[Scribus] Why do?

Louis Desjardins louis_desjardins
Mon Jul 24 16:31:28 CEST 2006

BandiPat a ?crit :

> It would be so much simpler for the user, old or new, to be able to go
> to the Insert menu heading and select Columns.  A window opens, ok, how
> many and what gap?  Whamo!  They appear on the page like magic, 2 or 3
> or 4 equal size columns (text frames) spaced correctly on the chosen
> page size.  Now I can link them, adjust their size or remove one to my
> liking!  What could be easier or more intuitive?  While users of Quark
> or anything else are struggling to "draw" them on their page, I'm
> already typing and finishing my page.

Hi Pat,

I am sorry to step very late into this lively discussion... I am on 
vacation and away from this speedy world. :)

Just a few comments.

In my view, Scribus offers a very easy way for handling the guides on a 
page, including column guides. We had a taste of it a little earlier 
during Spring in the previous CVS and I know Riku is currently working 
on this to make it better. It might not show at the moment but things 
are on their way. And Quark (at least up to 6.5) doesn't have as many 
useful options in that particular field.

Multicolumns text frames *are* a reality in Scribus. There is *no* need 
to link those columns when they are created in a single text frame. Text 
flows from one column to the other seemlessly.

Quark users don't struggle that much and neither do Scribus users to 
create a text box/frame. You can decide at document creation to have 
auto text frames created with as many columns as you need. And these 
will automatically link to the next page when you create them and add 
text to it. There where some interesting discussions about how to make 
this feature better in the bug tracker.

Among all the things that need attention, the Master Page with editable 
text frame might be in the top 10 or so (in my view). So, basically, one 
could put an empty frame on a Master Page and then create pages and then 
insert text /pics into those frames. At the moment, and unless I missed 
some nice things, this is not possible, yet.

Scribus is the only program afaik that allows the user to toggle between 
column gap and column width although I must acknowledge not many people 
might have noticed because the option is a bit hidden in a pop-up field. 
So if you want 3 columns of 14 picas in a 45 picas text frame, you don't 
have to ask yourself what is the correct value for the gap. Scribus will 
calculate this for you and will draw your 3 columns when you press Enter.

I must humbly say that from a professionnal perspective, Scribus is a 
pretty straightforward application and the learning curve was at least 
for me (and for quite a few others) close to nothing. But I know some 
goodies are too well hidden. The bug tracker is helpful to state those.

Having said that, I agree things could be made clearer from the start 
but this is not, in my view, a Scribus issue. I conducted a few 
workshops for beginners (and I mean, real beginners) with Scribus and 
found that people would easily understand the *frame* way when you 
insist on that in the very beginning. Frame for text, frame for images. 
It's going to sound much too simple but isn't that just what it is? As 
simple as that. Basically, your first "frame" is the page itself so 
Scribus asks for that first. Then, you draw your content frames and... 
put content into them. And you have control over each step. Lots of 
control. When people got that, the rest comes easy and there is not even 
a need to explain the differences between a DTP and a WP application. At 
least in the first few courses!

On the tutorial, I must say something. Of course, it is outdated. It was 
done more than 2 and a half years ago... But large parts of this 
tutorial are not aimed at Scribus itself and for that reason I still 
consider this piece as a very useful one provided the reader has a 
"generous" look at it, not looking for particular things but looking at 
graphic design as a whole. (You can object to this that this is then not 
really a *tutorial* and I have to agree but only to a certain extent!) 
Scribus can accomplish all that's written in that tutorial and do even 
more or in a more easy way.

It is up to us to update the screenshots and clarify the steps to 
achieve something, in accordance to what Scribus is capable today. But 
let's face it. When the tutorial talks about layout, margins, text 
frames, make things stand out, etc. it is dead on. Text on a path, text 
frames in polygons, even most of the PDFs options are covered. It might 
be useful to state that while you will not find exactly things the way 
they are shown here because things have evolved over the last 2-3 years, 
you can achieve all that is written here, provided you take the time to 
understand what's written and then look for the features in the new 
GUI... Not that difficult, after all. Isn't it a little like switching 
from Quark to InDesign... to Scribus? :)

I hope this helps a bit.

> regards,
> Pat

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