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Rebeccca Peltz
Rebeccca Peltz

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Webhook-Driven Email Notifications for Media Management

Building low-code flows with APIs is steadily gaining popularity, and related application platforms abound. Developers would find it a plus to gain the expertise of using low-code to implement webhooks, that is, APIs that effectively “hook” features together in different systems.

This article shows you how to build a webhook API and deploy it in a Netlify Function. The webhook API is called by the Cloudinary Upload API when a long-running process completes. The webhook API forwards the response via email to designated parties. Specifically, you run a script—an asynchronous process—to apply the transformations in preparation for the deployment of the video with adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming. To enable you and other parties concerned to know when the process completes, the webhook API notifies you by email of the status—along with the URLs of the derived video files.

  • The Problem: We Need to Get Notified When a Process Completes
  • Design a Webhook API for Media Processing With the SendGrid API
  • Code and Deploy a Webhook API With Node.js and Netlify Functions
  • Test the Upload Script
  • Secure the Media-Processing Webhook

The Problem: We Need to Get Notified When a Process Completes

Video processing can take time to complete. We run a script to create the transformations for serving up a video with Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR)—a process that runs asynchronously. After executing the script, we get a response from Cloudinary that the transformations are proceeding. Ideally, add a notification URL to the script so that we can tackle other tasks during the process, assured that we'll be notified when the process is complete and the video is deployment ready.

Let’s code a webhook API and deploy it in a Netlify function. That API receives the upload response and emails it to the parties in a recipient list.

Design a Webhook API With the SendGrid API

We can find out if a long-running asynchronous process has completed by means of webhooks. This flowchart illustrates the automated steps:

Email flow

Here’s a more detailed rundown:

  1. We execute a script that calls the Cloudinary Upload API and that applies eager transformations, which generate derived video files. The script also specifies the eager_async option. Since the upload process runs asynchronously, we need not wait for it to complete. Finally, we specify in the script a notification URL, i.e., a webhook that forwards the response in an email. Thus, when eager processing is complete, the response posts to the URL.

  2. Asynchronous processing creates the manifest files and the HLS video-fragment files required for ABR streaming. Below is the code built with Cloudinary’s Node.js SDK for asynchronous processing. If you want to run this script, you would replace the <WEBHOOK> with a URL.

           resource_type: 'video',
           type: 'upload',
           eager: [
             { streaming_profile: 'full_hd', format: 'm3u8' },
               format: 'mp4',
               transformation: [{ quality: 'auto' }],
           eager_async: true,
           eager_notification_url: '<WEBHOOK>',
  3. When processing is complete, Cloudinary posts the response to the webhook API. The response contains the URLs of the derived files. A sample response that we would see in the email is shown below

      "notification_type": "eager",
      "timestamp": "2022-03-12T17:41:22+00:00",
      "request_id": "c8450346e4d31ff9b3b7b4e169aecb26",
      "eager": [
          "transformation": "sp_full_hd/m3u8",
          "bytes": 1007,
          "format": "m3u8",
          "url": "",
          "secure_url": ""
          "transformation": "q_auto/mp4",
          "width": 1280,
          "height": 720,
          "bytes": 8807563,
          "format": "mp4",
          "url": "",
          "secure_url": ""
      "batch_id": "6f006cbe147ac3ff22bf610e4e3f7482b5f3201625c5c87ccb1fdf2bb105e4a3",
      "asset_id": "69745e7be77ffdc2c9ad14491074d58d",
      "public_id": "e7osszr9rn0zx43vuysm"
  4. The notification webhook API emails the information in the response to the designated parties through an API of SendGrid, a cloud service for email. See below for the code of the webhook API, which is structured as an asynchronous handler, a common pattern for low-code server functions. Note that clickTracking is disabled so that the parties notified can browse those URLs in the email.

    exports.handler = async function (event, context) {
      const data = JSON.parse(event.body);
        const response = await sgMail.sendMultiple({
          to: process.env.TO_RECIPIENTS.split(' '),
          from: process.env.FROM_VERIFIED_SENDER,
          subject: 'Webhook Notification',
          text: JSON.stringify(data, null, 2),
          trackingSettings: {
            clickTracking: {
              enable: false
        return {
          statusCode: response[0].statusCode,
          body: JSON.stringify({ message: response[0] }),
  5. The email recipients proof and deploy the video.

Code and Deploy the Webhook API With Node.js and Netlify Functions

Code repository

Now that the design of the automated flow is in place, code and deploy it. Perform the two steps below to build a webhook API that notifies designated parties of the Cloudinary Upload API’s eager response by email:

  1. Create two accounts, one for SendGrid and the other for Netlify, and then deploy this code as a Netlify Function. Detailed setup instructions will help you with deployment.

  2. Upload a video by running the Node.js script upload-video-eager-abr, which creates manifests and video “chunks” that enable ABR streaming with Cloudinary transformations bundled in a profile, in which—

  • The eager_async option causes Cloudinary to process the video asynchronously.
  • The URL assigned to eager_async_notification_url is the webhook API that we created in Netlify.

Afterward, Cloudinary posts the eager response, which reports the success or failure of the transformation process and lists the URLs of the derived assets, to the webhook API. The API then sends all that information to the designated parties by email.

Test the Upload Script

To test the upload-video-eager-abr script, go to to obtain a free URL on which to view the eager response.

Tip: Start by experimenting with’s tracking page. Once we’ve verified that the upload process is posting correctly there, proceed with the steps of having our webhook API send email notifications with the details in the eager response.

Secure the Media Processing Webhook

Be sure to guard the webhook API against unauthorized access. An ideal way to do that is by leveraging Cloudinary features like signatures and timestamps, as well as a Cloudinary utility that ensures that the API is called by Cloudinary only for legitimate purposes.

For details, see the Cloudinary documentation on verifying notification signatures.

Automate Low-Code Flows With Webhooks.

The above example shows you how to write low-code and package it in a simple and modular webhook API that receives a response from Cloudinary. To facilitate tracking, that API notifies you and other interested parties of the status of the process through SendGrid (for dispatching email) and Netlify (for serving APIs).
Webhooks are a handy starting point for automated low-code flows, which are hosted by many popular services. For more details on building similar flows for media, check out MediaFlows, a product of Cloudinary Labs.

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