Email notification is a convenient way to be updated about new content or comments. There are several modules in Drupal that already deal with this issue, and I would like to propose another solution, and highlight the advantages of using it. The new system relies on Message-notify module, which depends on the Message module - a general logging system (think activity stream, but without a fancy query builder).

Message module itself is pretty simple. You can have different message types, and when you want to create a message, you actually create a new entity called Message.

What makes message so great is:

  1. You can replace tokens either by hard-coding it, or by having a callback function. So if you want to have a message like “Good day @name” -- you can either replace the @name with the user’s name, and save it to the database, or you can have a callback function that will make sure we get the most up to date user name, in case it was changed.
  2. Message module is using the "translatable" feature of Field API, which means we can translate the messages. Yap, you’ve heard me right, you can easily send messages in different languages!
  3. Unlike other modules that only notify you via watchdog if there was an error, and the email is lost - since we are using an Entity, we can easily save those messages, and view the message _as it was sent to the user, and if needed re-send them!

Lets see it in action:

  • Get the -dev version of Message and Message-notify, and enable Message-notify example module
  • See the message type that was added in ```admin/structure/messages```
  • Create a few nodes, and as a different user, add comments
  • If your SMTP works, you will get an email, otherwise, you can view the sent messages using Views -- click on the “Message notify example” link on the navigation block
  • And now for the fancy stuff, enable Locale module, and add “French” language. Again, as different users with different language, post comments, and see how the message is language aware!

As you can see Message notify, doesn’t try to implement a subscription system. You can do that yourself according to your custom logic, and Flag module will probably play a big part in it.

Non-developers will need to wait a little longer for a Rules integration with Message notify (there is one already for Message itself), but developers can dive in, and start building a slim an efficient notifications system using Message.

I would also like to point that we implemented for out client in a really nice digest-email feature, that sends you all the recent activity. Remember, since tokens can be replaced by callbacks, nothing stops us from calling views_embed_view() and sending this nice email.

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Amitai Burstein