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[Chicken-users] Sending mail from a web site

From: Matt Gushee
Subject: [Chicken-users] Sending mail from a web site
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2013 08:01:07 -0600

Hello, chicken peeps--

I am trying to figure out the best way to send e-mail messages from a
Chicken-based web site. Actually, there are two distinct use cases.
First, I have a business web site that is implemented as an ad hoc
Chicken program; it's been running nicely for about a year, but it
does not have a contact form, and I need that. So in this case, the
email all goes to one place (my account) but will contain arbitrary
messages input by visitors (uh-oh!). I also have a potential client
who wants a contact form, though whether she will let me use this
weird Scheme language is undecided--I might be stuck with Python or
[shudder] PHP. Note that in these cases, since they are for specific
sites, I have substantial control (in the case of my site) or at least
knowledge (in the case of the client's site) of the environment and of
any external programs that may be used.

The second scenario is for my Coq au Vin blogware. Here I want to
develop an email notification system to support user registration and
possibly to notify admins of error conditions. In this case, my code
will be operating in unknown environments, but the content of the
messages will be controlled by the site administrator.

Anyway, I can see two obvious approaches, neither of which seems very
satisfactory. There is the smtp egg, but that seems intended for
complex mail-handling tasks done by people with detailed knowledge of
the SMTP protocol, which I don't have. Mind you, I'm not unwilling to
learn; it's just that in my superficial view, this egg seems much too
complex for the (conceptually) simple task of sending messages. The
other method would be to call out to the command line via
'process-run' or 'with-output-to-pipe' or some such thing. Although I
don't know of any specific problems with the latter method, it seems
like a potential source of errors and security holes.

I would appreciate any recommendations you may have for either or both
use cases.

Matt Gushee

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