signup

A simple service API that can be used to handle website forms, like signups and contact forms

npm install signup
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What is this?

This is a Node.js service that can be used to process contact and signup forms from a website.

Why?

It is a lot cheaper to run a "static" website (e.g. on Amazon s3 or cloudfront) than it is a dynamic (e.g. PHP, JSP, ASP.NET, Express.js) one. However, this is restrictive because it is common to have some way for a user to submit feedback, signup, or otherwise contact the website author. This API allows for some JavaScript on the static site that sends the "signup" data to a backend hosted on a separate server.

This may seem like it just moves the cost to another server, but in reality there are a lot of free and very cheap ways to host Node services, so the cost is smaller.

How to use?

$ [sudo] npm install -g signup
$ export EMAIL_SENDER=yoursender@yourdomain.com
$ signup server -p 3000

(runs as service on port 3000). In Windows, use SET instead of export. You can install as a service/daemon using: $ signup install -p 3000

For other commands, try: $ signup --help

Configuring SMTP and email templates

The API has a templates' folder with various predefined JSON and TXT files. When installed globally, this is usually/usr/local/lib/node_modules/signup/templatesorC:\Program Files (x86)\nodejs\node_modules\signup\templates`.

The JSON files are configs for SMTP and the TXT files are email templates. You should copy or rename one of the SMTP files into settings.json. Edit the file to input your own SMTP settings. You can also create one or more email templates, or just edit the default email.txt template.

Email templates support mustache-style replacement, i.e. you can put a token in the form {{name}}, and if there is a form field with that id, then the token will be substituted with the value of that form field.

To specify a non-default template, simply pass the template name as an option (see example above, which uses email.txt).

Sending email from a web page

On your web page with some sort of form, you need to have a link to jQuery, and also a link to the PerfectAPI client. It is also helpful to have some sort of client-side validation, such as jQuery.validate:

<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.2/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src='http://ajax.aspnetcdn.com/ajax/jquery.validate/1.9/jquery.validate.min.js' ></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://localhost:3000/signup/jquery.perfectapi.js" ></script>

This is an example of HTML and client-side javascript for a signup form, using jQuery.validate for the client-side validation:

<form id="signupForm" class="signupform">
    <h5>Info</h5>
    <div class="formError hide"></div>
    <div class="formSuccess hide">Thanks, you should get an email soon.</div>
    <ul>
        <li>
            <label for="name">Your Name:</label>
            <input maxlength="50" id="name" name="name" type="text" class="required" />
            <em>*</em>
        </li>

        <li>
            <label for="company">Company Name:</label>
            <input class="company" maxlength="100" id="company" name="company" type="text" />
        </li>

        <li>
            <label for="email">Email Address:</label>
            <input maxlength="50" id="email" name="email" type="text" class="required email" />
            <em>*</em>
        </li>
        <li>
            <button>Submit</button>
        </li>                
    </ul>
</form>

...and the client-side javascript for the form:

$('form').submit(function() {
    console.log('form submitting');
    var validated = $('form').validate().form();

    $('.formError').hide();    //some place you display errors
    $('.formSuccess').hide();  //some place you display success

    if (!validated) return false;

    var config = {
        formData: $('form').serializeArray(),
        options: {subject: "This is a test email", template: "email.txt"}
    };
    console.log(config);

    signup.callApi('send', config, function(err, results) {
        if (err || results.err) {
            $('.formError').text(err || results.err);
            $('.formError').show();
            return;
        }

        console.log('form submitted successfully');
        $('.formSuccess').show();
    });

    return false;
});
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