Create centralized messaging apps in a snap
Here's another nice idea: a workshop for creating e-mail projects that
integrates with a whole bunch of Microsoft software. eMill includes a
built-in content editor that can handle text or HTML messages (and at
mailing time, you can also produce a PDF format to send). It also integrates
with server-side scripting, which means you can build intelligence into
messages - for example, pulling in a field from a database is trivially
easy. eMill also uses ADO to get to a database for a maling list (if you
don't already have a mailing list database, it will create one for you).
After you're done designing your mailing, eMill's publisher component
creates the message queues for your mailing. You can then use the built-in
MIME encoder and SMTP mailer to send the mailing out. For large mailings
you can schedule when the mailing should go out, or balance the load between
multiple SMTP servers.
One nice touch is that eMill has a growing number of samples available
on their web site. You can see how to monitor a POP3 incoming queue to
add SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE links directly to a mailing, pull data from
XML files, use externally-generated HTML, or connect to additional data
sources to pull in related information.
If you're not used to thinking of a mailing as a project, eMill's interface
can be a bit daunting at first. But some useful wizards and excellent
documentation will get you up and running quickly. I was able to send
out my first batch of messages within an hour of installing the software,
and the mailer worked perfectly.
eMill comes in two versions, the $695 Professional and the Enterprise
version that I looked at. Most features are in both versions, but you
need Enterprise to get connectivity to enterprise or non-ADO data sources,
and to use the optional PDF output. Either one is worth investigating
for the organization that needs sophisticated e-mail project capabilities.
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.