Notifications in web apps: Mailgun and Twilio on Heroku

In web applications, sending and receiving notifications is an important feature among many functionalities. With notification features, you can quickly reach out to many people and let them be informed of major events and updates regarding your applications and products. This eventually leads to improved customer experiences and faster response time by your team members. In this article, we will learn how we can use Mailgun and Twilio on Heroku focusing on the notification aspect in web applications. But, before we start, check our Heroku addon, IronMQ Message Queue as a Service. This plugin enables your web apps on Heroku to use queuing service with minimal setup and easy integration. This software can help you to build a notification service effortlessly and run it reliably.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Mailgun?
  2. What is Twilio and Twilio Sendgrid
  3. Mailgun and Twilio on Heroku
  4. Wrapping up

What is Mailgun?

Mailgun was established in 2010 with the aim of developing API-based email services for developers. The firm focused on designing simple and easy email features so that developers can integrate them into their apps or software to systematically manage email operations. The company now has hundreds of thousands of companies as their customers, and they send hundreds of billions of emails each year. Mailgun allows you to send and track transactional and marketing communications too. Let’s take a look at its major features.

Email API

You can set up Mailgun’s email API fast and start sending emails right away. You can schedule sending emails and track sent emails. In addition to the basic operations, Mailgun provides analytics that will share engagement metrics like opens and clicks. You can retrieve hourly data that can help you to understand the best time for sending emails to your customers. It also provides device, location, and email service provider that your customers use. When sending emails failed, you can check their detailed logs to find and rectify the cause.

Email Validation

Before you send any email, you will want to make sure that your target email addresses are valid. When there are many invalid addresses, it will result in sending unnecessary emails, increasing cost, and lowering your engagement figures. Mailgun offers fast validations that can handle millions of email addresses.

Burst Sending

When you want to send massive emails fast, Mailgun’s burst sending allows you to send them in bulk swiftly. You can use this service for time-sensitive and high-volume emails. The firm’s intelligent queue management is behind this technology. You can send massive volume without worrying about bottlenecks and time constraints.

Inbox Placement

Marketing emails sometimes can fall into the spam box. What you don’t want to do is to reach out to your customers and to ask them to check their junk box. With inbox placement service, you can predict, before sending, whether or not your email will safely land in the normal inbox. You can refer to Mailgun’s predictive figures and change your email format.

Design and Consultation

Mailgun provides design templates in various categories such as marketing, newsletters, welcome emails, campaigns, and more. You can simply drag and drop design snippets on their UI. In addition to the design support, Mailgun has email experts. You can discuss your email strategies and concerns with the email gurus and optimize your communication plans.

What is Twilio and Twilio SendGrid?

The next notification service provider we want to discuss is Twilio. Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service company based in the U.S. Using Twilio’s services, you can programmatically make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and communicate with people using their APIs. Twilio also has SendGrid API that allows you to operate various email tasks. The following are the major features of Twilio and their email API service.

Messaging

With their messaging APIs, you can reach customers in 180 countries and deliver messages reliably. You can use the APIs in use cases below.

 

  • Notifications: you can inform your customers about major events such as account updates, purchase confirmations, and shipping alerts.
  • Mass alerts: the mass alerts API helps you to send time-sensitive messages to the target audience fast in a scalable manner.
  • Marketing messages: you can send offers and promotions to the target customers to boost your sales.
  • Conversations: you can build a secure and bilateral channel where you and your customer can have a conversation. You can also invite multiple people in the channel.
  • Verifications: you can send a one-time password or URL for user verification with one of their APIs.

Programmable Voice

Twilio has voice APIs that enable developers to build programmatic voice interactions with customers. In the voice API stack, there are smart features, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR), recording transcriptions, and speech recognition. Furthermore, you can implement alerts and notifications, call tracking, embedded calling, global conferencing, and masked calling.

Twilio SendGrid

Twilio SendGrid is their email API service that offers a wide range of features. SendGrid is a company, and its parent company is Twilio. Their API helps you to authenticate as a safe sender so that your emails don’t end up in the spam box and improve deliverability. You can easily set up their RESTful APIs and SMTP in several minutes.

The APIs are supported by seven programming languages, including C#, PHP, NodeJS, Java, Python, and GO. Using their APIs, you can deliver various types of notifications such as transactional email, account creation, shipping notification, password recovery, marketing email, and many more.

SendGrid also shares pre-designed email templates and workspace where your team members can collaborate. In their dashboard, you can view metrics that show you engagement data like requests, delivered, opened, clicked, bounced, and spam reports. With Invalid APIs, you can keep your email address list clean and optimize sending operations. 

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Mailgun and Twilio on Heroku

Thanks to the powerful features of Mailgun and Twilio, many users may want to integrate their services into their cloud platform. Since this article focuses on Heroku, let’s find out how we can use Mailgun and Twilio on the platform.

Heroku is, like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure, a cloud platform where you can build your applications. The platform runs on AWS and provides more user-friendly features.

Heroku alone may not have enough notification capabilities that meet your needs. By adding Mailgun and Twilio, you can boost notification capacity. To do so, the easiest way is by using IronMQ’s Message Queue as a Service addon.

IronMQ Message Queue as a Service

IronMQ is a message queue service you can easily install on Heroku. You can just connect to IronMQ endpoints, and you can start using unlimited message queuing. It is a managed service that does not make you manage infrastructure.

IronMQ handles traffic spikes or system load and eases the burden to deal with the back-end resources. What’s best about IronMQ is that it eliminates the necessity of writing extra code to set up queuing capability. You can simply configure several parameters and then ready to go.

IronMQ has global availability zones that ensure high availability and reliability of your service with dedicated clusters. The queuing addon supports seven major languages, including Java, NodeJS, PHP, Python, Ruby, GO, and Clojure. The addon has a built-in dashboard where you can track performance and monitor statuses.

You can send all your notification requests to Mailgun and Twilio via IronMQ. And, at the other end, you can implement a handler that interprets your requests and relays them to a relevant service provider. Thanks to IronMQ’s FIFO support, you can guarantee the order of requests and plan how you want to send them.

With IronMQ, you can combine all the good features of Heroku and the two notification services. It has flexible pricing plans you can choose considering request volume and additional features and also offers a free trial.

Notifications in web apps: Mailgun and Twilio on Heroku

Wrapping up

In this article, we learned about the two popular notification service providers, Mailgun and Twilio. They both provide programmatic ways of sending notifications to your target audience. They also have other useful features that help you to grow notification capabilities. If you are using Heroku and looking for external solutions, consider Mailgun and Twilio. To use them, IronMQ is the best starting point. Simply change some of the configurations and you are ready to send notification requests to the queue. Check our IronMQ addon and start a free trial today.

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