University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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

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  • Webtools 'Saved' Forms now listed

    Forms that have been "Saved to Finish Later" are now listed on the Sumbissions tab when editing your form.  The link to resend to the user isthere also.  The date is the original date the form was saved. 

  • Email Plus Users

    If you send emails via Email+ to Illinois and UIllinois email addresses please read the below announcement that was sent to the CCO list on the behalf of CITES Security.

  • Webtools Workshops

    Upcoming WebTools workshops:

    Tuesday, April 14
    10-11am - Email+ and Group Manager
    1:30-2:30pm - Forms and Surveys

  • Web Server Migration

    Today, Web Services concluded our server migration.  We are now running the campus web server and all software through the CITES campus load balancer.  We have also migrated to a new database and application servers.  During this migration we expanded the number of servers that process our emails to a total of five.

  • Email+ Phishing Error Message

    Web Services Email+ was unable to send out emails earlier today due to falsely identified phishing attempts. 

    The issue began around 8am and was resolved a little after 12pm.  CITES was able to solve the below issue.


    This was the original issue cited by CITES on the CITES status page.

    ISSUE: Email will not Send. Phishing error message displayed.

    The Campus Email Relays have begun suffering a processing error on filtering that is causing large volumes of email to be 'deferred'. Sending servers will see the 'try again later' response, although some applications are unable to handle that SMTP response. This appears to have begun in small amounts at 8am and increased gradually in scope. Complete scope and root cause are currently being researched and a support call with the software vendor is underway.

  • 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+ New Warning Message

    Web Services Email+ now has a new WARNING message.  When sending emails to users off campus, you will receive the below warning message if you do not use the opt out or unsubscribe feature. 

  • Server Migration

    Web Services will be migrating our WebTools servers to a new network zone over the next two weeks.  There may be service interruptions very early in the morning on the following days: Tuesday March 10, Thursday March 12, and Tuesday March 17.

  • Webtools Blog Conversion

    Web Services is preparing for the new Blog conversion.  Once this is complete your Webtools Blogs may look slightly different than they do today.  While the new Blog offers numerous layouts and designs it does not support the existing designs exactly.  Once the conversion is complete units may want to try out the new designs to see if they may meet your needs precisely.  Blog workshops will be offered immediately following the release.

    While the conversion process is underway units may still access their Blogs in the Toolbox to "Manage" posts or comments.  However Blog Setup will be unavailable for both editing existing blogs or creating new ones.  Blog skins in the Skin Designer will also be unavailable for editing.  If immediate editing in necessary during the conversion process please contact us and we will help you out.

    We hope to start the conversion process by the end of this week.  It should only take a few days at which time we will release the new Blog and open everything back up for editing.

  • Group Manager - Group Counts

    Group Manager group totals are recalculated once a day.  Click on the group total to get an up-to-date count.

  • 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.

  • 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! 

  • New Webtools Blog release schedule

    Web Services is excited to announce the upcoming release of the new Webtools Blog on Dec 1, 2014.  For several months we have been working on a completely new version of the Blog.  The result is an amazing point and click solution that supports numerous templates and layouts.  Whatever your publishing needs are, we are confident that the new Blog will meet those needs.  We listened to your feedback and enhancement suggestions and built a new interface that balances ease of use with a rich feature set.  It is fully configurable allowing you to enable/disable every part of the UI to your liking.  The new Blog will provide a responsive, mobile, accessible Blog that will display perfectly on every device type.

    On Dec 1 all existing blogs will be converted into the new system automatically, nothing will need to be done by any blog admin.  “Blog Setup” will not be available the week of Thanksgiving (Nov 24).  Blog Manage can still be accessed to manage any of your blog posts.  Blog Skins will also not be editable during the week of Thanksgiving.

  • Upcoming Webtools Workshops

    Upcoming WebTools workshops:

    Wednesday, September 3
    10am - Email+ and Group Manager
    1:30pm - Skin Designer

    Thursday, September 4
    10am - Calendar Tool
    1:30pm - Form and Survey Builder

  • On Campus WebTools Workshops at UIC


    Wednesday, August 20
    1:00pm - 1:30pm, Webtools Overview
    1:45pm - 3:00pm, Email+ and Group Manager
    3:15pm – 4:15pm, Form and Survey Builder

    Thursday, Aug 21
    9:30am - 10:45am, Email+ and Group Manager
    11:00am - 12:00pm, Blog (walkthrough of Web Services upcoming Blog Tool release)

  • Upcoming WebTools Workshops

    Upcoming WebTools workshops:

    Tuesday, August 12
    10am - Email+
    1pm - Forms and Surveys

    Thursday, August 14
    10am - Calendar Tool

  • Joining WebTools training

    Several WebTools workshops are being offered over the next two weeks beginning today.  PC users should use IE or Safari when connecting if you have Lync 2010/2013 installed. Firefox and Chrome have issues recognizing that Lync is installed and try to force the web interface on users who don't require it.

    How to join a workshop

    Todays workshop schedule
    10:00 am   WebTools Forms and Surveys
    1:00 pm     WebTools Skin Designer

    Login to the Toolbox


  • Form and Survey Skins

    Web Services has made a change how secure Skins. Skins that are used with secure content like forms must now be certified by Web Services.  On the "Applications" tab in the Skin Designer there is a link that will send a request to Web Services letting us know that you wish to have your skin certified for secure content.  Until the skin is certified it will not be available for use in the Form or Survey tools.  This does not impact skins for emails, calendars, blogs, etc.

  • View Counts

    Web Services will now begin using Google Analytics to track how many times calendar events, list articles and blog posts are viewed.  Initially counts will be updated once each day from the prior day's statistics.  We are working on a way to pull in the counts from Google Analytics during the day.  Ideally we will update counts once an hour or even more often. 

  • WebTools: Transfering Skins

    Web Services has released a new enhancement for the Skin Designer. Now you can transfer any WebTools being used by one skin to another skin. On the Usage tab enter the skin Id that you would like to transfer your WebTools to. Only WebTools that are supported by the new skin will be transferred. For example Surveys will not be transferred to an Email+ skin.

  • Sending "Test" emails from the Blog

    A "Test Email" button has been added to the General tab when adding a post to the Blog.  This will send a test email to you, and only you, so you can quickly see what your subscribers will get when you distribute the post.  This will be a valuable enhancement for anyone distributing posts to subscribers and using the Blog as a listserv.  The "Distribute" button will only appear once the post has been "published".

  • 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.

  • New Blog Enhancements

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Directory can now display college profiles

    Web Services now provides a way for colleges to insert their profiles into the campus web directory.

    The College of Engineering is currently using this new process.  Below is an example of someone’s profile that is being provided by their system:

    Below is a link to the document outlining how this can be done.  This does not require a programmer.  A webmaster can implement this via Dreamweaver or other tools.

  • 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 

  • 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.

  • Email+ Scheduling Enhancements

    Web Services has added two scheduling enhancements to Email+.

    1) You can now cancel a scheduled email up to one hour prior to its scheduled delivery.

    2) Scheduled emails can now be sent immediately on the "Send" tab with the new "Send Now" button.

    These enhancements were requested by our users.  You suggest it.  We add it.


    Lance Campbell

    Web Services

  • New checklist added to Email+

    Now before sending from Email+ you will be prompted to do a final check of all of your email settings.  On the Send tab simply click the "Final Check" button, verify that all of your information is correct, and send as usual.

  • Privileges WebTool Released!

    Web Services has released a new tool for managing your personal WebTools privileges.  The Privileges WebTool is found at the bottom of the left nav in the Toolbox. It was designed to help you manage and transfer multiple privileges at once. 

    • Transfer to a person
    • Transfer to a group
    • Remove your permissions
    • Even undelete some WebTools

    The Privileges WebTool will only display your personal privileges, it will not display privileges that were assigned to a group you are a member of.  Some deleted WebTools are available to restore for up to a year.  You may remove your access to any WebTool as long as there is at least one other admin.

  • WebTools Email+ Subscriptions released!

    Web Services in Public Affairs has released a new feature in Email+ for managing subscriptions.  Subscriptions automate the process of adding Subscribe, Unsubscribe, and Opt out links to your emails.  When creating a new email simply turn on any of the new features, choose your group, add your link text and message, and Web Services will insert your selected features into the footer of your emails.  No coding, variables, or knowledge of HTML/CSS is necessary.

  • WebTools Skin Designer Wizard released!

    Web Services in Public Affairs is pleased to announce the release of the Skin Designer Wizard.  In a few simple steps the new wizard will walk you through creating Ecards, Email+, and general purpose WebTools skins.  All skins created using the wizard will display properly in every device type: desktop computers, laptops, iPads, smart phones, ect.  Creating an Ecard can be as simple as snapping a picture on your phone, uploading it to the Skin Designer, and choosing your colors.

    To get started go to the Skin Designer in the Toolbox, click "New", and choose your skin type. 

  • New archive tab and sorting in Email+

    To accommodate the extremely large number of emails being sent in Email+ a new Archive tab and sorting functionality have been added.  On the "My Emails" tab only emails that have not yet been sent will be displayed.  Once an email has been sent it will be found on the "My Archives" tab.  On the "My Archives" tab emails may be sorted by name or date.  When sorting emails they may then be filtered by keywords. 

  • WebTools International Character support

    Two new enhancements to WebTools were released today. 

    1. International Character Sets are now supported in each of the WebTools.
    2. Unit and Department tabs include a search feature for quickly finding other WebTools created by your co-workers.

    Thank you for the suggestions, these new features are live and ready to use.

  • Email+ Wizard Released!

    Web Services at Public Affairs is pleased to announce the release of the Email+ Wizard. The Wizard will walk you through creating an email that will display properly on desktop computers, mobile devices, iPads, etc… It is as simple as choosing a skin, choosing a theme, and entering your message. Themes can be customized with your unit styles as needed.

    The Wizard supports anchors, social media, large images, thumbnail images, image overlays to indicate video, image/content wrapping, plus much more, all guaranteed to display properly on any device. Units can now focus on supplying the content, not on building, formatting, testing, and troubleshooting it.

    Email+ support will change with the new release. All of the current Email+ types will still be available for units that wish to continue to code their emails or create them in Word, however primary support will shift to the Wizard.

    Several workshops are scheduled, please join us for a walk through of the new Wizard. All workshops are online:

    Email+ Wizard workshops
    Wed, Sep 4, 10:00 am
    Wed, Sep 4, 2:00 pm
    Thu, Sep 5, 10:00 am
    Tue, Sep 10, 2:00 pm

    How to join on online workshop:

    Complete training calendar:

    Subscribe to all Web Services Announcements

    James Wilson
    Director of Web Services
    University of Illinois


  • New Campus URLs for WebTools

    The following new campus URLs have been added to WebTools:

    Each WebTool supports these new domains.  Thanks to UIC, UIS, and UA for creating these.  All WebTools content will continue to work on as it always has.  The new URLs are just an option for displaying your content while maintaining your campus domain.

    For converting your existing WebTools simply change "" to your campus URL.  For example, to implement the Springfield URL for the UIS campus calendar:



    If you are using widgets from the Calendar, List Builder, or Blog you may go to the General tab for those tools and select the appropriate URL for Web Services to use when generating your widgets.


  • New Text Editor Released

    A new version of the TinyMCE Text Editor has been released in the Toolbox.  This is a major release from TinyMCE.  It includes greatly improved functionality as well as a complete new icon set.  To find the icon you are looking for you may need to mouseover the icon and its name will display.

    Numerous configuration changes were required to implement the new editor.  If any odd or different behavior is experienced please let us know.  And please include the steps to recreate the issue.  Thanks.

  • Migrating from Bluestem to Shibboleth

    Web Services on the Urbana campus is migrating from Bluestem to Shibboleth for authenticating users into our systems.  Now when you go to login to the Toolbox or any of our other services you will first be prompted to select your campus.  Choose the appropriate campus and continue to login.  For more information about Shibboleth please see:

  • SiteMinder migration postponed

    Web Services had to postpone the migration to SiteMinder do to some authentication issues.  We did install the software on our servers but we will not begin using it until we can find a work around.  The primary issue is that there are people with identical user IDs in different active directories.  We will keep you posted.  We will not implement any solution that does not have our users' best interest in mind.

  • WebTools Skin Designer Help

    Web Services routinely helps units from all three campuses create and update WebTools skins in the Skin Designer.  The Skin Designer is how you apply your unit website look and feel to any of your WebTools.  Skins do require a good understanding of HTML and CSS to setup properly.

    We would like to again make the offer to all units at the university to create or update your skins based off of your unit website.  Each unit should have at least two skins, one for Email+ and one for all of the other WebTools (Calendars, Blogs, Lists, etc…).  Forms and Surveys can sometimes require an additional skin depending on how your website is setup. 

    Web Services is glad to help out with creating or updating these skins, just click Contact Us at the top right of the Toolbox.  Skins can usually be completed within a couple of days.  If you have existing skins that need to be updated or would like to request new skins please let us know.

    Creating and updating unit skins is completely free.  If you are in need of skins for a specific event or program there is a small fee.

  • WebTools Training

    Several workshops have been added to the WebTools training calendar.  All workshops are online, no registration is necessary.  Please join us for any of the workshops below:

    Thu, May 16, 10 am

    Form and Survey Builders
    Thu, May 16, 1 pm

    Email+ (converting Word docs)
    Tue, Jun 11, 10 am 

    Tue, Jun 11, 1 pm

    Thu, Jun 27, 10 am

    Form and Survey Builders
    Tue, Jul 16, 10 am

    Tue, Jul 16, 1 pm

    Complete training calendar:

    To join an online training session:

    More information about online training:

  • 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

  • WebTools Form and Survey workshop

    Today's Form and Survey workshop is being rescheduled due to technical difficulties.  Please check our training calendar for the new dates.

  • Word to Email+: Better than Ever

    New in Email+: File upload. And we now have a better way to convert your Word Enewsletters to Email+! Create, browse, upload, relink and send your emails with less hassles and less cleanup. Workshops demonstrating the process on March 26.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • New Widgets for List Builder

    Web Services has released eight new widgets in the List Builder. These pre-built widgets are designed to display images and photos on websites with style. They add interactivity and provide new display capabilities: from slideshows with an array of transitions to galleries with thumbnail navigation that can launch a lightbox slideshow.

  • New Short URL Tracking

    Web Services has added tracking to the Short URL tool.  Tracking allows you to know how many times a URL is selected.  To turn tracking on for existing Short URLs, edit the URL and go to the “Report” tab.  On the "Report" tab you can enable reporting.  By default tracking is turned off.  We supply two types of PDF reports: daily and monthly.  Daily reports span the last three months.  Monthly reports will cover all months since you turned on tracking.  If you have any questions feel free to contact Web Services.