[Scribus] XML format used in Scribus

Craig Ringer craig
Sun May 15 02:51:40 CEST 2005

On Sat, 2005-05-14 at 13:41 -0500, Gregory Pittman wrote:

> Here is a practical scenario:  I have 1.3x, my friend has 1.2.2 (or 
> lower).

The alternative to "just use 1.2.x" as cbradney said, is upgrade. There
are plenty of folks willing to help out if he has trouble with the new
version. I'm afraid I have little sympathy for this situation, as every
DTP app I've ever worked with has - for good reasons - had poor or no
forward compatibility (old versions using new file formats). At least
Scribus doesn't cost $3000 per seat to upgrade.

Admittedly I /do/ come from an envionment where collaboration is all
"within the business" and on the same network with the same network
admin (me), etc. We avoid version skew like the plague. I can see how
it'd be more of an issue with more distant collaboration, but upgrades
should be neither hard nor, unsurprisingly, expensive ;-)

The 1.3 file format will have to be /totally/ rewrittten - as in
entirely different - to fix the problems with the 1.2.x file format.
1.2.x does not have any extensible file loader "plug-in" mechanism, so
just dropping in a new file format plugin is unlikely to be possible.
1.2.x will also not have the concept of tables as planned in 1.2.x, nor
many other features, and could not preserve them - so by editing a
document in 1.2.x, even if you could open it at all, you'd run the risk
of silently discarding certain formatting etc. No, thanks. It'd be like
opening an MS word doc done in Word 2k3 by someone who thought "if I
don't use *all* the features I'm not getting my message across" with
Word 97.

Maybe with the 1.3 series, which is a bit more extensible, it might be
possible to put in some forward compatibility into the format. I'm
hoping to see the file loader/saver able to "preserve" unrecognised
markup rather than discard it, which would be the first key step in this
(and in other things like adding markup for external document management
tools, etc). I don't know if this is really practical or if it'll
happen, though.

> I've used, for example, Wordperfect, for many years on different 
> architectures, yet Wordperfect seems to be able to import ages old 
> versions of files, even though sometimes you need to help it recognize them.

Yep. WordPerfect isn't DTP though ;-) . A word processor file will grow
new features like various tables, formatting types, etc, but I think DTP
apps have more complex data to represent that changes more than a WP

They also probably make significant sacrifices to make that
compatibility possible, in development time and code complexity, that
the Scribus team may not be willing or able to make.

> What I think it comes down to is the issue of 
> intentionally/unintentionally setting up barriers to the use of (and 
> happiness with) Scribus.  A backup plan can always be to at least have a 
> parsable format so that some utility can help with problems, and maybe 
> even yield unanticipated benefits.

Yep, well, part of the reason for the major format re-write is to /make/
a format that you can throw XSLT at and otherwise mangle and transform.

Craig Ringer

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