Joomla email : SM2 email newsletter extension

Friday, 04 April 2008

Finding a Joomla! email extension to fit your purpose is not as easy as you may think. I've debugged YANC last year and I still remeber the feeling. Fortunately, I've come across a reliable, profesionally written and supported newsletter extension(component). It's called SM2 Email Marketing, and it also works with J! 1.5 since early april 2008.

SM2 Joomla! Email newsletter extension features:

First things first. A Joomla email extension must send emails. SM2 does it reliable, with queue and burst management so you won't get timeouts or server problems(such as heavy load or email sending being blocked because of large lists). They took care of memory limits , timeouts, and all the other tech details that may go wrong. All this and many more other optins are configurable through the admin panel.

Aimed at marketing professionals, provides statistics, double opt-in, and an unsubscribe mechanism to comply with advertising/commerce/antispam laws 

HTML templates with replaceable variables (e.g. "[DATE]" would be replaced with the current date when sending)


List management, and most important, list import from CSV, Community builder fields, Docman, VirtueMart. You can even include regular content items in your newsletter, in a blog-like fashion


Bounce management so you won't spent useless time and resources sending to invalid email addresses 

Newsletter tracking (in HTML mode, you can see how many of your readers opened the newsletter in full <i.e with images>). Statistics show messages sent, bounced messages, and even piechart graphics.


Newsletter archive allows users to view archived news bulletins in your site frontend.


You can send multipart email messages (with both HTML and plain text), or text only messages if you're concerned about graphic filters or spam filters.


 Best things in life may be free, but SM2 Joomla! email newsletter extension comes with a price tag. I, for one, would call it well-spent money. (around $80). You get tech support for this, and I have a hunch you'll even get news bulletins with the latest updates. ;)

Of course, the SM2 team provides templates, a subscription module(which you can include with "mosloadposition"(enclosed by {}) wherever you like in content items and other mambot-supporting components), and other utilies under the GPL .

 The only downside I can think of is the licensing system. Being a commercial component, the team had to encrypt a tiny bit of the code with ioncube. Apart from that, you can easily alter 99% of the PHP code to fit your needs. So your hosting must provide dynamic loading for PHP extensions or some other way of loading IonCube at runtime (php.ini or Safe Mode Off). PHP5 restricts extension directory , so you may have some problems with that unless your hosting already supports IonCube or the admins are kind enough to configure it for you. VBulletin forums use IonCube encryption, so it's a known, largely used and well documented software.

A developer's view: 

SM2 Joomla! email extension is coded with standards, provides language strings for easy translation and uses Joomla! language strings where appropriate

It's a real Joomla extension(component), not just a port or a clumsy adaptation. 

I also takes an OO approach, so it's easier to understand and more compatibles with other extensions in regard to namespace and $GLOBALS problems.

I managed to alter the extension so it includes frontend modules in the email template, but this may be subject to another post.

More newsletter resources(you might be interested in, especially if you are a newsletter template developer): 

A Guide to CSS Support in Email: 2007 Edition

 How to Code HTML Email Newsletters [HTML & XHTML Tutorials

Word 2007 HTML and CSS Rendering Capabilities in Outlook 2007 

Thank you for reading.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 04 April 2008 )


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