University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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

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  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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+ 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.



  • 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.

  • 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.



  • 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! 

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Issue resolved with large PDF reports

    The Web Services Form Builder and Survey Builder tools were having trouble generating large PDF reports.  We are pleased to say this issue has now been resolved.  Users should be able to generate any size PDF report without experiencing any issues.  Apache's newest PDF generating software has fixed the issue with exceptionally large files.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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 

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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 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.

  • 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+ Reporting - Open Email Counts

    We changed how Email+ calculates open emails.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Maintenance on May 29th and 30th

    Web Services will be performing database maintenance on May 29th from 4:00 am to 6:00 am.  Also tentatively on May 30th we plan to upgrade our file server from 6:00 am to 7:00 am. 

  • 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+ 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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:

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Profile Editor New People Management

    Web Services completely changed the process for how groups of people listed in the campus web directory are managed in the Profile Editor. 

  • 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 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.