Product Reviews

eMill Enterprise

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.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


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