E-mail Form Customization and HTML E-mail

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These features are considered to be advanced development tools built in the program and are documented sufficiently for an experienced programmer or someone proficient with database design.  Some sample forms and reports are provided which can be used as-is, modified for your needs, or studied as examples.


Our normal technical support will answer basic questions about the capabilities of these functions, but we cannot explain detailed examples or provide training for expressions programming, or debug changes that you've made.  It can take some time to learn the details of these functions, even for experienced programmers, since they use a unique "language".



One of the common requests is for creating or enhancing new E-mail forms, e.g. for confirmation letter variations, other types of E-mail like cancellation letters, thank-you letters, etc.  There are several Sample Forms available for import that will help you get started with making your own set of E-mail forms, including several varieties of confirmation letter formats, a cancellation letter, and a thank-you letter.  For details on importing the sample forms, see the Forms section under Maintenance / Advanced Customizations.


What follows is technical information since this is an Advanced function -- you will need to be familiar with changing Forms definitions as well as with HTML coding.


Note that the E-mail samples with transactions have 2 versions -- "(old)" and "v9.1".  Older versions only supported one compact transaction format due to the limitations of text E-mails, so those are now called "(old)".  As of version 9.1, HTML E-mails are supported and in particular can be Fixed-pitch text (using the HTML tag "<pre>"), so columns will come out correctly in the transaction table.


There are some specific requirements for all E-mails, but in particular for using HTML coding in E-mails.  


Any Form to be used as an E-mail must have the Form Type set to "E-mail".   This also means it will use "Character positions" for the format (in versions prior to 9.2, this had to be set manually, in addition to setting the Printer to "Text output").

If the "Fixed Pitch Text" option is selected, it will use HTML automatically (with the entire E-mail text enclosed in a  <PRE> tag before sending).  This is the way E-mails with transactions are set up by default, so that columns are aligned.

If you want something other than fixed-pitch normal text included anywhere in the E-mail, you must include the <HTML> and <BODY> tags as text elements manually to make it HTML (and then be sure to use <PRE> for the fixed-pitch sections like the transaction table).


The way Campground Master allows HTML E-mails is by recognizing the "text" output of the E-mail as an HTML document instead of plain text.  While full HTML editing (and previewing) within Campground Master isn't yet possible, you can paste complete HTML source code into an E-mail text (or create a custom Form to generate the desired HTML source), and the E-mail will be sent as HTML instead of text.  This means that you can send E-mails with various fonts, graphics, tables, etc. instead of the normal text-only limitations.  This is a very advanced subject that requires familiarity with HTML programming, so the details of HTML coding will not be covered here.


Technically what it does when sending the E-mail is look for the E-mail body text starting with the standard <HTML> tag as the trigger for sending the E-mail as "HTML encoding" instead of "text encoding".  If even one character precedes the "<HTML>" text, then it will be sent as plain text instead of HTML.  (If you set the "Fixed-Pitch" option, the <HTML> is added automatically so you don't have to worry about it, and won't see it when you're editing or previewing the form.)



Trying an HTML E-mail form


Import the Sample Form "Sample Forms - E-mail confirmation with trans, logo (HTML)" to see how it's done.  If you use "Save & Test Form" then you will see the HTML coding part.




Additional Topics:


Sending Batch E-mails (and getting E-mail lists)


Forms Setup


Importing and Editing Sample Forms


Editing Forms


Advanced Customizations Overview & other topics




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