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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].

Hint:
A user can't select unpublished mailing lists in the front-end, but in the back-end an administrator or a person with appropriate rights can allocate each usergroup to this mailing lists.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.

To Confirm regard the following:
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.

Now something about the rights of the subscribers to select mailing lists:
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.

At the end of this chapter some helpful hints:
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 is also created in the main menu of BwPostman. And as usual there are two possibilities, too. Either with the button Add newsletter directly in the main menu or from the overview of the newsletters (button Newsletter) in the tab Unsent newsletters with the button New at top. The view Newsletter details appears an one is at the tab Step 1: General information.

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.

Take note:

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.

Hint:
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.

Hint:
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.

Hint:

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.

Tab HTML newsletter

In the second step you now are able to edit the content of the newsletter in the HTML format. For that the editor selected as default in Joomla!® is used to let you work in your familiar environment.

Have I to write much about here? I think no. Everyone knows best at himself/herself, what he/she wants to communicate in the newsletter.

Before the newsletter you may give it a heading and an intro text. The fields are predefined with the settings of the newsletter template, but may be overwritten here. These two fields will not be shown in the editor, for showing this you use the preview.

Only one:
The personalisation will be integrated at this step. If you want to address your reader personally, then this will be made at this tab. To do so we asked for last name and/or first name at registration, didn't we?

Personalisation

For the first name you take the code [FIRSTNAME], the last name will be coded with [LASTNAME] and the full name containing first name and last name with [FULLNAME]. You don't have to memorize this because this will be shown left to the editor. Marking code here, copy and paste works well with Firefox.

Upper cases and square brackets belongs to the code!

Tab Text newsletter

Like you are able to adapt the content of the HTML newsletter, you may do this for the text newsletter. As you know it is not possible to embed images e.g. to the text version of the newsletter, which the article of Joomla!® may contain. Such things should be controlled.

Heading, intro text and personalisation works exactly like described in the chapter before.

Tab Preview

In the preview you get a first impression of how the newsletter will look like to the receiver. But you can't see personalized data at this step, because they will be applied just before sending. (Which name of a mailing list, that possibly contains thousands of entries, should the preview show?)

At the top you see the data, with that the newsletter will be sent. Below you find the newsletter in the HTML version and at bottom there is the newsletter in the text version.

The preview is by the way a bit of browser-dependent. At some CSS styles you could see some differences in the HTML newsletter (like they may occur at websites and mail clients in general).

Tab Send

The tab Send newsletter again is divided into two parts. The upper part is for the real sending of newsletters, the lower part for sending test newsletters.

Personally, I prefer first to send my newsletters to the test recipients to be sure that all looks like I want to and there slipped in no orthographic mistakes.

Hint:
At test sending the links in the newsletter to unsubscribe or edit the subscription doesn't work!

It is suggested to create different test recipients for the most usual mail clients, particularly if you use some special CSS styles.

The real sending of the newsletters will be launched at this tab, too. Again here you can set, how many mails will be send per step. e.g., if you have 500 subscribers for this mailing list and the value entered is at the (default) value 100, then BwPostman creates 5 queues with each 100 receivers, that will be processed subsequently with the entered delay time. This time You have to wait at the screen. The pop-up don't disappear until the last subscriber is processed.

You also may set, if the sending of the newsletter shall take place to unconfirmed subscribers, too.

With a click to one of the buttons Send newsletterSend newsletter and publish or Send test newsletter (or also to Send in the list of newsletters), the newsletter will be personalized for each recipient, delivered to a queue and processed in the queue. While doing this, a pop-up occurs, where you can see, how the single recipients will be processed. A progress bar shows the execution. The pop-up disappears after a few seconds automatically.

Since version 3.0.0 the sending of a newsletter no longer is processed with a pop-up but by Ajax. A new view appears. At the left You see a progress bar at Status. Below there are some further information like to how many recipients has to be sent or if the entered waiting time is processed. At the right part Sending details You see, to which recipients the newsletter will be sent actually. You can leave this view only if the sending has finished to not interrupt the sending.

Newsletters are not published automatically, if they are sent by the button Send newsletter. Published means that they may occur in the front-end. But there may be the desire to publish newsletters for front-end by sending the newsletter, therefore there is the button Send newsletter and publish. If you select a start date for publishing at first tab General Information, then you should use the button Send newsletter and publish, because only published newsletters will be shown in front-end.

Tab Queue

Once the queue is built, the open pop-up will close and you touch down at the overview of the newsletters. Since version 3.0.0 this view is not closed automatically, You have to leave it by clicking the back button. While the queues are not completely processed, you will see a third tab named Queue beside the tabs Unsent newsletters and Sent newsletters.

Normally the queue will be handled within seconds. But that also depends on the number of recipients, the set number of emails to be sent simultaneously and the entered waiting time.

Thus the tab Queue only occurs, if the newsletter can't be sent because of technical reasons. May be, the configuration for mailing in Joomla!® is improper (System → Configuration → Server, section Mailing) or the server, that is responsible for sending newsletters – more precisely sending mails within Joomla!® - is not reachable. In this case the newsletter for all subscribers should appear in the queue and the length of the queue is appropriate to the number of subscribers.

But it also could be, that the server for sending the newsletter has a limit. That means, that a specific number of newsletters can be sent, the rest moves to the queue. This You can recognize by the number of entries in the queue. This number should be lesser than the number of recipients. In this case You should contact Your provider to get knowledge of the specific conditions. Best case would be to raise or remove this limit.

If there are other reasons responsible, that a newsletter can not be delivered, then it doesn't matter BwPostman or Joomla!® but the mail server, that is entered in the configuration of Joomla!®. If the mailbox quota exceeds or the recipient may not be found, then you won't see this in the queue!

Delivering a newsletter will be tried twice for a recipient, then BwPostman tries the next recipient. A higher number of trials doesn't make sense, because if there are technical problems, they won't be corrected as shortly, that a higher number of trials will help.

When the technical problems are removed, then the queue can be executed anew with a click to the button Continue sending. Before doing so, you have to reset sending attempts with the button Reset sending attempts.

If there are entries in the queue and you send another newsletter, these entries also will be processed, if the sending attempts are reset.

Also you may empty the queue with the button Clear queue.

Caution:
A newsletter, that once reached the queue, considers as sent for BwPostman, even delivering war not possible due to technical reasons!

Button Send

Newsletters may be sent directly from the list of unsent newsletters. To do so, only select the desired newsletter by clicking to the checkbox in front of the subject and click to the button Send in the toolbar. But it is not possible to send more than one newsletter at once. If there are selected multiple newsletters to send, BwPostman only take the first selected newsletter to send, because:

After the click to Send the newsletter will be opened to edit and BwPostman immediately shows the tab Send newsletter. Further procedure is like described in previous chapter Tab Send newsletter.

Sent newsletters

If the newsletter is sent it moves from the list of unsent newsletters to the list of the sent newsletters. In this list you may take a look at the newsletter, but changes to content and other data concerning sending are no longer possible. A click to HTML Newsletter opens the HTML version in a pop-up, a click to Text Newsletter a pop-up for the text version.

A click to the subject of the newsletter opens a view to change publish-up and publish-down, state and the description afterwards.

In the list of sent newsletters you also can publish the sent newsletters to be able to show them in the front-end. An unpublished newsletter will not be shown in the front-end.

Default status after sending is unpublished unless you have sent the newsletter using the button Send newsletter and publish or the option Publish newsletters at sending at the Basic settings of BwPostman is activated.


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.

Newsletter registration, Edit newsletter subscription

There isn't much to say to these two menu entries. They are simple links to the appropriate pages. The details you find in chapter Configuration and there at Registration.

Published newsletters (single view)

At this menu entry at tab options you find the possibility to determine, if the attachment (as link) shall be shown or not, if someone exists. There are three possibilities:

  • Use Globals
    The value set in the options of the component is used.
  • Show
    The link to the attachment is shown, even if the options of the component says something else.
  • Hide
    The link to the attachment is not shown, even if the options of the component says something else.

Published newsletters (overview)

This is the menu entry with the most options.

Most of these settings you find here are the same like at the options of the component at tab list view. I don't describe them here again. The selection options are Use Globals, Show and Hide. The meaning is the same as described in single view.

Filters are only shown, if there is a need for. New is Newsletter Selection with the alternatives (constraints see below)

  • All
    All published newsletters are displayed, archived, too.
  • All but not archived
    All published newsletters except archived are displayed.
  • neither archived nor expired
    Shows all newsletters, which are not archived and not expired. Expired means, that publish-down date is not overridden.
  • not archived but expired
    Here all newsletters are displayed, which are not archived, but should actually not be shown in front-end. That is useful, if there are a lot of newsletters in the list. In this case, you may create one menu entry, that shows actual newsletters and another menu entry, which shows older newsletters, since they are nor archived.
  • only archived
    This setting shows all archived newsletters, no matter whether expired or not.
  • only expired
    With this option all expired newsletters will be displayed.
  • archived and expired
    With this option all expired newsletters are shown.
  • archived or expired
    Last but not least there is a possibility to show all newsletters, which are either archived or expired.

Constraints

  1. In front-end only published newsletters are displayed.
  2. 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.

Check access

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.

Recipient selection
Campaign selection

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.