My Postcards Platinum Web Application (version 6)

Owner's Manual: Troubleshooting and Tips

  1. Common errors and how to fix them
  2. Restoring from backup
  3. It worked but suddenly stopped without any changes from webmaster!
  4. Spam and email security issues
  5. Using Dreamweaver to edit HTML templates
  1. Common errors and how to fix them

    Cannot read custom config file

    1. Your custom config file has am empty line in it - delete it.

    2. Set file permisisons as readable and writable for all (CHMOD 666).

    New config file added. Server outputs "Error 500" in preview.

    Check code on the composition page. In lines of code like this:
    <input type="hidden" name="config" value="magic1">
    you have to put only the name of config file WITHOUT the extension or path or URL.

    This is correct:
    <input type="hidden" name="config" value="magic1">

    This is wrong:
    <input type="hidden" name="config" value="magic1.txt">
    <input type="hidden" name="config" value="/path/magic1.txt">
    <input type="hidden" name="config" value="http://server.com/path/magic1">

    Colors and backgrounds are not appearing correctly

    1. You edited templates with WYSIWYG editor. As a result you may have for example such code:

    This is wrong:
    <TABLE border=2 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=5 <!--@bcolor--><font color="#800000">></font>
    This is correct:
    <TABLE border=2 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=5 <!--@bcolor--> >

    Solution is simple: edit templates only manually!

    2. You added quotation marks to bcolor and fcolor tags.

    This is wrong:
    <TABLE border=2 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=5 "<!--@bcolor-->" >
    This is correct:
    <TABLE border=2 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=5 <!--@bcolor--> >

    My cardshop works correctly with Internet Explorer, but Netscape crashes!

    This has nothing to do with either browser or Platinum software. This error is a reliable indicator of invalid HTML code on your pages.

    Netscape even in version 6 and all versions 4.x handles invalid HTML code more strictly than Internet Explorer does. Unclosed tags, wrong nesting of tags, even unclosed quotes could crash a browser even on a very powerful computer. While IE can render the page with 4 BODY tags, Netscape simply cannot.

    Such errors can be easily detected with an HTML validator. Make it a good habit to use HTML validators - you will save yourself many hours.

    Most common HTML errors so far are:
    Multiple <HTML> and <BODY> tags
    Missing or multiple closing </FORM>
    Form fields referenced outside of <FORM> declaration </FORM>
    Quotes within <input > tags mismatch
    <SELECT> opened but not closed

Restoring from backup

Important! If you are not familiar with basics UNIX administration and are not comfortable with telnet or ssh - better delegate this task to someone experienced - e.g. your sysadmin. You can order custom maintenance work from us as well.

Find your distribution archive (typically platinum.v6.tar.gz). Copy it to your webserver's DocumentRoot (typically htdocs or www). Unzip and untar it (use tar xfp to save permissions).

If your server supports execution of scripts outside of cgi-bin - you should be able to send yourself a card ASAP.

If the original program was located in cgi-bin - copy the following files to cgi-bin: magiccard.cgi, platinum.cfg, members.cgi, admin.cgi. That should be enough to get your cardshop running again!

It worked but suddenly stopped without any changes from the webmaster!

Are you really sure you did nothing to affect the performance yourself? We mean REALLY? If the answer is positive, below is a short checklist for you. It covers most common causes.

1. Error 500 when SENDING a card
Sendmail is not running
Filesystem is full, harddrive is full, harddrive failure
Server is overloaded
2. Error 500 when SENDING, PREVIEWING and RECEIVING a card
Permissions for $CARDS_PATH, $STATS_PATH and $QUEUE_PATH changed
Server is overloaded
3. No visible errors but email notices are not coming thru
Problems with sendmail. Relay server down, big mail queue, DNS errors, nodename is not FQDN, etc.
4. Send-later and multisend emails are not delivered. Dates do not change in later.txt
Cron jobs disabled.

If you encounter one of the abovementioned problems - contact your sysadmin. Those are the server-related issues and not related to Platinum software functioning. If you prefer us to handle this situation - you can order server administration from us (cost is not covered by Platinum license).

If you problem is different from described above - please contact us with full description of the issue.

Spam and email security issues

People DO ABUSE any internet service. Postcards including. Your website will not be an exception no matter what you do. The good news is that it happens very rarely.

Unless you use your Platinum in conjunction with some membership service where the authentication is required - there is no reliable way to check who is the real sender of the card. However membership services help to confirm identity only to some extent.

Some cardshop visitors do fake the sender's email address. It's not different from spam techniques where the message is sent from a faked or unused mailbox. It's not different from snail mail with false return address. Because snail mail is old and rules are familiar, nobody sane would blame the post office for getting such mail. Nobody sane would blame the postman that brings the tons of junk print ads and glossy catalogs nobody ever bothers to open. However when the same happens with e-mail, the blame immediately falls upon the webmaster, e-mail provider, webhost, dial-up ISP, etc.

Can you do anything about it? To an extent - yes. The simplest workaround is to edit Platinum e-mail templates and include some disclaimer either in mail header or body.

In our remotely hosted services we use such a line in mail header: Comments: MyPostCards.com Network does not guarantee that this message was indeed originated by <!--@email--> or <!--@SENDEREMAIL--> . Please report abuse to abuse@mypostcards.com

Some webmasters replace the To: value in the email header with some dedicated address associated with their domain, while putting the sender's email to Reply-To: field only. However this usually adds more confusion, because many email clients use To: value when replying to email rather than Reply-To:. As a result you will be getting many misaddressed emails that you will have to forward to the real recipient.

Macromedia Dreamweaver since version 3 and Macromedia Ultradev allows you to edit Platinum HTML templates without messing up the code and placeholders.

In top menu select "Edit" > "Preferences" > "Code Rewriting" check "Warn when fixing or removing tags" and uncheck both boxes for "Special Characters". In Macromedia Dreamweaver version 3 instead of "Code Rewriting" you will see "HTML rewriting".

After that you can load any Platinum HTML template and edit it with Dreamweaver.


My Postcards Platinum Web Application, version 6.
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