The main changes in version 5.9 are:
- Updated Online Editor – adding major new features for creating or personalizing documents online.
- On-demand variable size documents – create print-on-demand posters or labels in a variety of sizes using just a single product template.
- Automated Product Creation – drop a bunch of PDF files in a folder, and this new option will automatically convert them all to products in a store.
Updated Online Editor
StoreFront 5.9 includes a new version of the Online Editor with many new features:
- The most significant change is that you can now specify many properties within a document using relative values. Instead of giving a frame a fixed width of 115 mm, you can use a formula and state that its width should be half the width of the page minus ten mm. This use of formulas and values allows you to create dynamic layouts. The position, dimensions, rotation and scale of frames can all be dynamic. They can even depend on the properties of another frame that is defined as its anchor.
To turn a static frame property into a calculated value based on a function, you simply click the function button next to the property input field in the interface. In the example below the X position of a frame is dynamic. The actual value (115mm) has been calculated using a formula.
- Frames are now rotated around their center instead of around the top left corner.
- The X and Y coordinates of an object can now be specified based on a 9-point grid. The above screenshot shows the upper left corner being used as the reference point, similar to the way this is done in Adobe InDesign and other design applications.
- In the Advanced and Expert workspaces, users can now access a Path Editor, which allows them to edit any frame or shape by adding, removing or moving path points or dragging the handles on those points to create Bézier curves. The screen capture below shows a text frame with a partially rounded shape.
Text related new features
- Vertical text alignment is now possible in all shapes, not only rectangular frames.
- You can specify that the selected text in a frame should be treated as non-breaking text.
- Copyfitting is the function to change text properties if the text is too short or long to fill its frame(s). The Online Editor can, for example, reduce the type size a bit to fit a long paragraph in a tight frame. What is new is that you can now also specify that leading (the distance between lines of text) and tracking (the horizontal space between characters) can be used for copyfitting. By default the Online Editor will first adapt leading and tracking before reducing the type size if the text overflows the frame(s).
Image related new features
- The Online Editor can automatically scale images to make them fit in an image frame. Two new image fitting options are now available:
- Original Size will alter the frame size so that the image can fit.
- Smart Fit allows you to automatically position an image within a smaller frame while prioritizing part of that image. This way, you can make sure that a person’s face is always shown, even if the remainder of the portrait needs to be cropped.
- If an image is stretched, it can now be rescaled while maintaining its stretched proportions.
Online Editor Actions related new features
Actions are snippets of code that can be assigned to the forms variables of a customizable document. They add automation to the document and give you more control over its content. This scripting system has been extended in version 5.9:
- Variables of type datecan be compared to other date variables, or to string variables formatted as YYYY/MM/DD.
- AND/OR logical operators can be used in IF-statements.
Barcode related new features
Two new barcodes types have been added:
- GS1 DataBar Expanded
- GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked
On-demand variable size documents
Many StoreFront shops contain libraries of documents that will be printed on-demand. All these products are based on a template. Up to now these templates always had to have a fixed size, such as A4 or Legal. If a store contains a lot of posters, labels or other print products with varying dimensions, that can quickly require the creation of many templates for various sizes. StoreFront v5.9 allows you to use a variable size template for on-demand products.
Keep in mind that this is not yet supported for multi-version documents.
Automated Product Creation
Retail chains often have several sales actions running in parallel and to promote these, they may use flyers or posters. If these prints need to be added to their StoreFront shop in multiple versions or languages, you quickly end up creating dozens of similar products each month. The new Automated Product Creation module automates this process. It allows you to create multiple channels to automatically add products to a store.
- A channel has an input hotfolder in which the retailer or your own designers can drop their PDF files.
- The channel has a target store, in which the new product will be created. By creating subfolders in the input hotfolder, these automatically become product categories in that store.
- An existing product template is associated with the channel. Each PDF document that is processed via the channel and transformed into a product inherits some of the properties (such as the available options) from this template product. For the product name, the PDF file name is used.
As you can see in the above screen capture, setting up channels is really simple. A new product is automatically added to the store each time a PDF is dropped in an input hotfolder. Our PrintSphere data-sharing platform is used to host these hotfolders, making them easily accessible using any web browser. The Notifications tab lists which products have been created successfully or have failed.
Automated Product Creation is a separate option with a monthly service fee. A trial license is available upon request.
Easier bulk shipment
You can now select multiple different orders that have the status ‘In Production’ or ‘Available’ and change their status to ‘Shipped’ in one go.
Other minor changes
- The Bambora payment gateway service has been updated.
- The way StoreFront interacts with its database has been optimized for speed and reliability.
- Several translations have been tweaked, based on user feedback.
- To comply with privacy legislation such as GDPR, the name and e-mail address of deleted users will automatically be scrambled. Deleted users will be listed as xxxx yyyy in the Order Overview list. To prevent data scrambling, you can disable users instead of deleting them.
Post-update action items
None of the changes and new features in this release require an intervention from a printer administrator.