... wherein I bloviate discursively

Brian Clapper,

Rails: Configuring ActionMailer

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The problem

In a collaborative Rails development effort, we use AuthLogic for authentication, providing the typical email activation capability that pretty much everyone on the web uses these days. By default, the email is routed through my client’s email service. For local testing, though, I’d rather just route those emails through my in-home local SMTP server. It’s faster, it’s totally contained within my LAN, and it bypasses my main email server’s greylisting.

Ideally, I want:

  • the default email configuration to be set in the config/environment.rb file; and
  • the ability, in my own configuration, to override those settings.

A simple solution

One simple solution I came up with follows.

First, in config/environment.rb, I define various globals, which I then use to configure ActionMailer:

In my environment, I have RAILS_ENV set to bmc-dev. So, I have my configuration overrides in config/bmc-dev.rb. In that file, I simply include:

As a result, when testing within my home LAN, emails from Rails go to my inside-the-LAN email server.


  • These comments are valid for Rails 2. Things are different in Rails 3, I’m told. When I get the chance to test against Rails 3, I’ll update this page.
  • I’m sure a Rails guru can suggest a better means of solving this problem; in fact, I’m hoping someone does and shares it with me.