The back-end of BwPostman has a main view, dahsboard called here, that may be used as a starting point for all actions that are possible in BwPostman. It contains buttons for all overviews together with buttons to create newsletters, subscribers, test-recipients, campaigns or mailing lists. There are also buttons to reach options, the maintenance and the forum of BwPostman. At the right you find informative statistics.
The menu at the left may be switched of by a click to the blue left arrow.
Okay, let's start:
Before the first newsletter can be created, there must exist at least one mailing list. It is possible to use separate lists for different topics and/or groups of recipients.
Creating Mailing Lists
Via menu entry Mailing lists you get an overview about already created mailing lists.
A new mailing list will be created either in the main menu of BwPostman with the button Add mailing list or in the overview of the mailing lists with the button New in the toolbar. The view Mailinglist details appears and one is at the tab Edit mailinglist.
Each mailing list needs a title/name and a description. Both can be displayed in the front-end.
In the select list access level you can determine, who can subscribe to this mailing list. When a subscriber is not allowed to subscribe to this mailing list, then it will not be shown in the select list in the front-end.
In order to be able to select the mailing list in the front-end, it must be published. This can be done in the details (mode Edit) of the mailing list. But also a click to the symbol in the column Published in the overview of the mailing lists switches the state, too.
At the tab Mailinglists permissions the permissions or exactly this mailing list may be edited.
A mailing list can be edited by clicking at the title in the overview of the mailing lists or while checking the check box in front of the title and clicking at the button Edit in the toolbar. The view Mailinglist details appears and one is at the tab edit mailinglist [ID = nn].
A user can't select unpublished mailing lists in the front-end, but in the back-end an administrator or a person with appropriate rights can allocate each usergroup to this mailing lists. In this way you can enable access to this mailing lists to “hand selected” usergroups.
Archived mailing lists will not be displayed in the overview!
Enter Subscribers and Test-Recipients
Normally subscribers subscribe to the mailing lists by themselves. More precisely mailing lists will be subscribed to and to them you send newsletters. But there are cases to create a subscriber in the back-end by webmaster. Because of that you got this possibility in the back-end. Test-recipients only may be created in back-end.
How we just learned at the mailing lists, subscribers can be created in the main menu of BwPostman with the button Add subscriber or in the overview of the subscribers with the button New at the tabs Confirmed subscribers and Unconfirmed subscribers. The view Subscriber details appears an one is at the tab New subscriber details.
Test recipients will be created in the main menu of BwPostman with the button Add Test-Recipient or in the overview of the subscribers in the tab Test-Recipients with the button New. The view Test-Recipient details appears an one is at the tab New subscriber details.
Last name and first name must be entered, when it is set to obligatory in the options of BwPostman. There also is no exception in the back-end!
It must be entered at least a mail address for the subscriber. Indeed, BwPostman has to know where to send the newsletter.
The mail format can be selected at Format and is predefined with the value from the options of BwPostman.
The field Confirm only appears when you create a new subscriber. At test recipients and editing a subscriber it is not displayed.
The subscriber gets an automatic mail, that contains a link, with that the subscriber has to confirm his subscription (Double-Opt-In), when the field Confirm is set to unconfirmed. If you want to avoid legal difficulties (sure for Germany), then you shouldn't select confirmed by yourself but you should let confirm the subscription by subscriber!
At the right there are further information of the subscription. Details of registration and details of confirmation. If there is nothing to see at registered by or confirmed by, the subscriber has done it by himself.
Since version 2.1.0 of BwPostman there is a button Print subscriber data at the top if these details. With a click to this button a pop-up is displayed, which shows all available and used data of the subscriber. A click at the button print opens the print dialogue of the browser.
The available mailing lists will be shown below. On the left you find the mailing lists, that ever can be selected in the front-end in general. The state of this mailing lists is Public and they are published.
In the middle there are mailing lists, that only specific user groups may subscribe to in the front-end. These mailing lists are published basically and can be subscribed at front-end, but not for everyone.
At the right there are mailing lists, that only can be assigned in the back-end. These are the mailing lists, that are unpublished, nevertheless to which user group they are assigned to.
The mailing lists are not shown at test-recipients. They will be created in general and get all mailing lists at test sending.
Like noted above someone with appropriate access to the back-end may assign the subscriber to that mailing lists, that are not shown in front-end, for what reasons ever.
While the subscriber has not confirmed his subscription, he will be displayed in the overview at the tab Unconfirmed subscribers. When the subscription is confirmed, the entry moves to the list Confirmed subscribers.
Guests, that means user, that have no user account in Joomla!®, only are able to register to public mailing lists (access level public). When an user has an account in Joomla!®, then he is able to register to mailing lists, that needs higher permissions – depending on the specification of mailing list and his access level in Joomla!®. In the back-end you can assign each subscriber to all mailing lists you want independent of the predefined access levels.
Archived subscribers and test recipients will not be displayed in the overview!
At the tab Subscriber permissions the permissions or exactly this subscriber may be edited.
Per mail address it is only possible to create one subscriber. But for the same mail address you can create two test recipients, one test recipient for each mail format. With this a mail address may occur three times in the overviews of the subscribers at maximum.
If a subscriber is added, BwPostman checks back whether this mail address perhaps exists at a registered Joomla!® user. If so, then the corresponding ID will be stored at the subscriber and the subscriber – if he is logged in – gets offered the mailing lists to subscribe, that are available for his access level.
Creating or Editing Newsletters
Now we come to the core piece of BwPostman, the newsletters.
A newsletter can be created by copying an already created newsletter. Either unsent and sent newsletters may be copied.
To copy a newsletter click at the button Copy in the toolbar. The copy appears in the tab Unsent newsletters in the overview, even if you copied a sent newsletter.
A click on the subject of the newsletter or select the checkbox in front of the row and a click to Edit on top opens the newsletter.
Creating newsletters will be processed in five steps. This will be symbolized with five tabs. Creating a new newsletter or modifying an existing newsletter always begins at tab General information. Within a Joomla!® session BwPostman reminds the last used tab of each edited newsletter. When editing this newsletter again in this session, BwPostman opens the newsletter with the last used tab.
Tab General Information
Sender's name, Sender's email and Reply to email were taken automatically from options entries of BwPostman, but they may be overwritten, too. Then you enter the subject for the newsletter. There is nothing without subject. Since version 1.0.8 the subject needs not to be unique. You may use one subject several times. But to keep newsletters apart there is a new field description, that you find right-hand.
Next you may select an attachment to send with the newsletter. The dialogue to select the attachment is the same one Joomla!® uses. This means, that you may upload the desired attachment to the server if it is not there.
Since version 2.2.0 of BwPostman the appearance for the attachment has changed, because now it is possible to attach up to 20 attachments to the newsletter .Now You don't see a selection dialogue directly but a button +. A click to this button opens a selection dialogue for the attachment with a frame. The selection dialogue has not changed at all.
If You want to add another attachment, click to the green + button at bottom right of this frame. Another frame for attachment appears.
If You want to delete an attachment, click to the red x button at right top of the frame.
The ordering of the attachments can be changed with the three dots superimposed upon each other. Simply click and hold with the left mouse button and move to the desired position.
At the database attachments of a newsletter are stored at a single character field with the length of 1000 characters. The attachments are stringed together including the (relative) path, separated by semicolon. The relative path is what You see at the dialogue field.
The sum of all characters for all names and paths of the attachments including needed separators should not exceed 1000 characters. If that happens, the remaining characters are cut off while saving. That means, that all that exceeds the 1000 characters will not be sent as attachment.
Since version 3.0.0 of BwPostman attachments are no longer stored as simple character strings with a semicolon as divider, but as a string of the format JSON. That simplifies the internal processing, but causes, that the usable all-over length of this string is reduced, because JSON needs some more characters to separate the attachments.
If you already have created campaigns, then you can select whether and – if yes – to which campaign the newsletter belongs to.
Below you can set whether a newsletter shall be set published at a specific time and when publishing ends. This only meets the visibility in front-end. These dates work exactly like the dates at the articles of Joomla!®. With the publishing date you do not set, when the newsletter will be sent! For this there is the charged plugin BwPostman TimeControl.
Right-hand you find further information to the newsletter. Here you may enter a description for the newsletter. This is very helpful to keep newsletters apart, that use the same subject. The description is only for internal use. A subscriber does not see the description.
Since version 2.2.0 thee You find the possibility to define the newsletter as content template. This is really useful, if You have to send nearly the same newsletter again and again, in example a circular note, that a service is offline for a maintenance period. Here You can define the optical template for the newsletter, the recipients and also fixed content. Then You mark content template at tab Generals and save the newsletter .
Okay, that would also be possible by copying and changing a previously sent newsletter. But changing needs increased attention. A content template contains only the fixed part. I find that really useful.
A newsletter marked at content template cannot be sent, for that the content template will not be "lost" by sending. The tab for sending disappears while storing as template of content and also does not appear, if You edit such a newsletter. That would not make sense for a template of content. Instead a message appears, that You are working with a content template. The tab for sending disappears after saving of a new content template newsletter and is not visible while editing such newsletter. Instead You get a message, that You are editing a content template newsletter.
Next you select the template the newsletter shall use. This will be done separately for HTML newsletters at the left and text newsletters at the right. A tool-tip for the template shows a preview of the template if there is any created at the template. More informations you will find in chapter Templates – Adjusting the appearance of a newsletter.
Subsequently you select to whom the newsletter shall be sent: To one or more certain mailing lists and/or to one or more user groups of Joomla!®. You may select multiple entries from the select lists. It also is possible to select entries from the select list for the mailing lists and for the user groups of Joomla!® contemporary.
Here, too, the mailing lists are divided into three sections: At the left the mailing lists, that may be selected in front-end ever, in the middle the mailing lists, that only may be selected by designated subscribers and beside at right are the mailing lists, that only can be assigned in back-end. At the far right the user groups created in Joomla!® are selectable.
If a newsletter belongs to a campaign, the recipients are selected at the campaign and this section does not occur.
Finally you select if you want to use articles from Joomla!®. To do so make a double click at the desired article of Joomla!® in the select list Available website contents at right or mark the desired article in the select list and click the button with the left arrow between the two select lists. The selected article moves from the right to the left select list Selected website contents and disappears in the right list, so you can't select him twice accidentally. Double content isn't very pretty.
Articles of categories, which are listed at excluded article categories at the Basic settings of BwPostman, are not shown!
If you were in error and you don't want a specific article already selected for your newsletter, then select it in the left select list and click at the right arrow. It moves back to the right select list and will be shown afterwards at the bottom of the select list. A double-click to the unwanted article does the same.
You can crate a newsletter only based on articles from Joomla!®, you can enter a free text or mix both.
The current working state always can be saved by clicking the button Save, if the mandatory fields are filled.
If content exists in one of the tabs HTML Newsletter or Text Newsletter and then there were made changes to Selected website contents in the tab General Information, then a confirmation question occurs while clicking on another tab to check if the already selected contents in the HTML and Text version shall be overwritten. OK takes the changes, Cancel discards them. These changes only are finally saved, if the newsletter is stored by clicking to Save or Save & Close. Close or Cancel discards the changes.
The same confirmation question appears, if you select another template and the behaviour is just the same.
These changes only will be stored, if the newsletter is saved by Save or Save & Close. Close or Cancel discards the changes.
At the bottom one find the section Newsletter permissions. Here the permissions or exactly this newsletter may be edited.
Creating Menu Entries For The Front-end
To see sent newsletters not only as email, BwPostman offers the ability to create menu entry points for front-end.
You are free to decide, if you create an own menu for BwPostman or if you add single menu entries to an existing menu and which menu entries you offer your visitors. I suggest to create at least one menu entry to edit the subscription. This is especially important, if you do not use the module for subscription.
For subscription it is not critical, whether you use the module or a menu entry to the subscription page of the component. It depends on how you are interested to get subscribers. While the subscription page of the component is only reachable by the menu entry, the module for subscription will be shown on all pages, that are selected in module options.
Another difference is, that the module for subscription needs space on all pages, where it is shown, while the page to subscribe of the component only shows on one page in the area, that is used for articles on Joomla!®.
For menu entries you may select:
- Newsletter registration
- Edit newsletter subscription
- Published newsletters (overview)
- Published newsletters (single view)
The procedure is as usual in Joomla!®:
In the back-end add further menu entries to an existing menu or create a new menu with the desired menu entries.
- In front-end only published newsletters are displayed.
- Only newsletters are displayed, which fulfil the criteria at Recipient selection and Campaign selection.
If a newsletter belongs to a mailing list, that is not selected, the newsletter is not displayed. If a newsletter belongs to several mailing lists, from which at least one is selected, then it will be displayed. If a newsletter belongs to a mailing list, that is not selected, while it also belongs to a selected user group, the newsletter is displayed and vice versa.
If a newsletter belongs to a campaign, that is selected, then it is displayed, even if the related mailing list is not selected. Because of this there is the separate tab to select the campaigns.
You eventually ask, what this option is good for. Why access restrictions, if it is levered out here? To this the following deliberations:
You don't want the content of a just sent newsletter to be accessible to all. After one or two years these information is so “old”, that it does not matter, if all visitors may see it. But in BwPostman there is no possibility to change the assignment to the mailing lists, if the newsletter once is sent and that is a good ting, too. But changing the access level of a mailing list is no option, because the mailing list is still active. How to get the newsletter accessible to the community? For that reason this option exists!
The accessibility is always checked, if you select All at mailing list selection, user groups or campaigns, there is no change. But if you select specific mailing lists, user groups or campaigns (you also may check all), then you are able to suppress the check for access with this switch.
I think, there is no need to write more, that is obvious. Perhaps it is to mention, that there is a column to display, if a mailing list or campaign is archived.