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Recipe 18.9 Sending Attachments in Mail

18.9.1 Problem

You want to send mail that includes attachments; for example, you want to mail a PDF document.

18.9.2 Solution

Use the MIME::Lite module from CPAN. First, create a MIME::Lite object representing the multipart message:

use MIME::Lite;

$msg = MIME::Lite->new(From    => 'sender@example.com',
                       To      => 'recipient@example.com',
                       Subject => 'My photo for the brochure',
                       Type    => 'multipart/mixed');

Then, add content through the attach method:

$msg->attach(Type        => 'image/jpeg',
             Path        => '/Users/gnat/Photoshopped/nat.jpg',
             Filename    => 'gnat-face.jpg');

$msg->attach(Type        => 'TEXT',
             Data        => 'I hope you can use this!');

Finally, send the message, optionally specifying how to send it:

$msg->send( );            # default is to use sendmail(1)
# alternatively
$msg->send('smtp', 'mailserver.example.com');

18.9.3 Discussion

The MIME::Lite module creates and sends mail with MIME-encoded attachments. MIME stands for Multimedia Internet Mail Extensions, and is the standard way of attaching files and documents. It can't, however, extract attachments from mail messages—for that you need to read Recipe 18.10.

When creating and adding to a MIME::Lite object, pass parameters as a list of named parameter pairs. The pair conveys both mail headers (e.g., From, To, Subject) and those specific to MIME::Lite. In general, mail headers should be given with a trailing colon:

$msg = MIME::Lite->new('X-Song-Playing:' => 'Natchez Trace');

However, MIME::Lite accepts the headers in Table 18-1 without a trailing colon. * indicates a wildcard, so Content-* includes Content-Type and Content-ID but not Dis-Content.

Table 18-2. MIME::Lite headers

Approved

Encrypted

Received

Sender

Bcc

From

References

Subject

Cc

Keywords

Reply-To

To

Comments

Message-ID

Resent-*

X-*

Content-*

MIME-Version

Return-Path

 

Date

Organization

  

The full list of MIME::Lite options is given in Table 18-2Table 18-2.

Table 18-3. MIME::Lite options

Data

FH

ReadNow

Datestamp

Filename

Top

Disposition

Id

Type

Encoding

Length

 

Filename

Path

 

The MIME::Lite options and their values govern what is attached (the data) and how:

Path

The file containing the data to attach.

Filename

The default filename for the reader of the message to save the file as. By default this is the filename from the Path option (if Path was specified).

Data

The data to attach.

Type

The Content-Type of the data to attach.

Disposition

Either inline or attachment. The former indicates that the reader should display the data as part of the message, not as an attachment. The latter indicates that the reader should display an option to decode and save the data. This is, at best, a hint.

FH

An open filehandle from which to read the attachment data.

There are several useful content types: TEXT means text/plain, which is the default; BINARY similarly is short for application/octet-stream; multipart/mixed is used for a message that has attachments; application/msword for Microsoft Word files; application/vnd.ms-excel for Microsoft Excel files; application/pdf for PDF files; image/gif, image/jpeg, and image/png for GIF, JPEG, and PNG files, respectively; audio/mpeg for MP3 files; video/mpeg for MPEG movies; video/quicktime for Quicktime (.mov) files.

The only two ways to send the message are using sendmail(1) or using Net::SMTP. Indicate Net::SMTP by calling send with a first argument of "smtp". Remaining arguments are parameters to the Net::SMTP constructor:

# timeout of 30 seconds
$msg->send("smtp", "mail.example.com", Timeout => 30);

If you plan to make more than one MIME::Lite object, be aware that invoking send as a class method changes the default way to send messages:

MIME::Lite->send("smtp", "mail.example.com");
$msg = MIME::Lite->new(%opts);
# ...
$msg->send( );                   # sends using SMTP

If you're going to process multiple messages, also look into the ReadNow parameter. This specifies that the data for the attachment should be read from the file or filehandle immediately, rather than when the message is sent, written, or converted to a string.

Sending the message isn't the only thing you can do with it. You can get the final message as a string:

$text = $msg->as_string;

The print method writes the string form of the message to a filehandle:

$msg->print($SOME_FILEHANDLE);

Example 18-3 is a program that mails filenames given on the command line as attachments.

Example 18-3. mail-attachment
#!/usr/bin/perl -w
# mail-attachment - send files as attachments

use MIME::Lite;
use Getopt::Std;

my $SMTP_SERVER = 'smtp.example.com';           # CHANGE ME
my $DEFAULT_SENDER = 'sender@example.com';      # CHANGE ME
my $DEFAULT_RECIPIENT = 'recipient@example.com';# CHANGE ME  

MIME::Lite->send('smtp', $SMTP_SERVER, Timeout=>60);

my (%o, $msg);

# process options

getopts('hf:t:s:', \%o);

$o{f} ||= $DEFAULT_SENDER;
$o{t} ||= $DEFAULT_RECIPIENT;
$o{s} ||= 'Your binary file, sir';

if ($o{h} or !@ARGV) {
    die "usage:\n\t$0 [-h] [-f from] [-t to] [-s subject] file ...\n";
}

# construct and send email

$msg = new MIME::Lite(
    From => $o{f},
    To   => $o{t},
    Subject => $o{s},
    Data => "Hi",
    Type => "multipart/mixed",
);

while (@ARGV) {
  $msg->attach('Type' => 'application/octet-stream',
               'Encoding' => 'base64',
               'Path' => shift @ARGV);
}

$msg->send( );

18.9.4 See Also

The documentation for MIME::Lite

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