Lob Help Center

Quickstart guide

The following Quickstart guide allows you to jump in and explore the Lob Print & Mail API in your preferred programming language. (If you are a Typescript user, you can jump right in with a video tutorial: Sending a postcard with Typescript.)

You can also learn about our APIs via Postman, here is a video walk-through of Lob's Public Workspace. 

Lob account basics

In order to follow this Quickstart guide, you will need:

Language setup guides

These brief sections are aimed at developers who are less familiar with the languages with which they will be working with Lob API. Currently, Lob provides client libraries in these languages:

TypeScript (NodeJS)

Follow the instructions on the TypeScript download page. For Windows, installing through the Visual Studio text editor is the best option.

Follow the download and setup instructions on the official Node.js website.

To make switching between Node versions easy, install nvm on your local machine, following the instructions in the official Node Version Manager GitHub repository. To get the latest LTS release, run:

nvm install --lts

Alternately, Windows users should install the latest release of nvm-windows by following the instructions in its home repository.

Delete

Python

Download and set up the appropriate version from Python’s official website.

Delete

Ruby

Mac

Run ruby -v to check whether it’s pre-installed. If not, run brew install ruby (make sure to install Homebrew first if you haven’t already). Add the path for your version of Ruby to your environment’s PATH variable.

Windows

Download the appropriate version from Ruby’s official downloads page.

Delete

PHP

Mac

Run php -v to check whether it’s pre-installed. If not, run brew install php (make sure to install Homebrew first if you haven’t already). Add the path for your version of PHP to your environment’s PATH variable.

https://www.php.net/downloads.php

Windows

Download the appropriate version from Ruby’s official downloads page.

Delete

Java

Download either the Arm 64 or x64 DMG Installer from Java’s official downloads page.

Delete


Installing Lob’s API client

This QuickStart guide provides a code example of Lob’s services: creating a postcard through Lob’s Print & Mail API. Make sure you are in the correct directory before running the code samples (creating one for the purpose of running these is advised, but not required).

Create a new directory and switch to it from your terminal app with these commands.

mkdir lob-qs

cd lob-qs

The next step is to install the version of Lob API which matches the language you are working in:

Typescript

Install Lob's TypeScript SDK

npm install @lob/lob-typescript-sdk
Delete

Python

Create a new virtual environment  python3 -m venv venv

Activate the environment source venv/bin/activate

Install lob python from pypi pip install lob

Delete

Ruby

gem install lob

Delete

PHP

curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php

php composer.phar require lob/lob-php

php composer.phar install

Delete

Java

In this guide, we will be using Maven.

From the command line, create a new maven project

mvn archetype:generate -DgroupId=com.company.app -DartifactId=my-app -DarchetypeArtifactId=maven-archetype-quickstart -DarchetypeVersion=1.4 -DinteractiveMode=false

Edit the pom.xml file in the my-app folder to include this bit of code:

 <dependencies>
  <dependency>
    <groupId>com.lob</groupId>
    <artifactId>lob-java</artifactId>
    <version>13.0.0</version>
  </dependency>
  ...
 </dependencies>


In the pom.xml file update the source and target to 1.8

 <maven.compiler.source>1.8</maven.compiler.source>
 <maven.compiler.target>1.8</maven.compiler.target> 
Delete

Creating a postcard

Now that a Lob API wrapper has been installed on your local machine, we can begin by sending a request to the API with the data necessary for postcard creation.

Open the text editor of your choice (if you need to download one, we recommend Visual Studio Code) and paste the code in the language of your choice: (As a note, if the address in question has a suite or apartment number, you can add in a data point for it as such: -d "to[address_line2]=<OPTIONAL SECONDARY INFORMATION>")

TypeScript

In your working directory:

  • Create a new file app.ts
  • Copy and paste the code below into app.ts
  • Replace <YOUR_TEST_KEY> with your Lob Test API Key in the code.


In your typescript project folder:

Compile you code  tsc  app.ts 
Run your app:  node  app.js  Delete

Python

In your working directory:

  • Create a new file app.py
  • Copy and paste the code below into app.py
  • Replace <YOUR_TEST_KEY> with your Lob Test API Key in the code.

In your working directory:

Run your app: python app.py Delete

Ruby

In your working directory:

  • Create a new file app.rb
  • Copy and paste the code below into app.rb
  • Replace <YOUR_TEST_KEY> with your Lob Test API Key in the code.

In your working directory:

Run your app: ruby app.rb Delete

PHP

In your working directory:

  • Create a new file app.php
  • Copy and paste the code below into app.php
  • Replace <YOUR_TEST_KEY> with your Lob Test API Key in the code.

In your working directory:

Run your app:

php app.php Delete

Java

In your new maven project:

  • Locate the App.java file in main/java/com/company/app
  • Copy and paste the code below into App.java
  • Replace <YOUR_TEST_KEY> with your Lob Test API Key in the code.

In your maven project folder:

Compile your code:  mvn clean install 
Run your app:  mvn exec:java -Dexec.mainClass="com.company.app.App"  Delete

Understanding the response

This is a sample of the postcard object you will receive upon sending a creation request. Some information breakdowns:

  • As you can see, the to and from address objects have been expanded with more detail, including optional fields, creation and modification dates, and sanitized, verified address lines.
  • The postcard object also includes a signed URL to a digital copy of the created postcard, as well as thumbnails in three different sizes of the postcard’s front and back.
  • front_template_id and back_template_id are null in this particular object because we used inline HTML in the templates, rather than referencing a previously-saved HTML template.
  • Because we did not specify a size, the postcard is the default size of 4in by 6in.
  • Both the send date and the expected delivery date of the postcard are provided for transparency in the mailing process.

In order to see the postcards you have created, log into your Lob dashboard account and navigate to the “Postcards” tab on the left-side navigation menu. You can toggle between the ones you have created using either your test or live key:

Further resources

You can find Lob's API documentation here. For more comprehensive code examples for the different languages supported by Lob, see the individual GitHub repositories for each language:

Was this article helpful?