[scribus-dev] Editable master pages

Louis Desjardins louis.desjardins at gmail.com
Mon Jul 28 19:57:15 CEST 2008

2008/7/28 "Christoph Schäfer" <christoph-schaefer at gmx.de>:

> Hi guys,

Hi Christoph,

I have copied below the content of your attached file because I think it's
going to be easier for anyone entering this discussion to add their

As the discussion goes further, I think the best place to pursue it would be
in the bugtracker where there are already quite a few good ideas on that
particular subject.

What I am missing in this discussion is the many non-said things about
Master Pages. We seem to assume too many things from our experience without
naming them. To me, the first steps towards a solution to any issue, is to
identify clearly the problem. I think this still needs to be done. So,
before going into the "solution mode" we should establish clearly what the
problem is, make a list of what we like in the current way and what we
dislike or find unefficient. This list should clearly state what we want to
achieve in Master Pages and explain why, give examples of real life
scenarios, etc. We could also make a few comparisons with what others offer,
based on the facts. This is what I mean when I keep on saying we need to put
in more thoughts into this issue. To me, "[…] is certainly one of the most
requested features." is not enough to start working on a "solution". But the
discussion could certainly benefit from the input of users. I would gladly
read any constructive and concrete comment on that subject.

In other words, I respectfully think your proposal arrives too early in the

I also still think that this issue is not as high a priority as many other
features that require lots of care at present time (see our previous
discussions on this mailing list about 1.4 and a couple others when we talk
about priorities). Just as a reminder and sorry to quote myself:

Christoph: 11) Editable frames on master pages have been and continue to be
>> asked for over and over again. Do we want to tell our users one more time:
>> Sorry, you're out of luck again? Jean wanted to tackle this in 1.3.6, and I
>> strongly suggest to be patient enought to enable this feature.
>>> Louis: Considering the fact that Quark and ID users have sometimes (most
>>> of the time) to struggle with the concept of master pages *(they get
>>> confused on what is part of it and what's not once the page is created and
>>> the master page applied)* — considering also that if a feature like this
>>> one is not clear even after 20 years of "development", there must be a
>>> problem at the root that even the biggest players in the industry failed to
>>> address — I trust this to be a lower priority as well. And when we are to
>>> address this issue, we need to put more thinking into its solution. Simply
>>> copying what others do is not the way to go, imnsho. It's not that difficult
>>> to understand how Scribus handles master pages at present time and the way
>>> it works now is not that insane. Also, the "workaround" in most cases is
>>> really easy to catch and use: simply duplicate pages with empty frames on it
>>> when you need editable frames.
Below is the text content of your PDF. As you will understand by what I
wrote, I don't want to comment further at this point.

What I would propose instead, if I had the time and if I felt this issue to
be a high priority would be to set a Google Doc such as a calc. sheet so we
have a rows and columns document and I would state what we want to achieve
in the rows and how it's implemented or if it is at all possible in current
Scribus and in ID and QXP, and maybe another one (I can't think of now), in
the columns. There could be a comment field for users and one for the coders
so the various points of view are expressed. Of course, this table could be
organized in any convenient manner so the ideas remain clears. What I say
here is only a suggestion.

I don't think we can skip that initial step. As I mentionned, it's been over
20 years we have DTP apps and the Master Pages concept is still a
work-in-progress. This means it's a fairly complex issue and it also means
that the way of implementing this is not as obvious as it seems.


Editable Items on Master Page – Proposal for the User Interface
> 1. Editable items on master pages is certainly one of the most requested
> features. Here I want to discuss how it can be done in a user-friendly way.
> Both QXP and ID offer this feature, but I don't think Scribus should follow
> their path here, as the feature seems to have been implemented with no sane
> or a masochistic user in mind. I really think this important feature can be
> implemented much more transparent to the user (literally, as you can read
> below).
> 2. The first thing that can be done is not directly related, and it's just
> a tweak or two to the UI. Its purpose is to make access to master pages
> easier. Two tweaks are required: First, list all master pages in the page
> list, so that the master page can be directly edited by selecting it in the
> list. This would have the same effect as selecting the master page in the
> Document Outline. Second, it would be nice to have a button beside the page
> list that would open the master page of the currently selected page for
> editing. Again, technically the same as opening in the document outline,
> except that the user doesn't have to find out which master page is used for
> the current page.
> 3. When it comes to editing an item only on the current page, there should
> be a second button to switch on the editing mode for master page items on
> the currently selected page. There should also be a spin box to set the
> opacity of the actual page content, so that users can check how changes to
> the master page will affect the layout as a whole. Default should be 0%, so
> that the content is invisible.
> 4. To disconnect an item from the master page and use it only on the
> current page, one could use the "Send to Layer" feature: Each document has
> at least one layer, so that sending the item to "Background" (or any other
> layer in the current document) should be enough to remove the item from the
> master page.
> 5. Once the editing is finished, the user would have to click on the edit
> button in the status bar again. Scribus would then bring up a dialog similar
> to the current "Apply Master Page" dialog.
> Options:
> a) Apply Changes to the Current Page
> b) Apply Changes to the Master Page
> c) Apply to all Odd Pages (ie. those that use the master page)
> d) Apply to all Even Pages (ie. those that use the master page)
> e) Apply to the following Pages: (ie. those that use the master page,
> single pages and range)
> 6. This would be consistent with many other Scribus dialogs, and it would
> also be much easier than in InDesign. It would also require a minimum of
> mouse clicks: one click to enter the editing mode for items on a page, two
> clicks to confirm the changes. Plus, it's also quite flexible.
> Comments are welcome.

> please find attached a PDF file with a proposal for the UI-related solution
> of editable items on master pages.
> I'd be glad if we could use this as a basis for further discussions.
> Note to MrB: No, this is not related to 1.3.5svn ;)
> Best,
> Christoph
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