Sending emails via serverless 3rd parties in React Native

#tutorial   #React   #ReactNative  

Another robust approach to sending emails in React Native will be with external third-party services. Instead of launching a user’s email app to send an email, we’ll start sending emails to users in the background. These can be registration emails, password resets or anything else that makes sense to be sent once triggered.

To perform such operations, we’ll need to set up triggers (e.g. when a user taps on a ‘register’ button) and a way to send emails based on them. There are several approaches here:

Using Firebase triggers + Zapier + SendGrid

In this approach, we’ll try to integrate three different tools together to enable email sending.

First of all, set up your Firebase account either with the help of the official docs or with the dedicated 3rd party layer for Firebase for React Native. Like Firebase with your React Native project by adding your individual code as shown on the screenshot below.

Now, the idea will be to send emails only when a new child record is added to Firebase Realtime Database. You won’t be able to send emails directly when that happens but this is when Zapier comes in handy. It lets you trigger an email sending from e.g. SendGrid the moment a child object is added with one of its ‘zaps’.

Now, just set up a customized email template to be sent when a Zap is triggered and you’re done! For more details on setting things up, check out SendGrid’s tutorial.

Using Firebase Cloud Functions + e.g. Gmail + Nodemailer

As you can see above, Firebase can be used to trigger events based on actions users take in your React Native app. Since 2017, there’s also a way to send transactional emails without the poor experience of redirecting them to their email app. You can do it through the 3rd-parties such as Zapier.

Firebase Cloud SDK allows for sending these emails with a node library called nodemailer. For it to work, you also need to add an email account to handle the sending. The most straightforward approach is with another Google product – Gmail but you can also use tools for mass mailings such as SendGrid or Mailjet.

This quickstart demonstrates how to set up an Auth-triggered Cloud Function using the Firebase SDK for Cloud Functions.

Setting up your own server

Finally, if you don’t want to rely on 3rd parties, you could set up your own backend to handle email sending. This is certainly more difficult and time-consuming but if you make it work, it could save you money and provide independence from other providers.

One approach to doing this could be with Nodemailer, which we already utilized in the previous example. Integrating it with React Native raises problems as you can’t use server-side modules in React Native as RN is solely client-side. React Native comes with a WebKit JS engine bundled and the latter one misses several features vital for sending emails, for example, support for sockets. If you were to use nodemailer, you would need to add your SMTP credentials to the device which is possible but, this time, raises security concerns.

The best way to go about it would be probably by setting up a proxy server to handle email sending away from the device. This would, however, require a lot more additional development without a guarantee of success.

As you can see, this approach is far from perfect. Try it out, though, if the previous methods don’t appeal to you and let us know in the comments if you managed to build something reliable. We’re curious to know!

Thank you for reading our guide on sending emails with React Native that was originally published on Mailtrap Blog.


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