[scribus-dev] Editable Master Pages

"Christoph Schäfer" christoph-schaefer at gmx.de
Thu Aug 7 15:56:49 CEST 2008

OK, the quotations have become a bit extensive, so let me try to start from scratch, because the discussion seems to dissolve the concept of master pages.

What do we want to achieve (or more precisely what do our users want to achieve)?

1) Editing objects on master pages for one or more particular regular pages.

2) Editing means just that: everything they could do to with an object on a regular page. This includes deleting an item or moving it to the regular page (which is the same as desynchronising).

3) Perhaps a user would want to add an item from a regular page to a range of master pages or a static master page. I don't know why someone would do this, but you never know what users come up with.

There's nothing more we need to address. So there are only a few questions: How can a user access an item (or more) on a master page quickly without having to jump through many loops? How will the changes be applied? For the second question, there are 3 possible choices: 1) Edit the content on the master page -> changes will apply to all master pages 2) Apply the changes locally but keep the item otherwise in sync with the MP (there should be a "refresh mechanism" to override local changes, but I think this could be done by applying the MP again in the Page > Apply Master Page dialog). 3) Detach the item from the master page and make it a part of the current page (and, perhaps, vice versa).

As for using styles, master pages are already styles in a sense: change a style and all text/lines with that style will change, change one MP, and all pages that use the MP will change. I agree that one could use the style "mechanism" like overriding styles with local formatting, but this has a serious drawback, which is already hurting us: if a paragraph style is being changed or another style is applied to the text, what happens to the local changes? Which one is preferred, the new style or the local change? There is no easy answer, and that's why I don't think the style mechanism should be used. It just gets in the way for quick changes and is probably overhead.

Louis' idea of using the context menu is correct, but we should keep in mind that it's already quite bloated. My purpose was to use existing features that are already there, ie. layers. Detaching objects from a master page by moving them to a document layer is quite easy. Frankly, I don't care if DTP people did fine without layers for years. The technology is available in Scribus, it works reliably, and it's known to our users (and will be fully documented in the manual). Why not use it to save time and provide something easier than InDesign's insanely complex way? It would take four mouse clicks to detach an object ort to delete it (1. switch to the editing mode, 2. right-click, then 3. in the context menu Send to Layer/Delete, 4. switch off editing mode). The same goes for editing items: quickly switch to the editing mode for master pages, edit the item, then decide if the changes will be applied to the current page, to the master page itself or a range of pages that use the master page. Aside from the editing itself, it'd take four mouse clicks (1. enter editing mode with a click on a button, then edit, 2. click the button again, which brings up a dialog to choose from, 3. make your choice and then 4. OK). I can't think of anything easier.

The linking of text frames is IMNSHO totally unrelated to editable master pages. This should be discussed in a separate thread. Andreas' idea of roles is probably the way to go, but before that can be introduced, the linking of text frames should be fixed and brought on par with ID. That will be enough work, I think, for the near future. Andreas has quite a few great ideas here, IIRC. In this context, we probably also need to discuss changes to the page numbering, as we'd need to be able to have parallel numbering schemes for facing pages with different languages. I think there's already a bug report for this.


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