Issue #431 (Courier Review, Text Editors, JSON/DB, Git/CLI)10/21/21
The following intro is a paid product review for Courier, a platform and API to easily add multi-channel notifications to your web app.
Many apps today need to incorporate some form of notification system as part of their service. While the Web Notifications API is a thing, that alone is often not enough. Courier is a complete notification service that lets you send notifications via Email, SMS, Web, and Mobile Push using a single API.
Besides the great name and logo (The word "courier" with a bird – perfect for a message delivery platform!), Courier includes four primary features to help you streamline your app's notifications:
- Templates - Use a drag-and-drop editor to design a consistent look for your notifications across all channels.
- User-first Notifications - You can set preferences to ensure users are in full control of what notifications they receive and via their preferred channels.
- Routing Engine - Set routing rules to ensure priority for specific channels.
- Automations - Use a visual builder to define delayed sends, conditionals, branching logic, and event-driven workflows.
Everything you build with Courier is part of a beautifully-designed dashboard that includes a rich toolset to take advantage of the different features mentioned above.
Courier Templates, for example, can be designed according to your brand's needs using a drag-and-drop builder that utilizes features like MJML or Handlebars (for email), a snippet editor, and settings for defining in-app notifications.
Designing notifications with Courier templates
Once you sign up, Courier nicely walks you through how to set up your first notification. I did mine via the terminal using a cURL command. You can also opt for Node, Python, Go, PHP, Ruby, Java, and more.
In your dashboard, in addition to the Designer area where you can choose your templates and message branding, you'll have access to the Data tab, which allows you to easily access all your messages, recipients, lists, and automations. You can search messages by time, recipient ID/email, message status, and provider.
Access message info in the Data tab
Also available in the dashboard is the Integrations tab, which is where you can set up which apps and services you want to integrate with Courier. When setting up a notification, you can select from email, push, SMS, chat, and other providers.
Courier's Integration Catalog
Provider options include a recently-added Gmail integration that offers the ability to create notifications quickly and easily with no need for API keys.
Courier provides their own Courier Push service that you can integrate, which allows you to bypass some of the common problems you'll face when using third-party push notification services.
Setting up a notification using Courier Push
The Courier Push feature offers Toast and Inbox components. The toast-style notifications are common in many apps, allowing apps to communicate messages to their users directly in the app. In addition, the Inbox component allows users to view their notifications in an embeddable inbox.
You can see how this works using this demo. Try sending an example message. After the notification is received, you'll notice the familiar bell icon that provides the user with access to their messages (see top right area of image below).
A demo for toast notifications and Courier's Inbox feature
Of course, that's just one of the many providers you can use, all able to be integrated using Courier's API with your programming language of choice.
Programming language options with Courier's API
Courier offers excellent pricing. You can send up to 10,000 messages free (with Courier branding) with unlimited team members, unlimited templates and custom brands, and access to all channels. After that it's just a half cent (USD) per message (with Courier branding removed) and access to support channels.
The Courier docs are quite extensive so you should be able to find solutions to any kind of messaging integration with detailed and helpful info to complete the steps needed.
So if you're looking for a cross-channel notifications service for your apps and websites, try out Courier today for free. As mentioned, you won't have to pay until you hit the message threshold and there's lots of useful stuff to fiddle around with before you commit to any long-term message integrations.
Now on to this week's tools!