Simon Palmer’s blog

March 12, 2010

*Really* simple Mail service for authsmtp in Grails

Filed under: code, Grails — simonpalmer @ 2:37 pm

OK, after A MONTH of trying to figure out how to get the Grails mail plugin to talk to authsmtp, and *utterly* failing, in a puddle of tears this afternoon at my 1,745th attempt at finding out anything about this on the web, I went into deep hack mode and cracked it in 15 minutes flat.

The answer… write my own f*!%$ing email service.

If you can bear to read to the end I have a bigger Grails lesson, but here’s the solution for any poor person who may be following me down this path.

First off, why Well, in a production envronment, for a real world application which is going to be generating email in response to user actions (such as notifications), then your gmail account will not cut it and your local ISP will almost certainly block the IP address of your server – especially if you deploy into the cloud at either Google or AWS. That means you have to have a real SMTP host to take care of the relaying and send. AuthSMTP is one of many out there, but their pricing policy is reasonable and they are production strength. I have used them for personal accounts for POP3 and they have been good, although their technical support demonstrated the worst sort of brainless responses possible and was deeply disappointing.

So, following the mantra which got me here, of “how hard can it be?”, here’s the answer…

First off go to your grails prompt and create a service with a name of your choice using

grails create-service Mymail

Next in the scaffolded code, put the following – I decided that I would just use old fashioned Java since I sort of felt I know what I was doing and I am still not comfortable enough with Groovy that I would risk chasing my own stupid errors for another month.

import java.util.Properties;
import javax.mail.internet.*;
import javax.mail.*;

class MymailService 
    boolean transactional = false

    public boolean sendMessage(String to, String msgSubject, String msgText) 
		String host = "";
		String username = "ac99999"; // your authsmtp username
		String password = "xxxxxxxxxx" // your authsmtp password
		String from = "";
		Properties props = System.getProperties();
		props.put("", host);
		props.put("mail.smtp.user", username);
		props.put("mail.smtp.password", password);
		props.put("mail.smtp.port", "2525"); // thish is the port recommended by authsmtp
		props.put("mail.smtp.auth", "true");
		Session session = Session.getDefaultInstance(props, null);
		MimeMessage message = new MimeMessage(session);
		message.setFrom(new InternetAddress(from));
		InternetAddress to_address = new InternetAddress(to);
		message.addRecipient(Message.RecipientType.TO, to_address);
		Transport transport = session.getTransport("smtp");
		transport.connect(host, username, password);
		transport.sendMessage(message, message.getAllRecipients());
		return true;

It’s worst fault is that the thread waits for a response form the server and I confess the error handling could be added improved, and OK, you can’t attach files and you can’t send to multiple recipients, although adding that would be really simple, and you can’t do back-flips and set properties on the fly and blah blah. BUT… you can send a basic message from one email address to another, which I am betting is what 99% of automatically generated email does.

Now for the lesson, and look away if you have already been baptised by a Grails evangelist. The conclusion I am quickly coming to is that all the benefit I got on the swings of a rapid start with Grails I have more than lost on the ugly, nasty, dizzying, vomity, downright dangerous roundabout of debugging it when something doesn’t work.

Even having gone as far as downloading and installing the STS Eclipse IDE – which remains the slowest piece of software on my desktop by a factor of 5 – and figuring out how to actually debug a session, stepping through the code I found myself in a completely impenetrable marass of codeless call stacks as deep as the mariana trench. It remains about as bad a development experience as I have had in the 20-some years I’ve been doing it. The only worse thing is the silent fail of a Javascript library as the browser refuses it. It’s about time the browser was replaced with something better, but that’s a whole other rant.


  1. This is a great blog you got here. The theme looks nice, awesome color combination.

    Comment by Kerrie Mencl — March 13, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  2. Good Site on Cloud Computing and SaaS – We are periodically looking for good blog articles
    related to Cloud Computing. Will be back to review more information on your blog.

    Keep up the good work!


    Comment by Romelia Garnache — March 19, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  3. Great, it worked for mee as well!

    Comment by Deivis — August 17, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  4. Grails configuration is a little fragile. If there is any silly little mistake, the MailSErvice stops working.
    However, you don’t need to implement a new class, you can override mailSender (usedb yt mailService) in the resources.groovy file. Example:

    mailSender(org.springframework.mail.javamail.JavaMailSenderImpl) {
    host = ‘’
    port = 2525
    username = ‘user’
    password = ‘pwd’

    Comment by Franklin Dattein — June 4, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

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