Email management

Jan 23, 2018

Email is an integral part of the Sobs system but also creates a number of challenges.  The primary challenge is to avoid being identified as a spam message, so the intended recipient receives the message.  This is then complicated because schools are running a varied array of email systems that identify spam messages in different ways.

The management of your staff email addresses is a relatively simple affair, you can specify these on the staff records or import them with the user details.

Configuring an email ‘From’ address however can generate a challenge with some email servers as described below.

Why the email From address causes problems with some email servers

Currently in Sobs we do allow schools to configure their own ‘from address’ which will be added to their email messages, however at the same time some schools are unable to use this option as their email server does not accept the incoming message.

The email server is trying to identify spam, and consequently when the email server checks the ‘from address’ from the message, it then does a look up for the domain name.  If the domain does not resolve to the server from which the email was received then it is considered to be spam and blocked.  This essentially means that for those schools all Sobs email must contain a ‘sobs.com.au’ from address.

Using a no-reply address

We have configured an option where you can specify a from address of ‘ no-reply@sobs.com.au‘.  This then performs a special function of adding a reply button into the content of the email.  When the recipient clicks on this reply button it will open a new message to the respective sender.  (If the user simply clicks on the regular email ‘Reply’ button then the response is only sent to a ‘no-reply’ address which is automatically discarded.

Your Sobs email address: your-school@sobs.com.au

In 2010 we started testing a new system which would automatically forward emails to the appropriate address.  This began with a basic school address that would forward to the Sobs administrator at the school.

In this system the generated email is given a reply address that uniquely identifies the school, for example:

  • s97-acme-college@sobs.com.au

If the recipient replies to this address it is automatically forwarded to the Sobs administrator at that school.

In 2017 we extended this email facility to allow email replies to be forwarded to different school accounts based on the application that generated the email.  This allows responses to the Parent/Teacher interview application to be directed to an appropriate staff member, and similarly for emails related to the Room Booking application.  To support this we now generate email addresses in the format:

  • rb97-acme-college@sobs.com.au
  • pt97-acme-college@sobs.com.au
  • etc