[scribus-dev] Editable Master Pages

"Christoph Schäfer" christoph-schaefer at gmx.de
Thu Jul 31 17:06:25 CEST 2008

Hi all,

In reply to Louis' and Greg's recent postings:


"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."

I hate do disagree, but the issue has been discussed for years now, on the ML, on the bugtracker and on IRC. Just read the logs or the archives. So there's no need to start from scratch. If anyone wants know what people try to do with master pages and why they want this feature, it can be easily searched for. I wrote that text as a reaction to Craig Bradney's comment that we should be clear on HOW to implement it.

People want to _edit_ items on a page that are visible but placed on the master page. Use cases: last minute changes, quick changes like removing the page number for a certain page without having to create a new master page. Users want to move items between master pages and normal pages. Users want to create a basic item that shows small changes on different pages, for instance a coloured frame that has different text content etc. There are workarounds for some of these uses cases, of course, but a workaround is an idicator that something's missing. We have seen related questions over and over again. Why should we now start discussing anew?

Moreover, we kann dream up 1000 use cases, but we still can be sure our users will come up with at least 100 other ones we didn't contemplate. The purpose of my draft from the user perspective was to set no limits as to what a user can do, and I really think the approach is flexible enough, quite fast from a usability perspective, and also easy to use (in contrast to QXP and ID). 


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

No, it's rather late ;)


"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."

Sounds quite complicated to me. We can discuss the issues here and then add to the bugtracker once they are resolved. Wouldn't that be easier?


"As I mentionned, it's been over
20 years we have DTP apps and the Master Pages concept is still a
work-in-progress. "

I'd say it's a rather mature concept.

"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."

Hmm, what do you mean exactly?


"Nonetheless, we have a prototype of what we 
might consider "editable" content with page numbering, so that anything 
editable might be considered in the same context, ie, not freely 
editable, yet allowed to incorporate a list of items/data that might 
change from page to page (something like using a database of some sort)"

I doubt users would appreciate such an approach, as it's everything but obvious. It also sounds a bit complicated.


"In that sense, Master Pages might be considered to align with content 
management of the likes of Drupal for websites."

I don't know Drupal, but if you could elaborate, some good ideas may be derived from its concept.


"Maybe Master Pages should be abandoned altogether, in favor of allowing 
all objects to have an attribute that allows them to appear on all 
pages, odd pages, even pages, or a list of pages. This would be a big 
change indeed, best put somewhere down the roadmap."

Sounds complicated again, but who knows. I'd like to know more about the consequences. Also, master pages have been used for at least a decade, so I think the concept is familiar and even expected by many users.


Psssst! Schon vom neuen GMX MultiMessenger gehört?
Der kann`s mit allen: http://www.gmx.net/de/go/multimessenger

More information about the scribus-dev mailing list