[Scribus] RE : Re: Why do?

Allen techwriter
Mon Jul 24 17:28:54 CEST 2006

Jean Basile wrote:
> --- Allen <techwriter at sound-by-design.com> a ?crit :
>> I either misunderstood or misread the way the
>> software was listed and 
>> did not realize the 1.3x branch was beta. So the
> Would you agree with me Allen that probably you missed
> the same way parts of the documentation in relation
> with the ease of use or how intuitive the interface
> might be?

Jean, I don't know. What I will say is that when it comes to clear 
communication, clear presentation is a fundamental requirement. I did 
and do not find it clear. Perhaps if I had spent 20 minutes instead of 
the < two minutes I spend on other open source web pages I might have 
understood what you were up to. But then, again, I might not.

In technical writing there are three key ideas that need to be in every 
document which are CCW. No, it doesn't mean counter clockwise. Clarity, 
conciseness, and white space are the must have ingredients. You are 
missing the first.

>> Another tip is to create a map (diagram) of every
>> option's location (use 
>> a number as a fixed key) first so that a short
>> description can be used 
>> to understand what the idea of the option is. Then
>> the number comes into 
>> play so if it is renamed or when it gets moved it
>> can be found again. 
>> Stumbling though nested menus is no fun without a
>> cheat sheet.
> This is why QXP is so expensive - it comes with a
> manual. You can always take the risks of obtaining the
> latest Hong Kong version for a few dollars. But the
> manual makes the difference. And what the manual
> doesn't explain in a clear way is supported in an
> extra 1000 page book. And so on. For that there is a
> lot of effort put and a lot of money asked.

Okay, it's true that documentation probably costs more that the 
software, but without it the software is just a heap of bits and bytes. 
Oh, and BTW, check your friend's tech books. Look at the ends and guess 
how many of them are used much beyond 100 pages or so. I've done this 
and few if any are well thumbed all the way through. Thousand page books 
are just tree killers, not useful tools.

Open Office has three short (~200 pages) on how to use Writer or the 
Suite. I got two of them *after* I had done a book block with just the 
internal help and poking around.

> On the other hand I'm sure the developers will help
> you with the rough edges if you take your time and do
> most of the documentation through trial and error so
> the rest of the scribus community will have a nice
> manual with all the details you said in a clear
> language. And you will have not only my gratitude but
> the rest of the community's as well.

At the moment I working on a couple of disaster recovery and business 
continuity planning books, which is why I was looking into Scribus. I 
hadn't planned on spending the next year diverted into documenting 
Scribus. I just dipped into the list to see if any clues were available 
in the chatter like there is in most lists. Not much, and since I 
haven't been able to get far enough to understand what questions I 
should be asking I got diverted by what I saw on the list. Frankly, I'm 
quite disappointed at the disconnect between the people developing the 
program - or at least those on this list who seem to represent the 
developer's view - and the potential end users. A much simpler program 
that only did 10% of what Scribus is supposed to be able to do that was 
actually usable by newbies would be better than what Scribus appears to 
be today. If the 10% was actually in use by thousands and thousands of 
users that would be a great base to build on. As it is, it's a turn-off.
> By doing that you will also be able to speak your mind
> up and come up with objective proposals. After all
> 'unintuitive interface' is not much of a help. Later
> on, when you'll know more about the scribus-way you
> will be able to say that the file menu is not very
> ergonomic as the first option in the menu bar and the
> third position would be better because... (fill in
> your argumentation).

Alas, I don't really have the patience to learn yet another "x"-way. Nor 
do I have time to spend on computer bafflegab like, "...the file menu is 
not very ergonomic as the first option in the menu bar and the
third position would be better because...." There is a trade off between 
time spent and productive work output. If the barrier to output is too 
high then other roads become more interesting. At this point it seems to 
me that getting Open Office or Koffice to have a few more features that 
I desire or need is a smaller stone to roll uphill and far less likely 
to kill me when I slip.



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