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Hipmob Email Integration


Overview

Hipmob provides hosted live chat for mobile applications. You sign up with us, we give you a code, you download our library, you integrate it into your app, and you can then talk to your users, figure out what they want and what problems they are having, and make them happy. No servers, no extra steps or code to write, wherever the users are, you get to focus on what you do well. This document discusses Hipmob's email integration.

Why Email?

Why does Hipmob even offer email integration? Email is currently the most dominant electronic personal communication medium, and there are a great many tools that already support using email to reach your customers. By offering seamless email integration Hipmob lets you extend your existing email-based communication and productivity tools to your apps: every app you distribute with Hipmob now has an email address that behaves like any other email address. You can use that address with mailing lists, send personal messages directly to the app from your mail client, use pictures and voice messages to provide better support for your users, integrate with help solutions like Desk that send replies to the user's email address, and integrate the in-app communication channel Hipmob provides with all your business processes that use email. If every app now has an email address then you can convert the chat channel (that is historically only used when the user has a problem with your app) to an active support and guidance channel (with suggestions based on your analytics, for example): many many new things suddenly become possible.

Enabling Email

By default email integration is not enabled. Visit the Apps tab in your Hipmob account.

Figure 1: the Apps tab

Once there, click the Settings button next to the app you'd like to update.

Figure 2: the Settings button

Make sure the Enable Email Forwarding option is checked, then press the Update button to save your changes.

Figure 3: the Enable Email Forwarding option

Once the configuration is complete, a confirmation will be shown as in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4: email is enabled

And that's it. You can come back to this screen at any time to disable or enable email forwarding.

Sending messages

Once email forwarding is enabled, you can immediately start sending messages to your apps. The email address for any app installed on a device looks like {application ID}.{user identifier}@app.hipmob.com: any email sent to that address will be immediately forwarded to the app! Some important details:
  • Only plain text emails are supported: HTML formatting will not be transmitted.
  • Only the text body of the email will be sent: the subject will be ignored.
  • Pictures and audio/voice messages are supported: any files attached to the email will be sent to the device. All formats supported by our server API functions Send Picture Message and Send Audio Message can be handled: any other files will be discarded. Files will be sent in the order that they are extracted from the email, which may not necessarily be the order they were attached in the file.
  • It is handled like real email: if the app is not immediately available the messages will be held and delivered whenever the app comes online.

Reply to Transcript Email

When email forwarding is enabled, any chat transcripts sent to you will have the Reply-To header set to the app's email address: you can simply reply to the transcript email at any time to continue the conversation!

Demo!

And, finally, a demonstration to bring it all together. This opens a new window with a chat client, and will immediately print out the email address for the chat session. You can then send email messages to the displayed address and they will show in the chat screen. Note that this chat session is restricted to only text messages.

Launch Demo

Note The chat session is live: you won't need to refresh the screen to see the messages. Because the delivery is over email there may be delays.
Also, if you close your window, send an email and then re-open the window you'll still get the message delivered.