University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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Web Services Announcements
Updates, enhancements, and information for Webtools users

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  • 2013 Holiday ECARD skins

    Web Services has 7 new holiday ecards for you this season. Set up with Wizard, there different themes appropriate for greetings, invitations and announcements. Add some color to your email messages this season!

    Feel free to grab the image and create your own skin with the wizard.

  • 2014 Holiday Ecards

    Holiday Ecards: a couple of returning, and a few new cards for you to choose from. Each card has been set up for the campuses: Chicago, Springfield, Urbana and U-Illinois.

  • Accessibility improvement for Forms and Surveys

    Section headers in the Survey and Form Builders now support a "label". This label will be inserted as a heading and styled appropriately. The description will immediately follow. Previously we only supported the description. This enhancement request was made by DHS at the state of Illinois.

  • Announcing: WebTools has a NEW Toolbox!

    When it comes to the the tools in the Toolbox, you asked for a more user-friendly interface. Check it out. You asked for an easier way to find our tools: now they're all in one convenient location. You asked for an easier way to identify your files and navigate in and out of the tools. We've made major inroads. You asked for a better explanation of what each tool does...with examples: Check out WebTools 101, grab the Tools and get started! Click here to see this online:

  • Application Server Moved to VM

    Today we moved one of our two application servers to the CITES Virtual Server infrastructure. If you happen to notice any issue with performance please don't hesitate to contact us.

  • Assigning Permissions Is Made Easier

    On any Web Services application within the Toolbox portal when assigning someone permissions you no longer have to include "" as long as the person is on your campus.

  • AWS Server Migration Update

    The Amazon Web Services server migration preparation is ongoing and currently our number one priority.  The window to migrate the servers is approaching quickly and will close just as quickly.  The planned migration is set for a couple of weeks after graduation.  If this goal is not met the next window would be one year from now so all efforts are focused on reaching this goal.

  • Blocked Functionality added to Email+

    Blocked emails are those email addresses that have shown a prior consistent pattern of non-delivery.  Once an email has been flagged as bad six (6) times it will then be blocked (not sent).  After 60 days we will unblock the email and try sending again.  If the email sends successfully it will be removed from the blocked list.  If it does not send it will be blocked for another 60 days and the process will repeat.

    On the "My Emails" and "My Archives" tabs we will display 'blocked' totals in addition to 'sent' and 'pending' totals. 

    A new tab called "Blocked" has been added.  After your email has been sent – or is sending – the Blocked tab will appear within that particular email in the Toolbox.  Here you will find all of the emails that are flagged as "blocked."

    Also on the Blocked tab you will find a list of emails that have a increasing likelihood of being blocked in the future.

  • Blog database crash and restore

    This morning at 8:22 am we were notified by Tech Services that they experienced a hardware failure last night.  This failure affected the Webtools Blog database and unfortunately occurred while the Blog was doing database backups.  Web Services has restored the database from the most recent backup which was Sat morning.  Any information entered into the Blog since then has been lost and will need to be re-entered.  We apologize for this inconvenience.



  • Blog "view" totals temporarily unavailable

    The “View” totals in the Blog are temporarily unavailable. We are in the process of switching to Google Analytics to supply these numbers. Once GA is implemented the view total numbers will reappear.

  • Bluestem problem for UIS users

    Bluestem is not working properly for UIS campus users. When a user tries to login through Bluestem they are returned to the login page. CITES is working on the problem and we have asked them to post updates on to status page at:

  • Calendar changes

    On Monday, October 18th, Web Services at Public Affairs, will deploy new enhancements to the Calendar.

  • Calendar Change Update

    Web Services will not being pushing out Calendar changes on Monday, Oct 18th. We are going to hold off for a few more weeks. We will make sure to give everyone a minimum of a two week notice before releasing any changes to production. We are hoping to be able to announce a firm date by the end of October for the release of these and other enhancements to the Calendar.

  • Calendar Security Change

    On the "Security" tab when administrating calendars you will notice that there are now three types of security: Public, Private and Secured.

  • Calendar XML Change Feb 2nd

    On February 2nd Web Services will be changing how we store events in the Calendar tool.  Currently there are a handful of fields within an event that can be both text and HTML.  We will no longer support both formats.  Fields that can be HTML will always be stored as HTML.  We will not be changing the calendarws.xsd! 

  • Calendar XML Data

    Web Services will begin working on a redesign of the Calendar this fall.  If you would like to be kept up to date on Calendar XML changes then please subscribe to this group:

  • Calendar XML Data Changes

    A Web Services email was sent earlier today to just Calendar XML users.  If you did not happen to receive this email and want to be notified of changes to the Calendar XML please click on the below link to subscribe for announcements.  We will resend the email tomorrow to new subscribers.

  • Calendar XML Policy

     As a courtesy, Web Services provides calendar XML data that can be consumed by IT departments on campus.  This data is not intended to be used as an on request web database.  Rather this data should be queried and then stored in a local IT database for day to day use.

    Web Services experienced extreme abuse by web XML queries today resulting in services loss.  Web Services will put together over the next few days a policy regarding the proper use of XML data.  We have turned the XML processing back on but if we find that its use is resulting in service loss we will be forced to remove access. 

    As a reminder we provide JavaScript include for the Calendar tool.  These JavaScript includes can be added to any HTML page, portal, or CMS.  We are more than happy to create new JavaScript includes if the ones we have do not meet your needs.  The includes provided by the Calendar are updated the moment a manager changes data within their calendar.  The reason we are mentioning this is because we are concerned that a great many of these XML queries are for the on the fly generating of JavaScript includes.  These include could be replaced with static includes generated and managed by the Calendar tool.  As a result this would not have a detrimental impact to our services and the rest of campus.


  • Campus Web Server was Unreachable from Off Campus

    The campus web server was unreachable from off-campus late Friday and early Saturday morning. During this time CITES' firewall blocked a denial of services (DoS) attack from reaching the campus web server which may/may not have been intentional.  Over 60,000 different IP addresses were involved. In this situation the number of bad requests was so great that valid off-campus requests could not get through.

  • CAPTCHA added to Form and Survey Builder

    An option for including CAPTCHA in public Forms and Surveys has been added to WebTools.  CAPTCHA is a challenge-response test used to ensure that the response is generated by a person. 

    To include CAPTCHA in your public Form or Survey go to the Submissions tab and choose “yes” to Require CAPTCHA.  At the end of the Form or Survey the CAPTCHA will be inserted.  The user must provide an accurate response before the submission is allowed.

    To login to WebTools:

  • Change in Publishing Blog Posts

    A change has been made to the publishing process of a blog post.  When a blog post is "published" the Add Post screen will be locked.  This will prevent edits from being made to a live blog post.  A post must be "unpublished" before any edits can be made.  Once the edits are made the post can be republished.

    This change is the same change recently made to the calendar.  The complexities of updating live events and posts and what happens behind the scenes has made this change necessary.

  • Change made to event view totals in the Calendar

    In the Web Services Calendar you will notice on an event's detail page a field labeled "Views". We originally calculated this view total based on the number of times the event appeared either in a listing of many events or when a person went to the event's detail page. Today we made a change to only increment an event's view totals when a person views the event's detail page. In order for the view totals for all events to be consistent we have reset all totals to 0.

  • Change made to the Form and Survey Builder requested by the College of Applied Health Sciences

    A change was made to the Form and Survey Builder report process requested by the College of Applied Health Sciences. When creating a CSV report you can now display single results for checkbox type questions. Use this feature when you wish to see the answer labels rather than 0s and 1s.

  • Changes to Public Affairs Directory

    Several changes were released today to the Public Affairs Directory. These changes position us for the upcoming release of the Directory Profile Editor, a new shared service for the Urbana campus. The Profile Editor will allow any faculty or staff to customize their profiles within the Directory. More information will be available soon, as well as examples of customized faculty and staff profiles.

  • Changes to the Group Manager, Email Plus and Ecards

    Group Manager

    Web Services has improved the process for adding people to groups within the Group Manager.  Now when users add large numbers of people to groups either by pasting them in or uploading a file they are queued up for insertion.  A report is emailed to the person uploading the people once they have been added. 

    Email Plus and Ecards

    Web Services also changed how salutations work for Email Plus and Ecards. emails will have their their first and last name added automatically. 

  • Change to privileges

    Web Services changed how privileges are managed in the Short URL, Skin Designer and Group Manager.  In these tools there is no longer the concept of an owner.  All current owners were added as administrators.  Administrators can now delete content.  This change will be pushed out to the rest of the tools over the next week.  This enhancement is more in line with how Apple and Microsoft handle permissions.  We will also be working on new ways for users to manage permissions globally over the coming weeks.


    Lance Campbell

    Web Services

  • CIS mobile website released

    The mobile version of the Course Information Suite has been released. To try it out on your smartphone go to:

  • Components added to Calendar

    The Calendar now supports components. A component is a tag that is inserted into a web page to automatically display events from a Toolbox Calendar. In Create/edit for any of your calendars you will see a "Components" tab. Use this tab to create Calendar components to insert into any web page. Previously this could be done by importing the Calendar RSS feed into the List Builder, however many fields such as location, registration, cost, speaker, etc... were lost as RSS does not support these fields. Now when creating your generic component in the Calendar you can choose to include any information entered for the event. Later this summer Web Services will offer a student to convert any component initially setup in the List Builder importing a Calendar RSS feed. Two components have been added so far, a generic version that will allow you to include/exclude any calendar field, and a second version that is table/row oriented. This new functionality will be covered during the July Toolbox Calendar training:

  • Custom Skins Reactivated for Calendars

    Custom skins are once again availabe to assign to Calendars.  Custom skins must be setup properly with all of the needed Calendar CSS overrides.  Otherwise website CSS collides with the Calendar CSS and the Calendar will not display properly.  CSS overrides can be placed on the Skin/CSS tab in the Skin Designer.  For more information have your CSS expert contact us.

  • Database Cleanup

    Today Web Services has implemented some new strategies for cleaning up the database.

    On the Form and Survey building tools you will see far fewer results on the "My Results" listings screen.  Why? 

    Every time you stop and start a form or survey there is an entry added to the "My Results" listing screen.  In many cases there is no data associated with these entries.  So each night Web Services is going to delete those "empty" results.  This will free up enormous amounts of disk storage.  It will also improve our backup process for the database as well as improve performance. 


    Lance Campbell 

  • Database Migration Complete

    Web Services has completed our migration to a newer version of our database. If you experience any issues please let us know via the URL below.

  • Database upgrade - all services will be impacted

    Web Services will be upgrading our database on January 2nd.  During the upgrade all services will be down.  We hope to have everything working by 8:00 am.  But there is always a possibility that we may run into an issue.  If the Toolbox is down then we have not completed the upgrade.  Please do not send emails if the Toolbox is down.  Once the Toolbox is up if you experience issues then feel free to email us.

  • Database Upgrade (week of Nov 9)

    Web Services will be upgrading our database on Wednesday morning. Below is the impact that this will cause to our services this week: 1) Today, Monday November 9th, we will be pushing out changes to many of our services. There should be no noticeable changes or interruption of service. 2) Tomorrow, Tuesday November 10th, from 5:00 am to 6:00 am our services will be down intermittently. We are making minor changes to our current database prior to the upgrade on Wednesday. 3) Wednesday November 11th, from 5:45 am to 7:00 am we will be upgrading our database. During this time most of our services will be down. If you see any change to any of our services please contact us at: Thanks, Lance Campbell Project Manager/Software Architect/DBA Web Services at Public Affairs 217-333-0382

  • Directory Help

    If you've had questions about updating your information in the Profile Editor in the Illinois Directory, we're here to help. Check out this "How-To Use" pdf and see if it answers some of your questions.

  • Discontinued domain name -

    Web Services discontinued the use of the domain name over five years ago in favor of We have asked units on many occasions to replace this older domain name. We will officially stop supporting this domain Wednesday April 13th. Please scan your web sites looking for any reference to If you come across any reference to a CSS file similar to the below format feel free to delete it: Just give us a call if you need assistance.

  • Drag and Drop Added to Email+ and Blogs

    Web Services has added drag and drop functionality to Email+ and Blogs.

  • eCards Released!

    That's right: WebTools is launching a new series of enhancements starting with eight great ecard designs to help you promote your departmental events, announcements, and more. Use WebTools to personalize your greeting, invite your favorite groups and recognize the accomplishments of your faculty, staff and students with this easy new app.

  • Email+ automatic cleanup of bad email addresses

    Web Services made a change to Email+ allowing for automatic cleanup of bad email addresses.  Permanently blocked email addresses will be automatically removed from groups in the Group Manager.

    How do we identify bad email addresses? When an email address fails to be delivered due to particular error messages the email address is stored database table.  Also stored is the number of times it has consecutively failed to deliver.  If an email address sends successfully it is removed from the database table.  However if the number of failed attempts reaches eleven the email address is blocked.

  • Email+ coping now includes Groups

    When you copy an email within Email+ we now also copy the groups.  This is to allow people to set up email templates.  We do not copy groups for FACTS based emails.

  • Email+ Enhancement

    Web Services has made a minor change to Email+ today.  When you go to the My Emails tab, if there are emails being delivered, you will see this message at the top of the screen:

    There are currently ### individual emails queued for delivery.

    This is a busy time of year.  Please be patient when sending emails.  Also please don't wait until the last minute to send an email.  Otherwise you will have to wait on others.


  • Email+ Enhancement

    Web Services is pleased to announce a series of enhancements to Email+.  These enhancements are designed to protect you from accidentally sending out emails with errors.

  • Email+ Enhancements

    Web Services has reworked Email+ to make it more user-friendly. Here are a few of the enhancements the Web Service team has made...

  • Email+ Enhancements

    Two new enhancements to Email+ have been released. 1)  A date range has been added to the "My Archives" tab.  By default the My Archives tab will only display archives from the last two calendar years.  2)  A new Email type of "TED" has been added for units sending emails through the Foundation.  TED is the replace for the FACTS database. 

  • Emailer, Group Manager, and Short URL Enhanced

    Web Services enhanced the Emailer and Group Manager based on requests from WILL.

  • Emailer - request spam digest

    The Emailer's help has been update to include a link that will trigger the CITES spam filter daily digest (help tab found on the right hand side of the screen). We added this based on feedback from a user at ATLAS. When testing emails if they do not appear in your inbox or junk folder simply press this button. Next check the digest to see if your email was caught by the CITES spam filter. On the help screen we include suggestions on how to minimize the chance of your email getting caught by spam filters.

  • Emailer skin migration complete

    All HTML email and eNewsletters skins, approximately 250, have been updated to display properly in Outlook 2007 and 2010.

  • Email+ has four new enhancements

    Web Services pushed out four enhancements to Email+ today, Monday 9/28/2015: Archive Newsletter editing, URL checking/labeling, URL Corrections after email is sent and Subject can use mail merge variables.

  • Email+ Image Captions Added

    Email+ now supports for captioning for images.  Both "large" and "custom" images can include a caption.  Captions may be aligned left, right, or center. 

    As a reminder "large" images are automatically resized to 270px wide when uploaded.  This proved to be the optimal size for all device types. 

    "Custom" images are sized by you (in pixels).  If custom images are aligned left or right the content will wrap appropriately.  If aligned center content does not wrap.



  • Email+ image width change

    Email+ has suspended support for custom image widths.  Percentages can no longer be used.  They were proving to be too inconsistant when displaying in Oullook and other email clients.  Only pixel values are now suppported in Email+.  There were a few emails in the process of being created that had used percentages, those percentages were converted to "300px".  A message has been been posted in Email+ to remind users to review images if custom sizes with percentages were used.


  • Email+ Mail Merge Preview

    Web Services has added to Email+ the ability for users to preview emails when using the mail merge feature.  In order to preview emails you must have a group selected on the General tab.  A variable must be found within either the subject, email message or skin.  If you have met these requirements then the Preview tab will display a list of emails addresses found within your group.