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Documentation

News Wizard v 3.0

Copyright 1999-2000 Oliver W. Schulz
Contact: Oliver W. Schulz

(
oliver@ulices.com)

Your objective is to gather as many visitors addresses as possible, contact them and convert them into new customers? You wish to be present anywhere, anytime. You want to offer your products and services and keep your customers informed about your news ?

The News Wizard is certainly the right tool for you. He collects all the names and email addresses of your visitors and automatically sends out your newsletter. Reach thousands of potential customers all over the world from virtually any place at any time.

 Contents:

Features
Advantages
Installation
Usage
License Agreement and Disclaimer
Outlook

Features of the News Wizard

  • Gathers customer data via the internet and stores them in its own database
  • Anti-Spam feature (double opt-in)
  • Date and IP-logging
  • Automatically sends your newsletter to your new subscribers
  • Lets your customers unsubscribe and keeps record of their petition
  • Recognizes re-subscribers
  • Checks for data dupes
  • Checks for input errors
  • Automatically addresses your newsletter in a personalized way considering name and gender of your subscribers
  • Offers complete administration over the internet
  • Allows uploads of new newsletters, subscriber-lists, etc.
  • Takes care of mailing your newsletter to all subscribers
  • Automatically sends your newsletter to a number of recipients according to a preselected subscription date-range
  • Automatically sends a journal with statistics after completion of every mailing session
  • Allows the creation of new administrators
  • News Wizard is available in English and German

 

Advantages of the News Wizard

You might ask: "What's so special about mailingsoftware ?" Of course, there are many ways to get your messages and newsletters mass-mailed to your customers. But one of the advantages of server-side mailing software packages like the News Wizard is that you do not necessarily have to operate from your own computer in order to manage your mailings and customer data while e.g. on a business trip. You need not carry your data with you and can use virtually any machine that offers you access to the internet. You do not need your special equipment to keep in touch with your customers. It's certainly one of the most effective, flexible and cost-cutting ways of doing your mailings.

Just logon to your News Wizard on your website and edit your subscribers list or update your newsletter instantly. If you feel urged to inform all of your customers about any news and if you wish to address every customer in a personalized way, just logon and with very few clicks everything is done in a second - from wherever you are... anywhere... anytime.

And just like the internet itself, while you are away and people keep on visiting your website your subscribers list keeps growing as well. Take advantage of the internet, let the News Wizard capture your visitors.

 

Installation of the News Wizard

  • Login to your server account and create a data directory under your cgi-bin directory. Make sure this directory has full read and write permissions.
  • Open sendnews.cgi, editnews.cgi, makeadmin.cgi and upload.cgi with your favorite text editor and edit the 'Custom-Definitions' according to your specific data. You need only define the variables that are included in this part of the script. Everything else in the script can be changed if you want to but will not be necessary to be changed in order to make the News Wizard run properly.

    Change the first line of the files to reflect the location of the perl interpreter on your system. If the interpreter is at /bin/perl, then this line should be #!/bin/perl. You can get this information with the command "which perl" or "where perl". Check with the system admin if you're not sure.
    If necessary, change the variable that contains the location of the mail program on your system, followed by a -t.
    Ex: '/usr/bin/sendmail -t'; Again, check with the sys admin if you don't know the location of your sendmail.

    The variables are explained as follows:

    $data_location
    The path to where your data directory is located.

    $sendmail_location
    The path to the location of the sendmail-program on your server.

    $datafile
    The path to the recipients.dat file that stores your subscribers.

    $users
    The path to the users.dat file that stores your administrators.

    $newsletter
    The path to the newsletter.txt file that stores your newsleter text.

    $editnews_url
    The URL of your editnews.cgi script.

    $upload_url
    The URL of your upload.cgi script.

    $makeadmin_url
    The URL of your makeadmin.cgi script.

    $sendnews_url
    The URL of your sendnews.cgi script.

    $letter_from
    The default email-address which will be shown to your subscribers as sender of the current newsletter. This data can be changed from within the program.

    $letter_reply
    The address your subscribers send any emails when they reply to your newsletter.

    $subject
    The subject of your newsletter message sent out to your subscribers. Please note that this data has to be ONE single string like "current_newsletter" (note the underscore replacing a blank space).This data can be changed from within the program.

    $logo
    The path to the image you want to appear as your page logo. We have included the fancy, rotating "News Wizard" logo.

    $backcolor
    The background colour of your pages if you do not use a background image.

    $backimage
    The background image of your pages.

    $defaultsend
    This variable determines whether new subscribers receive the current issue of your newsletter immediately upon submitting their data (subscription). If set to "Yes" they will automatically receive your newsletter. If set to "No" their data (subscription) will be stored in the database but they will not be sent your newsletter unless you start a mailing session.


    The sendnews.cgi file is responsible for the actual sending of your newsletter.
    The editnews.cgi and makeadmin.cgi files take care of all administrative work.
    The upload.cgi enables you to upload your newsletters and entire subscribers lists onto the server via the web.It needs only small editing: the place where to store the uploaded files.
    And finally the CGI.pm is a generic perl-module that is required by the upload.cgi file.
  • Once all the necessary variables are set, copy the cgi-files into your cgi-bin directory on your server and make sure you CHMOD them to 755.

  • Now open the two forms edit-news.htm and news-form.htm and change the "<FORM> - tag so that it points to editnews.cgi on your domain. It should look something like:
    <form ACTION="http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/editnews.cgi" METHOD=post>.

  • Now open the form make-admin.htm and change the "<FORM> - tag so that it points to makeadmin.cgi on your domain. It should look something like:
    <form ACTION="http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/makeadmin.cgi" METHOD=post>.
  • Now copy these files to your public directory (where all the other html-docs are stored).
  • Also copy the small little logo newswizz.gif and the background bkground.gif to your public directory. If you don't see these images while running the Wizard, you probably indicated an incorrect path in the custom definition section of the scripts.
  • The files contained in the data directory should be copied into the same directory on your server. They need full read and write permissions to be set.
    recipients.dat is the file that will store all your subscribers and that will serve as the recipients list when sending your mailings to your subscribers.
    newsletter.txt is the actual pure ASCII text file that will store the message sent out to your subscribers. Make sure these two files are CHMOD to 777 since they will have to be able to be overwritten by the News Wizard.
    users.dat will hold the data for authorized administrators that have access to the News-Wizard administration section. This file must also be CHMOD to 777.

If you wish the installation to be done by us, just check the box on the order form or email us and we will take care of everything.
If we can be of any further help please let us know.

 

Usage of the News Wizard

The subscribers list file recipients.dat contains your subscribers data in the following format:

Active|Email|Form of address|Name|Familiy name|MM|DD|YYYY|xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx  Example:

Yes|john@smithis.net|Mr.|John|Smith|10|23|1999|200.200.200.200
No|mary@humba.com|Mrs.|Marilyn|Monroe|10|27|1999
|200.200.200.200
... etc.

Please note that you need the pipe-sign "|" to be the delimter of the data-elements.

The newsletter text file newsletter.txt is a pure ASCII text file. Please make sure you end your newsletter text with a carriage return. Otherwise, the script will chop off the last character of your text.

News Wizard requires a JavaScript-capable browser for the actual sending of mass mail. However, it does not need JavaScript to do all of the administration, subscription and unsubscription of your visitors.

When you're sending mail, the browser will constantly update the number of messages sent.
(A small portion of JavaScript code in the report-page will continuously call the Perl script to send all the mail). When the script is mailing do not stop it ! If you do, nothing will happen, but the script will stop sending mail wherever it happens to be.

The newsletter subscription form is called news-form.htm.
To access the administration of the News Wizard call edit-news.htm.
By default the administrator's name is admin. The default password is password. You should create your own access codes and then delete the default values from the users.dat file.

The administration level is mostly self-explaining and allows you to maintain your newsletter engine. The subscribers list recipients.dat as well as the newsletter.txt textfile can be edited online or uploaded in one piece. This feature allows for comfortable updates prepared offline on any machine and then simply uploading everything onto the server. We think this is a real time and money saver.

News Wizard also supports date-selective mailing. Besides determining the sender and the current issue (subject) on the Mail Warm-Up page you can also define a certain date range for your mailings. That means that you can choose a group of subscribers who have subscribed in a certain period of time to send your newsletter to. This is useful when you want to reach subscribers (e.g. for a special offer) depending on how long sombody has already been your customer.

This software makes use of other software packages that are freely available on the internet and which we have included in this package for free. For easy installation purposes we have slightly changed the first lines of upload.cgi

This software is using sendmail and has been extensively tested on UNIX systems. So far the News Wizard did not show any problems at all.

 

License Agreement and Disclaimer

News Wizard v 3.0
Contact: Oliver Schulz (oliver@ulices.com)

News Wizard® Copyright © 1999-2000 by Oliver W. Schulz
All rights reserved.

THIS IS NOT FREE SOFTWARE !!!!

LICENSE AGREEMENT
Do not attempt to run the News Wizard scripts on a site other than which they were licensed for. Violation of this license agreement may void your right to technical support and subject you to legal action.
You should carefully read the following terms and conditions before using this software. Unless you have a different license agreement signed by Oliver W. Schulz your use of this software indicates your acceptance of this license agreement and warranty.

As a registered user, you may alter or modify the News Wizard Software as far as the
HTML output is concerned. Further modification of the script code require the notification of the author (Just drop us a short note at oliver@ulices.com)
You cannot give anyone else permission to modify the News Wizard Software.
You are strictly prohibited from distributing copies of this software without prior permission.
You are specifically prohibited from charging, or requesting donations, for any copies, however made, and from distributing the software and/or documentation with other products (commercial or otherwise) without prior written permission !

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY

THIS SOFTWARE, THE INFORMATION, CODE AND/OR EXECUTABLES AS WELL AS THE ACCOMPANYING FILES PROVIDED ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR OR SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF THE AUTHOR OR SELLER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
ANY LIABILITY OF THE AUTHOR OR SELLER WILL BE LIMITED EXCLUSIVELY TO PRODUCT REPLACEMENT OR REFUND OF PURCHASE PRICE.

GOOD DATA PROCESSING PROCEDURE DICTATES THAT ANY PROGRAM BE THOROUGHLY TESTED WITH NON-CRITICAL DATA BEFORE RELYING ON IT.

THE USER MUST ASSUME THE ENTIRE RISK OF USING THE PROGRAM.

The file 'upload.cgi' is Copyright (C) 1996 Jeffrey D. Carnahan and 'CGI.pm' Copyright 1995-1998 Lincoln D. Stein. Both files have been added to this package free of charge.

 

Outlook

It is our intention to constantly improve the News Wizard and we therefore encourage all users of the News Wizard to email us their opinions, their critics and suggestions on the performance of this software. We appreciate your contribution to a hopefully useful software.

Have fun !

Your News Wizard Team.


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