Neptune (personal SMTP testing server)

Updated! There is a new version.

While working on a current project I found myself faced with testing code that sends email.  In the past I would end up with an inbox full of test messages or unhappy customers that wonder why they just received a flood of emails from my site.  I was also frustrated that there was no way to easily automate this testing.

Enter Neptune. Neptune is a SMTP Development Server targeted for use in automated testing. I simply asked the question, “what if I had a SMTP server that did not relay the message and allowed me to query for messages and their content”. I would be able to use a server of this type to act as my SMTP server during testing and write custom plug-ins, validation and extraction rules to communicate with the server.

The goals of Neptune were to facilitate automated testing and be easy to use. I did not want to have to install a service or understand everything there is to know about running a SMTP server. I simply want to start Neptune and run my test.

Full documentation on how to use Neptune is provided in the msi you can download here. NeptuneSetup.msi (1.27 mb) Original version

Neptune with POP3 NeptuneSetup.msi (1.40 mb) Newer version

If you find Neptune usefull feel free to Donate for future development.


Comments (12) -

  • Karim Kameka

    10/20/2008 1:24:06 PM |

    This tool is awesome and has allowed me to test my code with all the email portions on.  In the past I'd have to comment this code out and then remember to uncomment when we went live.  Also allows me to narrow down the problem to my code, some setting or the email server quickly and easily as this was just taking shots in the dark in the past.  Thanks!

  • Abel

    10/20/2008 2:10:58 PM |

    Awesome tool.  I just downloaded it and it does everything you said.  I was dreading setting up an smtp server and I really didn't want to stuff my mailbox full of test messages.

    Cool stuff.


  • Colin

    10/21/2008 9:35:53 AM |

    thanks, D.  This will solve some my problems and allow me to clean up my code a little.

  • Scott Allender

    10/21/2008 11:08:13 AM |

    slick idea.  i'll definitely be playing with it tonight.

  • David Kemp

    10/22/2008 7:12:40 AM |

    How do I get this to work in a Continuous Integration environment?

  • brady gaster

    10/22/2008 7:38:35 AM |

    DKemp - I would say use Process.Start to fire the app up. Then send your emails.
    DBrown - GREAT idea, sir. I'll be using this stat. Mui Bueno!

  • matthew

    10/22/2008 5:16:48 PM |

    Any chance of this showing up on codeplex (or the like) soon?

  • Simone

    10/27/2008 9:43:45 AM |

    That's awesome tool...
    till now I had a debugging configuration that automatically changed the email of the recipient to the test one so that users are not flooded by testing emails.. but this is completely transparent: just change the SMTP and everything works.

  • biggie9385

    1/13/2009 1:56:02 AM |

    If I put Neptune in the same machine with our test web server and have it point to, can I access Neptune from my desktop (this is a different machine from the web server) and run webtests?

  • smehaffie

    3/17/2009 11:06:39 AM |

    Are you considering posting this to codeplex?  Are you planning on releasing an upgrade?  If the answer is no to any of the questions above, would there be any way to get the source code for this?  The reason I am asking is that I would like to add some features to this.  This is great for automated/unit testing, but it would also be nice to have some additional features so it could be used for general testing.

    1) Ability to persist the messages to disk.  That way you can send the message to other who might want to see them (project managers, BU, etc).  This would also include deleting persisted messages.

    2) Ability to view the email messages.  When I am writing new functionality I want to be able to open the emails I just created to see the content.

    3) Ability to configure the application to load on startup.

    4) UI to make editing the config files easier.


  • EDI Services

    3/29/2009 1:10:30 AM |

    I just make a dummy email that way neither my customers or I are affected by the influx of a thousands emails. But Neptune sounds like a very good idea.

  • Paul Kohler

    5/21/2009 7:32:55 PM |

    Very nice.
    I like the idea of unit testing via the admin port, clever.
    PK  Wink

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