Action Mailer – Easy email delivery and testing

Action Mailer is framework for designing email-service layers. These layers are used to consolidate code for sending out forgotten passwords, welcoming wishes on signup, invoices for billing, and any other use case that requires a written notification to either a person or another system.

The framework works by setting up all the email details, except the body, in methods on the service layer. Subject, recipients, sender, and timestamp are all set up this way. An example of such a method:

def signed_up(recipient)
  @recipients   = recipient
  @subject      = "[Signed up] Welcome #{recipient}"
  @from         = "[email protected]"
  @sent_on      = Time.local(2004, 12, 12)

  @body["recipient"] = recipient

The body of the email is created by using an Action View template (regular ERb) that has the content of the @body hash available as instance variables. So the corresponding body template for the method above could look like this:

Hello there, 

Mr. <%= @recipient %>

And if the recipient was given as “[email protected]”, the email generated would look like this:

Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 00:00:00 +0100
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: [Signed up] Welcome [email protected]

Hello there, 

Mr. [email protected]

You never actually call the instance methods like signed_up directly. Instead, you call class methods like deliver_* and create_* that are automatically created for each instance method. So if the signed_up method sat on ApplicationMailer, it would look like this:

ApplicationMailer.create_signed_up("[email protected]")  # => tmail object for testing
ApplicationMailer.deliver_signed_up("[email protected]") # sends the email"[email protected]")     # won't work!


Action Mailer requires that the Action Pack is either available to be required immediately or is accessible as a GEM.

Bundled software


The latest version of Action Mailer can be found at

Documentation can be found at


You can install Action Mailer with the following command.

% [sudo] ruby install.rb

from its distribution directory.


Action Mailer is released under the MIT license.


The Action Mailer homepage is You can find the Action Mailer RubyForge page at And as Jim from Rake says:

Feel free to submit commits or feature requests.  If you send a patch,
remember to update the corresponding unit tests.  If fact, I prefer
new feature to be submitted in the form of new unit tests.

For other information, feel free to ask on the ruby-talk mailing list (which is mirrored to comp.lang.ruby) or contact [email protected].