Thursday, 1 September 2016

Short outage

Due to an unexpected hardware issue, the Smartmessages service will be down for around half an hour this evening at approx 21:30 UK time.

Update: It started a little later and took a little longer than expected, but all work has been completed successfully and everything is back online.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Smartmessages performance boost

Today we're happy to announce a big performance boost to smartmessages.net. We've migrated our whole platform to PHP 7, so you'll see a huge boost in page load speeds (which were pretty good to start with!) and email send rates.

We've also improved our TLS configuration (still an A+ rating on SSL Labs!) with the addition of ChaCha20/Poly1305 cipher suites, which give massively improved performance on low-power devices such as phones.

We hope you like it!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Database update

Yesterday we ran into some database issues that resulted in the system being very slow. We had partly commissioned a new database server, so rather than fixing the problem on the old server, we worked around it by completing the configuration of the new server and deploying it into production.
This accomplished what we hoped - a massive performance improvement across the board.

We apologies for the slow performance yesterday, but hope you enjoy the enormous speed boost you've got today!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Achievement unlocked: HTTP/2 deployed!

We're happy to announce that we've completed deployment of HTTP/2 support across all our services. In addition to our previous support for SSL everywhere and IPv6, we now complete the set with HTTP/2. Expect a fair performance boost on all web page interactions, especially on mobiles.

If you're running a very old browser, you won't see any difference - but there's never been a better time to upgrade!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Big technical update

We've just rolled out a pretty hefty technical upgrade to our back-end systems.
  • Switched our web servers from apache to nginx (faster)
  • Updated from PHP 5.4 to 5.6 (faster, better)
  • Enabled IPv6 (faster, better on modern networks)
  • Updated to SPDY 3.1 (faster)
  • Enabled the HSTS header (safer) - we now get an A+ on SSLLabs tests.

You should find things work exactly as before, just faster and more securely!

The HSTS header means that we now always serve everything over SSL encryption, including mailshot web versions and images. If you are hosting your own mailshot images on an insecure site, this may mean that recipients viewing a web version are either not shown images or see a security warning about insecure content from your site. To fix this, either upgrade your site to use SSL (we can help with that), or move your image hosting onto our servers.

Friday, 10 April 2015

System update - lots of new features!

We've been busy improving the system again with lots of new features and fixes:


Template conversions

This is the big one: You can now convert templates from Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, EShot and Pure360 on the templates page. Just paste in the template, check the "Convert format" box and it all happens magically. You may need to do some manual cleanup for custom or complex tags, but we have pretty comprehensive support for everything these other systems support (including quite a few undocumented features!). There is documentation to go with it too.


New PDF reports

We have completely rewritten our PDF report generator. It's now generating PDFs directly instead of via HTML, which means it produces faster, cleaner, more accurate layouts, and no more page breaks in the middle of graphs!


Video tags

You can use our new [[video]] tag to embed videos into your emails.


Improved RSS support

Our RSS support is now second to none - with massive flexibility on rendering feed and article-level items, with full support for enclosures too (podcasts).


Translation and history links

You can link your email to translated versions courtesy of google translate, and provide links to previous mailings to the same list so you can link your recipients to back-issues.


Relative image URLs

When you upload images into Smartmessages, you can now reference them with relative URLs pointing at /images, so if you upload "logo.png", you can now refer to it in a template as "/images/logo.png". This makes it much easier to transfer templates from other systems and local editors like Dreamweaver.


VCards

You can attach a VCard to your messages so that it's easier for your recipients to add your address and other contact details to their address books. If you've uploaded a logo for your account, we will embed that in the VCard download.


Google+ sharing links

ntly Google did not allow sharing URLs on Google+ via static links (without Javascript). They have now fixed that, and so have we.


Content A/B splits

We've supported A/B split tests for a while, but you could only vary the subject line. There is now support for using split identifiers in conditional tags, so you can also vary your message content by split as well.


Sharing links

These have been lurking in Smartmessages for a while but we've not mentioned them much - you can now provide simple icons (retina-ready) or text sharing links for many social networks. For example all you need to do to show icons with sharing links to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest is say [[share]]! Details are in the template guide.


Google+ sharing links

Until recently Google did not allow sharing URLs on Google+ via static links (without Javascript). They have now fixed that, and so have we.


More template tags

There are lots of small improvements and additions in our template tags and variables, all covered in our updated template guide.

We've made many other minor changes and fixes, and there is plenty more in the pipeline.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Temporary hold on sends

Due to an unexpected database issue, sending is currently on hold. Some other functions are working as normal. This is likely to take several hours to remedy. Updates will be posted here.

Update: 02:10 UTC Both symptoms and cause of the database issue have been resolved; all services back to normal.

Since this update, it became apparent that click and open recording was not working, for reasons related to the above database issue. This has now also been fixed, but mailshots sent this morning and early afternoon will have erroneous or incomplete click and open counts. This problem will not have been apparent to subscribers; their clicks will have redirected as normal.