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Class-based email views for the Django framework, including a message previewer.
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Class-based email views for the Django framework, including a message previewer.


Rendering and sending emails in Django can quickly become repetitive and error-prone. By encapsulating message rendering within view classes, you can easily compose messages in a structured and clear manner.

Basic Usage

from mailviews.messages import EmailMessageView

# Subclass the `EmailMessageView`, adding the templates you want to render.
class WelcomeMessageView(EmailMessageView):
    subject_template_name = 'emails/welcome/subject.txt'
    body_template_name = 'emails/welcome/body.txt'

# Instantiate and send a message.
message = WelcomeMessageView().send(extra_context={
    'user': user,
}, to=(,))

This isn't actually the best pattern for sending messages to a user -- read the notes under "Best Practices" for a better approach.

Using the Preview Site

Registering URLs and Enabling Discovery

  • Add mailviews to your project's INSTALLED_APPS setting.
  • Add the following somewhere within your project's ROOT_URLCONF:
from mailviews.previews import autodiscover, site


urlpatterns = patterns('',
    url(regex=r'^emails/', view=site.urls),

The preview index will now be available at the emails/ URL.

Creating Preview Classes

To create a simple preview, add a emails.previews submodule within one of your INSTALLED_APPS, and create a new subclass of Preview.

from mailviews.previews import Preview, site
from example.emails.views import WelcomeMessageView

# Define a new preview class.
class BasicPreview(Preview):
    message_view = WelcomeMessageView

# Register the preview class with the preview index.

You can see more detailed examples within the test suite or in the code documentation for mailviews.previews.

Customizing Preview Behavior

You can also use Django forms to customize the creation of message previews by adding a form_class attribute to your Preview subclasses. The form must provide a get_message_view_kwargs method that returns a the keyword arguments to be used when constructing the message view instance.

Best Practices

  • Try and avoid using the extra_context argument when sending emails. Instead, create an EmailMessageView subclass whose constructor accepts as arguments all of the objects that you require to generate the context and send the message. For example, the code shown in "Basic Usage" could written instead as the following:
from mailviews.messages import EmailMessageView

class WelcomeMessageView(EmailMessageView):
    subject_template_name = 'emails/welcome/subject.txt'
    body_template_name = 'emails/welcome/body.txt'

    def __init__(self, user, *args, **kwargs):
        super(WelcomeMessageView, self).__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        self.user = user

    def get_context_data(self, **kwargs):
        context = super(WelcomeMessageView, self).get_context_data(**kwargs)
        context['user'] = self.user
        return context

    def render_to_message(self, *args, **kwargs):
        assert 'to' not in kwargs  # this should only be sent to the user
        kwargs['to'] = (,)
        return super(WelcomeMessageView, self).render_to_message(*args, **kwargs)

# Instantiate and send a message.

In fact, you might find it helpful to encapsulate the above "message for a user" pattern into a mixin or subclass that provides a standard abstraction for all user-related emails. (This is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Testing and Development

Tested on Python 2.6 and 2.7, as well as Django 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5.

To run the test suite against your installed Django version, run python test, or make test. (If Django isn't already installed, the latest stable version will be installed.)

All tests will automatically be run using the Django test runner when you run the tests for your own projects if you use python test and mailviews is within your settings.INSTALLED_APPS.

To run tests against the entire build matrix, run make test-matrix.

To view an example preview site, you can start a test server by running make test-server and visiting

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