CopiaFacts 8.3, released in September 2016, has the principal enhancements shown below. This release concentrates on quality, security, and stability: we have modernized our development tools, simplified and enhanced memory management, and also modernized the appearance of familiar CopiaFacts applications. But there are also some very important new features, described below.
|See also the Version History topic for a summary of the smaller changes and fixes in version 8.3.|
Windows 10, Server 2012, Server 2016 Support
Version 8.3 now includes Client and Document Converter print drivers for Windows 10, Server 2012 and Server 2016.
We also have upgraded CopiaFacts applications to have a Windows 10 style, even when run on earlier operating systems. This change will also give us the ability to introduce further user interface enhancements during the lifetime of CopiaFacts 8.3.
Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are no longer shown as supported operating systems for CopiaFacts version 8.3, although most components, other than the COPIAFACTS engine, will still run. Attempting to use these operating systems (or earlier), which are insecure and unsupported by Microsoft, is not recommended. However earlier CopiaFacts releases are still supported on these operating systems.
There are new facilities for the operation of COPIAFACTS engines and FFEXTERN document converters as Windows Services. The CopiaFacts Control Panel (CFCP) has been enhanced to control these services both on the local network and from a remote location.
Document Converter Enhancements
PDF conversions now default to use the built-in PDF converter, which has a new PDFium renderer to render PDF documents. PDFium is a standards-compliant and high performance rendering engine as used by Google in Chrome and now released as open source. Conversions are significantly faster and we believe that there will no longer be any reason to use Adobe Reader and the CopiaFacts print drivers for converting PDF files. New converter options will either allow Acrobat to be used for PDF conversions, or select the 8.2 renderer to be used instead of PDFium.
With the default PDFium converter, all document sizes are rendered with an accurate aspect ratio, 204dpi horizontally and 196 vertically. An image option allows standard document sizes smaller than a standard fax width (A4, A5L, A3, B4ISO) to be scaled up to the full fax width; documents slightly larger than a standard fax width (Letter, Legal, B4JIS, B5L) are always scaled down.
At the same time 'conversion via PDF' is now the default option for handling Microsoft Office documents. This still requires the Office applications to be installed on machines running the Document Converter, but no longer requires print drivers to be installed. Again a new conversion option can be used if you wish to continue to use the Document Converter Print Drivers.
The interface for LibreOffice is new in 8.3 and also now converts via intermediate PDF. It no longer requires print drivers to be installed.
The various options formerly used on the QPDF_OPTIONS variable are now enhanced and available on a new $image_options configuration command. Multiple sets of image option sets can be defined and can be selected using a $convert_options keyword. A new IMAGE_OPTIONS variable can be used to override the pre-defined settings, and initially the original QPDF_OPTIONS name can be used as a synonym for this.
To assist with setting image options and understanding their effects, a new Image Options Editor is provided in FFVIEWER when a PDF, HTML, GIF, JPG or PNG document is loaded to be viewed as a TIF. This allows the options to be tested and you can reload the file to see the effect, which will match when the document is converted for faxing using the built-in converters.
For more details of the changes, please see the subtopic New Document Converter Features.
New on-the-fly conversion of PDF and HTML documents
The COPIAFACTS engine can now treat PDF and HTML documents as directly faxable. They are converted on-the-fly using the internal converter, and in many cases this can be done while the fax call is being dialed. To implement this feature, you can simply remove PDF and/or HTML from the list on the $convert_types configuration command. An override is provided for special tasks, such as broadcast jobs where the same document will be sent to many recipients, and for sites who need to send PDF documents with hundreds of pages, where the Document Converter can still be useful to off-load the conversion task from the faxing engine. The original built-in PDF converter, not PDFium, is used for on-the-fly PDF conversions.
The ability to fax HTML documents normally requires that the HTML source should be under your own control, since you may need to ensure that the document is constructed in a way that will fit onto a Letter or A4 page. But if you are already producing a report in HTML format, the chances are that it will be simple to convert it directly for faxing.
CopiaFacts Standard Scripts
The sample scripts provided in earlier releases have been revised, enhanced, and simplified. Standard scripts are now installed for post-receive functions (forwarding, converting, uploading, printing and notifying received faxes) as well as for notifying sent faxes and handling received e-mails. The new CopiaFacts Client administration program (now named CFCLIENTAMIN) will select which scripts are to be run.
.Net Support in User DLL Interfaces
A customer-supplied call control DLL can now be written as a .Net class library. Using such a DLL eliminates the need for large numbers of USR/MBX files to handle incoming fax calls based on dialed number. A sample C# assembly has been added to the available call control source samples. Copia can also provide on request a custom interface for other user-written general-purpose .Net DLLs.
New Data Extraction Feature
CopiaFacts can write a fully customizable tab-separated-field record for each transaction to data-extraction files. This gives you complete control over what values and variables are logged, and by including only a single data record for a transaction, makes it simple to create a usable log file to import into your own applications, instead of the daily DBF log where there may be multiple records per transaction. A CATDX utility is available to concatenate the files and convert to XLSX for further processing and analysis.
The CopiaFacts Reference Manual has been revised and restyled. The Web Help now has a responsive style which automatically adapts to being viewed on a tablet or phone as well as on a computer. Scan the QR code to try it now.
In addition we have revised the terminology so that we now refer always to 'channels' where we used to have to say 'lines and threads'. This also avoids ambiguity with the many other uses of the word 'lines'.
Re-organized Utility Programs
Over the years we have accumulated many small utility programs, some rarely used, most hard to locate, all requiring a run-box or command session to execute. In version 8.3 we have collected nearly 40 of these utilities into a single small command-line program, CFUTIL. This saves a lot of overhead in our installers and program folders, makes programs easier to find, and creates a consistent interface and expanded documentation in the 'usage' text. If you currently call some of the utilities from your own applications, we have arranged things so that you can still do this with no change to the command line you specify.
There is also an interactive program which will display all the available tools with descriptions and syntax, so you can run any of them interactively without having to open a run box or command session and work out what to type. For more details, see the topics on the CFUTIL and CFUTILITY programs.
Re-organized Testing Programs
We have found that not all customers are aware of the test programs we provide, which allow you to try out parts of your scripts and test the results without having to set up a complete sequence of infoboxes, or make test calls or transmissions to do so.
The new CFTEST utility collects together the programs for testing your uses of the Application Support functions, the CopiaFacts database interface, Conditional expressions in command and text files, Text to Speech conversions, and File System speed checking. Again, there is just one program to find an run, with a list of available tools and integrated documentation.
CopiaFacts Development Tools Updated
For users and potential users of CopiaFacts Software Assurance (source escrow) we have updated all our development tools to current releases, and made plans to maintain this status going forward. This makes it more straightforward for development environments to be provisioned for customers with Software Assurance. In addition the use of the latest software development tools has enabled us to implement further stability and performance enhancements in all CopiaFacts applications and libraries. Unfortunately, using modern tools means that the COPIAFACTS engine no longer supports Windows XP and Server 2003, though earlier releases still do so.
CopiaFacts documentation has also been enhanced to provide access in more current formats and from a wider range of browsers.
Installation and Configuration Enhancements
We have made improvements to the CopiaFacts Install Mangers, Installers, and Configuration utilities to simplify both new installations and upgrades. These make it easier for larger sites to install and update multiple client workstations. In addition, for current users, the Server Configuration program now has an option to view how the main configuration files would be set up today with the latest CopiaFacts version 8.3, so that changes can be made to current files to benefit from new features.
Fixes and Other Enhancements
There are a large number of detailed enhancements and fixes in version 8.3, mainly to improve ease of use. See the Version History in Appendix M.