FrontFace 4.4 – Now also on Android

The latest version 4.4 again brings many innovations and improvements for our digital signage & kiosk software FrontFace, but also the long-awaited support for the Android operating system:

With the new FrontFace Player App for Android, you can now use Android-based devices as players. In addition to tablets, these also include inexpensive media player boxes and devices with integrated Android TV. Devices with Android version 8 (“Oreo”) or higher are supported.

The FrontFace Player App for Android offers a reduced range of functions compared to the Windows version: Only non-interactive functions (classic digital signage playlists) are supported. Interactive touch menus are only supported on the Windows platform. In addition, some features such as “Hot Folder” are also not available on Android. A detailed overview of the differences between the Windows and Android versions of the FrontFace Player App can be found on the FrontFace Website.

The creation and management of content, as well as the scheduling is carried out as usual with the convenient FrontFace Assistant on Windows. Here you can manage your Android players, create, and edit playlists and then publish them on the Android players.

The new FrontFace Player App for Android is perfectly suited for simpler and cost-sensitive use cases and applications: Digital shop window advertising, menu boards for restaurants, snack bars and canteens or simple information screens, etc. – Thanks to the combination of extremely inexpensive Android hardware and the also lower-priced FrontFace Player license for Android, you can now implement appealing digital signage installations, even with very low budgets!

You can download the fully-functional, free demo version to try out both the Windows and the Android version of FrontFace 4.4!

Below you will find an overview of the most important new features and changes in version 4.4:

  • NEW: FrontFace Player App for Android (8.0 “Oreo” or higher) available.
  • NEW: Preview settings (resolution, etc.) can now optionally also be persisted per playlist.
  • NEW: New “Plain” theme for touch menus (completely without button artwork) for even more individual design options.
  • NEW: Support for certificate-based client authentication when accessing websites.
  • NEW: Expert mode available in almost all dialogs (increases clarity); If an expert setting has been changed, the expert mode is automatically activated in the relevant dialog.
  • NEW: Automatic check of the minimum version when opening projects (prevents projects from being opened with an outdated assistant!).
  • NEW: Log files now have the file extension * .log.txt instead of .log as before
  • FIX: Improved behavior when processing faulty / incompatible PDF files.
  • FIX: Warning if two web browser instances (Chromium) are using the same cache at the same time.
  • FIX: Last used text colors in the editor of the text media object are now saved project-wide and can therefore be reused more easily.
  • FIX: Paging buttons in touch menus are displayed correctly, even if there are hidden pages under the pages to be displayed.
  • FIX: Tooltips in the timer preview (scheduling) were sometimes displayed incorrectly.

FrontFace 4.3.7 – Updated Browser Engine, Improved Weather Module and More…

We continuously improve FrontFace by releasing new features, fixing bugs, and delivering updated documentation. 

Please note that there has been a change in the system requirements for this version as well as a change regarding to license activation (highlighted in red below)!

Here are the most important changes of version 4.3.7:

  • NEW: Weather media object now shows the probability of rain for the forecasts.
  • NEW: Weather media objects comes with a brand new icon set called “Comic”:
  • FIX: Weather media object has a new icon for changing weather that is “more positive“ regarding sunshine.
  • FIX: Update to an entirely new, Chromium-based browser engine (using Chromium 79) with a fully isolated/sandboxed architecture for more stability and security.
  • NEW: Optional progress bar for countdown and egg timer mode of the date/time clock media object for visualizing the remining time.
  • NEW: PDF documents (local and Web) linked in Web pages can now be viewed using the Web page media object.
  • FIX: Starting with this version, FrontFace requires .NET Framework 4.8 (on most Windows 10 computers, this version of the .NET Framework is already preinstalled!).
  • NEW: Videos can now optionally be started automatically or not when being used in a touch menu button playlist.
  • FIX: Dedicated actions for showing and hiding the onscreen keyboard have been added as an extension to the previously existing toggle keyboard action.
  • FIX: Settings dialog of Player App (Maintenance Menu) is designed more clearly.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with assigning non-existing playlists to event sources.
  • FIX: Idle timer to return to home page of a touch menu now also works correctly, when the user is interacting with a Web page that uses the “Chromium (for Touch)” browser engine.
  • FIX: Editing players within a player group now works correctly in all cases.
  • FIX: Fixed an issue with publishing player groups.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with adding background audio files to playlist pages.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with overlay playlists triggered by an event source that did not show up.
  • FIX: All actions that are only available in certain contexts are now context-sensitive.
  • FIX: To label the language selection buttons in multi-lingual touch menus, the language names are now used in their native representation (German, English, Français, etc.).
  • FIX: Whitelist filter of the Web page media object now also behaves correctly in case there are invalid entries in the whitelist.
  • FIX: Due to a change in the license activation system, it can happen under certain circumstances that your FrontFace license must be reactivated after the update. However, due to the change, the activation code is now much more robust to Windows feature updates, which in the past partially made a reactivation necessary when being installed!
  • FIX: Minor bug fixes.

Updates for FrontFace Plugins:

In addition to the new version 4.3.7 of FrontFace, there are also some updates for the optional plugins available:

Remote Control Plugin:

Calendar Plugin:

  • NEW: New view type “Agenda” for displaying appointments or room bookings per day in a chronological order.
  • FIX: Minor bug fixes.

The new version as full version or as fully-functional trial version is available for download on the FrontFace product website.

Free Sticky Note Plug-In for FrontFace

Everyone knows those handy sticky notes! And now, there is also a digital counterpart of it for the FrontFace Digital Signage & Kiosk software.

With the Sticky Note plug-in, classic sticky notes can be easily integrated as media objects in playlist pages and touch menus.

There are many possible uses for this: On non-interactive systems, digital black boards can be made even more realistic and text messages can be presented in an appealing way.

On the other hand, the full functionality of the new plug-in can be used on touch screen systems. You can use the on-screen keyboard to write or edit texts on the sticky note. In pen/ink mode, you can also draw on the sheet freehand with your fingers or a pen. An integrated context menu allows the content to be deleted with a single click or to toggle the “highlight” mode.

Thus, the plug-in is not only suitable for the visually appealing design of digital bulletin boards but can also be used in interactive mode as a “mini-collaboration tool”, where e.g. employees can leave messages or notes for colleagues.

The new plug-in is free of charge and is included in the FrontFace installation package. Existing customers who update to version 4.3.6 will find the plugin directly if they click on “Add New Content Plugin” in the plug-in dialog.

How to Integrate a Scrolling News Ticker into your Touch Menu!

How about making the home page of your touch menu livelier and more interesting? By displaying a scrolling news ticker tape with news headlines (RSS feed) or with your own news (custom text), you can do this easily with FrontFace. Just open the settings dialog of your touch menu:

Then click on the selection arrow below “Menu Layout” on the right…

…and select the “Main Menu with Ticker” layout. This layout already contains an additional container above the lower toolbar, which is pre-assigned with a news ticker.

After you have selected that layout, you can open the ticker settings dialog by clicking on the container with the ticker.

Many options for individually adjusting the ticker are available here. In addition to the displayed content (RSS feed or free text), you can also customize the visual design, such as colors, font and the scrolling speed.

You can either enter the messages line by line as custom text or enter the path/URL of an RSS feed or a plain text file either on a web server (via HTTP) or on a file server (UNC file path). If you provide an RSS or plain text file as a source, you can also set the “feed update interval” in minutes. After the specified time, the feed is retrieved again. In the meantime, a cached version is being used.

The appearance of the ticker can be tailored to your needs in terms of scrolling speed, colors, fonts, etc. You can also specify a title (prefix) that remains static in front of the scrolling text. For languages like Hebrew or Arabic, you can also change the scrolling direction of the ticker.

Finally, use the preview button of the FrontFace Assistant to check the results:

Touch Menus: Back to Home Page & Digital Signage Screen Saver

In this tutorial we will show you two very helpful features for your interactive touch menus with FrontFace: The “Back to Home Page” function automatically returns the menu to the start page if a user leaves the terminal without clicking “Home” button on leaving. With the screen saver feature, you can supply your kiosk terminal with additional, moving content when there is no interaction and usage.

Back to Home Page

When a user leaves the terminal without returning to the start page of the touch menu, a certain period of minutes can be defined after which the system automatically returns to the top level menu of the touch menu when there is no more interaction.

To configure this setting, open the settings dialog of the touch menu:

Here is the “Interaction Timeout” setting. Set the desired duration (e.g. 15 minutes). This ensures that the menu returns to the start page after 15 minutes without interaction.

As a result, a subsequent user can start the navigation directly from the main menu level (“Home Screen”) and does not have to manually click the “Home” button first.

Digital Signage Screensaver

Especially for interactive systems such as kiosk terminals, it is desirable to display appealing, moving content on the screen (e.g. advertising or specific calls for action) when the system is not being used interactively. You can easily create an individual screen saver with FrontFace:

First create a playlist (in addition to your touch menu), which will serve as screen saver.

Here you can insert any media objects, for example pictures, videos, slideshows, web pages or texts. In addition, with the help of a suitable screen layout, you can also add static overlay text or even scrolling text with a call for action (CFA) such as “Tap here for more information …” or “Please touch the screen!”.

Then switch to the “Scheduling” section in the Assistant and activate the “Advanced Scheduling”. Then click on the + icon in the “Event Sources” list to create a new event source.

Click on “Install a new event source plugin” and select the plugin file for the screensaver. This is named “Screensaver.ffapx” and is located in the “C:\Program Files\mirabyte\FrontFace\Plugins\” folder.

After installing the plugin, select it and click OK.

Finally, you specify the number of minutes and the previously created playlist as a screen saver:

„Welcome, Mr. John Doe!“ – Digital Welcome Screens and Reception Boards

Personalized welcome boards and reception screens for greeting visitors or customers in companies are a great idea, but there are a few things to consider when implementing them!

A flat-screen TV is screwed to the wall behind the reception desk, a mini-PC is attached, and the digital reception screen is ready to welcome visitors! – Sounds easy, but it is not quite that simple, because there is an important additional consideration. If the answer to the question of how the content management is accomplished is “PowerPoint,” it will instantly become clear how difficult and inflexible such a setup is. Automatic start? Edit content? Scheduling? Calendar integration? A scrolling news ticker would also be nice – but unfortunately none of that is possible!

This is where the “FrontFace” software by mirabyte comes into play: With FrontFace, professional reception and welcome screens can be easily set up and display any kind of content without much effort. In addition to general information about the company, e.g. image videos or brochures in PDF format, time-controlled or ad hoc, personalized greeting messages for visitors or customers can be displayed. (“Welcome to our company, Mr. Doe!”). Through these specialized displays, a friendly and open atmosphere is created right at the first contact with the company!

To trigger the welcome messages, FrontFace can also integrate external systems, such as a calendar from an Exchange server or a Lotus Domino server. SharePoint, iCalendar/ICS and Excel are also supported as external data sources. This allows for maintaining the entire system conveniently using applications such as Outlook.

FrontFace supports the integration of many different content types, e.g. scrolling news ticker tapes, clocks, websites, the current weather conditions, daily news and QR codes that can be displayed on the screen in combination with other media.

The arrangement of the contents, the management of the hardware and the content scheduling is done using the convenient FrontFace Assistant, a Windows application that can be installed on any conventional PC.

For a quick start, mirabyte offers a free, fully functional trial version, as well as tutorial videos and a step-by-step quick start guide for setting up a reception screen – available at the product website:

The FrontFace software is offered as a permanent license and is licensed per player PC (welcome screen). The price of a license is $599.95 USD. To connect external systems, e.g. Exchange Server, special plugins are also available.

NEW: FrontFace 4.0 – Digital Signage & Kiosk Software

The new version 4.0 of our Digital Signage & Kiosk software FrontFace is an entirely new development from ground up and brings countless improvements and innovations over our previous products “FrontFace for Public Displays” (digital signage software) and “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” (kiosk software).

However, the most significant change is that both the primarily non-interactive features of FrontFace for Public Displays and, soon, the interactive touch-menu capabilities of FrontFace for Touch Kiosks will be available in one single product: FrontFace 4.

Thus, both classic digital signage applications, and interactive kiosk systems, as well as mixed types of both, can be implemented with a single, powerful system!

In the first step, we implemented the functionality of FrontFace for Public Displays in the new FrontFace 4. In addition to that, we have significantly expanded and improved the entire product. In a second step (around late summer 2019), the touch functionality will be available in FrontFace 4 as well as part of an update.

By the way: FrontFace for Public Displays and FrontFace for Touch Kiosks will not be discontinued but will continue to be available to our existing customers. So you have the choice of whether you want to continue to work with the product you are used to, or whether you want to switch over to the new FrontFace 4. The upgrade is free of charge for all customers that are eligible for updates & support! For existing customers, we have also created a FAQ with all the questions and answers dealing with the new version!

Download the free trial version of FrontFace 4 and find out how easy and simple it is to get professional digital signage applications up and running. Create your own playlist with just a few clicks! But despite the simple and intuitive usage, also more demanding users get their money’s worth: With the new layout editor you can visually create without any programming knowledge, your own screen layouts very easily. In addition, the powerful scheduling provides everything you need to have your content displayed automatically.

Thanks to the integrated plugin interface, you can even extend FrontFace with your own, custom functionality if required!

And as always with FrontFace: No SaaS (software-as-a-service), no running costs or subscriptions and the installation of the complete software is done locally in your environment! You have full control!

Free trial version and quick start video tutorials