[Scribus] a modest proposal on interface

Steve Herrick steveh
Wed Jul 23 07:58:03 CEST 2003

Craig Ringer wrote:
> Hi folks
> I'm a relative newbie on the list, supporting a network of Mac Quark 
> boxes at work. I thought I'd throw in my 2c...

At last! A response! :)

>> When I say improved, I mean that buttons and commands should be where 
>> you'd expect them to be (which some are and some are not, currently), 
> OK, an important question here IMHO: whose expectations? 

Well, that's why I want to form a group - to decide exactly this kind of 
issue. Otherwise, I'm stuck making the same complaints over and over.

What background
> of user are we talking about? I see several important classes:
> Each  of these classes of user will have different expectations of the 
> interface, to varying degrees.

Quite so. What I think is that we should set our sights higher - meaning 
that we shouldn't seek to copy anyone, but rather come up with an 
interface that's easy for anyone to learn. We should value simplicity 
and clarity over anything else. The interface should, as they say, just 

> Then again, has it changed in a recent release? I
> could've sworn that issue went away last time I built and tried out 
> Scribus.

Maybe in 1.0. I haven't had the time or the connectivity to try it yet 
(which is pretty ironic, considering how excited I was about it).

> Then again, everything you mention does strike me as very generic DTP 
> stuff, or simply logical, rather than 'but this is how XX does it' issues.

Well, I'm of the school that says copying commercial software is not 
what open source is about. Rather, we should pick up good ideas wherever 
they happen to come from.

>> Also, I've had throughts like reducing modality...

> That would be very nice IMHO. It could be good to keep a highly modal 
> interface, since this is common in some/many existing DTP apps (Quark, 
> anybody?). Personally I loathe it, and if Scribus's priorities don't 
> include 'easily picked up by other DTP app users' then cool, just pull 
> it. How hard would it be to leave in though?

With modes, there's you looking at your document as text, as potential 
text frames, as existing text frames, as graphic frames, and so on. Each 
has buttons and settings associated with it. With few or no modes, 
there's just you and your document (and buttons and settings that act 
directly on it). What that means is that there is less learning 
involved... and you can get right to work.

We'll know we've succeeded when it doesn't matter what, if anything, 
people were used to before they found Scribus, because Scribus doesn't 
take any getting used to.

>> Likewise, modality could be further reduced by eliminating the 
>> distinction between text frames and image frames...
> I like :-) I've never really understood why DTP apps do this 


If elections are just something where you go in, you push a button,
and go home, then it doesn't make much difference which button you push.
- Noam Chomsky

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