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 Email+ Enhancements

    Two new enhancements have been added to Email+: automatic reports and Name field variables.

  • Using Webtools Forms vs Surveys

    Webtools Forms and Surveys are very similar but with one important difference.  Surveys are anonymous, forms are not. To help everyone choose and use the correct tool Web Services will restrict keywords from being used in form names beginning Mon, Feb 18, 2019.

  • New My Emails tool helps spot phishing emails

    My Emails—a new tool available to faculty, staff and students—can help you distinguish between official messages from the university and phishing messages pretending to be official University of Illinois messages.

  • List Builder Retirement Reminder

    The List Builder is scheduled for retirement on Jun 28, 2019.  At that time the List Builder in Webtools will be unavailable and no new content can be added or edited.  Public Lists and Widgets will continue to work until the decomissioning of the service on Sep 27, 2019 

    LAS units Lists are being replaced by ATLAS.  Other units may contact Web Services.  If we can help we will, in some cases it is possible to convert Lists to Blogs.  In other cases it is not possible.   

  • Email+ Sending Sort Order Added

    Web Services has added a sending sort order to Email+.  This is to make sure that those who have shown an interest in receiving an email are considered first.  This will allow us to reach the right people in a timely maner.  Below is the sort order used:

  • Form and Survey Enhancements

    Web Services has added four new enhancements to Forms and Surveys. In addition, we will be implementing multiple other enhancements to Forms and Surveys in the coming months. 

  • Webtools Unit Admins

    Web Services can assign college- or unit-level administrator access to IT departments to help them manage Webtools privileges. These unit admins have access to a System tab that allows them to quickly find, edit, and transfer any assets created within their unit. To request unit admin access, complete a Unit Admin Access Request form.

  • Webtools Redesign

    Webtools has been updated with a more accessible, responsive design. Webtools' global interface has a new look and feel (header, navigation, and footer), and five of our fourteen tools have been redesigned as well. In the coming weeks and months we will roll out the other nine tools in the new design.

  • Webtools Blog Migrated to Amazon

    Web Services has completed the migration of the Webtools Blog to the Amazon Cloud.  Redirects have been put into place for all existing URLs. 

  • Internet Explorer Issue during AWS Migration

    Microsoft IE will not be available for Toolbox users until the end of the Amazon Web Services migration (a few months).  This is ONLY for Toolbox users, not for anyone accessing calendars, blogs, forms, or anything created in the Toolbox.

  • New Ecard Skins for the Holidays

    Web Services has created several new Ecard skins for the holiday season.

  • Drag and Drop Added to Email+ and Blogs

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

  • 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.

  • Webtools Update

    This morning Webtools experienced massive spikes on our web services.  These spikes affected performance and caused downtime for and all related services.  While Webtools are back online the root of the problem has not yet been identified.  We are continuing to troubleshoot the issue.

  • 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.


  • Streamlined Email+ design process

    Web Services is making it easier to create and send emails by streamlining the Email+ design process.

  • Forms and surveys optimized for print

    Web Services’ forms and surveys are now optimized for print. When you print a form or a survey, you will see the following enhancements:

    - High-contrast text without colors, shadows, or backgrounds
    - Graceful page breaks
    - Hidden headers and footers
    - Purposeful margins and font sizes

    In addition, content that is not meaningful in a print setting has been removed. These new print styles have been designed to work most effectively with Webtools’ Wizard Skins.

  • Webtools Outtage

    Due to an email harvest attack this morning Technology Services has shut off the data source for the Campus Directory.  Web Services made several changes to prevent harvest attacks in the future and has requested this access be restored. It is being considered.

    This block also affects the rest of our services and has caused numerous other problems that are still being experienced.  For instance any secure form, survey, blog, or anything secure will have problems when accessed.  Also the Toolbox is unavailable unless you were already logged in. 

    We apologize, we know this is a huge inconvenience.  We are waiting to hear back from Tech Services with a timeframe.

  • 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.

  • List Builder to Blog Conversion Update

    The List Builder to Blog conversion process is underway.  After a List is converted to a Blog you will get an email letting you know the process is complete.  If widgets were used the email will include a link to a page that needs one <script> tag updated.  After that the conversion is complete.  This process will be ongoing and may continue into the fall.

    List Builder Cleanup Reminder!

    Please take a minute to delete any old or unused Lists in the List Builder.  If you accidentally delete a List it can be restored in the Transfer Privileges Webtool on the "My Deleted" tab.  Thank you for helping us with this!

  • Email+ Reports and Terminology

    Email+ offers multiple reports for tracking any of the email sent, open click, bounce, delivered, and link activity. Reports can be ran for 18 months after the email has sent.  Email information is reported in several different ways so multiple reports may need to be ran depending on the information desired. 

  • Short URL Lookup

    A Lookup was added to the Short URL Webtool.  Search any Short URL for the domains you have access to.  Results will include Short URL name, url, creator, and id.  This information can be used to contact the owner if the need arises.  The Lookup can be found on the bottom of the "My Short URLs" tab.

  • 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.

  • Email+ Report: Sent and Blocked

    Web Services made a change to Email+ reporting.  The "Sent Confirmation" report (that shows exactly what happened with every email sent) has been split into two reports:  1) Sent and Bounces and 2) Sent and Bounces Detail.  To determine if an email was delivered or why it bounced use these reports.


  • 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.

  • What to expect next

    Over the next month Web Services is planning on implementing the following enhancements...

    1. Image Library
    2. Email+ Foundation Unsubscribe Change
    3. Calendar Location change
    4. Calendar Sponsor change
  • 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.

  • Testing your Email+ Links

    This is a reminder to test your links before sending emails in Email+. This can be done in two places.  1) On the Send/Final Check tab each link will be displayed for easy click/testing.  2) On the Links tab, you can also enter labels for your links that will appear when running reports.   After the email is sent the Links tab can be used to update any link if the need arises.

  • Group Manager Group Retention Policy

    The Group Manager will remove any Email group that has not been used in 18 months.  Once the group is removed it will not be able to be restored. This is a safeguard for our system as many groups are created as one offs, and have tens of thousands of users, or more. 

  • Webtools Form and Survey Builders Question Limit

    A change is being made to the Webtools Form Builder and Survey Builder tomorrow, Feb 3.  Only a maximum of 100 questions will be allowed in any form or survey.

  • 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.

  • Email+ view user emails

    Web Services released a new enhancement today for Email+.  On the Reporting tab, after an email has been fully sent, we now allow you to look up email address and then view the actual email sent to those individuals. This feature is available for 30 days after the email is sent.

  • Student Preferred First Name

    Many of you are probably aware that Web Services has mail merge features built into Email+.  When building a group in the Group Manager you can upload as many variables as you wish per email address.  Then you can reference those variables in your email. Some of you may not know that there are two very special variables that can be used with Email+, "firstName" and "lastName".

  • Webtools Demos August 16th and 18th

    This is an announcement that there is a series of upcoming Webtools online demos.  They are easy to join and no registration is needed.

  • 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:

  • Send to Friend Service Retirment

    Web Services has retired the Send to Friend service.  Send to Friend allowed users to click on an "Email" button in the Blog and Calendar which when then send the URL of the page to a friend's email address. 

  • 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.

  • Web Services Data Retention Policy

    Web Services will be changing our data retention policy relating to Email+ and the Calendar.  All emails sent via Email+ will automatically be deleted after five years.  This includes all reports, images, etc.  All events will be removed from the Calendar that are older than three years.  We are implementing these changes in order to save money and simplify our ability to add additional features.

    On May 1st we will start deleting all emails that are older than five years.  Please make sure to download any reports from these emails.

    Note: Please delete any data that is no longer need in order to save Web Services time and money.  Every little bit helps.

  • New Carousel Widget Released

    The Webtools Blog now offers a carousel widget for displaying a slideshow of images and content. Place a script tab in your webpage, add content/images to the Webtools Blog, and that’s it. The carousel will be inserted with the newest content as it is published. The widget is fully accessible, responsive, and customizable.

  • 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. 

  • Mailmerge Enhancement to Email+

    An enhancement to Email+ was released today to further support the mailmerge feature.  When using the Single Column Email Wizard a dropdown menu of all mailmerge variables will be found at the top right of the text editor when adding your content.  Groups must have already been selected on the General tab for this option to work. This new feature will be included in the Email+ workshop this Thursday at 10 am.

  • Webtools Training Demos this Week

    Tuesday, December 1st, 10-11am

    Tuesday, December 1st, 1:30-2:30pm

    Thursday, December 3rd, 10-11am

    Thursday, December 3rd, 1:30-2:30pm

  • Email+ Reporting - Open Email Counts

    We changed how Email+ calculates open emails.

  • 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.



  • Retirement of Email+ left-nav, right-nav, and two-column emails

    Web Services will retire Email+ left-nav, right-nav, and two-column emails on Jan 1, 2016.  These types of emails currently break on Android phones.  We are investigating alternative strategies for those types of emails and are hopeful we can come up with a solution that works on Androids.  More information will be posted as it is available.


  • Exporting Blog, Calendar, and List Builder information to send using Email+

    Web Services has released a new enhancement for sending emails of posts, events, and items from the Blog, Calendar, and List Builder.  All emails will now be sent from Email+ as sending emails directly from the Blog, Calendar, and List Builder is now longer supported.  Please watch the video for more details.

  • 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+ 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.

  • Group Manager Demos This Week

    This is an announcement that the Webtools Group Manager has been updated. There are 2 Webtools demos scheduled this week that will walk you through these changes.

    Tuesday, July 21, 1-1:30pm
    Thursday, July 23, 10-10:30am

    Joining a demo is easy and no registration is needed. Visit and tune in.

  • List Builder Retirement Status

    The List Builder is getting closer to being retired.  We are removing the ability to create new Lists. User should create new Blogs rather than new Lists.  Old Lists will continue to function as expected.