Apr 24, 2014

Code Editor Redesign, Lots of Templates Updates, More in v9.1

We know that our designer and developer customers have unique needs when it comes to MailChimp, and we hope our new release makes your workload a bit easier. Updates to the code-your-own editors, fancy new ways to manage and share saved templates, and some nice power-user features are rolling out with this version. Let’s get into it.

New template selection pathway

Selecting the template for your email campaign is a really important part of using MailChimp, and we’ve made some exciting changes to that process.

template selection basic

The new design makes it easier to see all the different types of templates you can select from. Basic, Themes, and Recently Sent campaigns are now just a tab away, and we’ve simplified the Code Your Own editors to make it easier for developers to send their custom-coded campaigns through MailChimp. More on that in a second.

Featured themes, search, and preview improvements

We’ve added a Featured themes section to show you some amazing themes and a selection of the new ones we’re constantly working on. We’ve also added the ability to search for themes. Now, if you’re looking for a specific theme, you can more quickly find it.

Template selection page

The Saved Templates page also got the same treatment, so you can now sort and search your saved campaigns to more easily find the templates you’re looking for. And the preview for all templates has been updated, too, so you can quickly see how they’ll look on a mobile device.

Campaign code editors

We redesigned the code-your-own editors to make it easier for designers and developers to send out their custom HTML. Both editors now resemble our email designer, with the preview on the left side and the editing interface on the right.

campaign_code_editor

The new code editor saves your changes automatically, and also lets you save your changes quickly with a keyboard shortcut (CMD+S for Macs, CTRL+S for Windows). And the new editor has a nifty full-screen mode for when you need some extra breathing room while making code changes.

full_screen

The Import from URL editor has gotten a complete overhaul, too. This is a powerful way to code custom HTML campaigns without having to worry about keeping your MailChimp code in sync with your local copy. For example, you can take an HTML file you’re working on locally, put it in your Dropbox’s public folder, and then put the file’s Dropbox URL into the Your email URL field. Switch over to your favorite editor, and make some changes to the HTML. Now, you can quickly switch back to MailChimp, hit the R key, and the HTML is automatically refreshed from your Dropbox file. Hooray!

campaign_url_editor

Eagle-eyed users may have already noticed that the Paste code and Import from URL editors both now include a comments tab. This will help developers collaborate and get feedback from their coworkers while they work on custom campaigns. We’ve also improved the comments UI a bit, and made the comments real-time—the comment count number used to update every 60 seconds—so that you can take action on them instantly.

campaign_comments_3

Template updates

Design and code editors

We’ve also updated the process for creating and editing templates. You can now edit the code from custom templates in the bottom navigation inside the template editor (Edit Design and Edit Code in the screenshot below):

template_code_editor

Sharing templates

When we released 9.0 a few weeks ago, we introduced the ability to save drag-and-drop campaigns as templates. (Finally!) But there was one problem: It was impossible to export those templates because, in addition to their HTML, they have an extra layer of data that made exporting them impractical. But now, instead of having to export and re-import a template, you can share it directly through MailChimp.

There are two ways to do this:

campaign_comments copy
  1. Share by email: Enter the email address (or addresses) of the people you’d like to share the template with, and MailChimp will send those folks an email with a screenshot of the template and some instructions. The end user will be instructed to click a button to accept the template, log in to their account, and voila! New template is in their templates section.
  2. Share by URL: If you’re feeling the open-source vibe and want to bestow your earth-shattering new template on the world, you can share it via a public URL to Twitter, Dribble, etc. Other MailChimp users can then click the link and add the template to their own accounts.
    Share email

A note on those shared templates: Once you share a template, the shared version and the original are not connected in any way. This means a template must be re-shared by its author and re-imported for you to see any modifications that may have been made. This way, the person sending the campaign has final say and no one will override each other’s work.

Power user highlights

Hotkeys

We’ve sprinkled in a few hotkeys to help you with actions you probably perform a lot while editing campaigns and templates. You can now tap 1 to open the preview mode for a template or campaign, tap 2 to send a test email, and tap 3 to push a preview to your mobile device. All these saved seconds here means more time hanging out at the pool, or exploring the deepest, dankest corners of open-source software, or hanging out at the pool while exploring the deepest, dankest corners of open-source software.

Editor split

Here’s a tiny change we think you’ll like: When you’re working on an email, the app now remembers the position of the split between the editor pane and the preview pane. And your preferences are remembered across editors, so if you’d prefer to see less preview when you’re editing code but enjoy the extra space when working on a drag-and-drop email, we’ll keep those preferences in place so you don’t have to fuss with the split every time you fire up an editor.

Coming up next

We’re developers, and we use MailChimp just like you do. So we know it’s important for developer tools to just "get out of the way" and let developers and designers do what they do best. We’ve got some interesting stuff in the works for our file manager, which should address a lot of the use cases of agencies, freelancers, and developers managing media through MailChimp. It’s almost ready, and we can’t wait to show it to you. Here’s a sneak peek:

file_manager