SparkPost

Anymail integrates with the SparkPost email service, using their python-sparkpost API client.

Installation

You must ensure the sparkpost package is installed to use Anymail’s SparkPost backend. Either include the “sparkpost” option when you install Anymail:

$ pip install django-anymail[sparkpost]

or separately run pip install sparkpost.

Settings

EMAIL_BACKEND

To use Anymail’s SparkPost backend, set:

EMAIL_BACKEND = "anymail.backends.sparkpost.EmailBackend"

in your settings.py.

SPARKPOST_API_KEY

A SparkPost API key with at least the “Transmissions: Read/Write” permission. (Manage API keys in your SparkPost account API keys.)

This setting is optional; if not provided, the SparkPost API client will attempt to read your API key from the SPARKPOST_API_KEY environment variable.

ANYMAIL = {
    ...
    "SPARKPOST_API_KEY": "<your API key>",
}

Anymail will also look for SPARKPOST_API_KEY at the root of the settings file if neither ANYMAIL["SPARKPOST_API_KEY"] nor ANYMAIL_SPARKPOST_API_KEY is set.

esp_extra support

To use SparkPost features not directly supported by Anymail, you can set a message’s esp_extra to a dict of parameters for python-sparkpost’s transmissions.send method. Any keys in your esp_extra dict will override Anymail’s normal values for that parameter.

Example:

message.esp_extra = {
    'transactional': True,  # treat as transactional for unsubscribe and suppression
    'description': "Marketing test-run for new templates",
    'use_draft_template': True,
}

(You can also set "esp_extra" in Anymail’s global send defaults to apply it to all messages.)

Limitations and quirks

Anymail’s `message_id` is SparkPost’s `transmission_id`

The message_id Anymail sets on a message’s anymail_status and in normalized webhook AnymailTrackingEvent data is actually what SparkPost calls “transmission_id”.

Like Anymail’s message_id for other ESPs, SparkPost’s transmission_id (together with the recipient email address), uniquely identifies a particular message instance in tracking events.

(The transmission_id is the only unique identifier available when you send your message. SparkPost also has something called “message_id”, but that doesn’t get assigned until after the send API call has completed.)

If you are working exclusively with Anymail’s normalized message status and webhook events, the distinction won’t matter: you can consistently use Anymail’s message_id. But if you are also working with raw webhook esp_event data or SparkPost’s events API, be sure to think “transmission_id” wherever you’re speaking to SparkPost.

Single tag

Anymail uses SparkPost’s “campaign_id” to implement message tagging. SparkPost only allows a single campaign_id per message. If your message has two or more tags, you’ll get an AnymailUnsupportedFeature error—or if you’ve enabled ANYMAIL_IGNORE_UNSUPPORTED_FEATURES, Anymail will use only the first tag.

(SparkPost’s “recipient tags” are not available for tagging messages. They’re associated with individual addresses in stored recipient lists.)

Batch sending/merge and ESP templates

SparkPost offers both ESP stored templates and batch sending with per-recipient merge data.

You can use a SparkPost stored template by setting a message’s template_id to the template’s unique id. (When using a stored template, SparkPost prohibits setting the EmailMessage’s subject, text body, or html body.)

Alternatively, you can refer to merge fields directly in an EmailMessage’s subject, body, and other fields—the message itself is used as an on-the-fly template.

In either case, supply the merge data values with Anymail’s normalized merge_data and merge_global_data message attributes.

message = EmailMessage(
    ...
    to=["alice@example.com", "Bob <bob@example.com>"]
)
message.template_id = "11806290401558530"  # SparkPost id
message.merge_data = {
    'alice@example.com': {'name': "Alice", 'order_no': "12345"},
    'bob@example.com': {'name': "Bob", 'order_no': "54321"},
}
message.merge_global_data = {
    'ship_date': "May 15",
    # Can use SparkPost's special "dynamic" keys for nested substitutions (see notes):
    'dynamic_html': {
        'status_html': "<a href='https://example.com/order/{{order_no}}'>Status</a>",
    },
    'dynamic_plain': {
        'status_plain': "Status: https://example.com/order/{{order_no}}",
    },
}

See SparkPost’s substitutions reference for more information on templates and batch send with SparkPost. If you need the special “dynamic” keys for nested substitutions, provide them in Anymail’s merge_global_data as shown in the example above. And if you want use_draft_template behavior, specify that in esp_extra.

Status tracking webhooks

If you are using Anymail’s normalized status tracking, set up the webhook in your SparkPost account settings under “Webhooks”:

  • Target URL: https://yoursite.example.com/anymail/sparkpost/tracking/
  • Authentication: choose “Basic Auth.” For username and password enter the two halves of the random:random shared secret you created for your ANYMAIL_WEBHOOK_AUTHORIZATION Django setting. (Anymail doesn’t support OAuth webhook auth.)
  • Events: click “Select” and then clear the checkbox for “Relay Events” category (which is for inbound email). You can leave all the other categories of events checked, or disable any you aren’t interested in tracking.

SparkPost will report these Anymail event_types: queued, rejected, bounced, deferred, delivered, opened, clicked, complained, unsubscribed, subscribed.

The event’s esp_event field will be a single, raw SparkPost event. (Although SparkPost calls webhooks with batches of events, Anymail will invoke your signal receiver separately for each event in the batch.) The esp_event is the raw, wrapped json event structure as provided by SparkPost: {'msys': {'<event_category>': {...<actual event data>...}}}.