Release Notes for LISTSERV Maestro 1.2



User Interface

Content Definition

Recipient Definition

Sender Definition

Delivery Scheduling





LISTSERV Maestro 1.2-6

Two new features pertaining to Content Definition were added to 1.2-6 as of June, 2004:
Drop-in Preview
Conditional Content

Two new Administration features were added to 1.2-6 as of June, 2004:
Execute Backup Now button
Administrative E-mail Notifications

LISTSERV Maestro 1.2-5

Two new features pertaining to Define Sender were added to 1.2-5 as of February, 2004:
Using Merge Fields in Sender Information
Adding X-Headers

LISTSERV Maestro 1.2-4

Two new features were added to LISTSERV Maestro 1.2-4 as of December 3, 2003:
Auto-Repeat Jobs
ODBC database access for read-only recipient definition and drop-in content


Windows XP Compatibility

LISTSERV Maestro can now be installed and run on Windows XP. Supported platforms for LISTSERV Maestro include:

  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Linux

User Interface

Netscape and Mozilla Compatibility

Access to the LISTSERV Maestro interfaces can be achieved with different browser programs. The user can now use more than just Internet Explorer on Windows. The following platforms and browsers are supported:

  • LISTSERV Maestro on a Windows platform: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later, Netscape 7.0 or later and Mozilla 1.0.0 or later.
  • LISTSERV Maestro on a Linux platform: Netscape 7.0 or later and Mozilla 1.0.0 or later.
  • On either platform, any other browser that is built on the Mozilla 1.0.0 or later engine.

Note: Internet Explorer 5.0 is no longer supported.

Content Definition

Drop-in Preview

The Define Content screen has been redesigned and the tabs renamed. When drop-in content is enabled, all mail formats have a preview tab: Plain Text Preview, HTML Preview, AOL Preview, and Text Preview (for the alternative text of an HTML message). The preview tab will display the message as it will appear to recipients, with all drop-ins replaced. Any errors with drop-in content will be highlighted so they can be fixed before test delivery. Drop-in preview is also available from the Delivered Jobs screen so that when content is viewed, drop-ins can be displayed as they appeared to the recipients.

Where to find: For any job that had drop-in content enabled:
Define Content -> Plain Text Preview (for drop-ins in a plain text message)
Define Content -> HTML Preview (for drop-ins in an HTML message)
Define Content -> AOL Preview (for drop-ins in the alternative AOL part of an HTML message)
Define Content -> Text Preview (for drop-ins in the alternative text part of an HTML message)
Delivered Jobs -> Delivered Job Details -> View Content -> Replace drop-ins

Conditional Content

If the message content is comprised of HTML with one or more alternative parts (text and/or AOL) instead of sending a multi-part message to all recipients, it is now possible to write conditions using standard LISTSERV condition syntax, so that recipients who have a certain preference will only receive that message type.

Where to find: Define Message -> Define Content

Better Support for AOL Rich Text

With Maestro 1.2, editing and viewing an alternative text in AOL rich text format has become easier. For HTML mail messages, the user can now choice to include two alternatives (one in AOL format, one in text format), one alternative (in either format) or no alternative at all. Enabling an AOL alternative message is no longer done using a global INI-file entry, but with group or user specific settings in the Administration Hub. If AOL format is chosen for a job, two additional tabs called "AOL Preview" and "AOL Code" are displayed. These tabs are similar to the tabs "HTML Preview" and "HTML Code."

On the "AOL Code" tab, the source code of the AOL alternative text is displayed, and can be directly edited in the text box. On the "AOL Preview" tab, the AOL alternative is displayed as a preview with the same layout the recipient will see, if the recipient uses the AOL 5.0 client to view the mail. This type of message is sent as a multipart e-mail, (unless conditional blocks were added to the body of the message, see above) with one HTML part, and with none, one, or two alternatives, depending on the user's choice. A message that would include both types of alternatives is viewed by the recipients as follows:

  • Recipient is AOL, with AOL 6.0 or later, or AOL Web client - HTML part is displayed.
  • Recipient is AOL, with AOL 5.0 - AOL format alternative is displayed, with the rich text tags interpreted to format the layout of the text. The tags themselves are not displayed (similar as with HTML).
  • Recipient is AOL, with AOL 4.0 (very uncommon, support for AOL 4.0 is questionable) -Outcome unknown, most probably: Raw mail text is displayed, where the text alternative appears first. Or possibly the plain text alternative is shown.
  • Recipient is not AOL, but has modern HTML capable mail client - HTML part is displayed.
  • Recipient is not AOL, has mail client without HTML capability (uncommon) - Outcome uncertain, depends on mail client, most probably the text alternative is shown or the raw mail text is displayed, where the text alternative appears first.

Table of available AOL tags

Where to find: To enable AOL alternative usage in the Maestro User Interface, go to the Administration Hub.

  • To enable/disable globally for all groups and users: Global Component Settings -> Maestro User Interface -> Default Content Restrictions.
  • To overwrite enable/disable settings on group level: Administer User Accounts -> Click on group name of group account -> Content Restrictions.
  • To overwrite enable/disable settings on non-group account level: Administer User Accounts -> Click on name of non-group account -> Maestro User Interface -> Content Restrictions.

Once AOL alternative usage is enabled, the choice of which alternative to include (if any) is done on the content definition page in the Maestro User Interface: "Resume Jobs" list -> Define Message.

Recipient Definition

New Recipients Type: Recipients Target Group

LISTSERV Maestro now offers a new recipients type - "Send to a Recipients Target Group". The user may select from any target groups available. A target group is simply a predefined group of target recipients. Optionally, a target group can be parameterized, for example, the user first selects the target group of his choice, then fills out predefined criteria (or selects them from lists, or checks choices, and so on), to define a certain subset of the recipients in the group. Using this method of recipient selection hides the way the recipients are actually determined from the user. The user does not know if the recipients come from a particular database, or by other means. The user can focus on selecting the correct group and criteria to reach the desired recipients.

The target groups themselves are defined by a special "data administrator" account. This account is owned by a person with more knowledge of what the data behind the scenes is, and how to retrieve it. Target group definition is done in a new wizard. Currently the data administrator account can create target groups that are based on database selects done by Maestro or by LISTSERV.

Where to find: To use a target group in a job: Define Recipients -> Wizard page "Options". To define a new target group (must have associated right): User Settings -> Recipients Target Groups.

Just-In-Time Recipients

The existing recipients types "Upload a Recipients Text File" and "Select Recipients From a Database", as well as the new "Send to a Recipients Target Group" type, have been augmented so that the user now has the choice between sending to exactly the recipients that were present/defined when the recipients wizard was executed (normal "old" behavior), or to refresh the recipients (from a file or from the database) "just-in-time" before the sending, using the same rules as were defined when the recipients wizard was originally executed.

Where to find: For types "Upload a Recipients Text File" and "Select Recipients From a Database" types: Recipients wizard -> Source Page. "Send to a Recipients Target Group" type, if target group is of type "Maestro retrieves recipients from Database": Target Group wizard -> Source Page.

More Options for Recipients Type LISTSERV List

When sending to an existing LISTSERV list, the user now has more options. The list name is no longer queried as a simple input field, where the user must remember (and correctly type) the list name, but instead a drop-down list allows the user to select from all lists known at the LISTSERV instance.

Also, the user can now choose to send the mail only to subscribers to certain topics of the list (the available topics for a list is presented as checkboxes).

Where to find: Recipients wizard -> Source Page and Recipient Details Page.

ODBC Database Connections for Recipient Definition

As of the release of build 1.2-4 in December, 2003, LISTSERV Maestro can now connect to any ODBC compliant database to pull recipients for a job or content for drop-ins. This connection is read-only.

In order to use the ODBC connection, the ODBC plugin must be enabled in the Hub. Next the specific driver for the ODBC database has to be installed on the machine where LUI is installed. Finally, the data source in the database has to be enabled so that it is reachable by LISTSERV Maestro over the network.

Here are a few examples of databases and other data sources from which recipients may be extracted directly into LISTSERV Maestro by using the new ODBC database connection: Sybase, Informix, DBase, FoxPro, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, and ASCII text files. Most DBMS packages that run on Windows have an ODBC driver. Check your database documentation for ODBC driver availability, installation instructions, and usage instructions (including any limitations, performance considerations, and the syntax of SELECT statements when using the ODBC driver).

Note: Although Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, and MySQL databases can also be accessed using the ODBC database connection, it is more efficient to use the supported drivers for these databases.

Where to find: For recipient definition - Recipients wizard -> Options Page.
For drop-in content definition: User Settings -> Drop-in Content Elements -> Click the button "New Drop-in Element" -> Select Database as the type of drop-in -> Select the ODBC driver plugin from the pull down menu -> Enter connection information and SQL statement.

Sender Definition

Using Merge Fields in Sender Definition

As of build 1.2-5, released in February, 2004, it is possible to supply merge values for the input fields of "E-mail Address", "Sender Name" and "Reply-To Address". You may only use those values that are available from the recipient definition of the job, and the values must be formatted exactly as they are when used in the content section of the message - the name of the field surrounded by an ampersand "&" and a semi-colon ";" For example &L_NAME;

IMPORTANT: When using text with merge fields for the sender or reply-to addresses, you must make sure that after replacement each field results in a valid Internet e-mail address. Failure to provide valid working addresses is a violation of the law in certain countries. It is the user's responsibility to make sure merge field replacement results in valid addresses for every recipient.

Where to find: Define Sender -> Supply Sender Information

Defining X-Headers

As of build 1.2-5, released in February, 2004, it is possible to define "X-Headers". X-Headers are user defined mail headers as described in RFC822. The additional headers will be added to the end of the mail header part of the e-mail, just before the actual mail content. They will be listed in the order that they are entered in the Advanced Sender Information Settings portion of the Edit Sender Information screen.

Where to find: Define Sender -> Click on the "Click to enable" link adjacent to the text "Advanced sender information settings are disabled." -> Enter the X-headers in the input boxes under Advanced Sender Information Settings.

Delivery Scheduling

Auto-Repeat Jobs

Auto-repeat jobs are made up of a sequence of identical jobs based on the first job created in the series and scheduled to be delivered at regular programmable intervals. Various settings control the auto-repeat sequence, and these sequences can be used in many ways. Once the first job in an auto-repeat series is set up, tested, and authorized for delivery, the rest of the jobs in the series can run without the intervention of a user, saving time and resources. This also makes auto-repeat jobs compatible with automated systems.

Auto-repeat jobs can be scheduled to run indefinitely, each job being sent out at the arranged time interval, until the series is manually stopped by a user's intervention. Auto-repeat jobs can also be programmed to stop at a pre-configured time, removing from the user the worry about remembering the stop dates of various jobs. A special fail-safe feature is built into auto-repeat jobs preventing the entire series from failing in the event that a job or jobs in the series fails.

Where to find: For any job: Schedule Delivery -> Schedule Delivery Page -> Enter the date and time of the first job in the series -> Click the link Click to enable on the line that says "Advanced scheduling options are disabled."-> Select "Auto-repeat delivery of this job." -> Enter the time interval between jobs -> Enter the a condition to stop the series -> Click OK.


Form-Submit Tracking

It is now possible to include simple HTML forms in an HTML message (input controls like text fields, checkboxes, combo boxes, and so on) that are filled out by the recipients and submitted back to the server (which is outside of LISTSERV Maestro) while LISTSERV Maestro tracks those submits. This means that LISTSERV Maestro will count all submits (and by the users they came from) and will then redirect the submit to the actual server URL. In Reporting, these submits are handled just like clicks (submits are counted like "clicks" on the action-URL of the form).

Where to find: For any new job: Define Tracking -> Tracking Details Page -> Define Tracking URLs Button -> In the center pane, simply click on the submit button of the form you want to track. It will then become "selected" (and you can define tracking with/without alias for it) just as a URL would, if you click on it.


More Detailed Bounce Reporting

Bounce reporting is now displayed using a colorful bar chart diagram. Bounces are separated into separate "reason" categories, following RFC 1893 standard, and appear as separate bars in the chart. The user can choose which addresses to download (from a single category, several categories, or all categories at once) and decide whether or not to include additional bounce information with each address (RFC status code and textual message).

Where to find: For any delivered job with "automatic" bounce handling: Summary page, click on the "View bounce details" link.


Execute Backup Now Button

A new "Execute Backup Now" button has been added to the General Component Settings for the Administration Hub. Clicking the button will immediately begin a system backup of LISTSERV Maestro.

Where to find: From the HUB -> Global Component Settings -> General Administration -> Administration Hub

Administrative E-mail Notifications

E-mail notification messages can be automatically sent to configured e-mail addresses from LISTSERV Maestro in the event of a systems problem and/or system startup.

Where to find: From the HUB -> Global Component Settings ->Administrative E-mail Notifications

Better Support for Switching the System Database

Previously, switching the system database was a cumbersome task that involved saving a backup of the data, switching to the new database, and restoring the backup. Now switching the database has become much easier. Simply enter the new system database connection settings in the Administration HUB, then restart LISTSERV Maestro. The data will be transferred automatically from the old database to the new one.

Where to find: In the Administration Hub: Global Component Settings -> Maestro User Interface -> Database Connection.

Ability to Restrict Access to User Interface by IP-Address

It is now possible to restrict which users are allowed to access the Maestro User Interface or Administration HUB by specifying allowed IP addresses or subnets. Access attempts from sources with unlisted addresses will be ignored (by default, this access restriction is disabled).

Where to find: In the configuration file server.xml in ...\Application Server\conf.