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Author Tom Geller demonstrates how to create and publish a complete web site with the powerful tools in Acquia's hosted service, Drupal Gardens. The course shows how to leverage the pre-built page layouts and add custom styling using the ThemeBuilder tool; integrate rich site features, such as surveys, user ratings, and media galleries; and push content to Twitter and Facebook. The course also covers transitioning from a Drupal Gardens site to a self-hosted Drupal site. Exercise files are included with the course.
E-mail proceeded by web about twenty years, and a lot of people, including me, still prefer to get some kinds of information that way. Drupal Gardens includes a way to collect e-mail addresses for mailing lists, but I have to warn you, it's very rudimentary. It doesn't actually send out the e-mails or even check to make sure that the addresses are valid. All it does is collect the addresses, which you can then export into another program. So, you might ask, why even talk about it? Well, although it's mediocre, it does have some usefulness, and it might improve with some time, so you might as well learn what's there now in preparation.
Further, you can actually use the e-mail addresses that you collect this way in other marketing methods. You will notice that the collection form is actually included on the front page of the campaign template that we created. We scroll down here and see this Join our Mailing List. This is actually a block, which you learned about in the video about blocks, and you can place it anywhere on your page that you would like. I am going to add a name. I am going to add that person who we added to our site before, califanjoe, and the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And then I click Subscribe. All that it does is tell you that it was added to a list. It doesn't send an e-mail to that address, or anything like that. But let's take a look at what exactly that means for us as the administrator. To do so go up to Structure and then Mailing lists. So there's our mailing list, which is called join our mailing list. You can create as many as you want by clicking on the Add tab, and then each one that you add will create its block, which again you can place anywhere you like on your site. When we click on the list e-mails links here, we see email@example.com. Very good.
We could go back and edit that if we want, although really it's only two fields: the Name and Email Address--and Subscribe just brings us right back there. So you might ask, what can we do with this? Well, we can export it. To do that, go up to the Export List tab, click, and it offers to save a file or open it up in a program. I am just going to save it to our Desktop here and click OK. I will then go back to our Desktop by hiding everything else, and there's our file. If we double-click at it, it opens up an Excel. Or if we open it up in a text editor, it looks like this. Very simply, it's the address, followed by the name.
This is what's called a comma-separated values file, with quotes surrounded just to make sure that anything in the middle remains true. The only thing that separates them is commas outside of those quotation marks. I will just close that out and go back to our site now. So, now you have seen one way that you can add addresses to that mailing list, which is through that form. There are actually two others. One of them is by clicking on this Add E-Mail tab as the administrator, and then you would simply type them in. Let me just say Califan lynda, and that would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
But let's say you have already collected a large number of e-mail addresses. You want to import them into this list. You can do that by clicking the Import E-Mails tab. Now, I should warn you: this program requires that your e-mail addresses to be in a very specific format, basically the format you already saw with the quotation marks and the comma and so forth. In the exercise files, I have already created such a file, and I am just going to open that up in a text editor, so you can see what its looks like. Once again, we have got the comma, the quotes. The important thing is that the e-mail address comes before the name.
I will close that up, go back to our site, and find it. Double-click it to get into the program and import. And there we are. We now have all of those names and addresses and can combine them with those that we collected in other ways. Now, there is one thing that I want to warn you about importing e-mail addresses, and this is very important. You can't just grab a bunch of addresses and start sending e-mail to them. If you don't have a prior relationship with the people who have those e-mail addresses, and they are not expecting to receive mass e-mail from you, you could be in violation of federal law in the United States, or privacy laws in Europe and elsewhere.
Even if nobody sues, you will be breaking your agreement with Acquia, and you could get your entire site shut down. Certainly, no matter what happens, you will ruin your online reputation for spamming. So make sure you are on the level before you import a whole bunch of addresses. The last thing I want to mention: this feature is really only half baked compare to some of the other solutions you will find out there. And some people will say that you shouldn't be using e-mail anyway, that the wave of the wave of the future is RSS subscriptions. They may be right, but it doesn't hurt to make your content available in both ways.
To find out how to use RSS feeds to make your content available, watch the video about publishing RSS feeds.
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