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Thread: HTML e-zines

  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I've had problems as well. My list is currently hosted at http://www.egroups.com - and unfortunatly I can't send out HTML mail there.

    Anyone know of a reliable list server which lets you send out HTML messages?



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    Chris - TWT Commish
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    Hi all,

    I've put out 6 issues of a text based e-zine so far, and the response has been rather good. We are now looking into HTML e-zines, but this brings up any number of problems - especially with e-mail programs.

    I guess the default e-zine would have to be HTML. There would have to be code written in, viewable only in text-only programs, with a mailto link to request future issues as text. I have tried playing with this concept, but it hasn't worked. What I've done looks like this (in HTML):

    <head>
    <!--If you can read this your e-mail program can not read HTML. Please go to http://vita-flex.com/archives.htm to view this in text format. You may also contact us at mailto:webmaster@vita-flex.com to request future issues in text fformat. Please put TEXT EZINE in the subject line.-->

    This hidden code does not show up in HTML tests I have done, but it also does not show up when I send the coded ezine to non-HTML capable programs.

    Can anyone give me some pointers. I'd love to hear about any and all issues that you have come accross with HTML ezines, as I'm sure I'll also encounter them. Any really good resources on the web? I've checked all my standards and have come up with very little on HTML ezines. Even detailed searches have been fruitless.

    Thanks for all your help. Brian

  3. #3
    Hi there! Owen's Avatar
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    Most email clients support (I believe this is right) MIME-types. Therefore, in ONE email you can send BOTH HTML and plain text! (I know if you have Eudora (the all-time best email program), it's an option.) Most modern email programs should be able to pick the right one automatically. The text comes first so if they have an old program then they see the text version and if the email prog. supports HTML it will display that instead.

    Owen

  4. #4
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Why not have a simple option on the sign-up string that says "HTML Newsletter". IF they don't select it then send it plain text. If they do then send the HTML version. If your going to be maintaining both anyways this solution is a lot more elegant and doesn't subject the end-user with a crappy looking email the first time out.

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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Moderator/Internet Media Developer
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

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    Wayne,

    I am going to have the HTML vs. Text option on the opt-in page. But this doesn't address the other 2,000 names already on the list. My guess is that most of them will be able to receive HTML, but there has to be a contingency for those who don't.

    Is there really any other way than to send out an HTML version with hidden code that is viewable only by those receiving it in plain text?

    I guess this question must be asked: Do the benefits of HTML e-zines, at this point and time, outweigh the drawbacks? I, personally, don't really like them. I find them to be slim on content. Plus, over 50% of the ones I get have faulty scripts that force my debugger (even from reputable software firms). Anyone else encounter these same problems with HTML emails? Thanks


  6. #6
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    I would do the same thing for my existing users...

    Send out a "very special e-zine" telling them about the upcoming changes and give them the option of changing their format to the HTML version if they choose. The text version should be the default because it is accessible to all even those using a system like Pine on a Linux box. HTML should be a luxury to those who wish it. You will find that most people will tend to opt for plain text because if they dial-up it downloads a lot faster.

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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Moderator/Internet Media Developer
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

  7. #7
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    I would love to just send a special e-zine having recipients decide on text or HTML. It just so happens that the president of my company thinks he received an HTML e-zine that had an auto-response built in - I'm not sure what he was talking about, but it would be an opt-in link that only non-HTML capable people would see. He seems to be hell-bent on the idea.

    So how about sending an e-zine with two sections: text and HTML? Amazon just sent me one where I saw the HTML, but text based programs saw only text.

    Here's a really stupid question on that. How exactly do you get the HTML into the e-mail? I tried copying and pasting out of Dreamweaver, but when I sent the test to myself I saw the code; not the graphical layout. Is there a trick to using the two-part e-zine (text and HTML)? Thanks

  8. #8
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    If your using Outlook (probably works in Outlook Express as well) you can right-click on the email and view source. You can see how they did it.

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    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Moderator/Internet Media Developer
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com


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