Simple Mailing Web App

Greetings internet slaves! OK, well, not really slaves, but you get the point…

So for the past 8 months or so I’ve been attending a small college and career group at the local church down the street from where I live. It’s been a pretty solid group (well, that is until the 19 year old army took over) and Laure from and myself have decided to get involved and build their website for them so they can finally move into what I like to call, 00 century.

Anywho, one thing that they wanted to do was to setup a database with all of the members of the groups contact information and send out emails to inform them if there were any special events going on, if a meeting was cancelled, so on and so forth. Basically, your simply mailing list application. Or is it so simple? Because honestly, I was looking, and I didn’t see a lot of simple alternatives out there that would be easy for a non-tech person to use.

Sure, there are plenty of good, even free apps out there that will allow you to set up an email campaign (aka Constant Contact or PHPList), but nothing really for a small group or organization to have multiple admins login and send a simple mailing to their list of members/users. (And if you know such a solution, please, let me know!)

So I decided instead of trying to teach these people how to use a subset of the features in a standard email campaign app (and the probably just end up having to do all the mailings myself), I would roll my own and try to make it as simple as possible for an end user to use.

This is what I came up with for features this app would need:

  1. Add/Remove/Blacklist Users
  2. Write Email Message
  3. Add/Remove Templates
  4. View Previously Sent Messages

That’s it! And I actually just added the #4. I think that this is really all a small group or organization needs in a web based mailing app. They don’t need to know how many people opened their email, or the ability to track links and the like… and if they do, they can use one of the many other options out there. Obviously, the app would manage opt in/out, and links would be sent on every email, so when those annoying 19 year olds finally go off to really join society, well, they can unsubscribe themselves from the mailings.

So to make this all nice and Web 2.0, I am utilizing a number of different frameworks such as xajax, jquery and tinyMCE (since it almost works in Safari). It will be built on PHP 4.3+ and MySQL, so it should work for a number of users. I plan on releasing it here on once I have it all done.

So far I have the Add/Remove/Blacklist user management area all done, and I have begun work on the Add/Remove Template section. But I was curious to see if anyone else had any input into this project. If you do, just leave a comment. If not, well, then I will assume you don’t care and then I don’t care either. So there. Wicked Awesome Sweet.

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