Sending emails without SMTP

Hi all. First post here :slight_smile:

We’re considering using Discourse in my company as it fits our requirements quite well.
The only snag is that our preferred email platform is Salesforce Marketing Cloud (nee Exact Target), which doesn’t offer an SMTP interface.

I’ve had a glance at the source code for Discourse: I have a feeling that sending emails through SMTP is quite a fundamental piece which would be hard to change, but I’d like to hear opinions from someone with more experience in the codebase.

How easy do you think it would be to replace SMTP email sending with API email sending? Could a plugin do it?


You could, but you could also use a service like mailgun worth much less fuss.

Indeed: there’s no shortage of services that support SMTP.

However, we’re weighing our options carefully before introducing another email service in our tech stack: as you can imagine, having multiple overlapping systems comes with its own maintenance and complexity costs.
At the moment, I’m trying to figure out how complex it would be to integrate Marketing Cloud, as I have no idea. Armed with that knowledge, we will internally decide if it’s worth the hassle or we’d rather go with a service like Mailgun.

That makes sense, but introducing your own Discourse plugin adds its own level of maintenance and complexity.

And how bizarre that they don’t let you send via SMTP. They’re obviously receiving mail via SMTP. Do they offer some API for sending mail?


Yes. They have have a REST API and a SOAP API and all I could fine points to the fact that they do not support SMTP at this time.

I can imagine building a plugin will have its own complexity, but having never done it for Discourse I’m not sure of details. @pfaffman, or anyone else with experience, what would you say is the main source of complexity and what would be the maintenance requirements?

You can ask in #marketplace if you have a budget. I’m guessing you’d need between $1000 and 5000, but that’s a wild guess.

I don’t know that code to say how hard it would be or what works be likely to break going forward, but as of about 1995, not having access to an smtp server is an extreme edge case.