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.
September 14th, 2016 by Chris Meyer
In today’s digital world, there are many options for publishing content to your audiences. While print still remains the traditional method, the onslaught of digital devices such as computers, tablets and smart phones have become the new means for delivering our reading material. Publishers are challenged now more than ever not only to distribute across all of these new mediums but also to re-purpose their content to fit each format. In addition, as work forces are downsized and less people do the work, companies must find creative ways to automate their processes and meet aggressive publishing schedules.
To overcome these challenges, many publishers have turned to implementing some type of publishing platform to assist with automation and to establish a cohesive workflow. When considering workflow automation, publishers must identify repetitious tasks in their workflow, remove unnecessary human intervention and still maintain output quality.
Publishing Platform Considerations
While there are many publishing platforms available today, finding a single system to do it all is either impossible or expensive. Systems containing too many “features” tend to lack quality outside of the developer’s core competencies. Publishing platforms providing only asset management components like image and document controls are incomplete. None manage font assets. This has led many publishers to piece together multiple systems making their environments more modular and manageable. By including various plugin modules and other inter-system connectors they can tie all of the pieces together as needed.
An integral part of the publishing workflow is font processing for output delivery. Today’s publishing platforms do not handle critical font processing needs. Those platforms have substandard system-level font activation and force every available font to be loaded onto the publisher’s systems at once. Unfortunately, there is a high probability some fonts will conflict with others, be missing or slow the system down causing output jobs to fail and halting the entire publishing process. So it’s important that font processing is treated like any other critical step in the publishing workflow.
For this reason, Extensis is leading the way to make the font management process in publishing workflows seamless and efficient. Extensis has updated Universal Type Server with an add-on module, FontLink to handle font processing issues publishers face during the final stage of a file’s output. The FontLink Module parses each file and acquires the exact fonts used. The correct font must accompany a file in order for the output to render correctly. When fonts are substituted or missing, the file output process can’t be completed. Extensis solves this by using its patented Font Sense font identification technology. Publishers are guaranteed the correct fonts will accompany each output job so it renders flawlessly.
Extensis recently partnered with two of the world’s most experienced publishing platform providers to bring font management to the best end-to-end automated publishing platforms available. By connecting Universal Type Server’s FontLink Module to vjoon K4 and Typefi publishing platforms, publishers are now assured fonts used in every file are properly identified and made ready prior to output. Regardless of whether a file is being processed for print, web or digital output, the fonts are delivered on demand before the job gets to the output device making for zero conflicts – no missing fonts – no stopping the presses!
For more information about our managed font platform:
Stay tuned in the upcoming months while Extensis builds new integrations and welcomes new partners into our Industry Network. http://www.extensis.com/company/partner/our-industry-network/
If you are a Publishing Platform Provider or Publisher and would like to consider partnering with us please reach out and let us know. Contact me here: email@example.com
The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of microbrews and skinny jeans here on the left-coast in Portland, Oregon. In our Portland and LA offices you’ll find two creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:
Kari Friedewald, Regional Business Manager, Extensis Portland Office
- Favorite color: Orange
- Latest book: Accidents in North American Mountaineering
- Ideal vacation spot: A long and remote climbing trip.
- During my commute: Listening to NPR
Max, Systems Engineer, Extensis LA Office
- Favorite color: Red
- Latest book: The 900 Days: The Siege Of Leningrad
- Ideal vacation spot: Must have a good mix of relaxing beaches and great ATV (four wheeler) courses.
- During the commute: Electronic and Alternative music
Both enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget. To learn more about what Kari and Max can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.
The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of fixed-gear bicycles and hipster mustaches here in Portland, Oregon. So what do you do if you’re struggling with fonts and digital assets halfway across the country in the midwest? Not to worry, we have you covered with our Chicago offices that serve the central region of the United States and Canada.
In our Chicago offices you’ll find two creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:
Regional Business Manager
- Favorite color: Green
- Latest book: Confessor and Good is Not Enough
- Ideal vacation spot: Hawaii – beaches, ocean fun, food, sun.
- During my commute: Lately I’ve been going through Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International and Grimnoir Chronicles series.
- Favorite color: Orange
- Latest book: OS X Server Essentials
- Ideal vacation spot: A sandy beach with sun.
- During the commute: The Dan Patrick Show.
Both enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget.
To learn more about what Michael and Matthew can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.
February 14th, 2013 by Jim Kidwell
The Extensis headquarters are firmly rooted in the land of microbrews and skinny jeans here in Portland, Oregon. So what do you do if you’re struggling with fonts and digital assets across the country on or near the east coast? Not to worry, we have you covered with our NYC offices that serve the eastern region of the United States and Canada.
In our NYC office you’ll find three creative workflow experts helping companies maintain license compliance and improve their workflows using Extensis font and digital asset management solutions:
Jeremy Godfrey, Regional Business Manager
- Favorite color: Blue
- Latest book: Maui Revealed
- Ideal vacation spot: Maui or St. Croix… depends on if I’m departing from PDX or NYC.
- During my commute: I read the NY Post.
James Grace, Senior Systems Engineer
- Favorite color:Neon Orange
- Latest book: Travels
- Ideal vacation spot: The Beach in Cancun, Mexico
- During the commute: I listen to PopTron : SomaFM
Chris Chen, Systems Engineer
- Favorite color: Black
- Latest book: Start with Why
- Ideal vacation spot: Maldives
- During the commute: Flo Rida, David Guetta, Rihanna
All three enjoy long walks on the beach and ensuring that font and digital asset management projects are successfully completed on time and under budget.
To learn more about what Jeremy, James, and Chris can do for you, please check out our Professional Services page.
July 1st, 2011 by Jim Kidwell
One of the great things about Portfolio Server is that it’s easy to setup and use. While Portfolio Server can be setup in a matter of hours, many organizations that choose Portfolio Server for their digital asset management system also engage our Integration and Consulting Services team to assist with their implementation.
You might be thinking “If Portfolio Server is so easy to setup, then why would anyone need a DAM consultant for it?” Head over to the DAM Learning Center for the answer to this question:
Mark has been well-known member of the Portfolio community since the late ’90s and is based in the UK. Initially an ordinary user of Portfolio, he has leveraged that experience and since 2001 has been a consultant specializing in Extensis Portfolio solutions. He is also the author of the community resource, PortfolioFAQ.
What makes you so passionate about digital asset management?
There’s something very enjoyable about bringing order from chaos, and seeing the pleasure people get – let alone the efficiency – people get from being able to find their assets at last. Happily, DAM tasks are never quite the same each time around, so for someone who likes solving problems, it’s ideal as there’s always an issue to be resolved.
What is the most common digital asset management issue reported to you by your clients?
Gaining control over their assets; removing duplicates, avoiding work being re-done because of ‘lost’ original versions, cutting down the time to find the right file, giving controlled wider access to assets, reducing support effort needed. Be they large organisations or individuals, the core DAM problems at outset tend to be the same
What changes have you seen in the digital asset management market in the last five years?
Greater use of web interfaces avoiding the need for client deployment and training – ideal for those only using the asset base as a source; Extensis Portfolio NetPublish is popular in this context. Digital camera uptake and digital processing workflows have increased awareness and use of metadata. The new breed of digital processing apps (like Lightroom) have entered the DAM arena causing some confusion as to what they’re for but have proved not to be longterm DAM tools as some thought they might.
How do you think the digital asset management market will change in the next five years?
Improvement in metadata support – better defined standards, Unicode support (accents, other alphabets), redaction tools, etc., will help to start to deliver on the currently unfulfilled promise of metadata in multi-application workflows.
When and how did you first become involved with Extensis?
Circa ‘96. A small Windows-based start-up using Mac-based designers – not fun! The x-platform aspect of Portfolio and free browser that ran from a CD was a real lifesaver; at the time other solutions were either single OS only, had no browser(s) or did but charged for them. Being able to send CDs of assets, with additional metadata in an FDB, really boosted turnaround time on the production side of things. Asking lots of questions about the app as a user taught me a lot about the app, which I shared back with the community, originally in the old Extensis forums and then in 2001 via my FAQ. Around the same time people started asking me to help with Portfolio projects and I moved into consulting on Portfolio and DAM solutions.
When did you first use Portfolio?
In about 1996, I tried out v3 and ended up buying the just-launched version. I’ve since used Portfolio Server from v5 onwards, PortWeb v4 through v6, and NetPublish since it’s introduction alongside v7.
What is your favourite feature of the Portfolio software suite?
Originally the CD & browser aspects (see above). FolderSync’s evolution as server- based AutoSync is great, especially once you’ve got your system organised. Favourite new thing? As a consultant, v8.5.2’s ‘Save Catalog Type…’ is a real boost; I can do a lot of catalogue configuration and save out a new ‘catalog type’ to send to a client, I’ll never get to visit and know the catalogue they make from it will have the correct starting layout. If you customise a lot, you’ll know the time that could take before the feature was added.
In your opinion, what makes Portfolio stand out from the competition?
Ease of use/installation and scalability. New users are regularly surprised at how quickly a working Portfolio system can be up and running. This enables them to get started today instead of getting mired in endless planning. Installations can start with a little as one client and scale right through to a full SQL back end according to their needs and budget, without significant change being made to data catalogued thus far.
What services do you offer Portfolio customers?
Software installation/configuration. Portfolio workflow design and consultation. Pre and post DAM adoption audit. NetPublish configuration & template customisation. Scripiting & integration. Support. Training. [PC & Mac]
If you would like to find out more about the services offerred by Mark, please visit:Shoantel. You’ll also find Mark’s expertise at the free resource PortfolioFAQ, and in the Extensis User-to-User forums.