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Email with attachments

Send an email with attachments from form input.

This recipe extends the basic contact form example, but this time the user can attach some files. As an example we use a job application form.

To follow this example, your content structure should look like this:

  • content
    • 1_jobs
      • 1_job-a
        • job.txt
      • 2_job-b
        • job.txt
      • 3_job-c
        • job.txt
      • jobs.txt
    • 2_applications
      • applications.txt
    • success
      • success.txt
    • ...

We also need the following files:

  • an applications template with the form snippet
  • the application form snippet
  • the controller that handles the form logic
  • a plain text or an HTML email template
  • two templates for the jobs overview page and its subpages (see the demo download below)

The workflow is like this:

When users visit a job page, they can click on a link that leads to the application form. The link contains the reference that is then prefilled in the form's reference field. Users can however change this field input if they decide they would rather apply for another job (or if they visit the applications page directly).

The job application page

Create an applications page with an applications.txt content file. For our means, we only need the title in the content file, the rest is up to you.

For use in the Panel, you can create a blueprint for the page. We will skip this step here.

The applications.php template

The template contains the form and will display error messages if something goes wrong. To keep the applications.php template clean, we include the form as a snippet.

/site/templates/applications.php
<?php snippet('header') ?>
    <main class="main">
        <h1><?= $page->title()->html() ?></h1>

        <?php
        // if the form input is not valid, show a list of alerts
        if ($alerts) : ?>
        <div class="alert">
            <ul>
            <?php foreach ($alerts as $message): ?>
            <li><?= kirbytext($message) ?></li>
            <?php endforeach ?>
            </ul>
        </div>
        <?php endif ?>
        <?php snippet('application-form') ?>
    </main>

<?php snippet('footer') ?>

The form snippet

/site/snippets/application-form.php
<form class="application-form" method="post" action="<?= $page->url() ?>" enctype="multipart/form-data">
    <div class="honey">
        <label for="website">Website <abbr title="required">*</abbr></label>
        <input type="website" id="website" name="website">
    </div>
    <div class="form-element">
        <label for="name">
            Name <abbr title="required">*</abbr>
        </label>
        <input type="text" id="name" name="name" value="<?= $data['name'] ?? null ?>" required>
        <?= isset($alert['name']) ? '<span class="alert error">' . html($alert['name']) . '</span>' : '' ?>
    </div>
    <div class="form-element">
        <label for="email">
            Email <abbr title="required">*</abbr>
        </label>
        <input type="email" id="email" name="email" value="<?= $data['email'] ?? null ?>" required>
    </div>
    <div class="form-element">
        <label for="reference">
            Job reference number <abbr title="required">*</abbr>
        </label>
        <input type="text" id="reference" name="reference" value="<?= $data['reference'] ?? get('reference') ?? null ?>" required>
    </div>
    <div class="form-element">
        <label for="message">
            Message <abbr title="required">*</abbr>
        </label>
        <textarea id="message" name="message" required><?= $data['message']?? null ?></textarea>
    </div>
    <div class="form-element">
      <label for="file">Upload your documents
        <span class="help">Max. 3 PDF files (max. file size 2MB each)</span>
      </label>
      <input name="file[]" type="file" multiple required>
    </div>
    <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit">
</form>

The form snippet contains some form fields (name, email, reference, message, file) and a honeypot field to ensure a minimum level of spam bot protection.

The honeypot field needs to be positioned off the screen via CSS. Therefore add these styles to your stylesheet (you can change the class and styling).

.honeypot {
    position: absolute;
    left: -9999px;
}

Note that since we want to upload files, we have to set the encoding type attribute to enctype="multipart/form-data".

The controller

The controller handles our form validation logic.

/site/controllers/applications.php
<?php
return function($kirby, $page) {

    if ($kirby->request()->is('POST') && get('submit')) {

        // initialize variables
        $alerts      = null;
        $attachments = [];

        // check the honeypot
        if (empty(get('website')) === false) {
            go($page->url());
            exit;
        }

        // get the data and validate the other form fields
        $data = [
            'name'      => get('name'),
            'email'     => get('email'),
            'reference' => get('reference'),
            'message'   => get('message')
        ];

        $rules = [
            'name'      => ['required', 'min' => 3],
            'email'     => ['required', 'email'],
            'reference' => ['required', 'in' => [page('jobs')->children()->listed()->pluck('reference', ',')]],
            'message'   => ['required', 'min' => 10, 'max' => 3000],
        ];

        $messages = [
            'name'      => 'Please enter a valid name.',
            'email'     => 'Please enter a valid email address.',
            'reference' => 'Please enter a valid reference.',
            'message'   => 'Please enter a text between 10 and 3000 characters.'
        ];

        // some of the data is invalid
        if ($invalid = invalid($data, $rules, $messages)) {
            $alerts = $invalid;
        }

        // get the uploads
        $uploads = $kirby->request()->files()->get('file');

        // we want no more than 3 files
        if (count($uploads) > 3) {
            $alerts[] = 'You may only upload up to 3 files.';
        }

        // loop through uploads and check if they are valid
        foreach ($uploads as $upload) {
            // make sure the user uploads at least one file
            if ($upload['error'] === 4) {
                $alerts[] = 'You have to attach at least one file';
            //  make sure there are no other errors  
            } elseif ($upload['error'] !== 0) {
                $alerts[] = 'The file could not be uploaded';
            // make sure the file is not larger than 2MB…    
            } elseif ($upload['size'] > 2000000)  {
                $alerts[] = $upload['name'] . ' is larger than 2 MB';
            // …and the file is a PDF
            } elseif ($upload['type'] !== 'application/pdf') {
                $alerts[] = $upload['name'] . ' is not a PDF';
            // all valid, try to rename the temporary file
            } else {
                $name     = $upload['tmp_name'];
                $tmpName  = pathinfo($name);
                // sanitize the original filename
                $filename = $tmpName['dirname']. '/'. F::safeName($upload['name']);

                if (rename($upload['tmp_name'], $filename)) {
                    $name = $filename;
                }
                // add the files to the attachments array
                $attachments[] = $name;
            }  
        }

        // the data is fine, let's send the email with attachments
        if (empty($alerts)) {
            try {
                $kirby->email([
                    'template' => 'email',
                    'from'     => 'yourcontactform@yourcompany.com',
                    'replyTo'  => $data['email'],
                    'to'       => 'you@yourcompany.com',
                    'subject'     => esc($data['name']) . ' applied for job ' . esc($data['reference']),
                    'data'        => [
                        'message'   => esc($data['message']),
                        'name'      => esc($data['name']),
                        'reference' => esc($data['reference'])
                    ],
                    'attachments' => $attachments
                ]);
            } catch (Exception $error) {
                // we only display a general error message, for debugging use `$error->getMessage()`
                $alerts[] = "The email could not be sent";
            }

            // no exception occurred, let's send a success message
            if (empty($alerts) === true) {
                // store reference and name in the session for use on the success page
                $kirby->session()->set([
                    'reference' => esc($data['reference']),
                    'name'      => esc($data['name'])
                ]);
                // redirect to the success page
                go('success');
            }
        }
    }

    // return data to template
    return [
        'alerts' => $alerts ?? null,
        'data'   => $data   ?? false,
    ];
};

Let's go through the most important steps here in detail. The rest is commented in the code snippet.

Validate input data

In our controller, the form evaluation starts once we receive a POST request. First, we check if a bot got trapped in our honeypot. In this case, we send him back to the page and stop script execution.

Next, we check if all form fields have been filled in according to our validation rules using the invalid() helper:

$rules = [
    'name'      => ['required', 'min' => 3],
    'email'     => ['required', 'email'],
    'reference' => ['required', 'in' => [page('jobs')->children()->listed()->pluck('reference', ',')]],
    'message'   => ['required', 'min' => 10, 'max' => 3000],
];
  • All fields are required and must be filled out.
  • The email field must contain a valid email address.
  • The name field must be at least 3 characters long.
  • The message field must be between 10 and 3000 characters.
  • The reference field must be a valid reference from one of the jobs subpages

You can change these rules depending on the type of data you want to obtain and use Kirby's validators or your own custom validators to make sure you get the desired data.

Validate uploaded files

We then handle the file submissions. We fetch the uploaded file(s) with $kirby->request()->files()->get('file'), where file is the name of our input field. If the user tries to upload more than 3 files, we add a message to the $alerts array.

// get the uploads
$uploads = $kirby->request()->files()->get('file');

// no more than 3 files
if (count($uploads) > 3) {
    $alerts[] = 'You may only upload up to 3 files.';
}

Then we loop through the files array and check for each upload if it is valid:

  • We check the $upload['error'] value to make sure that we have at least one upload and no other error occurred
  • We check the file size to make sure that the file is not larger than allowed
  • We check if the uploaded is a PDF

As the last step in this loop we rename the temporary upload name to a sanitized version of the original file name.

// loop through uploads and check if they are valid
foreach ($uploads as $upload) {
    // make sure the user uploads at least one file
    if ($upload['error'] === 4) {
        $alerts[] = 'You have to attach at least one file';
    // make sure there are no other errors    
    } elseif ($upload['error'] !== 0) {
        $alerts[] = 'The file could not be uploaded';
    // make sure files are not larger than 2 MB…
    } elseif ($upload['size'] > 2000000)  {
        $alerts[] = $upload['name'] . ' is larger than 2 MB';
    // …and the file is a PDF
    } elseif ($upload['type'] !== 'application/pdf') {
        $alerts[] = $upload['name'] . ' is not a PDF';
    // all valid, try to rename the temporary file
    } else {
        $name     = $upload['tmp_name'];
        $tmpName  = pathinfo($name);
        // sanitize the original filename
        $filename = $tmpName['dirname']. '/'. F::safeName($upload['name']);

        if (rename($upload['tmp_name'], $filename)) {
            $name = $filename;
        }
        // add the files to the attachments array
        $attachments[] = $name;
    }  
}

Send email

If all went well, we try to send the email together with the file attachments in a try - catch block.

// the data is fine, let's send the email with attachments
if (empty($alerts)) {
    try {
        $kirby->email([
            'template' => 'email',
            'from'     => 'yourcontactform@yourcompany.com',
            'replyTo'  => $data['email'],
            'to'       => 'you@yourcompany.com',
            'subject'     => esc($data['name']) . ' applied for job ' . esc($data['reference']),
            'data'        => [
                'message'   => esc($data['message']),
                'name'      => esc($data['name']),
                'reference' => esc($data['reference'])
            ],
            'attachments' => $attachments
        ]);
    } catch (Exception $error) {
        // we only display a general error message, for debugging use `$error->getMessage()`
        $alerts[] = "The email could not be sent";
    }
    //...
}

If the email was sent, we store the user's name and the job reference number in the session and redirect the user to the success page.

// no exception occurred, let's send a success message
if (empty($alerts) === true) {
    // store reference and name in the session for use on the success page
    $kirby->session()->set([
        'reference' => esc($data['reference']),
        'name'      => esc($data['name'])
    ]);
    // redirect to the success page
    go('success');
}

The email templates

In our $kirby->email() method above, we defined a template we want to use to send the email. In this example, we use a template called email, which is stored in /site/templates/emails.

We can use both a plain text template and/or an HTML version. You can read more about this in the email guide.

Here are the two email templates:

The plain text template

The plain text template gets the extension .php.

/site/templates/emails/email.php
Hello,

<?= $message ?>

Yours sincerely,
<?= $name ?>

The HTML template

The HTML template gets the extension html.php.

/site/templates/emails/email.html.php
Hello,

<p><?= $message ?></p>

<p>Yours sincerely,</p>
<p><?= $name ?></p>

Both templates are kept very simple. Kirby provides the variables we defined in the data array ready to be used in the email templates as $text and $sender. You can of course change them to your liking.

The success page

The success content file contains placeholders for the applicant's name and the job reference number:

Title: Success

----
Text:

Hello {{ name }},
Thank you for applying as **{{ job }}**.

We will be in touch shortly.

Your HR department

A plugin to replace the placeholders

In the plugin, we replace the name and event placeholders in the text with the data we stored in the session.

/site/plugins/applications/index.php
<?php

Kirby::plugin('jobkit/application', [
    'hooks' => [
        'kirbytags:after' => function ($text, $data, $options) {
            $session = kirby()->session();

            if ($job = $session->get('reference')) {
                if ($page = page('jobs')->children()->findBy('reference', urldecode($job))) {
                    $title = $page->title() . ' - Reference ' . $job;
                }
            }

            return Str::template($text, [
                'job'   => $title ?? '',
                'name'  => $session->get('name') ?? ''
            ]);
        }
    ],
]);

Download the demo

For a working example, download the demo "Jobkit".

Extending the example

You can of course extend this example:

  • Progressively enhance with JavaScript validation.
  • Integrate other field types.