Finally, after a lot of hard work - the beta of Newsletter Studio 3 for Umbraco 8 is out!

A total rewrite

The new version is a total rewrite for Umbraco 8, we have tried to be smart about this so that we can make the move to Umbraco vNext (based on .NET 5).


The beta version should be fully functional, almost all features from version 2 is included along with a lot of new and existing features. It would take hours to go through all of them, but this is a brief summery of the most important news.

Responsive Email Editor

The old "Rich Text Editor" used to create emails in version 2 is long gone and replaced with an editor that makes it super easy to create responsive emails with high resolution images that renders nice in all desktop and mobile clients.

The editor is configurable with custom themes that controls default colors, fonts, sizes etc. It's also possible to extend many parts of the editor ie. adding custom Email Controls (like Image, Text, Button) and create "Merge Field Providers" that lists valid Fields for the editor to insert.

The rendering of the email is done using razor templates, one "main template" for the rows and columns and one template for each Control, all of these can be customized in a custom theme if needed.

 

The new email editor


Preview-feature for both desktop and mobile

Transactional Emails

While this is not included in beta the addition of transactional email will be a huge improvement for the package. Developers can create C# models with property attributes that makes it possible to show the class-properties and options as Fields inside the email editor. The possibilities with this are endless but most obvious examples is welcome emails, forgot password emails, signup confirmations etc.

 

Multi-Tenant support

The new version is built around a optional multi-tenant foundation. Each installation will have at least one "Workspace". Each Workspace is an independent "entity" that has it's own recipients, mailing lists, themes and settings. Workspaces comes with granular permissions that can be mapped to User Groups or individual Users. 

Using multiple Workspaces comes with additional charges for the license, see the pricing page for details.

Email Service Providers

SMTP is still the way to send emails but these days there's a lot of great Email API services available. In Newsletter Studio 3 the process of sending the email is abstracted so that it's quite easy to implement an "Email Service Provider" that can talk to what ever API we want ie. Mandrill, SendGrid, MailJet or MailGun. This make it possible to skip the slow SMTP-protocol and send via API if wanted.

Improved Recipient Details view

A fundamental changed in v3 compared to v2 is that each Workspace only stores a Recipient once and creates relations between a Mailing List and the Recipient. This makes it possible to create a nice view with details about each Recipient.

 

Trying out the Beta

The Beta is out in the wild and you're most welcome to try it out - there is two ways to get started. The package runs on all versions of Umbraco 8 from 8.0.0 to the latest. There might be small visual differences between versions as Umbraco changes CSS from time to time - if you find any strange looking things just let us know.

Install using NuGet

We've made the package available on NuGet, at the moment when the package is in beta one need to enable "Prerelease" packages to see it.

Install-Package NewsletterStudio -PreRelease


https://www.nuget.org/packages/NewsletterStudio/ 

 

Install as Umbraco Package

There is also a Umbraco Package that can be installed via the Backoffice of Umbraco, just go to our page on our.umbraco.org to download the package.

 

Known issues and feedback

There is still a backlog of work that needs to be done before the RC and the final release will be out. Here is a list, not at all complete, of things that we know as of now:

  • [ ] Translations - About 90% of the text is translated but there is still a lot of places where we need to move text into translations.
  • [x] Transactional emails - Most of the foundation is implemented but not the UI.
  • [ ] SMTP Bounce Handling - Beta1 does not handle bounces. The foundation is implemented but we need to add UI and scheduled jobs.
  • [x] Additional Email Control Types - We plan to implement a "Macro" control type that can render any Razor view. This is useful for dynamic content end for transactional emails that need to render ie. order details or a receipt.
  • [ ] Documentation - There is zero documentation for the beta written at the moment.
  • [x] Dashboard stats there is an issue with the percent-calculation in the dashboard. The campaign report shows the right numbers.

We'll add to this list as we find out more things that we need to address, please feel free to reach out with questions and feedback to info@newsletterstudio.org.

 

Release notes for Beta-versions

 

Beta 8 - Released 2021-08-07

Just a patch-fix release for Beta7, fixes some minor issues. 

  • Made tracking tokens smaller by reducing data
  • Remove test-code from Demo-Macro
  • Fixes issue with permissions (Workspaces without any permissions did not show up)
  • Unsubscribe works after Campaign has been removed

Beta 7 - Released 2021-08-06

A bigger release with the added support for Transactional e-emails to send emails from your system ie. "Welcome" emails and "Forgot Password" e-mails. All these can now be designed by editors in the backoffice. This feature can also be used in conjuction with ie. Umbraco Forms to send nicely designed email from the Forms. There is two videos to watch, the beta7 walkthrough and the UmbraCoffe-presentation.

Upgrading: Upgrade via NuGet or by uploading Umbraco Package. One might have to reset browser cache to refresh client files (js/css/html). Also might need to bump the "version" in /config/clientDependency.config to reset the backoffice client files cache.

Summery:

  • Added support for Transactional Emails (see the icon in the tree)
    • Create new Transactional Templates
    • Send via INewsletterStudioService
    • Use your own POCO-models for data
    • See statistical logs and view for each sent messages
    • Recipient timeline shows transactional emails and interactions
  • Breaking: Updated property/macro editor "Mailing List Picker" to support picking more than one list
  • Added property/macro editor "Transactional Email Picker"
  • Added preview-thumbnail in email listings
  • Added "Macro" Email Control to insert dynamic cshtml-files inside the email
  • Breaking: Updated IEmailControlType-interface, remove transactional-object from UpdateUniqueViewModel().
  • Reverted sorting for recipient lists, latest is now on top
  • Introduced new standard folder for extensions and global overrides. /App_Plugins/NewsletterStudioExtensions
  • Added Merge Fields to Link Picker (ie. using a Merge Field for button click URL)



Beta 6 - Released 2021-05-14

More polish, improvments and and bug fixes

Upgrading: Upgrade via NuGet or by uploading Umbraco Package. One might have to reset browser cache to refresh client files (js/css/html).

Summary:

  • (breaking) Namespace changes for models used in NewsletterStudioService
  • Improved log message on individual email-message when sending failed
  • UI-button fixes for disabled state
  • Import wizard tries to parse name from email when not explicitly provided
  • ContentApp: Populate workspace defaults for new messages
  • ContentApp: General improvements in validation and loading indicators
  • Fixes issues with save button shortcut being ctrl+c
  • Fixes issue with altTemplate alias for newsletter content templates
  • Workaround for Umbraco-bug with .tabbing-active and form fields taking up whole screen.


Beta 5 - Released 2021-04-24

Polish and fixes some issues related to newer Umbraco-versions.

Upgrading: Upgrade via NuGet or by uploading Umbraco Package. One might have to reset browser cache to refresh client files (js/css/html).

Summary:

  • Changed merge field format with support for fallbacks, new format: {{fieldAlias:"Fallback-text"}}
  • Fixes issue with local links that's not resolved in Rich Text Editor
  • Added report reloader for Campaign report (view in almost real time)
  • Fixes for sending progress indicator in dashboard
  • Polish for Campaign overview-listing.
  • Fixes db-scope issues for internal services 
  • Editor: Fixes issue where RTE stops updating the underlying model
  • Editor: Refactoring and polish for drag and drop. Auto select dropped email control.
  • Editor: Only show allowed controls in toolbox based on Workspace-settings
  • Tracking: Strip QueryStrings from URL-tracking.
  • INewsletterStudioService: Added support for setting status on subscriptions and method to add/update Subscriptions.

 

Beta 4 - Released 2021-04-11

Critical fix for sentDate for email tracking items, fixes some known issues and bugs found during beta testing.

Upgrading: Upgrade via NuGet or by uploading Umbraco Package. One might have to reset browser cache to refresh client files (js/css/html).

Summary:

  • NuGet: Moved DLLs to it's own NuGet-package (NewsletterStudio.Web). This means one can reference NewsletterStudio.Web when you don't want to include the clients-side files (App_Plugins).
  • Sending: Solved issue with "sentDate" on sent emails being set to wrong date.
  • Dashboard: Solved issue with "Sending progress" (SignalR)
  • Dashboard: Solved issue with chart for most recent campaign
  • UI: Tweaks and improvements for different Umbraco versions.
  • Recipient Details: "Dirty form"-warning when navigating away to timeline link.
  • Tracking: Added logic to avoid duplicates
  • Tracking: Graceful error handling if link data is corrupted.
  • Email Editor: Solved removed content throws JS-error.