Mailchimp testing results

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Posted on: August 9, 2019

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Larry Yudelson, a longtime reader of this blog has a commercial Mailchimp account and offered to let me use it to test nightly emails for the blog.

I get one test per day. Reminds me of the punched cards days of mainframes, only worse. Turnaround generally was less than an hour back then. It's okay though, I find it somewhat relaxing to consider Mailchimp only once per day.

Here's a link to the email for yesterday's blog posts. I'm not sure how long that link will work, so here's an archived copy and a couple of screen shots.

A few notes follow.

  • I have been able to fix a bunch of the problems using CSS. But some I can't fix because they put the styles inline. No way to override those as far as I know.
  • If I could I'd get rid of the top two items. They repeat info included elsewhere. They're the kind of noise people rightly skip over. I like to take that kind of noise out.
  • They chose a really ugly color for links, and hard-code the font for headlines.
  • It's funny however that some of my overrides work when I view the email in the browser, vs in GMail. In GMail their styles dominate. In the browser, mine do.
  • The way my email address appears in the By line abuses the <author> element in RSS. If I wanted it to link to an HTML page about me, instead of providing my email address (a real mistake), I would have to break the <author> element. That's fucked up. They should have a namespace that calls for exactly what they want and not force people to break RSS to get a good result. Interop isn't any use if people don't respect it.

Anyway, I can't make it perfect, but I can make it okay. I'm thinking of trying another service that has an API and see if I can make it perform better. They do call this blog Scripting News after all. 💥


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