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Windows on the Web
The Making of WinMag's Tip of the Day

When we decided to create an electronic mailing list to deliver WINDOWS Magazine's Windows 95 Tip of the Day, we had a few products to choose from, including Listserv, ListProc and several shareware products. We chose L-Soft's Listserv because it's well established and, at the time, it was the only product with an NT version.

Our next step was to choose the computer on which to run our list-known as a list server. We chose an Intergraph system with two 100MHz Pentium processors and 32MB of RAM running Windows NT 4.0. This system is more than adequate for our 7,500-plus subscriber list, and it should handle our growing needs. If it gets bogged down, we can easily add another list server later.

Installing the Listserv software was a breeze. All we had to provide was our list server's domain (winlist.winmag.com), its node (the server within the domain, as in NODE.DOMAIN.COM), the postmaster's e-mail address and the password.

Next we made Winlist (the name we chose for our list server) able to communicate with the Internet. We did this by pointing Listserv to the SMTP relay host, which is a queue on the Internet that routes outbound messages to their destinations. The SMTP listener service-a fundamental NT component that's added during Listserv's installation-intercepts and processes inbound messages by grabbing them on port 25 (the standard mail port) before they reach the SMTP gateway. If the listener service fails to intercept a message-which would happen only if the server were severely bogged down-it bounces back to the sender.

To create the actual list, we used a sample list header found in Listserv's documentation, sending a list header to the server. The list header contains the name of the list, the list owner's name and the list's keywords, which set the list's parameters. An appendix at the end of the documentation explains which parameters each keyword sets and how you can change them to tailor your list to your needs.

We copied and pasted the sample into an e-mail message, made the necessary keyword changes and sent it to the server (listserv@winlist.winmag.com). We didn't have to put anything in the subject field because Listserv ignores this field. At this point, we had a fully functional mailing list.

Finally, we advertised the list on our Web site (www.winmag.com) and advised users to send an e-mail to listserv@winlist.winmag.com with no subject line and subscribe tips firstname lastname as the body of the message.

Windows Magazine, May 1997, page 308.

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