Let me Email that!

This week’s post is a short one, but hopefully a practical and useful one. I had a recent need to send an email to about 3 dozen folks. Prior to this particular email, I had been updating them with general information and was simply using the BCC function of my email client to send out the email. But in this particular case I needed to email them login information specific to them. I didn’t relish the idea of crafting 3 dozen separate emails and making sure I got the correct information into each. So, I turned to the tool closest at hand: PowerShell and in about 3 minutes of writing, and 10 more minutes of debugging and tweaking, had something that worked great.

param([parameter(mandatory)] $course_id, [parameter(mandatory)] $course_description)

$course_info = invoke-sqlcmd -server "sql_server" -query "select ct.Course_Type_Name, c.Location, c.City,c.State from Courses c
inner join course_types ct on ct.Course_Type_ID=c.Course_Type_ID
where course_id=$course_id" 


$class_list=invoke-sqlcmd -server 'sql_server' -query "select p.persno, first_name,LAST_NAME, email1 from courses_taken ct
inner join people p on p.PERSNO=ct.PERSNO
and ct.Course_ID=$course_id"

foreach ($person in $class_list)
{
    $body = "Thank you for participating in the recent $($course_info.Course_type_name) $course_description course at $($course_info.location) in $($course_info.City), $($course_info.state). Your class information has been entered into the Generic Class database. 
If you wish to review your unofficial transcript, you may login in at https://www.example.com/Account/Login.aspx. 
If you have not created an account before you can create an account at https://www.example.com/Account/Register.aspx. 
Please be sure to use the following email:$($person.email1) (you can update it after creating your account) and your Generic Class ID: $($person.persno). Please note this is NOT your OTT ID. 
If you have issues or questions, please contact Joe Smith at mailto:jsmith@example.com. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at future training!"

    Send-MailMessage -From "jsmith@example.com" -SmtpServer Mail_Server -Subject "Generic Class: Your Generic Class Login and unofficial transcript" -Body $body -to $person.email1
}

Every course in this particular database has an ID. And a course can have a specific course information. The first query gathers that information.

The second query then gets the personal information for each student who took that particular course and puts it into a class_list object.

I then simply iterate over the object and send an email with the personalized details to each student.

It literally took me more time to tweak the text and formatting of the body of the message than it did to write the rest of the script.

I suppose I could have figured out my email client’s mail merge feature, or done something in Word which I know also has such a feature but that would have taken far longer. I also could have spent more time making things more generic (perhaps passing in the body and having it automatically formatted, or sending as a nice HTML message with appropriate formatting. But sometimes, quick and dirty is the way to go. And now I have a script I can customize for future use.

Not bad for about 15 minutes worth of work.

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