May 7, 2014

New File Manager, Link Checker, and a Little Fun in v9.2

These days, lots of different kinds of people love MailChimp’s easy-to-use features—and we love them, too. But we’ve got a soft spot for developers. MailChimp was originally built for developers, and we’re developers ourselves. It’s an audience we enjoy serving, and (like last time) one we kept in mind while working on the app’s most recent revamp. For this quick iteration, the File Manager got a big overhaul, and there’s a new tool to help you check links in your campaign. Let’s get into the details.

A new File Manager

For a while now, we’ve been hearing from folks that the File Manager is one of their most used MailChimp features. Agencies and freelancers managing accounts for clients store images, marketing material, logos, and more there. In fact, they’re storing so much stuff that it can become unmanageable. Not to mention the fact that the File Manager is not accessible from anywhere but the email designer, making it impossible to quickly get a file uploaded without going into a draft campaign. So we’ve made some changes.

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A fresh coat of paint

Viewing images and files requires plenty of space. If you remember, the File Manager used to be in a tiny, cramped modal window with hardly any breathing room. The new File Manager uses one of our fancy slide-from-the-top panes, so that it takes up every pixel of your browser’s window. This means you can see more files at once in the list view, and when browsing images in the grid view, they are easy to scan.

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Folders, filtering, search

By far, users’ most requested new File Manager feature was folders. Agencies, devs, and freelancers who manage multiple accounts were having a really hard time keeping their files organized. We heard you, and folders are now available in the File Manager. You can use them the same way you use folders to organize campaigns and templates.

Once we started thinking about how we could better organize files, we didn’t want to stop at folders, so we went ahead and built in filtering, sorting, and searching. You can quickly filter files by file type (images, documents, audio, etc.), as well as by who uploaded the file. You can sort files by size or upload date, and you can search for a file by name to get exactly what you’re looking for. As a bonus, these new features work in combination with each other—you can search inside a folder filtered by file type.

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File management outside the email designer

The File Manager is now accessible from a few places outside of the email designer. The first is on the Templates dashboard. Now you can quickly look at your files, upload new ones, rename them, and even copy a file’s URL to your clipboard if you need to use it somewhere else.

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The File Manager is also available within the new code editor. Before, it was almost impossible for developers using custom coded templates to use the File Manager for hosting. Now, you can access files quickly, and copy a file’s URL to your clipboard so you can paste it into a campaign or some template code with no fuss.

The new Link Checker

The most irritating part (to me, anyway) about sending a campaign isn’t writing it, or coming up with a nice design, or even thinking about the subject line. It’s checking those all those links that get sprinkled all over the place! It’s a tedious job to find every link (especially the pesky ones buried in images), and then you end up with a gazillion tabs open. Does this look familiar?

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This may be starting to sound like an infomercial ("you just set it and forget it!"), but I’m serious. I hate checking links, but email’s nature means that once you’ve shipped it, there’s no changing or editing anything. You have to get it right the first time. Our solution is the new Link Checker, located inside the email designer. It helps you find every link in your email and verify that they’re all valid and that they point to the proper place.

Once you open the Link Checker (if you use hotkeys, just hit 4) it will scan your campaign and build a list of every link. If you hover over a link on the list, the Checker scrolls to it and highlights it on the campaign preview side. This helps you identify what link you’re working on.

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Once you click on a link from the list, you get a few useful bits of information. First, the actual text of the link, so you have some context as to what you’re actually linking to. Also, the link’s URL, so you can quickly double-check that it’s going to the right place. Finally, you’ll see a screenshot of where the URL is pointing to, so you can triple-check where the link points.

Below the URL, you have the ability to edit the link. Say you’re linking to someone’s Twitter handle, and you changed the text of the link from “Gregg’s tweets” to “Fed’s tweets,” but you forgot to actually change the URL. You’ll see the URL is wrong, but the screenshot will also show you a different page from what you were expecting. Nice.

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Then there’s the dreaded dead link. These might be the result of a user-inserted typo in the URL, a website that’s down, or your secret hope that dogseatingbreakfastinbed.tumblr.com actually exists. (Spoiler alert: It does not.) Either way, Link Checker makes sure a URL actually works. If it finds a dead one, you’ll know about it.

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Wrapping up

We hope the File Manager updates and the Link Checker will give you some precious minutes (hours?) of your life back. When we use MailChimp, we suffer from the same aches and pains you do, and we love to hear about things we can do to make things easier. So let us know what you think!

(PS: We also sprinkled bits of fun throughout this release. When you find them, be sure to let us know in the comments. Some attentive customers have already tweeted about them!)