Friday, 27 January 2012

New features: RSS and more!

We're very happy to announce some big new features:
RSS
Many customers have asked for this, and it's finally here! We've had internal suport for it for years, but now it's out in the open. You can now build templates that dynamically import content from an RSS feed at send time, and you can format the overall feed and the stories within it separately. This is  great way to shorten the amount of time it takes to prepare a newsletter as you don't have to refomat content from elsewhere - just point it at your blog/CMS and have it pull in your latest stories automatically. Docs on how to use it are on our wiki.
Social network integration
We now have tags for Facebook 'like', Google+ '+1', Twitter 'tweet' and LinkedIn 'share' buttons. Just drop the tags into your templates and the rest will happen automatically, complete with open graph tags, allowing the networks to find important details about your mailings easily. You'll see a new section in reports for the stats you've got on social network activity. There are quite a few considerations when using social network buttons, so please read the docs.
Revamped callbacks system
Our callbacks system has had a major overhaul, has some new events, selective event registration, more consistent parameters, better handling of failures, and now supports retrying if your system is down. Of course there is updated documentation to go with it.
Gravatars
Gravatars allow to you to obtain personalised icons associated with an email address via gravatar.com. If a user has set their own icon, it will be used, otherwise it will generate a unique one from their address. For example, here's the one for info@smartmessages.net:
info@smartmessages.net Gravatar
and here's one for an address that has no predefined icon (and is thus generated automatically):
Unknown Gravatar
We've been using them in our admin interface for some time, but now you can use them in your templates too.
There are lots of other small tweaks throughout the system, and as always, there's plenty more to come!

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