[pmwiki-users] Fox mail features: feedback invited

The Editor editor at fast.st
Sun May 18 12:37:19 CDT 2008

On Sun, May 18, 2008 at 12:02 PM, Hans <design5 at softflow.co.uk> wrote:
> I would love to get some feedback on new developments for Fox
> and FoxNotify regards ability to send out emails to lists of
> recipients.

This is good news for PmWiki. ZAP was able to do most of this, and I
have this functionality and more in BoltWire currently.  For what it's
worth, here are a few decisions I came to:

1. I would suggest using FOX to create member accounts, and collect
emails and store it as a data value connected with their profile. You
should be able to use Fox to generate some kind of random id and
conditionals to validate email addresses at registraton. There are
many advantages to having good member profile pages in terms of site
customization, but that's another post.

2. You can define groups by simple pages like group.chessclub or
group.editor (lists of member names). This is the approach I use in
Member Mgmt and BoltWire, and it was easy to pull in a few nice
conditionals to make these groups very powerful. ZAP used these to
also define group permissions and the like in AuthUser.

3. You should be able to use FOX to add/drop members to a group.
Assuming you have good permissions control.

4. Emails can then be send to all the members of any group by simply
selecting it (or to individual member id's, or a dynamically generated
list, like everyone in TX) . Have your script automatically retrieve
their profile email address if available. Or the message can be sent
to lists of emails, of course. Using member id's is a nice way to
obscure the email information. BoltWire handles all these through
sessions, but it does protect against viewing the page source.

5. Emails can be mail-merged with other profile data like state or
country or whatever using regular data vars capabilities. This ended
up being a nice feature. You just have to decide how to deal with
missing data.

6. Because of the problem of timeouts, I set up a mail queue area with
messages ready to be sent. Then I use cron to send a certain number of
emails in the background every so many minutes--from right within
ZAP/BoltWire. This also solves common webhosting limitations on the
amount of outgoing mail allowed. BoltWire recently added a cool built
in Pseudo Cron capability--but I think you can do something similar in
PmWiki by registering shutdown functions or the like. I've used this
approach to manage lists of several thousand. No reason it couldn't do
much more.

7. I don't know if Pm ever added the pop3 mail checking capabilities,
but I did something similar at one time in BoltWire. My goal was to
not only import the email but trigger any desired action/form
depending on the mail contents. If you could do something similar in
FOX, you could have your site actually process some of the bounced
mail to keep your lists clean--which is one good reason for using a
regular mailing list program.

Anyway, being as Fox is the only significant forms processor really
under development in PmWiki, I might suggest considering some of these
options. With just a bit of member management capabilities, FOX could
transform PmWiki into something much easier to use as a CMS. And it
would make your email handling much nicer and more convenient for the


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