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Sneak Peek at Postmatic 2: Improving Email Content

Sending posts by email is tricky. When you compose and publish a post Postmatic does a ton of work behind the scenes to convert the markup and assets (images, embeds, shortcodes) into an email-friendly format.

What constitutes a post is getting blurrier as WordPress evolves. Page builders have become more prevalent and the number of plugins that affect post markup is on the rise. We see more and more posts coming through our system which are full of the familiar this content is not compatible with your email client message.

We have a plan to fix that in two different ways.

Making sure your content always works in email

Actively sniffing out email problems

Postmatic 2 will monitor your post content while it is being drafted. If we notice any shortcodes, embeds, or otherwise which are going to cause trouble in an email version we’ll let you know via a warning right near the publish button. We call it Postmatic Precheck. If it’s green, you’re good to publish. Red, and you better review a few things.

Postmatic Precheck showing when a post is safe to email.
Postmatic Precheck showing when a post is safe to email.

Letting you fix trouble spots with a new email-specific version of your post

To resolve email rendering issues check the brand new Postmatic Email Version metabox on the Edit Post screen. It will list out what elements might cause problems.

The Postmatic Email Content box lists what page elements may not render well in email and lets you take action on each.
The Postmatic Email Content box lists what page elements may not render well in email and lets you take action on each.

Simply click the Edit Email Version button. A new wysiwyg area will appear with your post content in place. Modify the trouble spots, update the draft, and check that you’re ready to publish.

The post has been cleaned up and is ready to send via email.
The post has been cleaned up and is ready to send via email.

For example, i’m going to insert a quick little survey into this post. You’ll see it here on the web, but folks reading this via email won’t notice a thing:

Sorry. This form is no longer accepting new submissions.

Publishing the post will send the email-specific version to your subscribers and leave the web version fully in tact.

Hooray for page builder users!

Now folks using complex page and post builders can compose for the web, simplify for email, and click Publish only once.

Bringing other plugin developers into the loop

The second solution for even better email content in Postmatic 2 is the introduction of two brand new developer APIs. Plugin developers will be able to take two actions to ensure their output works well via Postmatic emails:

  1. Modify the HTML markup produced by their plugins and pass it along to Postmatic. For example, a social sharing plugin which normally relies on javascript (not friendly to email) to render it’s Twitter button could instead specify a plain .gif version for email use.
  2. Send email-specific CSS to Postmatic. This is the big one. Any plugin can now serve specific styles to Postmatic and we will inline them and include them in the emailed version. Example: A recipe plugin could include its own stylesheet in Postmatic emails to make sure the recipes render not just as a plain div with list elements, but as a fully styled recipe card – right in the inbox. 

Combined, these two APIs could be used to allow a certain popular page builder to send not just html markup of a complicated layout, but the accompanying CSS to style it as well. We take care of packing it up and sending it out the door. Look for that particular integration very soon 🙂

Our new developer APIs opens a thousand doors for other plugins and services to integrate with Postmatic. We can’t wait to see what comes of it. We’ll have documentation available soon.

 

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