Message content integration

Symplify offers many different options for integration, both for your recipient data and for your actual message content. And you can pick the apples that suits you!

Personalization with placeholders​

Placeholders are the most common method for creating personalized messages. The only thing you need for this solution is an updated database. 

Placeholders in Symplify are built with handlebars, this method enables you to simply fetch recipient data and render it in a message, e.g. "Hello FirstName". You can also transform the output to something completely different, e.g. if a contact has more than the value 100 (points) stored in an attribute, the handlebar can render "Goldmember"

Read this article to learn more about personalization with handlebars


Content integrations

By setting up message content integrations you can get rid of unnecessary copying and pasting. The integration will instead fetch the content you want from other services, e.g. your website or blog.

You can select to connect content during design time and/or distribution time (explained below). You decide what content you want to use. 

Design time content integration​

The most common way to create and edit message content is to manually add/edit texts, images and links in the message editor. By working like this you are in complete control of all the content and how it is added and affecting the result before you send it out.

But to your help you can add feed blocks, fetching content into the message when you're editing. When added a feed block into your message you can then edit the imported content manually.

Feed blocks can be predefined, which will fetch a number of articles/items with a given layout, or searchable for you to find specific articles/items when editing the message.

The preferred format for this data is JSON, RSS or structured XML data.

Get in touch with your Symplify Success manager to learn more!


Dynamic distribution time content integration

Distribution time content is dynamic content that can be individualized for every contact. The data will be retrieved when the message is sent, so if you need data that is as updated as possible (e.g. current weather at the recipients location) this is the method you should use.


Dynamic content Setup

Symplify will cache queries with the same parameters e.g. if all recipients has the same destination only one query will be sent to the 3rd party system. As this puts less strain on both Symplify and your system you may want to structure your queries so they minimize the load.

Data retrieval

To use dynamic content you need to be able to publish your data on a public URL accessible by Symplify. The URL cannot be password protected so if you want to keep the data secure you can limit access to so that only IP’s from Symplify's net can use them.

For Distribution time content we prefer data formatted with JSON. For backwards compatibility we can retrieve data in XML, but this method is deprecated and may be removed in a later version of Symplify.


​Implementing Distribution Time DC with handlebars.

For a detailed explanation of Symplify handlebars, please read this article.

A normal handlebar will pull data from the contacts data or previous message history. You can for instance pull the contacts first name using the tag {{contact.firstName}}.

Contact scoped dynamic content is implemented using handlebars in the content block.

​If you want to use a contacts data in order to retrieve data from a 3rd party system you do this by creating links to the external system with the {{#dynamicHttp}} tag. The request to the external system will be populated with the contacts data and the data retrieved can then be used to render the block in the message.

Dynamic content uses handlebars ( syntax, with a few custom handlebars helpers.

The syntax of the dynamic request helper is:​

{{#dynamicHttp “ ” true|false true|false}}

Default data

The first true/false statement in the end tells Symplify how important the external data is for the message. Sometimes you may not want to send the message if the request doesn’t return any data, and sometimes you can send the data with some default info instead. If the flag is set to false the message will not be sent if bad data is returned.

The second true/false statement has the same functionality, but only when the message is opened using the “Open in browser”-url.

Add the code into a snippet and place the snippet handlebar in the email draft where the returned value should be displayed.

Example Code

Below is an example based upon a dynamic integration with weather service

The forecasts will be based on the value of the city attribute in this case.

So when you include below link with the recipient property parameters named {{}} and {{contact.lang}} and send it in an email to your recipient list, it will automatically bring in and render the weather forecast per recipient.

This example return the weather on the contacts destination in the contacts language.

{{#dynamicHttp “{{}}&format=json&num_of_days=5&lang={{contact.lang}}&key={{USE_YOUR_OWN_KEY}}” true true}}

This content is rendered using Handlebars syntax.

{{#if data.current_condition}}
Current temperature is {{data.current_condition.[0].temp_C}} C <br />
Default data


This gets rendered if dynamicHttp request or rendering failed. 



You can use the dot syntax to retrieve any of the data elements and insert it into the message.

In the example the return data has the following syntax.

{ “data”:
{ “current_condition”: [
{“cloudcover”: “0”,
“humidity”: “80”,
“observation_time”: “09:52 AM”,
“precipMM”: “0.0”,
“pressure”: “1024”,
“temp_C”: “2”,
“temp_F”: “36”,
“visibility”: “10”,
“weatherCode”: “113”,
“weatherDesc”: [ {“value”: “Sunny” } ],
“weatherIconUrl”: [ {“value”: “” } ],
“winddir16Point”: “W”,
“winddirDegree”: “260”,
“windspeedKmph”: “6”,
“windspeedMiles”: “4” } ],
“request”: [ {“query”: “Stockholm, Sweden”, “type”: “City” } ],
“weather”: [ {“date”: “2015-03-05”, “precipMM”: “0.0”, “tempMaxC”: “3”, “tempMaxF”: “37”, “tempMinC”: “-1”, “tempMinF”: “31”, “weatherCode”: “113”,
“weatherDesc”: [ {“value”: “Sunny” } ],
“weatherIconUrl”: [ {“value”: “” } ],
“winddir16Point”: “NW”,
“winddirDegree”: “309”,
“winddirection”: “NW”,
“windspeedKmph”: “15”,
“windspeedMiles”: “9” }


Implementing Distribution Time DC with XML/XSL

NOTE! This method is deprecated and is only available for backwards compatibility. We strongly suggest using the method described above as it is easier to implement and maintain.

The first thing to do is to provide Symplify with an URL where data can be fetched, and an image of how the rendered data should look. Based on this Symplify will produce a special block in your template that will be used to render the data into email-ready HTML. Below is an example of a well formed XML that can easily be translated into a block in Symplify.

If you include multiple items in the XML, Symplify can either render all of them or place them in individual blocks that can then either be deleted if they are redundant or they can be associated with a filter so that only a subset of you contacts will receive the block.

The XSL part of the code is stored with the placeholder. Please contact Symplify support ( to learn more on how we can help you with this.

{{dynamicRss <ID_OF_XSL_PLACEHOLDER> <URL_TO_RSS> <true|false>}}


The boolean at the end is used to determine what should happen if the RSS feed cannot be read or parsed correctly.

If true, the message will be created but with a blank space where the content should have been placed. If false, no message will be generated.

Example Code

A combination of XML (the rss data) and a stylesheet ( XSL) with produce the final HTML that will be placed in the message. Examples:


<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
<title>Example feed</title>
<description>A feed with nice formatting</description>
<title>A headline or title</title>
<![CDATA[Lorem ipsum & dolor sit amet]]>
<pubDate>Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:59:58 +0100</pubDate>



<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<?altova_samplexml carma_follow_email_v1.3.1.xml?>
<xsl:stylesheet version=”1.0″ xmlns:xsl=””>
<xsl:output method=”html” omit-xml-declaration=”yes” indent=”yes”/>
<xsl:template match=”/”>
<xsl:apply-templates select=”data/channel/item”/>
<xsl:template match=”item”>
<table width=”100%” cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ style=”width:100%;” border=”0″>
<td align=”left” valign=”top” width=”1″>
<a href=”{ink}” taret=”_blank” alt=”{title}” title=”{title}”>
<img src=”{image}” alt=”{title}” title=”{title}” style=”display:block;”/>
<td align=”left” valign=”top” width=”20″>
<img src=”” style=”white-space:nowrap;display:block” alt=”” border=”0″ height=”1″ width=”20″ />
<td align=”left” valign=”top”>
<font style=”font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:28px;font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none;font-style:normal;mso-line-height-rule:exactly;line-height:40px;color:#000000;” class=”H1″>
<xsl:value-of select=”title”/>
<br />
<font style=”font-family:Arial, sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:normal;text-decoration:none;font-style:normal;mso-line-height-rule:exactly;line-height:20px;color:#000000;” class=”P1″>
<xsl:value-of select=”description”/>
<br />
<br />
Published on: <xsl:value-of select=”substring(pubDate,0,17)” />
Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful