Any front-end dev will tell you that email template integration is one of the worst part of their job. It is often a task given to interns or to one of those cheap third party companies, & for good reasons.
It takes experience/time to build solid email templates, testing in different browsers/email clients is also hard & costly. If you use a senior dev it costs even more money, oh and you will also probably piss him off.
I understand this too much, not only did I work for web agencies, I also worked a couple of years at CakeMail building 2 wysiwyg email editors. If you think building an email template is hard, try building a good wysiwyg email creation tool.
A beacon of hope, ink
When Zurb launched Ink I was ecstatic, a solid grid system for building emails, could it be possible? Ink is the starting point for a new generation of sane email templates, unfortunately it only solve 1 issue, having a solid css framework for building email.
You are still stuck with a shitty workflow to make all the magic happen.
Inker solves the issues ink does not. For one it incorporates ink slapped with a sass structure instead of plain css for better encapsulation. Then it solves the template html management problem with Mozilla Nunjucks, it give you a sane html component architecture that can be rendered into one html file. Then Inker inline your css for you & can send it to litmus or an email address for testing.
What does it mean in the end? Inker is the glue that makes everything easier while developing emails. In one command you can generate an email template from a sane CSS & HTML markup that can be deployed on litmus. Saving you time, money & frustration.
An API to rule them all
Inker also comes with a basic email sending server. This server is a rest api that can handle two things, for one it can return the template with parsed custom variables. It will also, guess what, send emails to any smtp service you want to (ex: Mailgun, sendgrid, etc).
In general, a company having multiple applications will handle emails separately for all its apps. This means multiple ways of building the templates, multiple templating engines, multiple ways of sending the emails.
Inker optimizes all this, you have one clearly define way of building templates, that has been tested & is not error prone. You have one simple email server that handle all sending requests, it can handle multiple providers if one should go down, or if you get a better deal somewhere else.
Inker API is easy to implement in any application you build, removing the SMTP nonsense from your apps & helping you focus on more important things.
The bullet point
- Built on top of Zurb Ink
- Sane CSS components structure with SASS
- Sane HTML components structure with nunjucks
- Auto generate template to HTML documents with inlined CSS
- Auto deployment on litmus for testing
- Auto deployment to email for testing
- Basic internal email sending server
Thanks to Litmus for the free email client testing for this project.