University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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

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  • Workshop Practice: Forms & Surveys

    We've cancelled the workshop for Forms & Surveys for today, but Lance will be hosting Thursday Oct 13, 10:30-noon, Room 411 UOB. Join Lance as he walks through the process for these tools and get your questions answered.

  • 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.

  • 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
  • Webtools Workshops

    Upcoming WebTools workshops:

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

  • WebTools workshops

    This is a reminder that the following WebTools workshops are available tomorrow, Thursday June 7.  All workshops will be located at 507 E. Green, #411.

  • WebTools Workshop Reminder

    This is a reminder that WebTools workshops are being offered tomorrow, Oct 20.

  • 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.

  • 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: 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.

  • 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

  • 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:

  • 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. 

  • 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 '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. 

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Email+ Enhancements

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

  • 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.

  • WebTools Calendar "no event scheduled" message

    An enhancement was made to the WebTools Calendar to allow custom "no events scheduled" messages to be displayed.  To override the system default message go to Calendar/Setup, edit your calendar, add your message at the bottom of the General Tab.  This message will be displayed in all calendar web pages and widgets when no events are scheduled. 

  • WebTools Blog Release!

    Web Services in Public Affairs has released several new enhancements for the WebTools Blog. We’ve combined the Discussion Board and the Blog into one easy-to-use app, giving YOU one tool with multiple layout options for your homepage (including multiple homepages).

    Just go to the “Appearance/Homepage” tab (under Setup) and you’ll see these options:

    Post gives you the option to feature only your most recent post or consecutive posts;

    Summary shows you a directory of your posts, including title, thumbnails (if images are included in the post), and your introductory -- or short description;

    List has the same look and feel of the previous Discussion Board, displaying Titles in hierarchical order;

    Archive allows you to see all your posts in the order that they were composed and includes thumbnails when they are available.

    You designate the number of viewable posts for the homepage, and the archives as well. New sorting options allow the user to change the display to suit their needs. All elements have been minimally styled and set to inherit your CSS styling, but can be edited by CSS users.

    You can add images to your posts, and now we’ve added thumbnail images as well. These display in the Post and Summary views.

    On the Layout tab, under Appearance, you add gadgets on the side of your posts: Recent Posts, Archives, Categories, Tags or create your own. Categories and

    Tags let you define searching terms to help the user find your information quickly. These can be styled to match.

    WebTools Blog Workshops

    Workshops will demonstrate homepage selection and customization, building and styling of gadgets, tips and tricks for organizing, displaying, and distributing your Blog posts and comments.  Please join us for an online workshop.





  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Web Services Training

    Web Services training will be held this Thursday and next Thursday for the Calendar, Survey and Form Builder. Please sign up now while seats are still available. Lance Campbell Software Architect Web Services at Public Affairs

  • Web Services Notice

    This morning Web Services transferred almost all web content from one web server to another. If you experience any issues please contact us ASAP. Thanks, Lance Campbell Software Architect/DBA/Project Manager Web Services at Public Affairs 217-333-0382

  • Web Services Monday Morning Outage

    The CITES Data Center will be conducting a power infrastructure test this Monday, Nov 21st. This test will take place at 4:00 am for up to 90 minutes. In order to prevent data loss, Web Services will shut down all database driven services during the test. The campus web server will be up. Thanks, Lance Campbell Software Architect Web Services at Public Affairs 217-333-0382

  • Web Services Form Builder file uploading enhancement

    Web Services at Public Affairs is please to announce that we have modified how files can be downloaded from the Form and Survey Builder. Most of you know that the Form and Survey Builder has a question type that allows users to upload files. In order to download the files one normally creates a report and then clicks on each of the URLs within the report in order to download the files. This approach still works. But it can be tedious if a person has a lot of files that have been uploaded. In order to make this easier Web Services has added a new report type called "zip". A user creates a zip report just like any other report. The only questions that can be chosen are those that are of type file upload. Once the report is generated on the reports tab we provide a zip compressed file that can be downloaded that contains all of the files uploaded. If you have more than one question type with file uploading you will notice that the name of the file contains Q#. Where # is the number of the question. Please note that the Question # is the actual question number. If you happened to use no question numbering or custom question numbering then this number may not match what you have used. The reason for this is to ensure that the file has a name that works on all computers. Important NOTE: Normally we never delete reports that are created. In the case of zip reports we will delete them each day at midnight. So make sure to download them after creating them. You can always run reports again if you forget to download the zip file.

  • Web Services Form and Survey Builder Enhancements

    Web Services at Public Affairs has made a number of new enhancements to the Form and Survey Builder.

  • 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.

  • Web Services database upgrade on Wednesday June 15th from 5 to 7 am

    Web Services will be upgrading our database from PostgreSQL 8.4 to 9.0 on Wednesday June 15th from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. During this upgrade all of our web applications will be unavailable. This will not impact any JavaScript/Page Components used by web sites across campus.

  • Web Services Customer Satisfaction Survey

    Web Services in Public Affairs would like your feedback on the services we provide via the Toolbox. As we continue to look for ways to improve communications, share resources, reduce costs, and reduce duplicate solutions we ask that you please take a couple of minutes to fill out the following Customer Satisfaction Survey. We appreciate your feedback.

  • Web Services Calendar release notes

    The re-designed Web Services Calendar will be released Tuesday, January 4, 2011. There will be no impact on units. All URLs will continue to work and all skins will be updated for the new look and feel. Thanks to everyone that provided feedback on the new Calendar. And special thanks to the Calendar team consisting of Robert Slater, Hadi Rangin, Michael McKelvey, and Tim Offenstein. The team provided significant help with functionality, accessibility, and usability. And adjustments are still being made.

  • 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.

  • Web parameter passing available in the Web Services Form and Survey Builder

    Web Services has added web parameter passing to the Form and Survey building tools.


    How this works:

    1)      When creating a short answer question there is a new field labeled “Web Parameter”.  In this box simply put the name for the web parameter.

    When calling the URL to the form or survey add the following to the end of the URL: “?web_param_name1=web_param_value1&web_param_name2=web_param_value2”

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • URLs to be retired

    On Monday February 6th, Web Services will be retiring a series of URLs that were discontinued over five to six years ago.  Any URL starting with the below will no longer be supported.


  • Upcoming WebTools Workshops

    Upcoming WebTools workshops:

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

    Thursday, August 14
    10am - Calendar Tool

  • 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

  • Unsubscribing from CAN-SPAM

    In order to comply with federal guidelines regarding unsubscribing to CAN-SPAM Web Services has added a new unsubscribe feature.  Simply add the following link in your skins or your email message, the important thing is the variable “{UNSUBSCRIBE_URL}”:

    <a href='{UNSUBSCRIBE_URL}'>Unsubscribe</a>

  • Toolbox Workshops

    This is a reminder that several Toolbox Workshops are available this week. Please check our training calendar for details: All workshops are located at 507 E. Green #411 in the Urban Outfitters Building.

  • Toolbox training sessions

    The following training sessions are available this week. This will be the last Blog training until the summer when we release the re-designed Blog from Public Affairs. What: Survey & From Builder When: Wed, Mar 2, 10:00 - 11:00 am Where: #411 UOB, 507 E. Green What: Enewsletters & Group Manager When: Wed, Mar 2, 11:00 am - noon Where: #411 UOB, 507 E. Green What: Blog & Discussion Board When: Thu, Mar 3, 10:00 - 11:00 am Where: #411 UOB, 507 E. Green What: List Builder When: Thu, Mar 3, 11:00 am - noon Where: #411 UOB, 507 E. Green To register:

  • Toolbox Training and Consulting

    The following Toolbox training sessions will be offered next week. All training is free and provided by Web Services at Public Affairs. Calendar - Tue, July 20 1-2 pm Blog & Discussion Board - Tue, July 20, 2-3 pm Survey & Form Builder - Wed, July 21, 10-11 am List Builder - Wed, July 21, 11 am -12 pm eNewsletters & Group Manager - Thu, July 22, 1-2 pm Skin Designer - Thu, July 22 2-3 pm

  • Toolbox support for Safari discontinued

    Due to significant issues with Safari, Web Services has temporarily discontinued support for this browser. For accessing the Toolbox please use the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.

  • Toolbox refresh issue

    If anyone is having problems with the Toolbox please click the "refresh" button in the browser. Thank you.

  • 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.

  • 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.