Using Django templates for email

ESP’s templating languages and merge capabilities are generally not compatible with each other, which can make it hard to move email templates between them.

But since you’re working in Django, you already have access to the extremely-full-featured Django templating system. You don’t even have to use Django’s template syntax: it supports other template languages (like Jinja2).

You’re probably already using Django’s templating system for your HTML pages, so it can be an easy decision to use it for your email, too.

To compose email using Django templates, you can use Django’s render_to_string() template shortcut to build the body and html.

Example that builds an email from the templates message_subject.txt, message_body.txt and message_body.html:

from django.core.mail import EmailMultiAlternatives
from django.template import Context
from django.template.loader import render_to_string

merge_data = {
    'ORDERNO': "12345", 'TRACKINGNO': "1Z987"
}

plaintext_context = Context(autoescape=False)  # HTML escaping not appropriate in plaintext
subject = render_to_string("message_subject.txt", merge_data, plaintext_context)
text_body = render_to_string("message_body.txt", merge_data, plaintext_context)
html_body = render_to_string("message_body.html", merge_data)

msg = EmailMultiAlternatives(subject=subject, from_email="store@example.com",
                             to=["customer@example.com"], body=text_body)
msg.attach_alternative(html_body, "text/html")
msg.send()

Helpful add-ons

These (third-party) packages can be helpful for building your email in Django:

  • django-templated-mail
  • Premailer, for inlining css
  • BeautifulSoup, lxml, or html2text, for auto-generating plaintext from your html