The Extensis Community Blog
September 27th, 2016 by Chris Meyer
Because software upgrades can be disruptive to a Production environment I’m frequently asked which best practices a company should employ when upgrading Universal Type Server.
Here are ten basic ideas to help guide you through the upgrade process. Please feel free to share your own tips with us or any others I may have forgotten to mention.
- Forward with a Backup – starting your upgrade out with a way to quickly restore your environment in the event of unforeseen problems is always the best way to lower your stress level. Backup first, always.
- Keeping up with the Joneses – Often customers jump into the latest operating systems or other application updates before ensuring their software and plugins are compatible. Compatibility information is generally available on the Extensis website so be sure to look before taking the update plunge.
- Testing, is this thing on? – Whenever possible, we recommend you review upgrades in a “testing” environment before upgrading your Production environment. This helps you identify and deal with unexpected issues without bringing your business to a halt.
Did you know? The Extensis software agreement enables you to use your licenses on a separate testing environment at no additional cost. So setup a test environment to ensure everything works as expected.
- Keeping up with the times – We realize that it’s very challenging to stay on top of the latest versions of all your software. But just like the rest of the technology world, critical changes occur every day so if you don’t stick to a regular upgrade schedule you’ll fall behind.
If you want to be certain Universal Type Server upgrades go smoothly, we recommend you lag no more than one full version behind.
For example, Universal Type Server is currently at version 6.x so if you are running Universal Type Server 4 or older it’s time to get updated. When it comes to databases, upgrading from two (or more) versions back to the current version may not be directly compatible. Upgrading may require extra steps to to ensure you’re current. Staying updated will save you time and energy in the long run.
- One step at a time – Remember it’s much easier to ensure a successful upgrade when you use a stepped approach. Complete one installation at a time then validate its results.
For example, if you need to upgrade systems to Mac OS X, Adobe Creative Cloud and Universal Type Client all at the same time take it slow and implement one change at a time. If you don’t, how will you know where a problem lies when things don’t go as expected? I can assert you will not know and neither will our technical support team.
- Server upgrades first – In the Universal Type Server world, client versions are often optimized for their intended servers. Therefore, it’s best practice to upgrade your Server before the clients. This ensures any new database schema updates get handled before connecting new client versions.
- In-Place upgrades (over a restore) – Universal Type Server offers two upgrade options. We recommend performing an in-place upgrade over a backup restoration (whenever possible).
In-place upgrades ensure your current server data is updated quickly and users have the least disruptive experience. Remember as a safety net, run best practice step #1 before doing an in-place upgrade.
- Stagger client upgrades – It’s often recommended larger organizations upgrade their client versions in smaller chunks. Doing so minimizes the first-time work Universal Type Server is required to perform when syncing newly connected clients. Many of our customers will schedule client updates by office location, floor, department, or publication so their users have advance notice. Also if an unexpected issue occurs, the number of affected users is manageable.
- Contact us, really – Many customers don’t think to reach out to us before they upgrade until something goes haywire. Next time, email or call us first. You’d be surprised how much useful information we can share before you begin.
- Finally, do not contaminate the crime scene – In the rare event you encounter an issue, requiring support assistance, please do not make additional changes until we can gather the information needed. Often times we are unable to resolve the issue quickly because important application files, databases and logs are no longer available.
I hope this article was helpful for you. On behalf of the Universal Type Server Team, thanks for being our customer and good luck with your next upgrade.
Feel free to reach out and let me know which other topics you’d like for us to write about.
The founder of LudwigType Foundry, Ludwig Übele studied graphic design in Germany and Finland. Today Ludwig creates award-winning type designs and works in brand development. Ludwig collaborates frequently with the great type designer Georg Salden, of TypeManufactur. We’re so happy that Ludwig Übele joined us from Berlin to participate in our newest edition of 4 Questions 4.
1. How did you originally get interested in typography and design?
My uncle, who worked in small company which maintained copy machines, gave me an old photocopier when I was a kid. I used my sister’s typewriter, and made little magazines for the family. I also cut words from magazines to create new headlines. I guess this was the beginning of my typography career.
2. What type trends are you loving most these days?
In the beginning of my career I never found designing typefaces for websites a particularly attractive idea, because rendering quality was so bad, and the average typography looked awful. This has changed a lot recently. Layout and typography on the web has become more and more interesting, and rendering quality has improved enormously. Thus nowadays I really enjoy designing typefaces for the web, and solving problems of onscreen legibility. The quality of use releases creative energies!
3. Which of your projects are you most proud of thus far in your career, and why?
I still really like my typeface Marat. It’s one of my first type designs, and I like its fresh and friendly appearance. I’m still surprised how well it works, even in very different environments. It looks nice in small, long text in books, but also in big, tight headlines. Marat, incidentally, was the reason I started my own type foundry. It got quite a bit of recognition back when I released it.
4. Describe your dream project.
“Hi, it’s Costa Rica calling. Would you mind coming over for some weeks to design a new typeface for our tourist board? We have a beautiful apartment for you at the sea….”
We asked the same question and that’s why we built the brand new Suitcase Fusion application for Apple iOS.
This application is free on the iTunes store, and connects your Suitcase Fusion font library to your iOS device.
So, whether you’re designing with one of the fancy new mobile design applications from Adobe, building and presenting Keynote and PowerPoint files, or just want to use your quality font collection on your iPad, you’re good to go.
It’s easy to use your font collection on iOS. To get started:
- Install Suitcase Fusion onto your Mac or PC.
- Load your fonts and sync your font library using TypeSync. Choose File > TypeSync > Enable Library Syncing.
- Install the Suitcase Fusion iOS app on your mobile device.
- Use Suitcase Fusion for iOS to activate your fonts!
Instant font collection? Why thank you Google.
We love Google Fonts. They provide a big collection of open source fonts available for any use.
We’ve built a dynamic connection from Suitcase Fusion 7 to Google Fonts. This connection automatically downloads all of the Google Fonts, and keeps them up to date as new ones are added. Pretty nifty, eh?
Want to make the connection yourself? It’s easy to do.
Microsoft is expected to announce the final release of Windows Server 2016 at the Ignite conference in Atlanta.
We understand that many IT Admins are keenly interested to take advantage of the benefits this new OS. Here is the current support of our server products:
Universal Type Server
Universal Type Server version 6.1.1 has been tested and is compatible with Windows Server 2016.
NOTE: The Standard Edition of Windows Server 2016 is the supported version. Nano and Server Core versions may work but haven’t been tested. Please contact Extensis Technical Support with issues
We’re currently testing Portfolio with Windows Server 2016. There are no known issues at this point.
Please let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns about running Extensis products on Windows Server 2016.
You can place a comment below, or contact our Technical Support team at www.extensis.com/support
It seems easy. Just download a font and use it, right? Well, not necessarily.
It is easy to quickly download a font and utilize it without giving the process much thought, but that’s the problem. Forgetting or not understanding user license agreements or utilizing fonts incorrectly can lead to font copyright lawsuits. Many organizations are at risk due to font misuse, but your organization doesn’t have to be one of them.
Here’s how to reduce your chances of getting sued:
1. License fonts for their appropriate usage
Using desktop fonts as web fonts without purchasing a proper web license can place you at risk. Even using some open-source fonts for commercial projects without purchasing an appropriate license can get you in trouble.
Reduce the risk
Your organization can reduce the risk by implementing font management software that tracks usage and keeps everyone in sync, but it is crucial that a font purchase policy is implemented, reviewed, and followed. If everyone knows the policy, they are less likely to make risky purchasers or use fonts incorrectly.
2. Understand font EULAs
EULA stands for End User License Agreement. You agree to this when licensing a font, but do you understand it? Fonts are licensed entities just like any software. When you install most software, you get a window that displays the EULA that you must agree to that covers the software. EULA’s aren’t exactly the easiest things to read so many designers don’t read them thoroughly or don’t read them at all. EULAs vary by foundry and can vary based on types of use that you’ve selected during the process. Do you want to use the font on the web? In a logo? Embedded into a mobile application? All of these uses are likely to incur extra costs and there may be specific language regarding usage in the EULA that was overlooked.
Reduce the risk
According to Exensis’s Font Compliance Survey, close to 80% of designers don’t regularly read EULAs. So, spending time reading the fine print is the first step to understanding how you can utilize your font purchases. Unfortunately, even after reading EULAs, 78% of designers are still confused about the EULA terms. If anything in the EULA is not clear, contact the foundry for clarification.
3. Transfer fonts properly
Once you have gone through the proper purchasing and licensing process, you need to understand if and how fonts can be moved around your office. How many users can install the fonts? Can they be transferred to a printer for output? Can they be installed on a web server? Etc.
Reduce the risk
Fonts purchased for use in the office should stay at the office. Your team may feel the need to explore new fonts while at home for business use. That being said, your team should always get appropriate licensing for corporate use before any new fonts are brought into your office.
4. Create Comps with Licensed Fonts
Approximately 32% of designers surveyed admitted to “locating” a copy of a font online for use in the comping process. It’s understandable that designers may not want to purchase a font before it is selected by a client for use. Some type foundries are offering new options for users to test fonts in comps prior to purchase, but this varies by foundry and technology.
Reduce the risk
Setup a thorough examination process before new fonts are brought into your team’s workflow. You must understand what you can and can’t do, and protect yourself by limiting the exposure of fonts use pre-licensing for comps. A thorough font purchase process and implementation of a font server can help save your bacon.
5. Do not assume your team knows your licensing policies
57% of those surveyed said that their employer didn’t have a clear policy for licensing fonts and integrating them into the workflow. This can and has led to font copyright lawsuits because designers can make assumptions.
Reduce the risk
Once you’ve got licensing under control, you need to track your purchases. This is where an effective font management strategy that includes a font server can help keep your licensed terms paired with the fonts themselves.
So, when you develop your internal policies, be sure that everyone on the creative team understands them and that you train new team members quickly.
Careful planning and communication can help keep you and your team safe. It just requires some time that can greatly reduce your risk of a font copyright lawsuit.
Want to get more information on font management strategies that can help keep your team safe? Download our free Server-Based Font Management Best Practices Guide.
- How to organize fonts for your team’s workflow
- Create a font licensing strategy
- Assess your font needs
- Avoid costly font copyright issues, and more.
Download your best practices guide today and get on the road to font management success.
An announcement last week has pretty much rocked the type development world.
An update to the OpenType specification (v1.8) was announced at a typography industry event in Warsaw, Poland called ATypI. Didn’t make it to Warsaw for the conference? Here’s a video recording of the session.
While the release of a new specification might not seem like earth-shattering news, the inclusion of “variable fonts,” and the partnership of the big players to make it happen was big news. Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Google all came together to make the specification something that they could all get behind.
So what exactly are “variable fonts?”
Variable fonts can be changed along multiple “axes” – by weight, width, optical size, slant or italic. These settings can be set by YOU, the designer.
What this means is you can implement a font, say on a website, and only need to implement one font, rather than multiple faces, to get the job done. In current web development, for example, you need to script in a normal, bold, italic and bold-italic font files to cover the typical weights required in body copy. In the future, with a “variable font” you will use one font file and specify how the font needs to vary for each text element.
The result is a faster websites for your readers, and the gratitude of your IT department as your web hosting costs go down. Mic drop, slow clap, walking away from an explosion, yada yada.
What shall these the new fonts be called?
If you know the type development community, you already know that there are bound to be a wide variety of opinions.
Let’s nip this in the bud and agree to immediately stop calling variable fonts “super fonts”. Please.
— Nick Sherman (@NickSherman) September 18, 2016
Of course, we might end up having different foundries calling them different things (Variable Fonts, Dynamic Fonts, Super Fonts, Modern Multiple Master, who knows). In the end you can be sure that you’ll be getting a better product that comes in a smaller file size – no matter what the name.
Extensis Support of Variable Fonts
The main technological needs to support of these files comes from the major players who are already onboard – Microsoft, Google, Apple and Adobe. As support begins to be implemented, Extensis font managers will inherit much of their support naturally through OS support. We will also of course fully test and update our applications to meet the demands of the new formats.
We are also keenly interested in responding to the needs of the creative community as they evolve.
So, what features would be most helpful to you? Sliders in Suitcase Fusion and Universal Type Client that show the different variations possible? Specific metrics required reported in Extensis apps so that you can get the best results in your designs? You tell us.
We want to know what you think – drop us a line in the comments below.
There has been a bunch of interest in this topic in the type design community and beyond. Check out these other articles:
- John Hudson’s detailed article on Medium
- Typekit blog
- Discussion on TypeDrawers
- Matthew Butterick’s takedown
- Typographica’s commentary
Type designer Tim Ahrens and typographer Shoko Mugikura founded Just Another Foundry in 2004, which is both a retail library and provider of custom typefaces. We’re delighted that Shoko and Tim have joined us for a special twofer edition of 4 Questions 4.
Shoko studied Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, and Book Design at the University of Reading (UK). She has worked on various information design projects, such as re-designing bills for major telecommunications companies and utility providers, and on editorial design projects for Polimekanos. Shoko has spoken about multi-script typography at many conferences, including the ICHLL5 at Oxford University, ATypI in Dublin, Typotag in Munich, TYPO Berlin, and TypeTalks.
Tim has a degree in architecture from the University of Karlsruhe (Germany), and holds an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading (UK). He created the programming project Font Remix Tools, a set of plug-ins that allows a user to harmonize glyph shapes, tune width, and more. A specialist in web font technology, Tim has worked as a consultant for Typekit, and lectures regularly.
1. How did you originally get interested in typography and design?
Shoko: I am from Japan, where arguably one of the world’s most complex writing systems (employing 4 different scripts!) is used. As a design student in Tokyo I gradually became obsessed with Latin typography, which to my eyes looks extremely simple and systematic—the opposite of Japanese. I decided that what I want to do is Latin typography, and left the country for Europe. I am a typographic immigrant.
Tim: I started designing type in 1998, while I was studying architecture. Drawing a font by myself felt completely natural to me. I didn’t even know there were type design courses, and I did not know any type designers or typographers personally. Looking back, I believe this isolated, unbiased beginning in the subject—simply studying other fonts in order to learn from them—helped me realize that looking very carefully is more important than background information or “rules of the craft.”
2. What typography trends are you loving most these days?
Both: It is really great to see webfonts becoming so widely used. Designers no longer need to make a compromise in terms of type choice. It was a very different situation in 2010, when we became one of the first foundries to offer webfonts. Web typography is no longer just trying to imitate print, but is developing into a culture of its own.
We think JAF Bernini Sans best illustrates our collaboration as typographer and type designer. It represents our most important aim, which is to create a design that is unique and clever, but also so skillfully implemented that people don’t notice the genius of it at first glance.
4. Describe your dream project.
The dream project for any designer would be a custom font for a big, famous, design-conscious brand, such as Apple. It’s a pity they recently made their own typeface. We still think we could do something that better fits Apple’s ambition to lead in design.
Apple releases their newest operating system, macOS Sierra on September 20, 2016.
As we know that many users are excited to update as quickly as possible, we have been testing Extensis software with Sierra. The following are current details about compatibility.
- Suitcase Fusion 7 (v18.1.1 and newer) has been tested and is compatible with macOS Sierra (v10.12)
- Previous versions of Suitcase Fusion have not been tested, use at your own risk.
Universal Type Server
- Initial tests of Universal Type Client 6 indicate that the current version (v6.1.0) is compatible with macOS Sierra.
- Due to new macOS permissions, Universal Type Server may encounter a service interruption after upgrading to macOS Sierra.
Installing the latest Universal Type Server 6.1.1 release over your current installation will restore all functionality without causing data loss.
- There are no known issues with users accessing Portfolio catalogs with the web clients on macOS Sierra.
- When installing macOS Sierra on a server running Portfolio 2016, the server will stop functioning. Re-install Portfolio 2016 on the machine and functionality will be restored without any data loss.
For the most current information about supported software configurations see these pages:
- Suitcase Fusion Compatibility
- Universal Type Server Compatibility
- Universal Type Client Compatibility
- Portfolio Compatibility
September 16th, 2016 by Jim Kidwell
It’s important to protect your investment. In this case it’s the cost of your entire font collection.
Suitcase Fusion makes it easy to archive your collection for safe keeping. See how.
Want to try it yourself? It’s easy to do.