Receiving emails

As of 0.8.0, Redmine can be configured to allow issue creation or comments via email. It is also able to recognize and incorporate email replies to forum messages.

Setup

You can configure Redmine to receive emails in one of the following ways:

  • Forwarding emails from your email server:
    • Pros: works with a remote mail server, email are processed instantly, fast (no environment reloading)
    • Cons: needs some configuration on your mail transfer agent (eg. Postfix, Sendmail...)
  • Fetching emails from an IMAP or POP3 server:
    • Pros: easy to setup, no need to configure your MTA, works with a remote mail server
    • Cons: emails are not processed instantly (a cron job needs to be added to read emails periodically)
  • Reading emails from standard input:
    • Pros: fine for testing purpose
    • Cons: slow (the environment is reloaded each time an email is read), needs some configuration on your MTA

Forwarding emails from your email server

A standalone script can be used to forward incoming emails from your mail server.
This script reads a raw email from the standard input and forward it to Redmine via a HTTP request.
It can be found in your redmine directory: extra/mail_handler/rdm-mailhandler.rb.

In order to use it, you have to enable the API that receive emails:
Go to Application settings -> Incoming emails, check Enable WS for incoming emails and enter or generate a secret key.

Copy rdm-mailhandler.rb to your mail server, make sure its permissions allow execution, and configure your MTA (Mail Transport Agent).

Usage:

rdm-mailhandler [options] --url=<Redmine URL> --key=<API key>

Required:
  -u, --url                      URL of the Redmine server
  -k, --key                      Redmine API key

General options:
  -h, --help                     show this help
  -v, --verbose                  show extra information
  -V, --version                  show version information and exit

Issue attributes control options:
  -p, --project=PROJECT          identifier of the target project
  -t, --tracker=TRACKER          name of the target tracker
      --category=CATEGORY        name of the target category
      --priority=PRIORITY        name of the target priority
  -o, --allow-override=ATTRS     allow email content to override attributes
                                 specified by previous options
                                 ATTRS is a comma separated list of attributes

See Issue-attributes for a list of values that can be used for the --allow-override option.

Examples:

  # No project specified. Emails MUST contain the 'Project' keyword:
  rdm-mailhandler --url http://redmine.domain.foo --key secret

  # Fixed project and default tracker specified, but emails can override
  # both tracker and priority attributes:
  rdm-mailhandler --url https://domain.foo/redmine --key secret \\
                  --project foo \\
                  --tracker bug \\
                  --allow-override tracker,priority

Here is an example for a Postfix local alias entry:

foo: "|/path/to/rdm-mailhandler.rb --url http://redmine.domain --key secret --project foo" 

This line should go in the aliases file, which is usually specified in /etc/aliases. If the location is unknown, use the command postconf alias_maps to find out. After updating the aliases file, be sure to run newaliases to alert Postfix of the new entry.

If your domain is setup as a virtual mailbox map (so that you use /etc/postfix/virtual_mailbox_maps to do mappings in the form user@example.com /path/example.com/user) you should:

  • create a mapping in /etc/virtual like: foo@example.org foo
  • modify /etc/postfix/main.cf to specify a transport file: transport_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/transport
  • within the transport file add a line like: foo@example.org local:

Explanation: - When you define virtual_mailbox_maps for a domain the default transport is virtual, which means specifying a local alias in /etc/postfix/virtual will fail (with "unknown user"). To fix this, we override the default transport by specifying a local transport for the email address in question, which means the local alias will resolve correctly, and your script will be executed.

A front-end to rdm-mailhandler.rb has been written to allow specifying projects trough sub-addresses (). See MailhandlerSubAddress

Fetching emails from an IMAP server

A rake task (redmine:email:receive_imap) can be used to fetch incoming emails from an IMAP server. When you run the rake command from a cron job you can include the switch -f /path/to/redmine/appdir/Rakefile on the rake command, because otherwise the rakefile is not found. This is an example line for a cron file that fetches mails every 30 minutes:

*/30 * * * * redmineuser rake -f /path/to/redmine/appdir/Rakefile redmine:email:receive_imap RAILS_ENV="production" host=imap.foo.bar username=redmine@somenet.foo password=xxx

If your setup is working, but you receive mails from the cron daemon, you can suppress the output from the rake command by adding the --silent switch. That should stop cron sending mails on every execution of the command.

*/30 * * * * redmineuser rake -f /path/to/redmine/appdir/Rakefile --silent redmine:email:receive_imap RAILS_ENV="production" host=imap.foo.bar username=redmine@somenet.foo password=xxx

The command has to go on a single line in your cronfile. Also see the other examples below, which only show the rake commands without the -f option and without the cron part.

For Windows as server pycron can be used to schedule a fetch task.

It can be necessary that you open the firewall on the machine for outgoing TCP connections to IMAP port 143.

Available IMAP options:

  host=HOST                IMAP server host (default: 127.0.0.1)
  port=PORT                IMAP server port (default: 143)
  ssl=SSL                  Use SSL? (default: false)
  username=USERNAME        IMAP account
  password=PASSWORD        IMAP password
  folder=FOLDER            IMAP folder to read (default: INBOX)
  move_on_success=MAILBOX  move emails that were successfully received
                           to MAILBOX instead of deleting them
  move_on_failure=MAILBOX  move emails that were ignored to MAILBOX

Issue attributes control options:

  project=PROJECT          identifier of the target project
  tracker=TRACKER          name of the target tracker
  category=CATEGORY        name of the target category
  priority=PRIORITY        name of the target priority
  allow_override=ATTRS     allow email content to override attributes
                           specified by previous options
                           ATTRS is a comma separated list of attributes

See Issue-attributes for a list of values that can be used for the allow-override option.

Examples for the rake command:

  # No project specified. Emails MUST contain the 'Project' keyword:

  rake redmine:email:receive_imap RAILS_ENV="production" \\
    host=imap.foo.bar username=redmine@somenet.foo password=xxx

  # Fixed project and default tracker specified, but emails can override
  # both tracker and priority attributes:

  rake redmine:email:receive_imap RAILS_ENV="production" \\
    host=imap.foo.bar username=redmine@somenet.foo password=xxx ssl=1 \\
    project=foo \\
    tracker=bug \\
    allow_override=tracker,priority

  # Move successful emails to the 'read' mailbox and failed emails to
  # the 'failed' mailbox

  rake redmine:email:receive_imap RAILS_ENV="production" \\
    host=imap.foo.bar username=redmine@somenet.foo password=xxx \\
    move_on_success=read move_on_failure=failed

Ignored emails are marked as 'Seen' but are not deleted from the IMAP server--these include unknown user, unknown project and emails from the redmine emission account.

The option allow_override is not only for overriding default values given to rake, but for every attribute in a mail. If you want to override the tracker in your mail you have to add allow_override=tracker as a parameter.

Fetching emails from a POP3 server

Only available in trunk and future 1.0.

A rake task (redmine:email:receive_pop3) can be used to fetch incoming emails from a POP3 server.

Available POP3 options:

  host=HOST                POP3 server host (default: 127.0.0.1)
  port=PORT                POP3 server port (default: 110)
  username=USERNAME        POP3 account
  password=PASSWORD        POP3 password
  apop=1                   use APOP authentication (default: false)
  delete_unprocessed=1     delete messages that could not be processed
                           successfully from the server (default
                           behaviour is to leave them on the server)

See the IMAP rake task above for issue attributes control options.

Reading emails from standard input

A rake task (redmine:email:receive) can be used to read a single raw email from the standard input.

Issue attributes control options:
  project=PROJECT          identifier of the target project
  tracker=TRACKER          name of the target tracker
  category=CATEGORY        name of the target category
  priority=PRIORITY        name of the target priority
  allow_override=ATTRS     allow email content to override attributes
                           specified by previous options
                           ATTRS is a comma separated list of attributes

See Issue-attributes for a list of values that can be used for the allow-override option.

Examples:

  # No project specified. Emails MUST contain the 'Project' keyword:
  rake redmine:email:read RAILS_ENV="production" < raw_email

  # Fixed project and default tracker specified, but emails can override
  # both tracker and priority attributes:
  rake redmine:email:read RAILS_ENV="production" \\
                  project=foo \\
                  tracker=bug \\
                  allow_override=tracker,priority < raw_email

The option allow_override is not only for overriding default values given to rake, but for every attribute in a mail. If you want to override the tracker in your mail you have to add allow_override=tracker as a parameter.

Enabling unknown users to create issues by email

Redmine has a feature that provides the ability to accept incoming emails from unknown users. In order to use this feature, an extra parameter has to be included:

unknown_user=ACTION     how to handle emails from an unknown user where ACTION can be one of the following values:
                        ignore: the email is ignored (default)
                        accept: the sender is considered as an anonymous user and the email is accepted
                        create: a user account is created for the sender (username/password are sent back to the user) and the email is accepted

Permissions have to be consistent with the chosen option. E.g. if you choose 'create', the 'Non member' role must have the 'Add issues' permission so that an issue can be created by an unknown user via email. If you choose 'accept', the 'Anonymous' role must have this permission.

If you receive emails via the rake task, the unknown-user option has to be written as:

 unknown_user=[ignore|accept|create]

You can disable permission checking using the 'no_permission_check' option:

no_permission_check=1   disable permission checking when receiving the email

This, together with the 'unknown-user', provides the ability to let anyone submit emails to a private project. For example:

rdm-mailhandler --unknown-user accept --no-permission-check --project=foo

will let anyone submit emails to a private project 'foo'.

TODO: Is this true and is this related to the no_permission_check option?:

Since Redmine 0.9 the project doesn't have to be public, but authentication required in the Administration-> Settings->Authentication tab has to be unchecked.

If you do not want an "new account notification email" sent to every newly created user by rdm-mailhandler you must add the option "--no-account-notice". Is implemneted with 2.3.0 in issue #11498. Now an example:

rdm-mailhandler --unknown-user accept --no-permission-check --project=foo --no-account-notice

How it works

When receiving an email, Redmine uses the From address of the email to find the corresponding user. Emails received from unknown or locked users are ignored.

If the email subject contains something like "Re: [xxxxxxx #123]", the email is processed as a reply and a note is added to issue #123. Otherwise, a new issue is created.

Note that, in order to create an issue, all required custom fields must be provided. Without them, issue creation will fail. As an alternative you can ensure that every custom field has a default value which is then used during issue creation.

Target project

The target project can be specified using the project option when receiving emails. This should be the identifier of the project and not the name. You can easily find the identifier in the url.

If you don't use this option, users have to specify in the email body which project the issue should be added to. This can be done by inserting a line in the email body like this: "Project: foo".

Example (email body):

This is a new issue that will be added to project foo.
Here we have the issue description
[...]

Project: foo

You can set a default project using the project option and let users override this default project by using the allow-override option when receiving emails.
Example:

  # Create issues on project foo by default
  rake redmine:email:receive_imap [...] project=foo allow_override=project

Of course, user permissions are checked and this email would be ignored if the user who sent this email is not allowed to add issues to project foo.
Make sure that the target project doesn't use required custom fields with no default value for its issues, otherwise the creation of the issue will fail.

Issue attributes

Based on the options you use when receiving emails (see allow-override option), users may be able to override some attributes when submitting an issue. This can be done by using keywords in the email body.

TODO: Include full list of valid keywords

Example keyword list:

  • Project
  • Tracker
  • Category
  • Priority
  • Status
  • Fixed version

The values available are the ones of the context. E.g. Status available (for this Tracker and this Project) are labels in the localized language, exactly as displayed in the user interface (even with spaces, without quoting).

Example (email body):

This is a new issue that overrides a few attributes
[...]

Project: foo
Tracker: Bug
Priority: Urgent
Status: Resolved

The format for keywords differs from the allowed attribute values for the allow_override option:

  • project
  • tracker
  • status
  • priority
  • category
  • assigned_to
  • fixed_version (aka. Target version)
  • start_date
  • due_date
  • estimated_hours
  • done_ratio

Multiple attribute values can be specified in order to allow only certain keywords to be used.

Example:

  # Allow overriding project, tracker, status & priority
  rake redmine:email:receive_imap [...] allow_override=project,tracker,status,priority

Watchers

If the user who sends the email has the 'Add issue watchers' permission, users that are in To or Cc field of the email are automatically added as watchers of the created issue.

Watchers are added only when the issue is created. To or Cc fields are ignored on replies. See #7017 and #8009.

Email format and attachments

Redmine tries to use the plain text part of the email to fill the description of the issue.
If a HTML-only email is received, HTML tags are removed from its body.

Email attachments are automatically attached to the issue, unless their size exceeds the maximum attachment size defined in the application settings.

Truncate emails

The Administrator's settings may be used to automatically truncate emails, for example to eliminate quoted messages in forum replies. To do this, set the outgoing email header to something like --Reply above this line-- in the Email notifications settings. Then in the Incoming emails settings, enter the same line into the box "Truncate emails after one of these lines." (It is also possible to allow regex to be truncated, using the patch attached to #5864)