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Solved

Outlook HTML Form Challange

Posted on 2003-02-26
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Medium Priority
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
Hello, due to the scope of this problem I tried selecting the category I thought I'd have the best response from - if I misplaced this and it bothers someone then  *sorry*.

I have a VB application that uses the IP Works smtp and mime components to create an HTML form to be sent as an email.  I have a sql table of companies and their information - such as address phone numbers etc.  I create customized emails for each company selected and email them an HTML form with the text form fields value set to their current information in the database so when they open the form in their email they see the web page form with the information in the fields and a submit button at the bottom.  They can update their information and click submit and the page is posted to my web server and their information updated in the database via asp and a thank you page displayed. (btw I'm testing in outlook for email client)

THE PROBLEM:
Two issues...
1) After clicking submit they close the email and it ask if they want to save changes - I suppose because they receive and open the email they make changes in the original email I sent them...  Is there any way around this?

2) They can edit any of the information in the text fields, work with check boxes and radio boxes etc just like any web page - except that they cannot highlight text and press delete to delete it.  I'll clarify:  They can select the text in a text form field (highlight it) and hit the delete key nothing happens.  Pressing any other key - like the space bar, any character number etc. causes the highlighted text to be replaced with what they type as expected within the windows environment but why the delete key disabled?  I assume again its because they are essentially reading the email I sent to them and editing what I sent them caused headaches - but this is a form it should know better right?

Any suggestions would be very appreciated.  Thanks for your time,

Scott Carullo
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Question by:carullos
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14 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:webwoman
ID: 8026521
Put the form on your web, as a server side script (ASP, PHP, JSP, whatever you use). Send a LINK to that page, with a querystring that identifies the specific user and allows the page to be customized for them, based on the info in the database.

No Outlook problems, no edit problems, no send problems, no mail client problems.

I've used this for customized surveys, and it works very well. Everybody can use it, you can even track who's responded (because you save all the responses in a database table) and send reminder emails to those that haven't.
0
 

Author Comment

by:carullos
ID: 8026619
Thanks for the input.  We used to do it this way but it was found that you loose a good percentage of the responses because you immediately force the user to take two steps to view what you sent them instead of one step.
Open email there is the cool information (look at this)
vs
Open email and try to entice them to go check something out (go here to see this)

That may be the ultimate business decision - whether to sacrifice a bit of useability for more responses.  Ultimately the number of responses take precedence.

I need to know, and am asking here, is it technically/programatically possible to overcome either of the issues I posted.  After that is 100% certain the business decisions can follow.

Thanks again for everyone who provides input and/or suggestions to resolve these issues.

Scott Carullo
0
 
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

by:
webwoman earned 160 total points
ID: 8028193
No. It's not possible. The behavior you're getting is built into the mail client.

You said the form works -- have you tested it from outside your company?
>>I create customized emails for each company selected and email them an HTML form with the text form fields value set to their current information in the database so when they open the form in their email they see the web page form with the information in the fields and a submit button at the bottom.  

Because outside your company there ISN'T a connection to the database.
0
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LVL 14

Assisted Solution

by:Esopo
Esopo earned 160 total points
ID: 8045757
I can fully relate to your aproach carullos, it is very certain that if you want to get the most out of responses, you can hardly expect people to go for something they can't see.

Also, it is true that you can't play with Outlook from within the email content, that would be a mayor security issue.

My suggestion is, (this is my MO) send an email with the most relevant information and a huge attemp to get their attention and them find a way to make them go to the page in your server.

Is true the users will have to 'fetch' for the suscription page, but you have a better shot.

Also, since you already did a great job putting togheter a database of your clients, perhaps you could do something that looks like what you did in the first place:

*****************************
Dear user,

Charm Enterprises
Wellington 312
Miami, Florida

Click -here- to register, or,
Click -here- to edit your information
*****************************

This way, you can have them register with the email like you wanted them in the first place, and they will also be able to change their info (taken to your site with the link), once they are interested in registering.

I think this final aproach could do the trick.

Best regards.
0
 
LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:memerot
memerot earned 80 total points
ID: 8058961
If having the form on your server works, can you have the html email be just a frame pointing to that page?  I've never tried to send a frame in an email, just a possibility.
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 9115200
This question has been classified abandoned. I will make a recommendation to the
moderators on its resolution in a week or two. I appreciate any comments
that would help me to make a recommendation.

<note>
Unless it is clear to me that the question has been answered I will recommend delete.  It is possible that a Grade less than A will be given if no expert makes a case for an A grade. It is assumed that any participant not responding to this request is no longer interested in its final disposition.
</note>

If the user does not know how to close the question, the options are here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help/closing.jsp


Cd&

0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Esopo
ID: 9126000

If my comments did not help I don't want points for this question.

Regards,


Esopo
0
 

Author Comment

by:carullos
ID: 9126072
Hello...  Sorry about leaving this here.  I have so many things going on I haven't had a chance to try everything.  Nobody told me anything I didn't already know except for the idea of trying a frame within the email - which was a good idea to try, but we need all the data in the email like it is.  I just wanted to know if there was a way and apparently there is not - as suggested by several.  Since there is not a way to do this or noone has provided the answer then I will let you handle closing this however it is appropriate - I'm not sure in the protocol here.

Thanks for the inputs I did receive and for taking the time to try and help...

Scott
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 9306216
carullos,

Thanks for rcoming back to the question.  Unfortuantely, the answer to some questions is "you can't".  When that is the case, the question is considered answered, even though we would prefer that there was a better answer.  So I will make a recommendation based on that.  However, it is your question; so you do not have to accept my recommendation.  If you don't take any further action.  It is probable that the moerator will implement my recommendation.

It is time to clean this abandoned question up.

I am putting it on a clean up list for CS.

<recommendation>
points to webwoman

</recommendation>

If anyone participating in the Q disagrees with the recommendation,
please leave a comment for the mods.

Cd&

0
 

Author Comment

by:carullos
ID: 9355957
Thats a bunch of crap....

I took the time to evaluate each answer - to come back here just to be fair and close this out and you go undo what I took my precious time to do....

I gave each some points because they each had good ideas about how to approach the problem.  Frankly I got a lot more out of the other two answers that the "You can't one" whether that is the conclusion or not.  There are many ways to handle the challanges I had and you took points away from people who spent their time giving me some good advice - advice they should have been rewarded for.

You go change whatever you want - but the points should have been distributed the way I distributed them.  I'm not sure where you get off with this vindictive grading BS.

You must have had a recent case of head swellage because you can override what hard-working people trying to get a quick answer to a difficult problem decide for themselves.

I hope you feel like an idiot after you read this.  I am truly dissapointed that you inserted yourself into the middle of something you should have stayed out of.  For those of you that assisted me *Thank You* sincerely, I know you did not have to take your time to send me your suggestions but you did.  Sorry Netminder decided your time was worthless - I do not share his/her opinion.

Scott Carullo - Close this out, I will not be coming back to read your comments Mr./Ms. Netminder.
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:webwoman
ID: 9355992
So why even choose it as an answer at all, if it was so crappy? You didn't have to.
0
 
LVL 53

Expert Comment

by:COBOLdinosaur
ID: 9357600
Good Job Net!

Cd&
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