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List families

A list can have from three up to dozens of parameters. Some listmasters need to create a set of lists that have the same profile. In order to simplify the apprehension of these parameters, list families define a lists typology. Families provide a new level for defaults: in the past, defaults in Sympa were global and most sites using Sympa needed multiple defaults for different groups of lists. Moreover, families allow listmasters to delegate a part of configuration list to owners, in a controlled way according to family properties. Distribution will provide defaults families.

Family concept

A family provides a model for all of its lists. It is specified by the following characteristics:

Here is a list of operations performed on a family:

Using family

Definition

Families can be defined at the robot level, at the site level or on the distribution level (where default families are provided). So, you have to create a sub directory named after the family’s name in a families directory:

In this directory, you must provide the following files:

config.tt2

This is a list creation template, this file is mandatory. It provides default values for parameters. This file is an almost complete list configuration, with a number of missing fields (such as owner email) to be replaced by data obtained at the time of family instantiation. It is easy to create new list templates by modifying existing ones. See “Templates”.

Example:

subject [% subject %]

status [% status %]

[% IF topic %]
topics [% topic %]

[% END %]
visibility noconceal

send privateoreditorkey

web_archive
  access public

subscribe open_notify

shared_doc
  d_edit [% shared_edit %]
  d_read [% shared_read %]

lang [% language %]

[% FOREACH o = owner %]
owner
  email [% o.email %]
  profile privileged
  [% IF o.gecos -%]
  gecos [% o.gecos %]
  [% END %]

[% END %]
[% IF editor %]
   [% FOREACH e = editor %]
editor
  email [% e.email %]

   [% END %]
[% END %]

[% IF sql %]
include_sql_query
  db_type [% sql.type %]
  host [% sql.host %]
  user [% sql.user %]
  passwd [% sql.pwd %]
  db_name [% sql.name %]
  sql_query [% sql.query %]

[% END %]
ttl 360

param_constraint.conf

This file is mandatory. It defines constraints on parameters. There are three kinds of constraints:

The parameters constraints will be checked at every list loading.

WARNING: Some parameters cannot be constrained, they are: msg_topic.keywords (see msg_topic), owner_include.source_parameter (see owner_include) and editor_include.source_parameter (see editor_include). About digest parameter (see digest), only days can be constrained.

Example:

lang                fr,us
archive.period      days,week,month
visibility          conceal,noconceal
shared_doc.d_read   public
shared_doc.d_edit   editor

edit_list.conf

This is an optional file. It defines which parameters/files are editable by owners. See “List editing”. If the family does not have this file, Sympa will look for the one defined on robot level, server site level or distribution level (this file already exists without family context). Note that by default, the family_name parameter is not writable, you should not change this editing right.

automatic_lists_description.conf

This file is used if you want to let users create / access to automatic lists using the Sympa web interface. Please, see the documentation related to this functionnality.

Common list files

You can parse several files at list creation, later used by the list. Here are the files you can parse (See also a note below):


Note:


These files will be parsed using the list family data defined in the XML file. You can use the same data in these files as in the config.tt2 file.

For example, if you add to the family directory a file named info.tt2 containing the following code :

List [% listname %] home page

[% description %]

If your XML file contain something like this for each list :

<listname>mylist</listname>
<description>A loooong text describing the purpose of the list</description>

Then, once you have instantiated the family, each list will contain an info file with the following content:

List mylist home page

A loooong text describing the purpose of the list

Message footers and headers are likely to contain TT2 code themselves (for example, to create unsubscription links at the bottom of the list messages).

In that case, you can use the capacity, offered by TT2, to define custom tag delimitors.

Here’s an example of such usage. Let’s say you want to create lists with a family, and you want that each list automatically adds an unsubscription URL at the bottom of each message. For this, you’ll need to use a message.footer file in each list.

A file named message.footer.tt2 was added to the family directory. It contains the following code:

[% TAGS <+ +> -%]
The subject of the list is "<+ subject +>", click here to unsubscribe : [% 'auto_signoff' | url_abs([listname],{email=>user.email}) %]
<+- TAGS [% %] +>

“Subject” corresponds to a tag in the XML file. Let’s say it contains a short description of the list.

Once the family has been instantiated, each list directory will contain a message.footer file containing the following code :

The subject of the list is "create and share our passion of scrap cooking", click here to unsubscribe : [% 'auto_signoff' | url_abs([listname],{email=>user.email}) %]

Each time a message is sent to the list (provided you set the merge_feature parameter to on), this file will be parsed and allow to display the following text at the bottom of each message:

The subject of the list is "create and share our passion of scrap cooking", click here to unsubscribe : http://lists.domain.tld/auto_signoff/mylist?email=bob.mcbob%40domain.tld

Note:


customizable files

Families provide a new level of customization for scenarios (see “Authorization scenarios”), templates for service messages (see “Site template files”) and templates for web pages (see “web template files”). Sympa looks for these files in the following level order: list, family, robot, server site or distribution.

Example of custom hierarchy:

Instantiation

Instantiation allows to generate lists. You must provide an XML file made of list descriptions, the root element being family and which is only composed of list elements. List elements are described in section XML file format. Each list is described by the set of values for affectation list parameters.

Here is a sample command to instantiate a family:

sympa.pl --instantiate_family my_family --robot samplerobot --input_file /path/to/my_file.xml

This means lists that belong to family my_family will be created under the robot my_robot and these lists are described in the file my_file.xml. Sympa will split this file into several XML files describing lists. Each list XML file is put in each list directory.

--close_unknown option can be added to automatically close undefined lists during a new instantation --quiet option can be added to skip the report printed to STDOUT

Example:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<family>
  <list>
    <listname>liste1</listname>
    <subject>a list example</subject>
    <description/>
    <status>open</status>
    <shared_edit>editor</shared_edit>
    <shared_read>private</shared_read>
    <language>fr</language>
    <owner multiple="1">
      <email>foo@cru.fr</email>
      <gecos>C.R.U.</gecos>
    </owner>
    <owner multiple="1">
      <email>foo@emnsp.fr</email>
    </owner>
    <owner_include multiple="1">
      <source>my_file</source>
    </owner_include>
    <sql>
      <type>oracle</type>
      <host>sqlserv.admin.univ-x.fr</host>
      <user>stdutilisateur</user>
      <pwd>monsecret</pwd>
      <name>les_etudiants</name>
      <query>SELECT DISTINCT email FROM etudiant</query>
    </sql>
  </list>
  <list>
    <listname>liste2</listname>
    <subject>a list example</subject>
    <description/>
    <status>open</status>
    <shared_edit>editor</shared_edit>
    <shared_read>private</shared_read>
    <language>fr</language>
    <owner multiple="1">
      <email>foo@cru.fr</email>
      <gecos>C.R.U.</gecos>
    </owner>
    <owner multiple="1">
      <email>foo@enmsp.fr</email>
    </owner>
    <owner_include multiple="1">
      <source>my_file</source>
    </owner_include>
    <sql>
      <type>oracle</type>
      <host>sqlserv.admin.univ-x.fr</host>
      <user>stdutilisateur</user>
      <pwd>monsecret</pwd>
      <name>les_etudiants</name>
      <query>SELECT DISTINCT email FROM etudiant</query>
    </sql>
  </list>
   ...
</family>

Each instantiation describes lists. Compared with the previous instantiation, there are three cases:

After list creation or modification, parameters constraints are checked:

diagram

In case of modification (see diagram), allowed customizations can be preserved:

Notes:

Modification

To modify a family, you have to edit family files manually. The modification will be effective while the next instanciation. WARNING: The family modification must be done just before an instantiation. Otherwise, alive lists would not respect new family properties and they would be set in status error_config immediately.

Closure

Closes every list (installed under the indicated robot) of this family: list status is set to family_closed, aliases are removed and subscribers are removed from DB (a dump is created in the list directory to allow restoration of the list).

Here is a sample command to close a family:

sympa.pl --close_family my_family --robot samplerobot

Adding a list to a list family

Adds a list to the family without instantiating the whole family. The list is created as if it was created during an instantiation, under the indicated robot. The XML file describes the list and the root element is <list>. List elements are described in section List creation on command line with sympa.pl.

Here is a sample command to add a list to a family:

sympa.pl --add_list my_family --robot samplerobot  --input_file /path/to/my_file.xml

Removing a list from a list family

Closes the list installed under the indicated robot: the list status is set to family_closed, aliases are removed and subscribers are removed from DB (a dump is created in the list directory to allow restoring the list).

Here is a sample command to close a list family (same as an orphan list):

sympa.pl --close_list my_list@samplerobot

Modifying a family list

Modifies a family list without instantiating the whole family. The list (installed under the indicated robot) is modified as if it was modified during an instantiation. The XML file describes the list and the root element is <list>. List elements are described in section List creation on command line with sympa.pl.

Here is a sample command to modify a list to a family:

sympa.pl --modify_list my_family --robot samplerobot --input_file /path/to/my_file.xml

Editing list parameters in a family context

According to file edit_list.conf, editing rights are controlled. See “List editing”. But in a family context, constraints parameters are added to editing right as it is summarized in this array:

array

Note: in order to preserve list customization for instantiation, every parameter modified (through the web interface) is indicated in the config_changes file.

Family unsubscription

Using a global family message.footer.tt2 file, you can add at the end of each message sent from a family list a global unsubscription link. Here’s what you could put in such message.footer.tt2:

[% TAGS <+ +> -%]
To stop receiving messages from <+ family_config.display +>, click on this link: [% 'family_signoff' | url_abs(['<+ family_config.name +>'],{email=user.email}) %]
<+ TAGS [% %] -+>

By clicking this link, the user will be redirected to the Sympa web interface where she will be informed that a confirmation message was just sent to her. If she clicks the confirmation link in this mesasge, she will be removed from all the past and future lists of this family.


Note:


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