MailChimp adds Mandrill Integration & Campaign Creation

We've previously written about a complete rewrite of the MailChimp module, and while our most recent changes aren't quite as big, they're significant enough that we want to share the details with the community.

Mandrill

Mandrill is MailChimp's new transactional email offering, intended to replace the MailChimp STS service. Rather than being based on top of Amazons SES, Mandrill is built on MailChimp's own infrastructure:

Mandrill runs on the delivery infrastructure that powers MailChimp, the world’s best email service provider.

The release announcement contains list of current Mandrill features, and there are many more exciting things coming down the pipe.

  • Uses MailChimp's awesome email delivery engine
  • Has a simple and powerful API
  • Allows simple sending directly using SMTP
  • Tracks opens and clicks
  • Automatically adds Google Analytics tracking data to your URLs
  • Has pretty, visual reports of your email results
  • Allows you to tag your messages and see your stats filtered by tag
  • Integrates with MailChimp's templating system, letting you export your MailChimp templates to Mandrill and use them in your transactional emails

The initial beta release of the Mandrill module is modeled closely on the STS version, but provides additional options like tracking clicks and improved graphical reports powered by Google Charts out of the box. Our roadmap includes:

  • Improved reports with filter and display settings.
  • The ability to target which types of emails to use Mandrill for, E.g., use Mandrill for the contact form but not password reminders.
  • Integration with MailChimp templates.

The STS module has been removed from the core MailChimp package and is available as a standalone project for existing users. It will not be actively maintained. New or adventurous users should definitely go with Mandrill and only use STS if you have a project that's already running it.

Campaigns

There's long been a demand to add the ability to create campaigns containing Drupal content from within Drupal and it's finally been added with the new 7.x-2.5 release, along with a very long list of improvements and features. The new MailChimp Campaign submodule, contained in the core MailChimp package, allows users to:

  1. Create a campaign.
  2. Send campaigns.
  3. View statistics.

The module adds an input filter, which is applied to every section in a selected template, which converts a macro in the following format into rendered Drupal content.

[mailchimp_campaign|entity_type=node|entity_id=1|view_mode=teaser]

We sought an approach that combined flexiblity with ease of use, sacraficing a bit of the former for the latter. But this lets users inject any Drupal entity, using any view mode, into a template section mixed with additional non-Drupal content. Users can also choose to create a campaign that doesn't contain Drupal content at all using this tool. It can also be combined with additional input filters to provide other formatting assistance.

When saved, the rendered content, along with the MailChimp list and other campaign data is sent to MailChimp and hung on a custom campaign entity within Drupal. New campaigns are saved as drafts and can be edited so long as they have not been sent.

Sent campaigns have statisics available, including graphical charts powered by Google Charts, similar to those used in Mandrill.

Summary

Aside from adding Mandrill and Campaign creation, and removing STS, there's a long list of improvements and new features, including improved Rules integration from @fago. We welcome any feedback, either here or in the queue. Thanks and enjoy the new features! <!--break-->

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