[Scribus] Research journal publishing

Jonathan Briggs jon
Mon Oct 9 15:02:47 CEST 2006


I'm currently testing Scribus ( under Fedora) to see whether we 
could use it for our research journals, as a possible replacement for 
our existing DTP software, 3B2.  Maybe it's a bit unfair to compare 
Scribus with a very expensive piece of high-end software, but from what 
I've seen of Scribus, it's very impressive.  I'm keen on using 
open-source software wherever possible, and I think Scribus is a 
definite possibility for the near future. I have a few queries and 
suggestions, mostly related to the text engine (some of these I think 
are on the roadmap, but I'll mention them anyway).  Please forgive me if 
I've misunderstood anything.

One of Scribus's current weaknesses, from our perspective, is that there 
seems to be very little control over hyphenation. For example, there 
doesn't seem to be a way (except maybe by modifying the hypenation 
dictionary) of stopping two-letter breaks like "ex-ample", which we 
don't allow. I might be misunderstanding something here -  is there any 
way of manually tweaking the hypenation at particular points in the 
text? For example, with our existing DTP system, if we insert a smart 
hyphen (called a 'discretionary hyphen' in 3B2) at the beginning or end 
of a word this stops it breaking. In general, a discretionary hyphen in 
3B2 overrides the default hyphenation - can Scribus's smart hyphen 
behave similarly . There is also a way of creating a user-defined 
exception dictionary that overrides the built-in hyphenation dictionary. 
This would be very welcome in Scribus.

Is there a way of going from a given point in a text frame to the story 
editor, with the cursor at the corresponding place in the story editor? 
At the moment it seem that the cursor is always positioned at the 
beginning of the text, and it then takes time to locate the correct 
point, especially in a document running to 10 or 20 pages. It would be 
great if the story editor cursor would position itself at the same point 
in the text as the text-frame cursor.

Another suggestion for the story editor. It would be good if all the 
hidden structure (control codes, font changes, etc) of the text stream 
could be optionally revealed (a bit like the old Wordperfect 'reveal 
codes').  Also, it would be great if some sort of non-printable markup 
could somehow be embedded in the text, for example to indicate authors' 
first names and surnames (eg for later extraction by a script).

I'm looking forward to version 1.3.9 for the LaTeX support! Many of our 
journals are heavily mathematical. At the moment we would have to limit 
our use of Scribus to non-mathematical articles, or maybe lightly 
mathematical articles, with equations imported as graphics. Is there any 
sort of time estimate for version 1.3.9?  I know that the nature of 
open-source development makes this an unfair question, but I'm just 
trying to get a rough ball-park figure (eg <6 months, <1 year, <2 years) 
to help with my evaluation.

I'll stop there - that's enough for a first posting!

Many thanks,

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