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19 Jul 2018

Adding Files as Attachments to Report Emails

in Technical Blog by Kae Verens

This week, we’re finishing off a new feature which allows files that you attach to a job to be sent out to the customer when their report is sent out. By default, the files will not be sent out, so don’t worry – you will need to specifically tick a checkbox that says that you want the file to be sent out.

In order to do this, we’ve also been working on a change in how reports are currently sent out.

Currently, when a report is generated and sent, the email that is sent contains the full report as an attachment. However, some reports can be quite long, and we have had reports before of emails not arriving at their intended targets because the mail servers refused to accept emails that were that large. Adding extra files as attachments exacerbates this problem.

To solve the issue, we are changing our mode of transport so that when a report is emailed out, a link to the report is included, and not the report itself.

The link will include an authorisation token specific to the object being downloaded (file, report, etc). This authorisation code will be valid for a predetermined time. We are setting 30 days as the default. If someone tries to use a link that has passed its expiry date, they will be redirected to a page that asks them to contact the client and ask them to reissue the report.

There are some major advantages to doing this.

Because the authorisation code is unique, we can therefore log who downloads the reports or files, and when, giving you more insight into which of your customers are more interested in your service and can probably be encouraged to use it more.

The emails will be much smaller (due to using a link instead of the full file), so they will download much quicker onto mobile devices and save precious phone data. The reduction in email size also means we can attach as many files as we want, without worrying that the emails may be denied by the customer mail servers.

Because the reports are then issued on-demand instead of within the email itself, we can send the emails out much quicker, as we don’t have to first generate the report (which can take some time).

If a customer leaves the download too long, the link will expire, forcing them to contact you to request it to be sent out again. This is a useful tool for re-engaging with customers that might be under-using your service. [update: we have set this expiry to 365 days, based on client feedback]

For more information please contact us.