Testing Outgoing Email with Zend Framework

Jul 27, 2011 testing zend-framework
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I was creating a new application with Zend Framework at work the other day and I started using my technique that I described here by adding the original email in my email address using the + sign. However, the current organization I’m at has a mailserver (Exchange?) that is either configured not to allow this or just doesn’t have this functionality built in. So, this won’t work. I solved this with a new implementation of the mail class.


  • Using Zend Framework’s Zend_Mail to send mail

  • Must send to me in non production but I should be able to verify who the original recipient would have been

  • Must require no changes between production and development code - should be automatic

The Solution: A new class Application_Model_Mail

I decided to make a new model called Mail which will extend the Zend_Mail class. Everything will work the same except for the to addresses. See this code:

class Application_Model_Mail extends Zend_Mail
  public function addTo($email, $name='')
    if (!is_array($email)) {
      $email = array($name => $email);

    if (APPLICATION_ENV !== 'production') {
      array_walk($email, array($this, '_convertToTestEmails'), $this);
    return parent::addTo($email);
  protected static function _convertToTestEmails(&$email, $key, $mail)
    $testEmail = '[email protected]';
    $mail->addHeader('X-Test-Original-Email', $email, TRUE);
    $email = $testEmail;

First, the addTo() method is overwritten. A bit of the code is copied in order to determine if the email address is an array with the name => email key or just an email. The end result is $email as an array with a key of the display name (possibly blank) and a value of the original email address. Next, check the application environment. If it is not production, array_walk the email array using our protected _converttoTestEmails method. Finally, call the parent addTo() method using the new $email value that has been processed.

The protected function _convertToTestEmails() gets the destination developer email address. Then, it adds a header of the original email address. Checking this header is how I can verify, if necessary, that the original email address would have been right. Then, it replaces the original email address with the test developer address. Notice, it keeps the key the same. This means that during the testing process, the developer could get multiple emails sent to them with different ’to’ names but always the developer’s email address. To fully verify, the X-Test-Original-Email needs to be verified.

Do you have any ways that you use besides my original method and this to test emails?

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