WebAssist’s Universal Email Dreamweaver extension is a versatile plugin that enables you to send personalized text or HTML email messages to anyone who provides an email address on your site. The flexibility of the extension is it’s strength, and it doesn’t need a database to operate. This WebAssist Universal Email review gives a rundown of the features and how it can help you stay in touch with your website visitors.
There is a wide assortment of email processors, some cost money others are open-source. The problem with open-source email processors is you have to actually read and understand the documentation and figure out how to implement the code on your site.
WebAssist has an excellent Dreamweaver extension that takes the pain out of processing form mail on the web, in their Universal Email extension for Dreamweaver. The extension installs via the extension manager in Dreamweaver, and with all WebAssist’s extensions they are readily accessible in the server behaviors panel in Dreamweaver.
The Email Object
Using Universal Email is as simple as pointing and clicking. The wizard interface starts you out by asking how you want your email processed, with options depending on whether you are developing in PHP, ASP or Coldfusion. Which option you select just depends on the type of server your site is hosted on. You are then prompted for your server name, the mail port (usually 25), the return path and several optional items such as organization, X-Mailer and the character set.
General Email Options
The next tab in the wizard sets your general email options. First set the subject of your email (static or dynamic from a recordset, cookie or session variable). Next indicate the importance of the email (default, high, low or dynamic). Then indicate whether you want your email formated in HTML, plain text or Multipart. The last options in the general tab are the trigger for sending the email (such as a form post, before page load, current page submit, or a recordset trigger such as the recordset being empty or NOT empty). You will also specify the page to redirect the user to after the email has been sent.
Who’s it From?
The third tab in the Universal Email wizard allows you to define who the email is from (form field, cookie, session, static, etc) and what their email address is (again from form field, cookie, session, static address, etc).
Who’s it To?
The fourth step is to define who the email will be sent to. You can enter as many addresses as you wish, either statically or dynamically. It offers the option of looping through a recordset as well, so it gives you the ability to easily develop custom email marketing campaigns. The final option is whether to send the email once per entry or send to all contact at one time.
CC: and BCC:
The next two tabs in the Universal Email wizard allow you to choose cc: and bcc: recipients of the email. Useful if you want to send yourself a copy of the email.
Multiple Email Attachment Options
The Attachments tab is the next-to-last tab in the wizard, and here you can specify any attachments you wish to include in the email, either statically or dynamically looping through a recordset.
The Email Message: Text or HTML with Preview
The final tab in the wizard is the Body tab where you actually specify the email message that will be delivered. You can click a button to insert dynamic fields such as form fields, or you can get the email message from a separate file. You can easily incorporate HTML into the message and preview the email before completing the wizard. You can even include images and style sheets in your email messages.
PHP, ASP or ColdFusion
WebAssist’s Universal Email works with these PHP mail components: Mail for Linux, Mail for Windows and PEAR mail. Coldfusion is supported through CFMail, and ASP support includes CDONTS, CDOSYS, SMTPmail, w3JMail, AspEmail or AspMail. It also provides an extensibility API for adding additional email objects quickly and easily.
The Universal Email Conclusion
The strength of Universal Email lies in it’s easy-to-use wizard interface and it’s plethora of options for sending email via your website. The wizard can be revisited at any time to make changes, and it can also be integrated easily into WebAssist’s ecommerce solution, eCart. You can include PayPal ecommerce buttons in your emails by integrating with WebAssist’s free PayPal ecommerce toolkit.
Universal Email is another extension that I have used extensively in developing client websites. I also have the Adobe Dreamweaver Developer Toolbox (ADDT) extensions installed, but I prefer to use WebAssist’s Universal Email for processing web mail. It’s just too easy to use and gives me the flexibility I need when developing dynamic sites.
As with all WebAssist’s extensions, support is fantastic and they value developer’s suggestions for future enhancements. I highly recommend checking out the Universal Email extension over at WebAssist.