We’ve just released Context.IO, an API module with a Feeds plugin submodule that uses the context.io API to import emails into a Drupal site. If you build something interesting with the module in the next 6 days, you can participate in the Context.IO App challenge and make a chance to win 50k USD.

Context.IO makes email data accessible through a simple REST API. It makes it a lot easier to get data out of mailboxes, it implements oAuth authentication for the major email platforms, so it’s really easy to add email accounts. No need to add the password of your mailbox as a setting in your site, or to go search what the connection details are for an email provider. Just add the email account, and give access through the oAuth authentication process.

Once connected you can use the filters in the Context.IO feeds fetcher to specify what emails you would like to upload to your site. Currently the module lets you filter messages using the following filters:

  • Subject
  • To, CC and BCC email addresses
  • From email addresses
  • Folder
  • Mails sent before and/or after a certain date

With the Context.IO parser you can further refine the content you want to upload to your site. We are planning to make it possible to strip out repetitive content from the email body and to split structured information in email titles into separate fields, so that you could use this to automatically organise emails sent by a project management system or any other application.

The resulting fields can then be mapped to Drupal entities using existing or custom feeds processors. With the Node processor you can map the email fields into the appropriate fields of the content type of your choice. With the User processor you can add users on your site whenever you receive an email that matches certain criteria.

Once you’ve configured a feed, you can define how many emails you want to upload, or set up an automatic job that will regularly upload new emails into your site.

An important downside to the module is that it adds another party that will be processing your email, if you are already using a cloud email provider this might not be such a big change, but it’s important to take this into account when using the module. Context.io is a free service by Returnpath a Canadian company that aggregates, anonymises and then analyses the emails they process to help their customers detect email fraud, optimise emails and get insight into consumer behaviour.

This sounds scary but it is similar to the kind of analysis major cloud email providers do on the mailboxes of their customers. If you use this module to build an application that other people will connect their mailboxes to, you will need to add a warning about this to your terms and conditions.

We built the Context.IO module because we thought it would be fun to participate in Context.IO's App Challenge. It would of course be great to win the 50k USD cash prize, but it also fits really nicely into our portfolio: At Pronovix we’ve done a lot of Drupal integrations for third party software applications. Because of our previous hustling with Drupal startup projects like WalkHub and Graphmind, we’ve tried and tested a lot of techniques to promote new tools in the Drupal community. We don’t want to just write code for our customers, we want to help them engage with the Drupal community in a way that will create win-wins for everybody.

If we can help companies like Returnpath, Brightcove, Gitlab and Livefyre recognise the value of the Drupal community, they will become sponsors at Drupal events and spend money promoting Context.IO that helps us grow our ecosystem.

So how do you win that 50k$ prize money? Context.IO is organising an App Challenge for the best consumer application that uses their API. They have some major players in the VC / startup space (Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, David Cohen, Matt Blumberg, Joshua Baer) and a $125,000 in cash prizes waiting to see what kinds of amazing applications you can build with email data. It was already easy for developers to integrate with their API, but with our Context.IO module it’s now really easy even for site builders to create a project. There is 6 days left, there are plenty of MVPs you could click together even in a single day.

We are releasing the module before the end of the competition so that other Drupal site builders would be able to take part in the challenge. This might sound counter intuitive, since we are enabling our own competition, but we would really love to see loads of submissions from the Drupal community. By doing a submission you are not only making a chance for some serious prize money, you also help us prove that Drupal is an ecosystem worth investing in, so that other SaaS companies would recognise the Drupal community as a valuable target to spend their marketing dollars. All we ask from you, is that you mention our module in your application.

About the author

Kristof van Tomme

CEO, Co-founder

Kristof Van Tomme is an open source strategist and architect. He is the CEO and co-founder of Pronovix. He’s got a degree in bioengineering and is a regular speaker at conferences in the API, DevRel, and technical writing communities.