Paul Brett eyes up EasyFont PRO V5 with caution....
A long long time ago at an Acorn World Show a company called Fabis Computing launched a product called EasyFont PRO. It sold like hot cakes. I was one of those who purchased EasyFont at Acorn World and although the application looked very nice it was to un-reliable to be used. Fabis continued releasing new versions and updates (which were also un-reliable) until they finally closed. The applications supplied by Fabis were split up with EasyFont being taken over by iSV Products and EasyClip being taken over by R-Comp. Both these companies have released new versions of the Fabis products, how does iSV Products version of EasyFont Pro stand up?
What is EasyFont
EasyFont is a font manager, it allows you to turn single fonts, or groups of fonts, on or off. It will scan files and turn on the fonts required to render the file in question. It also has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) display showing what all your fonts actually look like.
EasyFont Pro V5
EasyFont also offers lots of other bells and whistles, you can look at the fonts at different sizes, make new weights of existing fonts, move fonts from one group to another. You can also use fonts that are stored on a CD or ZIP disc , when they are required EasyFont will simply ask for the relevant media to be inserted. You can get information on the fonts that are installed, control the font cache, produce printed catalogues and more. Indeed EasyFont does offer a wide range of features.
The New Version
So what is different about this new version of EasyFont. Well for starters it is supplied on CD with over 2000 fonts, also included is a copy of iSV Products rather nice Dr Fonty font editor (a cut down version of the FontFiend font editor supplied with DrawWorks new Millennium - ED) and some other bonus applications. A new installer is also supplied that can upgrade your existing EasyFont PRO and keep all your fonts, which is very useful. The installer can also install a blank EasyFont, or a version that includes references to all the fonts supplied on the CD.
The EasyFont Installer
The new version of EasyFont finally dispenses with the annoying Fabis protection system that required the master disk to be inserted every few months. I know of at least one user who actually threw EasyFont in the bin because of this intrusion. Once you have installed a new version of EasyFont its time to run it.
You can immediately see that iSV Products have made changes to the application. There is a new loading banner and all the toolbar icons have been redesigned and they look better for it. The main window looks much the same as the previous version except for the new toolbar along the top of the window. This duplicates the options that were previously only available from the icon bar menu. The only major new features I could see immediately was the "Font Integrity Tester". This allows you to see if a font has faults, if so you could them remove it and repair it using the supplied copy of Dr Fonty. However it would be nice if you could repair a faulty font in situ. EasyFont also now comes with an on-line manual in the usual iSV house format.
The on-line manual
The Major Change
However there is one major change to EasyFont, and its all behind the scenes, that one change is reliability. I gave up with earlier versions of EasyFont due to unexpected crashes. According to the information I have from iSV Products over 3 months was spent tracking down and fixing existing bugs that Fabis had not dealt with. (We did -ED). And I must say that during use this version of Easyfont did seem much more stable. I did have one crash where the WYSIWYG display got corrupted. However unlike previous versions the supplied EasyFix program did fix the fault.
Another under the skin change is speed. Easy Font was renowned for hogging the WIMP and slowing the machine down, this new version runs much quicker and does not seem to suffer from this problem.
I will say though, that I do have some small reservations about an application that comes with another program to fix it if it goes wrong.
So what do I think of this new EasyFont? Well it is quite similar to the older version. If you don't have a copy of EasyFont then the supplied fonts, copy of Dr Fonty and the improved EasyFont offers very very good value for money and will make handling lots of fonts much easier. If you already use EasyFont then I would recommend you upgrade for the very reasonable price. You may not get that much in the way of new features but the improved performance and reliability are well worth ten pounds of anyones money.