This E-mail Control Delivers
By Anand Narayanaswamy
Webmasters need to be in constant contact with the visitors to their Web sites; hence, data collection is one of the most crucial tasks ahead of them. For this purpose, they need to provide certain information, such as the e-mail address of relevant departments so that visitors can contact the concerned person for speedy resolution of issues. But over the period of the last few years, unwanted visitors, mainly spammers, have made a habit of tracing the displayed e-mail addresses and sending unsolicited e-mails. There is no other way for Web developers to protect against this than to implement a Web-based form through which they can collect relevant information from visitors and potential customers information which then can be transferred to the concerned departments in the form of an e-mail. Even though a Web-based contact/feedback form can be developed easily, it is essential to check the data entered by the visitors particularly that of e-mail addresses so you can contact them if required.
The .NET Framework provides a simple validation control which checks only the syntax of an e-mail address. But in a real-world scenario, it is essential to check the syntax and existence of the e-mail address of the visitor before the submission of the page. UltimateEmail by Karamasoft quickly and effectively checks the above mentioned parameters of an e-mail address by extending the default validation control one step further by implementing several key features.
Figure 1: Error message indicates that the specified username is not available for the supplied domain despite correct syntax.
The main feature of UltimateEmail is that it performs four levels of validation based on Syntax, Domain, SMTP, and Account. It has an option to load the address list from a range of sources, such as DataSet, DataTable, DataView, DataReader, Collection, Array, ArrayList, XmlDocument, a text file, or a comma-delimited string. Moreover, the product also includes support for mail-merge functionality, with which customized e-mail can be delivered to a list of persons using a template. Karamasoft provides with UltimateEmail a separate control for this purpose (UltimateEmailMerge).
With the help of UltimateEmail, you can specify the number of e-mails and the duration to wait between each e-mail batch process. This feature is sure to reduce the server load and ensure smooth performance of the mail server. An interesting feature of the product is that you can tweak the server-side Application Programming Interface (API) of UltimateEmail to validate e-mails in Windows Forms applications.
UltimateEmail uses a dynamic event handling mechanism to create log files which can be saved either in a file or a database. Moreover, UltimateEmail is XHTML 1.0 Transitional compliant and supports Internet Explorer 5, 6, and 7, as well as Firefox, Mozilla, and Opera.
UltimateEmail seamlessly integrates with two other products from Karamasoft, UltimateEditor (http://www.karamasoft.com/?component=UltimateEditor) and UltimateAjax (http://www.karamasoft.com/?component=UltimateAjax). While the integration with UltimateEditor enables you to send custom e-mail and newsletters to your customers for e-mail marketing campaigns, UltimateAjax allows you to validate an e-mail address without refreshing the whole page.
Karamasoft provides the required documentation in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and demo applications in both C# and VB formats. Even though the current documentation is enough for a beginner to get started with the product, I would suggest the vendor provide the documentation in HTML or browser-based help so that they can include all the information in a single file rather than several individual files. You can also access a live demo of all the sample applications, including that of UltimateAjax and UltimateEditor integration samples (along with their source code), at http://www.karamasoft.com/Samples.aspx?component=UltimateEmail.
I was impressed by the e-mail support provided by Karamasoft. I had reported a few bugs when I tested the product and the vendor rectified them within a day and e-mailed the updated library files, which enabled me to deploy the application as per the correct schedule. You can also access the support forum hosted at http://forums.karamasoft.com/, which will help you find answers to some of the questions posted by other users.
Using UltimateEmail, developers can not only hide their e-mail addresses, but also receive only legitimate e-mails from the visitors and customers along with the correct e-mail address of the visitor. They can also easily implement UltimateEmail into their existing applications with just a few lines of code. If you haven t developed any ASP.NET applications, be sure to plug in UltimateEmail when you do you won t be disappointed.
Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), works as an independent consultant and runs NetAns Technologies (http://www.netans.com), which provides Web hosting services based in Trivandrum, India. Anand also works as a technical editor lead for http://ASPAlliance.com. He runs http://www.Learnxpress.com, http://Dotnetalbum.com, and http://Csharpfaq.com. Anand is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing). You can explore more information about the book at http://www.communityserverbook.com. Find out more about him at http://www.visualanand.net or e-mail him at mailto:[email protected].
Web Site: http://www.karamasoft.com
Price: Developer Subscription, US$299; Enterprise Subscription, US$899