For transactional emails, notifications, reminders, etc, I want to make it so writers/designers can set up the emails and maintain them, and then dynamically insert fields, that I then replace when actually sending the mail from code.

I think the ability to use a basic layout template across individual email templates would make things a lot easier (think header, footer, standard typography, etc).

What is best for this? Why would you prefer Mailgun, SendGrid, Mandrill or something else?

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CEO at Rascasone·
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Mandrill

We are using more extensively Mandrill.

It is a ok tool, which gives you the power for emailing with nice set of features.

The templates editing and management is a bit tricky, but this is mostly related to email templates in general, which are hard to create and maintain.

I do not think you can share the parts of the templates. You can have your predefined templates with possibility to insert dynamic content.

They provide a limited possibility to preview and test your templates.

The template editor is text only. For the better editors checkout http://topol.io or https://mosaico.io

Unfortunately, I do not have experience with the other tools and possibilities to manage templates.

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Lead Developer at Watermark Community Church·
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Twilio SendGrid

If you need your emails to be sent in a time-sensitive manner, I'd recommend SendGrid. We were using Mailgun and the lag because they aren't "transactional" in nature caused issues for us. SendGrid also has the ability to do dynamic templates and bulk send from their API. I don't know that they have the shared layout ability you mentioned, though.

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Vit Ulicny

CEO at Rascasone