LISTSERV Maestro 9.0-10 Help

Table Of Contents

Public Subscriber Website Customization - Overview

To access the public website customization for a standalone list or list group, open the Subscriber Lists subtree on the subscriber lists overview and select the node of the desired list or group in the subscriber warehouse tree on the left. Then select Manage Public Subscriber Website from the menu (or go via the right-click menu of the list or group node in the subscriber warehouse tree).

The screen shows thumbnail previews of all pages and emails of the public subscriber website that is automatically available with the selected subscriber list (or group). Depending on the settings of the the list or group, some of the pages are not available to the public. If for example the list is configured to be restricted to subscribed users, then the list subscribe page is no longer available to the public, whereas the login and subscriber area pages are public. In an even more restricted setup, with the visibility set to "Unsubscribes Only", only the message page remains public to accommodate its function for users wanting to unsubscribe from a list by clicking on the URL created through the {{*UnsubscribeURL}} system drop-in.

To customize an element or view a preview, click on the associated thumbnail box.

Note: If you are viewing a list group that existed already when you were using an earlier version of LISTSERV Maestro, then clicking on any of the thumbnails shows a popup dialog instead of the standard full-screen preview. This is described in more detail below.

Basic Concepts and Terms

System Default

LISTSERV Maestro automatically provides a fully functional public subscriber website with a responsive layout that rescales properly even when viewed on small-screen mobile devices with high native pixel resolution. The website is designed around a home page for the subscribers to manage list subscriptions and general preferences such as the email address and a password. This home page (called "Subscriber Area") is the landing page for the subscriber after a signup or a login. This page is accompanied by specific pages for login and signup. To handle unusual situations during a user's journey on this website, an additional message page is provided which shows different texts and optionally forwarding links or buttons, depending on the specific situation.

The provided default layout is not static but created dynamically based on your subscriber list's or group's settings, profile fields and your customized personal logo. All of this information is factored into the default layout to yield a result that is suitable for your personal settings even if you did not write HTML or CSS code.

Editing a Draft and Deploying it as a New Public Version

Creating and maintaining website HTML & CSS code is an intimidating and often time-consuming task. LISTSERV Maestro allows you to work for longer periods of time on any customized element without affecting the element that is currently available to the public. The full-scale preview of your current state of work allows you to check if you are satisfied, for example by comparing it side-by-side with the current public version. To make your draft version available as replacement for the current public version (which initially is the system provided automatically by LISTSERV Maestro ), you deploy your draft.

Deploying a draft overwrites the current public version with what you currently have in your draft copy. The result is then considered a customized public version.

Customization Workflow

The major part of the customization overview screen is used to show a (usually quite long) list of thumbnails, each showing a preview of the associated element of the public subscriber website and information about the current status of the given element:

  • System Default (Also Public): Neither a customized draft nor a previously deployed public version of the element exists, which has the effect that the default defined (and maintained in future versions of LISTSERV Maestro) by L-Soft is used. This is the initial status of all parts of the customization after creating a new list group or standalone list.

  • System Default (Not Public): This status can only be achieved by deleting the draft that was previously deployed as (i.e. copied over) a public version. To also make LISTSERV Maestro use the system default as public version, you must deploy this element. Only then will LISTSERV Maestro actually remove the public version and once again start using the automatically provided and maintained L-Soft default.

  • Customized Draft (Not Public): This is the status that you will most frequently encounter during your customization. It means that you have saved a custom draft version (i.e. have at one time in the past opened the editor for the associated element and have clicked the [Save Draft] button) and have not yet decided to deploy it as public version.

  • Customized Draft (Also Public): This status means that the associated element has been first saved as a draft, and, at some later point, also been deployed as new public version. In other words: LISTSERV Maestro has stored a draft but this draft is in fact (due to having been deployed) identical to the public version. However, since it exists as a physical copy, you can freely edit and save it without affecting your currently deployed public version.

The workflow when customizing pages, notification emails, status and error message texts (all of which are called "elements" in this screen) is as follows:

  • Find the desired customizable element among the thumbnails here on the customization overview page.

  • Click on the thumbnail to edit the customizable subscriber page, notification email, status message display master or error messages display master (respectively).

    In the "Status and Error Messages" section (separate from the thumbnails described above), you find two special thumbnails that allow access to the message page and error message texts, respectively. These thumbnails open full-screen previews which, in turn, allow you to click the icon of an individual message page text or error messages group, to edit it specifically.

  • In the editor, click [Save Draft] when you have finished editing.

  • For a customizable element with a draft version that is different from the current public version, the editor page shows the Compare With Public Version icon. Click this icon to open a comparison page.

  • For a customizable element with a draft version that is different from the current public version, the editor page shows the Revert Draft icon. Click this icon to open the Revert Draft page.

  • When you are ready to deploy your draft versions (either all or only some) as new production versions, click the Deploy Website Layout icon here on the customization overview page. This opens the deploy layout page.

  • If you want to completely remove the draft from LISTSERV Maestro, click the Delete Draft icon in the title of the associated thumbnail here on the customization overview page. LISTSERV Maestro will ask you to confirm your decision and will, if confirmed, remove the draft. (Note that if you already deployed a copy of the draft as new public version, then the public version remains unaffected by this deletion until you deploy the element, at which moment LISTSERV Maestro also will delete the public version.)

Customizable Elements

Master Page

This page provides the master layout for all subscriber website pages. The system default layout of the master page uses default colors. It dynamically includes your customized corporate logo image in a fixed header section (combined with the name of your list group or subscriber list). If you did not supply a customized corporate logo, then the system default master page only quotes the list or group name in its header section.

One initial customization activity frequently is to change the color theme of the master page: To do this (for example to assign colors that you defined as your personal colors), click the master page thumbnail and proceed as described here.

The the master layout contains a mandatory placeholder token that is replaced dynamically with the layout of any given subscriber website page in its customized or system default version. Thanks to this approach, LISTSERV Maestro allows you to customize the visual appearance of all subscriber website pages by customizing the master page only.

List or Group Page

While the master page provides the general full page layout (or "frame"), each specific list group or subscriber list page provides the layout for the inner body that is specific to the page. In the master page, a (mandatory) placeholder token tells LISTSERV Maestro where to put the actual body content that is specific to the give page. Combined, these two layouts yield complete HTML page code including CSS for styling information.

Master Email

Similar to the master page described above, the system default master email also contains a fixed header section that is divided in a left and right part if you have defined a corporate logo. Without a logo, again similar to the master page, the master email also only quotes the list group or list name in its header section.

Notification Emails

Conceptionally, the relation between the master email and the various notification emails is very close to the relation between the master page and the various list group or list pages: The dynamic combination of a generic outer layout frame that contains a placeholder token with content that is specific to a purpose yields the final result. In the case of a notification email, the result is however not an HTML page shown in an Internet browser application but rather an HTML message shown in an email client. (Of course, nowadays, many email clients are in fact also Internet browser applications, so the distinction is not as strict anymore as several years ago.)

Status Message Display Master

The status message display master acts like any other list or group page but has the additional purpose of showing any given instance of a message page text (a combination of a heading-type title and a full-text message).

Message Page Texts

During the journey of a user on the subscriber website of your list group or list, there are many situations where a certain status message is shown. All these messages can be customized. To do this, click the Status Messages thumbnail in the "Status Messages and Error Texts" section to open the preview screen for the message page. Now use the additional panel on the right-hand side of this preview screen to select which message you would like to view. Click the icon next to any of the available message texts to open the associated editor.

Error Messages Display Master

The error messages display master is used in a different manner: This master defines a localized HTML snippet with placeholders inside, just like other placeholders that you already know from working with the customization. LISTSERV Maestro employs this customizable snippet and uses it as actual value replacement for the special placeholder {{maestro:validationErrors}}, whenever it happens to occur on a given page. This approach means that you can customize the desired placement of potential validation errors specific to the layout that you intend to use for a page. LISTSERV Maestro then resolves the placeholder by crafting an actual HTML snippet from the display master and combines it with the actual input validation errors that must be shown to a subscriber to explain why the input validation failed (e.g. the user supplied text in a field that only accepts numbers).

Error Messages

All error messages described above can be customized. To do this, click the Error Messages thumbnail in the "Status Messages and Error Texts" section to open the preview screen for the error messages. Now use the additional panel on the right-hand side of this preview screen to select which group of error texts you would like to view. Click the icon next to any of the available groups to open the associated editor.


Where To Start The Customization?

The following describes various situations in which customization of the subscriber area pages or notification emails may be desired and gives hints about where to start in each situation:

1: Adapt Corporate Color Scheme and/or Font to All Subscriber Website Pages.

The situation: The default layout of the subscriber area pages is fine but the default colors and/or fonts are different from your corporate website.

The solution: Use the customization interface built into LISTSERV Maestro and customize the master page only. By choosing custom colors and a font in the GUI that match the color theme and font selection on your corporate website, all pages automatically benefit from this and can be given a new design without coding HTML or CSS.

2: Add Generic Custom Text or HTML to All Pages.

The situation: The default HTML and text of the master page does not include certain important generic HTML or text that you wish to have on all subscriber website pages. Examples of this include a specially crafted header or footer area with navigational elements that are designed in the layout of your corporate website and forward the user back to your site.

The solution: Use the customization interface built into LISTSERV Maestro and customize the master page only. In addition to only picking custom colors and a font, you also need to add the necessary text or HTML to the master page HTML, either in WYSIWYG ("design") mode or in code mode, depending on your preference or the complexity of the desired changes. As long as the HTML you add is needed in identical form on all pages, you will only have to edit the master page, none of the specific dataset/list pages must be edited.

3: Customize Specific Page.

The situation: For some page (or pages) of a dataset or list, the layout is not satisfactory and needs to be adjusted specifically for this page. For example, you are not satisfied with the default layout of the login page but the layout of the other pages is ok.

The solution: Use the customization interface built into LISTSERV Maestro and customize the page(s) in question to change the current layout by editing the HTML code to provide a custom layout. This change of layout will only affect the given page(s), not the other ones.

4: Adapt Corporate Color Scheme and/or Font to All Notification Emails.

The situation: The default texts of the notification emails are fine but the colors and/or the font used in the HTML notification emails does not match your corporate design..

The solution: Use the customization interface built into LISTSERV Maestro and customize the master email only. By defining a common header and footer in this master email, picking a custom color scheme and/or font and by optionally also providing custom HTML styles, all emails can be easily given a new layout that matches your corporate design.

5: Customize Specific Notification Email.

The situation: For some notification email (or emails) of a dataset or list, the HTML or text is not satisfactory and needs to be adjusted specifically for this email. For example, you want to have a specific additional text in the double-optin confirmation email.

The solution: Use the customization interface built into LISTSERV Maestro and customize the notification email(s) in question to change the default by editing the text to provide a custom layout. This change of layout will only affect the given email(s), not the other ones.


Upgrading a Legacy Dataset/List Customization

With each new version, LISTSERV Maestro may provide a default layout that is substantially different from the layout that was provided with a previous version. This "bleeding edge" strategy makes sure that LISTSERV Maestro stays current with modern trends in website and user interface design.

If you have a list group or list that you created with a previous version, upgrading to the current version however does not affect the public version of the associated Subscriber Website, meaning that it is perfectly safe to upgrade to the current version, even if the subscriber website layout has been changed significantly.

If the current version indeed comes with such significant changes (not all version do, more on this below), then an upgraded list group (which previously was called "dataset") or list is treated differently than a newly created one: Instead of providing the current layout, LISTSERV Maestro still supports and provides the layout in the version that the list group or list was created with, allowing you to run the public version of your customization based on the unchanged default layout. In this state, however, editing the subscriber website customization is not immediately possible. Before you can proceed with your customization, LISTSERV Maestro requires that you convert your draft layout to the current version and then to review and/or change each element of the customization. Once you are done with this review process, you can deploy this updated and modernized layout to the public, just as you would have done it with a list or group that is not in this state. To trigger the conversion of your draft, click on any of the thumbnails on the overview screen. This opens a dialog with further information.

Note: Following the general rule that a customized draft does not affect the current public version until you actively deploy it, you can safely work on your converted draft layouts for a longer time. LISTSERV Maestro continues to provide the legacy version of your list or group until you deploy your customized draft. From this moment on, also your public version is based on the new layout and you can continue to customize your drafts further, just as you would for a list or list group that you created after upgrading.

© 2002-2020 L-Soft Sweden AB. All rights reserved.