Author Topic: ???!  (Read 359 times)

MacHead

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???!
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:33:57 pm »
The Scribus concept appealed to me, so I downloaded and installed version 1.42 on a Mac running Mac OS 10.9.5.

The initial experience ... leaves something to be desired. I created a page, put a text box within the page margin guides, and typed a few words for experimental purposes. And there I stopped:

1. No text commands are visible in the interface. Invoking 'edit text' in the GUI or the drop-down menu displays the story editor, which in fact does not enable the user to alter the text! WTF? Text creation and manipulation—the very heart of the page—ought to be prominently displayed in the default interface.

2. No commands are apparent to add a line stroke to the outside of the text box, alter text insets, modify leading or kerning, or other typesetting options.

This IS intended to be a page editing and layout program, is it not?

I taught myself to use QuarkXpress and InDesign and have produced all manner of documents and some books. Scribus looks like a piece of software in the early development stage, with most of the intended functionality yet to come.

I look at the Floss manual. Frustrating ... 'Start at the end', indeed. I did not consult it to learn basic principles of document design. I just wanted to know where the commands are located in the program. Seems like a 'manual' should start with that  information and go into design principles later, if at all.

This experience calls to mind the difficulty of getting an MLM marketeer to tell you the essence of the proposition. One is counseled to listen to a lengthy pitch in its entirety before asking questions. I am enough of a software junkie to give time to a new program, but Scribus demands a great deal of time to learn things that ought to be obvious when the program is launched.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 08:37:34 pm by MacHead »

utnik

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Re: ???!
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2018, 09:19:48 pm »
hi machead

No text commands are visible in the interface.

the 'properties' palette (f2) will bring scribus to breath – but without at least a short look at the menu entries you won't be able to deal with scribus in a successful way…

btw. why are you downloading an old version? (scribus1.4.6 is the present stable release.)

utnik

GarryP

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Re: ???!
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 03:37:50 pm »
To add to utnik's question: Where did you download 1.4.2 from and why did you get it from there?

If you were reading the FLOSS Manuals documentation it looks like you could have stopped at just the wrong place as, in the paragraph after it asks you to type some text in, it states "open the Properties palette (Window > Properties), select the Text tab, so that you can try various fonts and font characteristics, including the size of the characters (glyphs)."

If you don't like the way the FLOSS Manuals documentation is arranged you could try this instead: https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Get_Started_with_Scribus
That tutorial is quite old now - and some menu items etc. have been moved/renamed since - and it's not that great overall, but it comes at things with more of a 'just get stuck in' point of view.

Or, if you really want to get stuck in, you could try some of the "How To"s here: https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Category:HOWTO
Some of them are quite long but they are usually of a practical nature. For instance, this one https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/How_to_make_a_parody_magazine_cover takes you through images, text, colours, alignments, and all kinds of things that you should find useful.

And just to expand on what utnik said: The Properties Palette should be kept open at all times. Scribus - as you have seen - is pretty unusable without it so just keep it open and it will change according to what you're doing at the time.

MacHead

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Re: ???!
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 06:18:27 pm »
Dear Scribners—

Thanks for your helpful comments and kudos for your devotion to this software experiment. I erred in my description of my installed version of the beast: it is 1.4.6.

In my single-case study, failed attempts to use the default tool for editing text did not logically lead the user to the properties panels. What I did access next was the 'attributes' command under the 'item' menu, which was the next closest command that seemed to offer modifications to whatever might be selected on the page. As you probably know, that option is relatively meaningless to the uninitiated. In fact I have not seen its like in other page programs.

I would suggest either doing away with the non-functioning story editor, or assigning the text panel of the properties pane to open when the user wants to edit text by clicking  on 'edit text' under the edit menu; reserving the story editor for another menu option, or as a button icon on the toolbar—assuming that someone intends to make it work before the end of this decade.

Examination of the properties panes on a laptop leads to accidental modifications to text if one uses a trackpad to scroll through the sliding-doors javascript gadgets. One may widen the panels to escape the problem of unintentionally changing setting values while scrolling, thus creating a blank 'safe-to-scroll-zone' to the right of the setting gadgets. However, one does not want the properties panels to consume too much screen real estate on a 15" laptop screen. And really, the user should not have to resort to any tactic to make it safe to examine settings options.

Obviously quite a few people have devoted a lot of time to launch this project, as well as users like you guys, who have given your time to figuring out how and how not to use it. I wish them and you well. For me, this package contains too many pitfalls and booby traps to consider using it for live projects.



a.l.e

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Re: ???!
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 07:05:12 pm »
the story editor is a huge pain.

but there are loud guys who are against every change in its visibility / prominence, so we will keep deceiving new people.
lot of them.
the same applies to the properties panel.
it has been asked multiple times to make it visible by default. no chance there ether.

the scrolling on the properties palette is a more delicate thing... i feel your pain (and have the same issue as you have) but i don't know any simple recipe to improve the sate.

sorry, i cannot give you much hope.
but what i can say: scribus is indeed an ok software when you have learned how to use it... and it mostly does what it promises!

GarryP

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Re: ???!
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 12:08:14 pm »
The Story Editor is not the "default tool for editing text", it's just the one you used because you didn't know about the Properties Palette and found the Story Editor by experimentation, and that's the problem. [What follows is purely my own opinion and should in no part reflect badly on any other forum user.] To paraphrase what a.l.e quite rightly said: The PP should be visible by default and should be displayed every time Scribus starts up so that every new user knows it exists. Scribus is practically useless without the PP so it should always be displayed unless the user decides to close it, even though I can't think of a good reason why someone would want to keep closing it.

The Story Editor has some uses in very specific circumstances but, for the most part, it is confusing and pointless. I believe it should be kept because it can sometimes come in useful but it should not be as prominent as it is.

I have never used the "Attributes" myself apart from with TOCs. I have no idea what other uses they have and they are not sufficiently documented anywhere that I can find. I have no idea what the parameters are used for or how the relationships work and I'm guessing that the vast majority of Scribus users are in the same boat. Aside from TOC-use, as far as I can tell, Attributes are a feature waiting for a use.

a.l.e has also mentioned that there are some "loud" people who - for whatever reason(s) - are resistant to making certain changes to Scribus, changes that would make the software look better in the eyes of most people and make it more usable. I have encountered this first-hand and it totally baffles me as to why they are acting this way. It's almost as if they want the project to look bad. This forum and the bug tracker - and probably elsewhere too - contain many very good suggestions for making Scribus look much better by simply making tiny changes but some people seem to be deliberately against making these changes. Whether they think that Scribus is their own personal playground or whether they are merely using Scribus as something to put on their CVs or to show off to their friends with, I don't know. These people are both taking the project forward - by maintaining the code and adding new features (in the developmental version) - and holding it back - by deliberately ignoring popular suggestions and not having a new stable version for more than two years - at the same time. Baffling.

The Scribus project has great potential and it could have been much more prominent in the minds of the public but the way certain people in the project have conducted themselves has held it back and led it near to the point where it could be on the verge of being irrelevant for a lot of people. Until later this year, the only "real" competition for Scribus has been InDesign and QuarkXpress but there's another application coming soon which - if it performs as well as its sister products and at a similar price - will, for Windows and OS X users at least, simply be a "no-brainer" option. I believe that once this new application has firmly embedded itself in the DTP arena, the Scribus user base will drop off considerably (except for Linux users).

Many people have done great things with Scribus over the years but I'm afraid that, if the attitudes of some people connected to the project don't change soon, the project will spiral down to the point where it is merely a quirky toy that's maintained by a very small group of people for their own entertainment rather than being a respected application with a keen and vibrant community. That would be a very sad state of affairs.

It's also worth noting that, as Scribus is open source, there's nothing to stop another group of people taking the code and making their own version with all of the annoying little quirks removed and the major bugs fixed. It's just a thought...

LesCM19

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Re: ???!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 07:21:24 pm »
It does make me laugh when people use free programs and then complain about how bad it is, irrespective of what developers are or are not doing with it.

All I can say is, if a total novice to DTP like me can get it to do what I want, if it doesn't do what you need, put your hand in your pocket and buy some fully developed software.
cheers

Les