Using MailMerge

This is draft documentation. Though I believe it to be correct, it has not been meticulously reviewed yet.

About MailMerge

MailMerge is a program which allows you to put a form on your web page (like a Feedback Form, or maybe a Guestbook), collect what the user types, and then e-mail the results somewhere. It is called MailMerge because the process of setting it up is similar to that of creating a mail merge in a word processing programs. You must create a template file which dictates the format of the mail message, and you must supply input (design the web form) to go with it.

Using MailMerge

This is not meant to be a complete reference for the MailMerge program. The complete documentation is available at the MailMerge author's web site. You should first read the complete documentation to familiarize yourself with the basics of how MailMerge is used. You do not need to understand every single part of the documentation, as much of it is dedicated to installation instructions and such. We've taken care of installing and testing it already.

Once you are familiar with the documentation, you can try out the two examples below and see how they were put together. Hopefully, you can use these examples as starting points for your own creations.

If you do not at least make the effort to take some time to look over the documentation and try to figure it out, you should expect a similar level of effort from the WCNet volunteers if you come to us for help.

Feedback From Example

Try the sample form. You'll notice that it sends me e-mail as well as displaying the message that was sent. Have a look at the feedback.txt file and make sure you look at the HTML source behind the feedback.htm page.

One thing that is not stressed in the author's documentation is that the names you assign to fields in your form (things like"TO", "FROM", "Comments", and such) must match EXACTLY the names you use in your template file. They ARE case-sensitive. Ignoring this fact will cause you endless headaches when you try and get this working.

There's one other twist to getting MailMerge working properly. If you look at the source behind the example form, you'll notice something that looks like "/home/5/jzawodn/public_html/WCNet/webstuff/feedback.txt". That is called the path to the template file (as explained in the complete documentation for MailMerge). The path simply tells MailMerge where the template file is located on the web server. Your path will look similar to mine. That's because all the paths follow a common format:



Confused? Hopefully not. Give it a shot. If you start by copying exactly what I've done, you are assured to have started with a working example (you did try it, right?). Start by making small changes to see what effect they have. The first change that you'll want to make involves putting your e-mail address in the template file. I really don't need to get copies of your feedback form test messages. ;-)


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