Getting started with JW Email stack

I’m aiming to get myself set up with Sendy and use @joeworkman’s Email stack with RW8 to produce regular great looking emails.

Getting started is a little glitchy so would welcome any general advice from anyone who has done this.

Specifically I am having a couple of problems when previewing the test email ( in full width ).

  1. The ‘Text Email’ pane is showing what looks like an error - ( see image ). If you know how I can fix this I would be grateful.

Screen Shot 2020-11-30 at 21.19.48

  1. I am seeing an ‘Email HTML’ pane and also a ‘Email CSS’ pane. Do I copy just the Email HTML into my Sendy template? Is the Email CSS redundant in this scenario?

Many thanks.

What version of Mac OS?

Did you set RW to use the email theme?

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Once you’ve built your newsletter in Email add the Inliner stack and preview.

Open Sendy and create new campaign.

Once the new campaign window is open click “Save and switch to HMTL editor”.

The campaign window will now change to the image below.

Remove the code from the new HMTL editor and put the HTML code from the inliner stack in its place. Now click save and switch to WYSIWYG editor.

Now add the plain text code from the inliner stack to the plain text box in Sendy.

That’s it. You’ve added the required code. You can now setup the rest of the campaign.

If when you move to the next page Sendy throws a fit and refuses to display the campaign correctly, it’s most likely you have left a link setup in Email without a URL. When you do this, the HTML code doesn’t seem the care, but the plain text causing Sendy to fall over. To test this remove the plain text code. If Sendy now works as normal again, just go back to RW & Email and fix the link with the missing code.

I use RW, Email and Sendy almost daily to send newsletters for clients. I’ve been using Email since it launched so kinda know it inside out. It’s quirky, some of the features/Stacks don’t work and the code it produces in increasingly Outlook unfriendly, so once you understand these issues you can work around them. But saying that, it’s still about the best newsletter creation tool out there, not just for RW but in general. I’ve used them all and they are all buggy, and most cost ten times the price of Email.

Email tends to produce better inline code than most. The code it produces is a bit bloated, but it tends to work better across more email clients than most, so it’s a worthy trade off.

Top Email tips…

  1. Call-out box doesn’t work too well across a lot of email clients, avoid.
  2. The margin and/or padding added to the bottom of a lot of stacks doesn’ty work in a lot of email clients, so always remove it and replace with the Spacer stack, which works 99% of the time for spacing things out.
  3. If you have two (or more) columns on the page and want to vertically align the content, use the spacer stack and set it to hidden on mobile.
  4. If you want to add padding/margin to the side of a block of content don’t use padding, it often won’t work. Just use the three col stack, setting the left and right col to 1, then the middle to 10 (or adjust accordingly). You now have a nice central bit of content with some space either side.

I’ve got loads of these tips, built up over a few years using the stacks almost daily. If you need to do anything, the chances are I’ve worked out a way to do it, so just ask.

I’m not for one moment saying I’m an expert or know the stacks better than others, but as I say, daily use for hundreds of commercial newsletters has taught me a lot about Email. So If a group of users want to have a video session about the stacks I’ll be pass on what I’ve learnt.


Hi Joe - it’s 10.12.6.

Many thanks for all this excellent advice - much appreciated - and encouraging to know I appear to have made a good choice. I’m hoping with a bit of help to overcome this initial glitch with the the error messages etc.

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I did.

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The main problem is that the Inliner uses PHP on your Mac to compile the final email HTML. Your Mac is pretty dated. It’s running PHP 5.6. The Inliner requires PHP 7.2 in order to function. I am pretty sure that Mac OS 10.13 is the minimum version that comes with PHP 7.

Thanks Joe. A quick search seems to indicate that it may be possible to get PHP 7.2 running on 10.12.6. Before I investigate that do you think this would resolve the issues I am seeing?

It may. I am 100% certain that it’s a PHP version issue. Getting a new version installed is not the ultimate fix. You would need to replace the system level PHP that Apple installs. This is the PHP library that RapidWeaver uses during preview.

OK thanks. I will give it a go and report back.

OK. I seem to have PHP 7.2.21 running OK.

Have followed instructions here

These include changing PATH to point at the new version.
However, as you suggest, RW is not looking where it needs to - ( the preview errors remain ) - so I wonder if I can make it look at the updated PHP version.

Can I change settings in RW or at system level to effect this?

Hope you can please advise Mr W and thanks.

I have requested this feature for a couple of years. I filed a request today after realizing your issue. It’s on the feature request list for RW9. It has a decent chance of making its way in. But that does not help you.

If you are technical… you may be able to symlink the system version of PHP to the version that you just installed. I don’t know if that will work or not though.

Why are you stuck at Mac OS 10.12?

OK thanks Joe. Taking the path of least resistance to resolve this sooner rather than later I would be OK to try the symlink idea. Would you please be so kind as to offer advice on the correct ls command and paths to enter?

If symlink doesn’t work I guess I would have to bite the bullet and look at updating the OS - which I didn’t really want to get into right now as things are generally stable and have a lot of work to be doing etc. Feels a bit ‘tail wagging dog’ to contemplate if you know what I mean… Anways - your further advice on ’ ls -s … ’ would be much appreciated and we’ll see how it goes. Thanks.

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