DokDok, a startup based in Montreal that offers a way to track, compare and manage email attachments has just launched a product that’s being called the “missing email API”.
The Canadian company is aiming to simplify email integration for app developers, specifically for CRM (customer relationship management), document management and productivity apps.
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Context.IO, developed to power DokDok’s attachment management applications, allows developers to build apps using the power of its email API enabling developers to get instant access to email conversations and attachments from one HTTP call. A process that DokDok claims wasn’t possible before without using “complex sequences of IMAP requests”.
The API will work with a vast majority of email services including Gmail and Yahoo mail however any email that you can access using IMAP is supported.
DokDok explained on its blog that its API differs from existing email integration options, stating that Context.IO, unlike the others, doesn’t demand a variety of extra steps that are often “error-prone”.
Up to now, “email integration” in CRM or productivity apps meant adding an obscure BCC on outgoing emails and forwarding incoming emails; a manual, repetitive and error-prone process.
So what kinds of things can you do with the API? In November during hackMTL, a one day hacking event held in Canada, a developer used DokDok’s API to create an app that transformed his inbox into a visual representation of his social graph. DokDok says that Nicholas Kruchten’s app is the most unexpected case use for the API so far.
Using Context.IO to display attachments, Google apps and emails from Gmail can be done with CRM web apps like 37signals’s Highrise. In fact DokDok built a Chrome extension for this purpose.
DokDok Says Email Isn’t Dead
We spoke with the founder of DokDok Bruno Morency and he shared with us the reason he thinks Context.IO is a useful tool for developers.
The basis is the fact that mail boxes contain a lot of information; business documents, conversations with clients and internal discussions. It’s very hard for application developers to get that information. This is what we do. We make it easy for developers to use the mailbox as a data source for their information.
Morency explained that until very recently, many people thought email was dead and he tells us that there has been a shift in opinion. He told us that while a lot of people tried to kill email by building alternatives, he feels that folks are now realizing that for “business exchange, documents, communications, client relationship — email is where it happens”.
DokDok, now funded by Real Ventures was started in February of 2009 and its first major product was a Gmail contextual gadget that was launched last June.
The service is currently free but two pricing options will be available soon. Developers will be able to pick a plan based on the number of calls made to the API or based on the number of mailboxes accessible under your API key. The free account lets you do up to 2000 calls per month on up to 3 mailboxes (using a single API key).
Without an invite code, developers will be placed on a waiting list but DokDok has given us 100 codes for immediate access. If you’re interested go to Context.IO and look for the yellow button. The access code is: tnwcdn
IMAP was designed for email clients. It’s great to replicate a set of folders and a plain list of emails within these folders but getting anything else through IMAP is pretty painful. This is where Context.IO shines. A single call replaces complex sequences of IMAP requests, thereby facilitating a wide array of use cases other than email clients.