For a long time, WordPress has had a pretty dysfunctional relationship with email. The Post by Email feature was neglected, then finally reinvigorated and moved to a plugin. Notifications for comments aren't the greatest, and notifications for new posts are non-existent.
This is annoying for most sites, but makes internal communication sites like P2 super annoying to use.
You know what has great email notifications? GitHub. They stay out of your way, integrate perfectly with email clients, and are just generally kick-ass.
You know what now has great email notifications? WordPress.
Neato! How do I set this up?
Step 1: Pick an email provider
You'll need to pick an email provider that we support. Right now, we have handlers for Mandrill and Postmark. If you haven't got one already, I'd personally recommend Postmark, as setting up is a wee bit easier.
Set aside a domain to handle emails.
notifications.example.com is a good
example. We'll be sending emails from
reply@ from this domain, and you'll be
replying to the same email (but with a plus address bit for authentication).
(Wish we had support for another handler? Let us know, or try making a handler
yourself! You'll find the code for it in
Step 2: Install and set up the plugin
Clone the plugin from GitHub and drop it into your WP plugins directory.
Enable it on your site, then head to the settings page and set your preferences.
If you're following the steps from above, set both your Reply-To and From email
email@example.com (obviously with your domain
Pick your email handler and follow the guide to set it up.
You're done! Welcome to a new world of WP.
Hey, I have some questions...
What about formatting?
Falcon sends out the full HTML in a neatly formatted email, similar to GitHub's email notifications. We also convert the HTML over to a text representation similar to Markdown for clients that don't support HTML or prefer a text version of their notifications.
What if I use multisite?
Wow, do we have a treat for you? Falcon is built from the ground up to work beautifully with multisite. There's just one trick: you'll need to Network Activate it. Doing this will put Falcon into "network mode", and activate some special tools just for you.
First up, head to your Network Admin, then to the Falcon settings page. You'll notice that you can enable or disable Falcon per-site, so go ahead and do that now. Keep in mind that any new sites will need to be turned on here when you add them.
Once you've saved this, head over to your profile page to set your own settings. If you're running in network mode, you'll notice Falcon's settings have been superpowered with a grid that looks something like this:
Emails will always be sent from the network-wide email address, with the same applying to your reply-to address. However, Falcon will use each site's data when sending emails and handling replies, so no need to worry about conflicts.
Privacy: Users will only ever receive notifications for sites they're able to access. If you have several levels of users on your network, rest assured that Falcon won't expose any secrets.
Cool, but what's the low-down on the internals?
Falcon is built essentially to be a facilitator of communication. Internally, Falcon has two sides:
- Connectors: These connect events on your site (like posts being published or comments being posted) to Falcon, and turn the events into emails to be sent to the users.
- Handlers: These take emails prepared by Connectors and send them off to email providers (like Mandrill or Postmark).
The same then applies in reverse when receiving emails. Handlers are responsible for parsing out incoming emails and passing them to Falcon, then Falcon passes these off to the relevant Connectors to add into the system.