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Is Foundation for Emails 2 a good choice when creating a custom email newsletter?

Peach Loves Digital Heart Icon Posted: 10-08-2018

In this post, I aim to explain what Foundation for Emails 2 is and how it has helped me in my daily working life.


Having produced email templates for newsletters (I call them EB’s [Email Broadcasts]) I have looked through different solutions to create the perfect newsletter to send to a range of people/clients/subscribers etc. This includes the visual “make it from scratch” Newsletter creator in Mailchimp, and although are great… Don’t quite hit the requirements for the designs we create at Peach Loves Digital.


Then came along Foundation for Emails 2 (Previously Inky) (FFE2) – what a breath of fresh air. It allowed me to create a fully customisable EB and even better a fully responsive one… But Marcus, why is it so great? you ask

One Massive Annoyance

…Let me tell you why. One massive annoyance with creating emails for newsletters etc and getting sent out to the masses is…OUTLOOK!! Yes, Outlook really does like to cause issues, and has been the bane in my development career so far (that an IE to be honest). What I find usually happens when creating an EB is:


  1. You create your perfect email campaign template. You are ecstatic with how you have managed to make this button have a gradient…
  2. Now you run a test using your favourite email testing facility. Mine is PHPList.
  3. Your phone, tablet and Thunderbird email clients render the EB exactly as you want…YES! Then you test Outlook… The button is a solid dull brown colour, the images are skewed, stretched or not even showing correctly and the email body is not centrally aligned. GAAH!
  4. After banging your head against the keyboard or going to cry into your coffee you try to fathom out what on earth is causing Outlook to render the email incorrectly when the other clients are perfect.
  5. Start again (still crying in your coffee) and finally give up and send the email as text only to your subscribers, wasting hours and hours to create a perfect EB only to not use it.

Unfortunately, the above scenario is something I have come across many a time. That was until I got into Foundation for Emails 2 (FFE). As a web developer, I quickly learnt and understood the way just creating some simple code to centrally align the elements, style the text and show image’s through the EB efficiently even in outlook.

Foundation for Emails 2 - Peach Loves Digital

FFE has simplified my workflow at Peach Loves Digital.

The way FFE works is quite simple really. You code the EB like you would normally when creating a standard HTML web page (Using FFE’s specific coding techniques) and automatically, it will create a fully table-based (Yes Outlook uses tables instead of divs… 🤦) layout and what it can produce in a matter of minutes is enough to completely convert me to using it when building EB solutions.

With that said, there are a few bugs which happen occasionally and you need to debug to figure out what is causing the button to not be right aligned in Outlook for instance, but it is far less than what I was previously used to.


Now creating a standard EB, going through amendments and fully testing takes about 2.5 hours rather than 7.5+ with the old ways. Quite an impressive difference ey? This is good because when you are piled 5 EB’s hight to create, it makes things a lot easier to hit the deadlines if you can do it quickerAlthough is that giving me more workload? Hmmm!


So in conclusion, I highly recommend Foundation for Emails 2 from the Zurb group. They really have put the time and effort in to make your life as a developer easier when you have to create custom EB’s that you can’t do in the visual editors.

Marcus

Marcus is a Front End Web Developer for Peach Technologies. With over 8 years experience he has worked with many different Content Managed Systems such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress & Concrete 5. With a love for anything webdesign and long running moderator for the largest Web Design Forum on the web, Marcus has the knowledge in helping others understand development.

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