[Scribus] WP versus DTP

Louis Desjardins louisdesjardins
Wed Jun 7 12:03:07 CEST 2006

>  > I ran into this problem early on with my newsletter. I cannot strongly
>>  enough recommend that only plain text files be used to input into
>>  Scribus then do all of the beauty formatting within Scribus.
>Plain text files have their problems too.
>For example if you don't use unicode there are many characters (especially for
>technical writing) that you will not be able to write.
>Not to mentions things like subscripts and superscripts that can be hard.
>Also the writer often wants to mark up words to emphasise or similar. In our
>articles we often use "defined" terms, it means a term that has a special
>meaning in this concept. In the standards we use those words are often written
>in small caps, and the same words often can be used with both their defined
>meaning and the common meaning.
>One example is the word "equipment".
>Written with small caps it is the defined term according to:
>"MEDICAL ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (hereinafter referred to as EQUIPMENT):
>Electrical equipment, provided with not more than one connection to a
>particular SUPPLY MAINS and intended to diagnose, treat, or monitor the
>PATIENT under medical supervision and which makes physical or electrical
>contact with the PATIENT and/or transfers energy to or from the
>PATIENT and/or detects such energy transfer to or from the PATIENT."
>(Now I used real caps instead of small caps for the defined terms, but in real
>writing that is ugly and very bad typography. As you can see there are many
>defined terms and it is imortant that they are correctly marked up. And you
>don't want the layout person have to spend time going through the text and fix
>every single occurance...)
>But the word equipment is also used as the common word equipment, it 
>can be used
>in sentences like "When the EQUIPMENT is connected to other 
>equipment" or "When
>the EQUIPMENT is connected to other EQUIPMENT".
>Note the huge difference in meaning. The first one is medical electrical
>equipment connected to NON-medical equipment, and the second one is 
>two medical
>equipments connected together.
>So in my opinion some format that allows markup must be used.
>I have been thinking of using a stripped down HTML, allowing only a 
>few tags. In
>HTML yoou can also use entities for special characters. The problem 
>is that most
>authors don't want to mess with visible markup, they want to use 
>something like
>MS Word.
>What I would like is an editor looking very much like LyX, where you 
>can define
>your own markups (you tell the editor what tag to use for the markup 
>and how to
>visually indicate that markup on screen). That way you can have a 
>markup called
>"Defined_term", with tags <defined></defined> and the user will see 
>it as green
>text on the screen.
>Like someone said, it can probably be done using a special DTD and some
>XML/SGML-editor that supports using some kind of style sheet to visually
>indicate tags instead of showing them inline.

I fully agree. The examples you provide are significants and 
correspond to real-life use and interaction between the WP and the 
DTP apps. At text creation level, not being able to put *some* 
enhancements (italic, bold, small caps, super/subscripts) is only 
calling for more work by the wrong person downstream. And put more 
pressure on the proofreaders who will now have to look for details 
that could have been taken care of upstream with low-level error 

But this is also a matter of workflow and proper preparation of the 
work taken as a whole. This implies discussions with the WP and the 
DTP people. What to do, what not. When we are given this opportunity, 
we ask our clients to give us that kind of basic formatted files, no 
change in fonts, no specific layout, no text typed in caps, no 
colored type, only text enrichment. What we can call "editorial 
decisions" as opposed to "layout decisions".

It is true very few projects are handled that way. Most of the time 
people work in their own sphere and are simply not aware of the 
other's work.

I would also add that a logical use of stylesheet is also a fine way 
of working together with the WP and the DTP apps.


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