By David Greiner on 6th July 2011
In a few days time we’re taking the wrapping paper off a huge upgrade to the Campaign Monitor editor. This update has been months in the making, and is the sum total of thousands of bits of feedback from passionate customers. We’re pretty excited about it, but before I dig into all the gory details, here’s a video showing some of the highlights.
The first thing you probably noticed is the new vertical split window. Now that you can have an unlimited number of elements in a repeater, we switched to a vertical split so you can still see most of your email when you’re adding content. I’ve been using this version for a couple of weeks now, and it’s a huge improvement on the old horizontal split. Now you can see most or all of your email as you add content to it.
On top of the new layout, here are some of the exciting bits.
By far the biggest request for the editor was more flexible repeaters, and it was the first thing we built into this update. Now you can have a repeater with 6 images, no images, 5 titles, whatever you like. You can also add your own labels for each of these elements so you and your clients know what you’re updating.
What this really means for you is total design flexibility. You can now throw any template design at the new editor, and it will still be a piece of cake for your clients to add their content to.
This is probably my favorite new feature for the editor. Let’s say you want a repeater where an image is sitting on the right for the first item, but on the left for the second, then back on the right again. Using the new
<layout> tag (which I explain below), you can specify any combo of different layouts in the same repeater.
What’s more, you can even label each of these different layouts and give your client the option of choosing which one to use and when.
The experience of formatting content was another area we wanted to nail with this update. The first step was simplifying things. We’ve combined all the different ways to add special items to your content into a single “Insert” button. You can add a link, personalization, social sharing buttons plus lots of other goodies all from a clean menu system.
We’ve also given your clients the ability to tweak the font size for any content. This was a hard one for us. As designers we think most of this should be defined for our clients in the template itself, but the requests were overwhelming. To keep a balance we’ve kept the size options within a reasonable range to minimize the chances of client-uglification. We’ve also cleaned up and streamlined the way text is pasted (goodbye annoying popup), especially from places like Microsoft Word.
Another shortcoming of the old editor meant your clients couldn’t add alternate text to any images added to their email content. Image blocking in many email clients makes alt text a valuable fallback when an image isn’t loaded and it’s now super easy for clients to add or edit the alt text for any images they insert in their email.
On top of some of these larger improvements, we also snuck in a ton of other niceties. Drag and drop is now smoother, we auto generate thumbnails for any templates you add, plus images now upload automatically and appear instantly.
To accommodate some of these great new features, we also made a number of changes to the existing template language. I’ll dig into these changes in more detail when the new editor launches this coming Monday, but wanted to mention that your old templates will continue to work.
As part of the launch next week we’ll be automatically converting all existing templates to use the updated tags. We’ll always be backwards compatible too, so even if you import a template using older tags, we’ll convert them for you silently behind the scenes. The changes aren’t radical anyway, but rest assured we’ve been working hard to make sure the transition will be a smooth one.
We’ve also set up a brief, white labeled video demo showing off some of these updates that any reseller can show their clients. We don’t mention designer-y stuff like repeaters, but show off the new look and feel and some of the new features. Here’s the video if you’re looking for a quick way to keep clients in the loop:
We’ll be pushing the new editor to all accounts on Sunday at 10am Sydney time (see this in your time zone), so it will be ready to roll for you and your clients first thing Monday. Look out for a new post then with all the details about the updated template language. This update has been a big effort by the Campaign Monitor team, but none of it would have happened without the passionate feedback from all of you. We’re always listening, so please keep it coming.
The update was a success and the new editor is ready to roll in your account. Get the skinny on the new template language and download a sample template to learn how you can get the most out of this big update.
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