What is Switchboard?

Switchboard is a framework for processing email. It consists of a core that maintains a connection to an IMAP server and routes event notifications to a set of workers. The workers interact with the IMAP server through a simple API exposed by the Switchboard core.


  • Totally open source — developers can extend Switchboard or use the API to create workers specific to their product.
  • Switchboard handles the boilerplate, leaving the logic to you — Switchboard frees you from the plumbing of server-side email monitoring and fetching, allowing you to focus on your products and services.
  • You deploy it — by running persistent processes on your own server, Switchboard can help you avoid mobile OS backgrounding restrictions and heavy battery consumption, freeing up the client and leaving you in control.

Use Cases

You could use Switchboard to help you:

  • Send email triggered push notifications to a mobile device. Switchboard makes this easy, even across many email accounts. Spatch’s need for this is why Switchboard exists.
  • Store email image attachments to a Dropbox folder. Switchboard can upload attachments incoming emails to Dropbox.
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists. Given the code to select unwanted emails and follow their unsubscribe link, Switchboard can remove you from unwanted mailing lists as their emails arrive

Switchboard can do all these things at the same time across a set of email accounts, with each use case implemented as a separate worker.

First Steps

You are at the beginning of the Switchboard User Guide. This guide can take you from installation, to setting up a Switchboard worker or client.

To get Switchboard up and running, take a look at the install pages.

To see an example of how Switchboard can be used, see the Examples pages with examples and walkthroughs on:

  • Sending email push notifications
  • Storing email image attachments to a Dropbox folder

To see documenation of the Switchboard application’s modules and functions, see the API Docs.