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php – Using mail() to send an attachment AND text/html in an email in PHP4

Posted by: admin July 12, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

To make life difficult, the client I’m working for is using a really large yet old system which runs on PHP4.0 and they’re not wanting any additional libraries added.

I’m trying to send out an email through PHP with both an attachment and accompanying text/html content but I’m unable to send both in one email.

This sends the attachment:

$headers = "Content-Type: text/csv;\r\n name=\"result.csv\"\r\n Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64\r\n Content-Disposition: attachment\r\n boundary=\"PHP-mixed-".$random_hash."\"";
$output = $attachment;

mail($emailTo, $emailSubject, $output, $headers);

This sends text/html:

$headers = "Content-Type: text/html; charset='iso-8859-1'\r\n";
$output = $emailBody; // $emailBody contains the HTML code.

This sends an attachment containing the text/html along with the attachment contents:

$headers = "Content-Type: text/html; charset='iso-8859-1'\r\n".$emailBody."\r\n";
$headers = "Content-Type: text/csv;\r\n name=\"result.csv\"\r\n Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64\r\n Content-Disposition: attachment\r\n boundary=\"PHP-mixed-".$random_hash."\"";
$output = $attachment;

What I need to know is how can I send an email with text/html in the email body and also add an attachment to it. I’m sure I’m missing something really simple here!

Thanks in advance.

How to&Answers:

Okay, I’ve finally cracked it! For reference:

$emailBody .= "<html><body>Blah</body></html>";
$emailSubject = "Subject";
$emailCSV = "\"Col1\", \"Col2\"\r\n"; // etc.
$attachment = $emailCSV;

$boundary = md5(time());

$header = "From: Name <[email protected]>\r\n";
$header .= "MIME-Version: 1.0\r\n";
$header .= "Content-Type: multipart/mixed;boundary=\"" . $boundary . "\"\r\n";

$output = "--".$boundary."\r\n";
$output .= "Content-Type: text/csv; name=\"result.csv\";\r\n";
$output .= "Content-Disposition: attachment;\r\n\r\n";
$output .= $attachment."\r\n\r\n";
$output .= "--".$boundary."\r\n";
$output .= "Content-type: text/html; charset=\"utf-8\"\r\n";
$output .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit\r\n\r\n";
$output .= $emailBody."\r\n\r\n";
$output .= "--".$boundary."--\r\n\r\n";

mail($emailTo, $emailSubject, $output, $header);

Answer:

Trying to send attachments using the PHP mail() function is an exercise in frustration; put simply, it’s just not worth the effort. I would never ever suggest even attempting it, even in current PHP versions. I would always use a library like phpMailer.

I know you said you aren’t allowed to use a third party library, but in this case, you would be crazy not to use one. We’re talking about the difference between one day of work and a year; it’s that big a deal. The PHP mail() function is incredibly difficult to work with, and trying to write code with it to send attachments from scratch will leave you with brittle, bug-ridden code that takes forever to get working reliably in all cases. This is why libraries like phpMailer exist.

So I suggest that regardless of what they want you to do, you should download phpMailer — the PHP4 version is still available — and see if it works for you. (The download page even still has the really old versions, so you should be able to go far enough back in time to find one that works with PHP 4.0. It shouldn’t take you any time at all to get a simple demo up and running with it. Demonstrate that it works; that may well soften their stance against third party libraries.

(If it doesn’t soften their stance, then there’s not much hope of this project ever being completed in a sane amount of time. In that case, the best you can do is add a few extra zeros to your quote for the project price and grit your teeth)