For some time, two feature requests have dominated the Koken discussion forum and our inboxes: password protection and contact forms. We resolved the first request with the release of Koken 0.20 and the Password Protect plugin last month, allowing users to lock down their entire site or particular albums. And today, with the release of Koken 0.21, we're fulfilling the second request. Contact forms are now built-in to Koken!

A long time coming

While contact forms may appear to be a straightforward feature on the surface, we had to balance the needs of thousands of Koken users. Contact forms may have completely different requirements from user to user, so we tried several iterations over the last several months until we arrived at the flexible solution included in 0.21.

You can add a contact form to any page via the Text screen in the Koken console.

The plugin includes sensible defaults, but you can customize what fields to display, what order they display in, how to label those fields, even what message is shown to the user after the form has successfully sent.

Once you have your form configured, Koken takes care of the rest. Form validation, sending the email, and showing the user a message after the form has been submitted are all handled by Koken internally, regardless of what theme you are using.

For more information on how to add contact forms to your site, consult the documentation.

Supported in all themes

All Koken themes have been updated to ensure that your new contact forms blend right into your Koken site's existing style. Go to Store > Updates to update your themes once you have updated to Koken 0.21.

Email Endpoints

Contact forms are of no use if the emails sent from them disappear into thin air. Often, shared hosting providers do not properly configure outgoing email for PHP, meaning contact form emails and other Koken system emails may never arrive in your inbox. To resolve this, we've released a new free plugin to the Koken Store: Email Endpoints.

The Email Endpoints plugin allows you to send all your Koken email through Mandrill, a third party transactional email service that offers dependable, rock-solid email delivery. Best of all, Mandrill is free for up to 12,000 emails a month, which should be more than enough for your Koken contact form. Alternatively, you can also use your own outgoing SMTP server (Gmail, for example) instead of Mandrill. See all the details by reading the usage guide for the plugin.

Also new in Koken 0.21 is a dedicated look at your server's email configuration. Visit Settings > Email to see how email is configured for your Koken install. You can also send a test email from that screen to ensure that email sending and delivery are working properly.