Magento 1.9.1 release notes. Two things jump out as requiring further investigation:

  1. “all Magento e-mails (including order confirmation and transactional) are now queued and sent according to your configured cron schedule”
  2. “boasts responsive default email templates so customers can read your order confirmation emails and newsletters on any device”

The first change sounds worrying to me, after years of emails from merchants struggling to get their Magento store to send emails – anything which makes it _harder_ seems like a bad idea to me. However, we’ll look through the changes and see what’s new.

The second change sounds really good – I was tinkering on a responsive email extension myself, so it’s pleasing to see it has already become core functionality. I’ll take a look through the template changes, and how they affect your store in the second part of this blog post series.

Using cron to send Magento Emails

Magento email sending all boils down to the Template class Mage_Core_Model_Email_Template, you can see below the change for queuing has been to introduce a check for an available queue in the template class, and if available to enqueue the message with all of it’s data and return immediately.
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Today I’d like to publicly introduce my first ever premium extension, MageSend – simple, reliable email sending for Magento, tightly integrated with Amazon’s SES email service. I have applied my experiences supporting the popular SMTP Pro extension to remove as many pain points, and streamline the setup as much as possible. I have also taken advantage of the API functionality provided by Amazon SES to give store owners excellent insight into their email sending performance.

Background and Motivation

Over four years ago I released my first ever email extension for Magento, the purpose was super-simple transactional email sending via Google Apps and (later) SMTP for Magento stores.

In that time I have been supporting SMTP based email sending, and Google Apps as an email service (or other ESP’s) I have become increasingly frustrated with how brittle it is as a solution. There are several weaknesses with that approach that cause issues.
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I’ve been neglecting my Magento extensions a bit lately and it somewhat ironically caught up with me yesterday. We’re developing a new store on Magento 1.4.2 and when it came to setting up the Google Apps email I naturally enough installed my own extension (that is why I built it, after all). This post describes the fixes and changes in the latest version of my SMTP Pro Magento email extension.

I found a number of issues with it, one related to the sub-directory install, one related to multi-store and others to do with the Magento version, that needed to be fixed (in a hurry). So to those of you reporting issues over the last month or so, sorry for the delay getting to them. Better late than never eh Fontis.

In addition to testing with Magento 1.4.2 which I can confirm works, here’s what I have fixed/changed:

  • Fixed the self-test when running it from a webstore installed in a subdirectory.
  • Fixed the Cannot set standard header from addHeader() exception. It was caused by an upgrade to Zend in Magento 1.4.2. Reported here.
  • Added German translations which I got from Thomas at NetResearch, Many thanks! (and apologies for taking months to finally roll them out).
  • Added better logging around the ‘not valid for send’ state.
  • Fixed the 404 error you get when running self-test on a store with the ‘use store code in url’ setting turned on. I suspect this may have been causing a few issues.

The SMTP extension is available on Magento Connect or you may prefer to download your Magento connect extensions manually. The release file for SMTP Pro version 1.4.0 is available here if you like to install Magento extensions manually.

I’ve had a chance to make a couple of improvements to my SMTP Pro email extension for Magento. Both changes are not exactly life altering, one adds extra error detection to the self-test, and the other fixes a header problem with the self-test (reported by Phil). More details follow about the changes, if you want to get the extension, download SMTP Pro on Magento Connect. (Updated: finally on Magento Connect!)

I now send a real live contact form message as part of the testing – and ensure that when the email sends, my extension code is actually being called. I’ve had a lot of people reporting problems with emails not sending lately, only to find it’s because some other extension is interfering with my email sending. This tweak to the self test will help identify those issues.

This is implemented as a static variable on the self test controller, that is set before sending the test email and then altered by the email observer (if it is called as expected):

// Now we test that the actual core overrides are occuring as expected.
// We trigger the password forgot email, as though a user had done so.
 
self::$CONTACTFORM_SENT = false;
$this->_sendTestContactFormEmail();
 
// If everything worked as expected, the observer will have set this value to true.
if (self::$CONTACTFORM_SENT) {
	$msg = $msg . "<br/> Contact Form test email used SMTPPro to send correctly.";
} else {
	$success = false;
	$msg = $msg . "<br/> Contact Form test email did not use SMTPPro to send.";
}

and the code in the observer that alters this variable:

// For the self test, if we're sending the contact form notify the self test class
if($event->getTemplate() == "contacts_email_email_template") {
        include_once "app/code/community/Aschroder/SMTPPro/controllers/IndexController.php";
        Aschroder_SMTPPro_IndexController::$CONTACTFORM_SENT = true;
}

The other change was trivial, adding a ->setFrom() call when sending the test email. Thanks to Phil for pointing that out.

Lastly, Eric requested a useful feature which I will add, but I haven’t had time to put that in to this release, next time!

Let me know any feedback you have on the changes, or if you’re having trouble sending emails in Magento – feedback welcome.

Just a quick one, a number of users have contacted me reporting email problems with the error on the contact form Unable to submit your request, often this error is actually caused because between versions 1.3 and 1.4, an invisible form field called hideit was added to Magento, which if absent, will cause the form submission to fail. That means if your template has a custom contact form, it will break. That’s a bit of a bummer if you’re upgrading Magento versions.

There are a few fixes floating around, so I won’t reproduce one here.

Take your pick:

There’s a lesson there, be very careful about copy the entire default Magento template tree and making changes, try only copying the ones you need to change – it’ll make your template far more resilient to changes when upgrading.