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FA4 was rather amazingly last updated in 2016 and almost 3 years since FA5 was released, but despite multiple requests from clients, IPS didn't/wouldn't support it. Somewhat frustrated, but fortunately not in a sexual way, we chuckled cheekily that FA6 would be out by the time FA5 was integrated, but more seriously it is IMHO still a missed opportunity as there were a lot of really good features like Pro, Duotone and Light icons and of course the super useful themed Icon Packs.

So I personally think, respectfully and sadly, that IPS 'dropped the ball' by not utilising a team member to update the outdated FA4 integration. If IPS had launched an integrated proprietary awards and badges feature (er, hello?) for members after adding the automated rule logic of member promotions, it could really have shined by supporting FA5's theme packs and new styles like the multi colour Duo Tone icons.

Some time ago FA launched kits for FA5 with the ability to upgrade to FA5 on the fly, but the FA4 to FA5 shim although super useful, meant accepting a performance hit, especially if you use more than one style of icon. 

So here's hoping that Font Awesome 6 once released later this year will be integrated into IPS a lot sooner.

If you have a Pro licence for FA5, look out for the limited time discounted FA6 Pro upgrade offer.

If you haven't already seen it, enjoy the crazy video (that probably should have been shorter!) 🤔

https://fontawesome.com/6

Edited by The Old Man
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1 minute ago, Joy Rex said:

Wasn't there a major change in licensing from FA4 to FA5 that might be behind why IPS hasn't updated it in their commercial product? Someone from IPS can chime in if that's not the case.

Yes, I'm sure Matt or Charles dropped a line at the time explaining that it would cost IPS a fortune to license FA5.

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Just now, Meddysong said:

Yes, I'm sure Matt or Charles dropped a line at the time explaining that it would cost IPS a fortune to license FA5.

Well, there you go (if that's the case) - perhaps it's time to look to another icon library (Bootstrap's new icon library is starting to look pretty good), or perhaps this is a good opprotunity to branch out for IPS and offer their own icon library as a separate product and integrated with the IPS.

So... if that is the case, how are some of these skin designers offering FA5 in their skins?

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The reason is essentially that it'd be a big undertaking for us to update to FA5 for relatively little benefit for most customers. Some people (like yourself) would obviously have more need for it, but on the whole the cost/benefit of upgrading is minimal. They do have a migration script but again I'm not convinced it's worthwhile to include that on every site.

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Thanks @Rikki, yes I definitely agree about the shim quick fix, I removed it after trialing it, but it might be worth another look as the additional icon designs aside, the modern FA5 SVG files are very fast, efficient and the individual icons can load as needed by the page, without having to download the whole mother-lode of icons.

Plus you could probably remove the whole separate Icomoon web font library as I bet those few icons it provides are now included within FA4 or FA5 these days.

TBH I always kind of assumed you could do some careful automatic search and replace within your source.

Actually that reminds me, I saw some Google warnings this week in Lighthouse about security vulnerabilities discovered in the jQuery version that IPS uses. That might need an update.

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1 minute ago, The Old Man said:

Plus you could probably remove the whole separate Icomoon web font library as I bet those few icons it provides are now included within FA4 or FA5 these days.

Actually that reminds me, I saw some Google warnings this week in Lighthouse about security vulnerabilities discovered in the jQuery version that IPS uses. That might need an update.

icomoon has been removed in 4.5 and jQuery has been upgraded to the 3.x series  🎉

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1 minute ago, The Old Man said:

Thanks for that @Rikki The free version would indeed be fine but couldn't we just utilise our own Pro Licence credentials if we have them or opt to buy Pro later?

You could, but then you can do that now too. We wouldn't be able to use any pro icons in the base software.

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30 minutes ago, McAtze said:

This is not correct. With FA6 on free plan they "double the amount of icons, give access to the new SVG-framework, JS compoments and more.." (Video - 00:47+) 😉

I would say it’s not correct that it’s not correct. 😉 Font Awesome in Invision Community 4.x is used to show pre-defined UI elements and the vast majority of IPS users don’t do anything else with it (because you need custom coding or 3rd-party resources for it). So going from FA4 to 5 or 6 doesn’t change much. That 4.7 notification bell is then a 6.0 notification bell. Big whoop! 😉 
So for the platform as a whole, very little changes and Rikki’s statement is actually correct. 

Edited by opentype
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Yes, I think justification for upgrading outdated third party libraries extends far beyond just the oranges vs lemons design scenario of the icons, it's also about performance and efficiency as well. Bells aside (!), to take perhaps another analogy since the early 20th century the humble car has still had wheels, a motor, seats and lights but mankind didn't stick with the Ford Model T or the 4th era of vehicles because it was essentially the same thing. People upgraded their for cars for aesthetics, safety, security, performance, availability and efficiency when the designers and manufactures improved them. FA4 is slow and inefficient, not desirable qualities end users appreciate.

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28 minutes ago, The Old Man said:

FA4 is slow and inefficient …

Have some proof for that? I mean the comparison of calling and caching a webfont once vs. calling all that CSS + JavaScript + single SVG graphics. What are the loading times and execution times for both cases when used on an IPS installation? I am happy to be convinced of improvements, but I am a little sceptical. Newer doesn’t automatically equal more efficient—which is quite obvious when sticking with your car example, where tons of new features in a car might actually raise the fuel consumption. 😉

In any case, as you know, the suggested native implementation of 5 and 6 are not downwards compatible, so a large amount of theme templates needs to be touched, which creates conflicts for modified templates during upgrade. And of course every theme designer would also need to update every template in each of his or her themes that uses FA4. And then there are other 3rd-party templates, like my Pages templates, which also make use of FA4, which would all break and require updating through me and the users, which entered FA4 codes in their settings …. Considering all this, it’s no surprise should IPS decide to postpone an upgrade until a major releases (like 5.0) that might restructure and touch all templates anyway. 

To be clear: Not that I have anything against an upgrade of Font Awesome. I might like it when it’s there. But looking at the bigger picture—as explained—I tend to believe that the cost–benefit analysis might not swing so easily to “overwhelming benefits” as your first post or that entertaining FontAwesome ad want to make it appear. 

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Agreed, a typography appreciating man such as yourself may find appeal in the FA5 literature improvements, I don't really know much about them.

Don't get me wrong, v4 was certainly great possibly even awesome in its day, but it's all relative and things obviously move on. No, I don't have actual bench tests to hand. I do recall members here saying they didn't like the v4 caveat in terms of having to load them all at once, other libraries were starting to adopt single icon support. The way the newer variations of SVG and JS are implemented in FA5 offer faster, compressible resources, when you go into the FA5 Dashboard, it tells you which methods are better than others. They're saying FA6 will be improved again, I've no reason to not believe them and that's from the people creating it. 

In terms of accessibility, FA5 can do more of the ARIA related work for you, less attributes and code in your html page. 

The performance and efficiency improvements of v4 to v5 were compared, documented and marketed all be it by FA at first upon release of 5, but also by third party websites, especially given the huge number of additional icons, up from I think it was 800 with FA to literally 1000's. All the extra great choice of icons and styles available to site owners and Pro License owners who want to make use of them, but of course the free icons available to all can still be used by IPS and theme designers.

Somebody posted a link to their site recently regarding performance caching issues and it was a topic page a mortifying 10.5MB in size and loading all the javascript, CSS and icons in the FA4 doesn't help when you only need to display a handful of icons but your page is bloated with third party ads and trackers. I'm somewhat reminded in general of the old saying, "every bit helps, the old lady said, as she pissed into the sea". Tesco's used a slightly different version in their ads.

Seriously, how time consuming would it really have been for IPS to stick with the original loading method of FA4 with the Unicode codes but use a few search and replace regex commands to update the CSS template?
https://fontawesome.com/how-to-use/on-the-web/setup/upgrading-from-version-4#name-changes

There are even third party scripts out there to save some time: https://stackoverflow.com/a/54179185

 

Edited by The Old Man
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Thought this was the best topic to post this in, I have been developing apps and using fontawesome icons is impossible as of now due to the depreciation of "fa fa-<icon>" it is now "fas fa-<icon>" so anytime we try to use an icon it doesn't load anything, the box appears if you leave it just "fa" but no icon, if you use "fas" the area reserved for the icon goes away.

I'm not sure but I think now is the best time to update to the latest FontAwesome 5 at least.

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