Fonto 8.3: Say hello to a more powerful Fonto

Fonto 8.3: Say hello to a more powerful Fonto

When viewing content changes made over time in Fonto Document History, the ability to see changes made to the entire publication has been on both our and many clients’ wishlist for a long time. We’re proud to announce that, after working tediously on it for the past releases, we have created exactly that. Publication mode. As the cherry on top, we’re also including the much-requested feature of (pre)setting a date range. Furthermore, we made some great table improvements that will make life much easier when working with large tables. Loading multiple documents in Fonto has also been made less complicated.

Fonto Document History

Fonto Document History now has two modes: single mode and publication mode. Single mode reflects Fonto Document History as it has always been. It shows one document at a time and lets you compare any revision to the current state of the document. Now, publication mode, that’s where it gets exciting. With publication mode, you can see entire publications, along with an outline that shows what hierarchy items have been added, removed or both, over the course of the selected date range. 

Date Range

Speaking of date range, you can now set both the start date and the end date in publication mode. Additionally, authors can send their document out for review with a preset date range, optionally making it adjustable or fixed. This can be really useful, e.g. when you’re only interested in feedback on changes made between the last approved version and the new draft version.


It can be quite difficult to determine which date is interesting to select, and for that we’re introducing milestones. Clients can configure milestones for their document, which should represent important moments in time and help users make an educated decision when setting a date range. 

Fonto Editor

Loading multiple documents

Loading multiple documents and sheet frames in Fonto Editor has been made easier. Instead of writing complicated handlers in JavaScript, you can now simply configure a few XPath queries and Fonto Editor will automatically build your documents’ hierarchy, load additional documents, and even update it when the structure of your documents change.

Improved table lay-outing

We’ve added numbers and letters to tables to help navigate them. The widget areas are sticky, so they are always in view when you scroll through the table. This way, users can always see where they are in the table. Also, you can now see more of the table, because we use more horizontal space for rendering the table. 

Focus and keyboard navigation

We’ve made the first strides into taking control of UI keyboard navigation and focus management. To make Fonto as accessible as possible, it’s important that keyboard navigation works consistently throughout Fonto. We’re not quite done yet, but we’re off to a good start.

Fonto Development Tools

From this release onward, FDT will be released under the same version number as Fonto’s products. This means that e.g. FDT 8.3.0 is guaranteed to work with Fonto Editor 8.3.0 and will warn when it detects incompatibility. This is done in preparation of dropping backward-compatibility from FDT in a future version, which opens up possibilities for innovation and improved security.

New chip design 

We’re introducing a new chip design. These chips should be used in situations where the content changes in a specific context, as opposed to buttons which are persistent. For example, you can find them as badges on comments and in filter summaries. Chips can be either single-line or multi-line. 

Fonto Content Quality

We’ve made some improvements to the dictionary annotator infrastructure in Fonto Content Quality. The annotator now can handle optional properties in a dictionary format. Next to that, the annotator can also be configured to ignore casing when matching a term, which should result in more matches for your terms. Another technical improvement is that we now support returning arrays from a JSON dictionary, which can be used to offer multiple replacement options for a term.

Next release

A new year, a new set of larger features coming to Fonto. In the upcoming release, we will start work on a few heavily requested features. Will start is the keyword, the effort is significantly large enough that we can’t possibly ship it in the scope of a single release. In fact, each of them will require multiple releases of design, development and testing.

The items we’re getting started on are:

  1. Table diffing and other diff visualization changes; Many of our customers are adopting Fonto Document History for their auditing and reviewing of changes needs. We’re going to focus on improving the visualization of changes in Fonto Document History. One key area of improvement is the visualization of table changes, for example when a row or column is added or removed.

    There will also be many smaller improvements like the way we visualize changes in formatted numbers or the way we show moves with a document.
  2. Content inclusion improvement; We will be overhauling our implementation of the way we handle content inclusions. This is also known as included content, reused content and conreffed content.

    We’re doing this to fix several classes of issues with the current implementation:
    • Rendering & behavior; This will fix issues like rendering the wrong number of an included list item or other kinds of differences in expected vs actual rendering and behavior of included elements.
    • Find & replace; Finding content in and around included content. Currently, you cannot find that content, even though it is visually there in the content view. We’re going to fix this.
    • Fonto Document History; show changes in included content. Currently, these changes are not detected and highlighted. This is also something that will be addressed.

All of these issues require a major overhaul in the architecture, and that will take time. We will try to do this without requiring massive breaking changes. There are details to figure out, so we will keep you posted on this progress.

So a lot of exciting improvements and features are coming up in the next year. So what will ship in 8.4? To be honest, we’re not exactly sure yet. What we can say for sure is that there will be bug fixes and smaller improvements based on customer requests. And once we have stabilized parts of the bigger feature, we may choose to ship them out early, but no promises.

Want to experience Fonto 8.3 yourself? Give it a try! 

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