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Universal Type Server server-based font management softwareIf you’re a current user of Font Reserve Server or Suitcase Server, and are looking to upgrade to Universal Type Server, we’ve just made the migration process a bit easier. Yesterday we released new tools that migrate data from your old Font Reserve Server or Suitcase Server installation and migrate that data into Universal Type Server.

There are considerable differences between the old and new font management products, and I recommend that you examine your needs carefully before migrating your data. To understand the differences between the old and new font managers, it is highly recommended that you read the upgrade documents before migrating or configuring your new system.

The following are the download links for the Migration Tools, as well as the supporting documentation.

Suitcase Server migration info

Font Reserve Server migration info

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Universal Type Server font management from ExtensisHere at Extensis we’re pretty excited with the release of Universal Type Server. This brand new server-based font management is fast, flexible, powerful and very user friendly. I love to demo the product — since we use modern architecture and the latest technology out there (like Adobe Flex), it shows off really nicely.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been giving many presentations to press, existing customers and potential buyers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

  1. Is Universal Type Server cross-platform?
    Yes, both our server and client software will run in a Windows or Macintosh environment (Windows client coming in Summer ’08).
  2. How will you handle font corruption and repair?
    Type Server comes with pre-built functionality to prevent font corruption and perform font repair. No rogue or orphaned fonts will be added to the server.
  3. What are your system requirements?
    System requirements and other important information are specified in the Technical Info tab of the Type Server Professional and Type Server Lite pages.
  4. I’m a current customer, do you have upgrade options?
    Yes, current Font Reserve Server and Suitcase X1 Server under annual service agreements (ASA) will obtain the product at no extra charge. If you’re not under ASA, or have our standalone products (Suitcase Fusion and Suitcase for Windows), you are eligible for special pricing. Please contact your sales manager to help you with your specific needs.
  5. Can Universal Type Server help me with font license compliance?
    Type Server comes with several options to help you be compliant with end user license agreements of the foundries. A user with permissions can enter license information such as vendor, cost, PO#, number of licenses, purchase date and any additional data you may want to track. That information can later be applied to selected fonts meeting that criteria. Smart sets (like Playlists on iTunes) can be saved to track fonts under that category. With the flexible user settings of Universal Type Server, an administrator can also allow/restrain users from adding/deleting fonts to the server, giving administrators more control over which fonts enter the corporate workflow. And lastly, your environment can be organized in different workgroups (mini-databases of fonts and users) to only give the right fonts to the right people.

If you haven’t seen Universal Type Server in action, we’re holding live demos every other week, where you can have an opportunity to ask your own questions. You can sign up for these or view the on-demand recorded demo at our webcast series page.

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Tabasco Bottle ImageIf the stars are aligned, this may well be my last ‘We Hear You!’ post, because as soon as Universal Type Server gets out the door, you will probably see that we not only heard you, but took you very seriously.

I’m not big on sports analogies, but this one seems appropriate: We’re at the bottom of the 9th. Several Beta drops later, and we are very close to ready.

It is hard to itemize all that goes in to the final stages of a software release and launch. But ‘scramble’ just about covers it (yep- that’s a golf term…or an egg term, depending).

Beyond the software itself (the biggest piece), there are a hundred things that need to line up: product skus, documentation, translation of what feels like every piece of content you have EVER written, press this-n-that, Web creative and production, internal training for: support, customer service, sales, and everyone else, communication to our partners, knowledge base articles in which you have to anticipate what someone might ask, yada yada. You get the picture.

So that is where we are. Scrambled eggs. Yum. And we expect to be dishing some up for you very soon.

Would you like ketchup or Tabasco with those?

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Fabregue printer in France tests Extensis Universal Type Server

In my last post I mentioned that we are in beta and humming along. Now that many people are using the product, seems like a good time to share some preliminary feedback.

The feedback below is from Fabregue one of the biggest printers in France with almost $100 million in revenue and over 100 years of experience. We asked their head of technical operations, Jérôme Guillement, for his first impressions.

“My first impression of Universal Type Server was during the preview at Intergraphic. I was very enthusiastic and at that point was eager to get involved in the beta…I could tell it would enable me to dramatically simplify the management of our workstations. Moreover, the design (UI, icons and web interface) completely broke with what I knew of Extensis up to now. That indicated a major shift, not just a minor update.

“The beta has outstanding stability- as good or better than some final software products…end-user feedback has been very positive: ease of use, user-friendliness, interface… they are aware of having taken a big step forward. Feedback from administrators is similar: web interface for administration is accessible from anywhere and is beautiful, simple and clear; the ability to manage users, groups and rights is much more flexible and complete.”

I promise to share more feedback soon.

*Many thanks to Jérôme for taking the time to share his feedback, and to Jean-Michel, our country manager in France, for passing it along.

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When talking about our new Type Server, we get this question a lot: “What’s under the hood?”

Where do I start? As Mac OS X is to the world of operating systems, the new Type Server is shaping up to be the same for the font management world – a powerful product that is easy to use with a beautiful interface.

In general, the driving rule that every team member has followed during development is very simple, “Be a great IT citizen.” This means that all of the choices that we made along the way, from server traffic to ease of installation and setup all followed this rule.

In addition, the Type Server is being built from the ground-up using industry-proven technologies. This allows us to focus on what we know best: the business of managing fonts.

The server is a J2EE environment utilizing embedded SQL. But if you’re not a whiz, don’t let that scare you off. You don’t need a PhD in IT to install and use the Type Server. The installers are logical and easy to use, even if you don’t have an in-house administrator. With this in mind, here are the facts:

  • Modern server architecture: Open source foundation, JAVA-driven application server, web service enabled
  • Web-based administration (see screen shot below)
  • An Adobe FLEX application for user-management
  • SOAP-based communication (http/xml) between the client and server
  • Optional SQL database embedded on the server
  • Optional external databases: MSSQL, etc.
  • ACL-based permission
  • Active Directory integration
  • Enabled with server-based command line tools model.

Type Server Administration - Users page

If you’re intrigued, please be sure to visit us at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January. We will be showing off the new Type Server in the Extensis booth. Until then, stay tuned to Manage This for more info.

As always, if there is something you want to hear about, please drop me a line.

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Let’s get right to it–Here’s the first peek at the end user interface for the new Type Server Client.

Client - medium

I do feel this doesn’t do it justice, after all, a font manager looks a lot like a font manager. It is what’s under the hood that makes the big difference.

For the end user, here’s the short list:

  • Multi-face previews combined with QuickType. You can even set preview point size by line. Plus, previews are even better and faster than Suitcase Fusion.
  • Smart sets: save your search criteria as a set and the smart set will automatically find the fonts for that set- dynamically- each time the set is selected.
  • Search on multiple criteria. Can’t remember the name of that typeface? Then narrow-in by searching on what you know:
    • OpenType + Humanist sans + Adobe = whoops, there it is.
  • Granular font information. You can see file type, date added and by whom, version number, unique Font Sense ID, workgroup, classification, etc.
  • Type Server auto-classifies your fonts when they are added- style, foundry, etc. And yes, you can also add your own custom keywords, as well.
  • Highly accurate activation with unique Font Sense ID’s.
  • Activate either the entire family or just individual faces.
  • My favorite fine-tuning thingy: adjust preview size on the fly with the preview size slider (see bottom right of the screen shot above).
  • Did I mention ‘faster’?

If you want to see the new Type Server in action, come check out our booth at Macworld Expo in January. We will be showing the new Type Server on the floor. If you don’t have tickets yet, stay tuned to Manage This. We’ll be giving away tickets to the exhibit floor as we get closer.

There is a lot more to show before then, however. Next up: we’ll talk about what’s under the hood for administrators- and a UI sneak peek for IT types is right around the corner.

As always, let me know if there is something you want to see.

(*This is Alpha, so I make no promises that things won’t change a bit between now and then. After all, this is software.)

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Extensis winter promotional sale 2007

Wondering what you’ll be giving for the holidays? Well, wonder no more.

From today through December 21st, for every $49.95 that you spend on Extensis products, you will receive a $10 electronic gift certificate from It’s just our way of saying thanks for being an Extensis customer.

This offer is applicable for any new or upgrade purchases of the following Extensis desktop products.

  • Suitcase Fusion
  • Suitcase for Windows
  • Portfolio 8.5 (Single-user)

This offer does not apply server purchases or volume license agreements and cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers. All purchases must be made online through the store. Purchases made outside the US will receive the equivalent amount in their respective country. For full offer details and restrictions, check out this page of the Extensis website.

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In the last installment, Mike Bacus walked us through the iterative development process that his team has implemented for the new Type Server development. Today I chatted with our Product Manager, Davin Kluttz, about what a font manager should be.

Amanda: Who needs font management and what makes you the expert?

dkluttz.jpgDavin: Well, I’ve been working with font managers for years- long before I started at Extensis. I’ve used them all. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot. You could say a font manager takes all the guesswork out of working with fonts and you can forget about it. But, many people who work with fonts don’t want to forget about them- or completely tune them out- they want their fonts to work with them, not against them.

If you just have a very basic need, like displaying fonts- well the OS (operating system) provides a base level of functionality here. But where this becomes an issue is for the people who have a lot of fonts, or who receive a lot of fonts from clients. So in this case, you need a professional font manager.

A: In your mind, what is the real job of a font manager?

D: It is not just about organization. You can be a meticulously organized person with your fonts in nested folders, etc. But font management is really about having a system that works for you. I think the real job is to put you back in the driver’s seat. Enables you to get as much detail as you want and still allows you to dial it up to a high level of automation.

An example: When you add a font to a database-driven font manager, the database records all the useful information about that font. In this process it can tell if you already have a copy of this version, or if the font is corrupt. Over time this reduces your clutter. Plus it reduces your mental clutter because you don’t have to worry about organization.

A: Then what should users expect of a professional font manager?

D: It should have a database, which enables searching by many criteria, including foundry, file type, classification, etc. It should also put fonts in intelligent groupings (Old Style, OpenType, Adobe, …) This lets you scout through your library quickly both visually as well as through a search field. If you can’t find what you need quickly, what good is it?

Each font should have a unique ID. The only way you can guarantee that you are getting the exact font used in the document is for it to have it’s own identity. A font manager should never just pick the first font in your list with the name ‘Helvetica’. Or worse yet, give you the list of all the ‘helvetica’ on your system and ask you to choose. If I didn’t create it, how the heck should I know? “Just because you walk into a crowded room and yell “Jimmy” does not mean you get the right guy.” That sums it up.*

A font manager should auto-activate fonts called from your parent applications, like Adobe CS3. If the font manager gives your fonts unique ID’s, then you know you’re set.

I don’t think font management is about having all your daily favorites ‘on’ at all times. That’s a given. People who work with fonts already do that. It is about the rest of your library. It is about having creative options at your fingertips without the clutter of the fonts you don’t like, don’t want, don’t need or can’t print! Its about speeding up the viewing and choosing. Who wants to spend a whole day scrolling from Zapf dingbats all the way to Arial? I don’t know about you, but I’ve got better ways to spend my time.

One final thing your font manager should do: Clean up after itself! A lot of people don’t think about this, but it should close what it opens to get it out of your way. This lowers the risk of your system ‘misbehaving’. In other words: if you put your toys back when you’re done, you won’t be tripping over them.

In the upcoming “We hear you!” installment we’ll have a sneak peek at the new UI. It’s beautiful, so don’t miss it.

(*Full disclosure: I stole this quote from our Technical Support Lead, Kelly Guimont.)

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This last Thursday-Saturday (25th-27th October) Richard Bamford and I were in attendance at MacLive Expo in London. As a partner on the Computers Unlimited stand, our UK distributor, there was plenty of opportunity to show off the MacUser award nominated Portfolio Server 8.5, along with our two Font Server products Font Reserve Server and Suitcase Server. Shame we didn’t win the award but when you’re up against Adobe InDesign CS3 and Quark Publishing System then you know you’re in good company! You can see who won at

Each day involves talking with both existing customers, partners, dealers, but also new prospective customers. Whilst we had many questions about FontSense, Suitcase Fusion and the new Portfolio 8.5 features, the most common question we faced this year was about our new Type Server development. The previous posts on this very blog proved quite useful to help explain about what’s happening!

There was also a great deal of interest in the fact that our ICS team has expanded to provide Professional Services in the UK also. Which all means one thing…busy times ahead for a Sales Engineer like me!

Richard Bamford at the MacLive Expo in London 2007

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Mac OS X (10.5) Leopard releaseGot any evening plans tonight? Well, if you haven’t heard, there’s this new little operating system release from Apple that happens tonight at 6:00. If you’re feeling extra nerd-arific, you might want to checkout some of the Mac OS X Leopard release parties tonight.

If you are interested in upgrading, it’s important to check out whether all of your applications are compatible with the operating system. To help you do so, we’ve created a page that has all of details about the current and future compatibility of Extensis software.

Please check our Leopard compatibility page for the most up-to-date information.

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