Comment a message by reply an email like Trello? How?


Do you notice when receive a comment on Trello via email, you just need to reply that comment so your reply can appear on the board. This function is also available on Upwork in which I just need to reply an email to reply a message.

I wonder if you implemented this function, how would you do it? What kind of knowledge that I have to learn to do this? Do I have to mess around with mail server?

I am good at PHP and its frameworks, but willing to learn anything new.

Thanks everyone.

  1. 1

    Ruby on Rails has this functionality built-in:


    You've received some other suggestions for services like Postmark and Mailgun which are both valid (you'll need a service to receive the mail!) but that's only half the story. So you receive a webhook... now what?

    Rails is awesome precisely because it has answers for this sort of question.

    1. 1

      You're absolutely right. I will def look into Rails for this. Postmark and Mailgun send data via HTTP so I guess most web programming languages can handle the response.

      1. 1

        I’d be concerned if any modern language stack couldn’t receive a web request! That’s not the point. Receiving an email from a service is the beginning of your task, not the end.

        1. 1

          yeah, that's true. Mailgun just saves from the task of setting up a mail server.

  2. 1

    Check out Postmark which can help with this.

    1. 1

      thank you. How about inbound emails? do you have any recommendation?

      1. 1

        Yep, with Postmark you can wire up the email to a web hook.

        You make an end point in your app that receives a POST from Postmark with the email payload.

        1. 1

          Awesome. Thank you so much

  3. 1

    I would use a service like Mailgun[1], which can receive email for an entire domain (I would use a new domain just for this - if my main is "foo", I'd use something like "foomail.com") and on receipt of an email, parses the email out into JSON and can make a webhook/POST to my back end.

    The reply-to address (and probably the sent as well) would be something like <messageid>@foomail.com - where the messageid is the unique id of the message thread. You could encode quite a bit more data in there as well and just base-64/hex it.

    On receipt of the webhook/POST, you'd look up the message based on the "receiver" email address, try to find a user based on the "sender" email id, and from there it is more or less the same code as an HTTP comment.

    Oh, you'd have to have a bit of clever parsing of the email body to extract out the reply vs. the quoted bits, and/or convert them into whatever format your commenting system might use for quotes.

    This should be covered by the free tier on mailgun.

    [1] https://documentation.mailgun.com/en/latest/quickstart-receiving.html#how-to-start-receiving-inbound-email

    1. 1

      Hey, thank you for your detailed suggestion. It seems that this task is possible without going into the world of mail server. I will try this out. By the way, I read the post about your idea. Sound very interesting!

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