[Scribus] Book length projects.

Jason Champion jchampion
Thu Apr 26 07:36:55 CEST 2007

Gregory Pittman wrote:
> Louis Desjardins wrote:
>> 2007/4/25, John R. Culleton <john at wexfordpress.com
>> <mailto:john at wexfordpress.com>>:
>>     Is Scribus suitable for book length projects? Where would I look for
>>     inofrmation on hypenation, TOC generation, Index generation, running
>>     heads, widow and orphan supression and the like?   My early attempts
>>     have looked very crude when compared to the output of TeX etc.  But
>>     perhaps I am looking at the wrong tutorials.
>> Hi John,
>> It depends mostly on the kind of "book length project" you have in
>> mind. If you have a long text and need TOC and Index and
>> widow/orphan control I would suggest you use another software. If
>> the book you plan to make has lots of pages but at the same time can
>> be splitted easily into smaller parts and has also quite a lot
>> images and graphics... then I would consider Scribus. Also, please
>> note things are evolving rapidly. Scribus might just be the software
>> you need in a couple of months from now. Hyphenation in Scribus
>> still misses a good exception engine but it works in lots of
>> languages and the results aren't that bad. Depends mostly on the
>> quality you are after.
> I could envision a book relatively short on text and heavy on graphics
> that Scribus might do well with. A book of poems would be well-suited.
> But heavy text, with features as you describe, it just doesn't make
> sense, and perhaps never will.
> Greg
Why wouldn't it?

A novel, for instance, doesn't really have any complex formatting.  Most 
pages will have just a single text block.  It's already easy to do the 
table of contents and styles, so the only real concern would be the 
widow/orphan handling and the index generation.

The documents I create with Scribus, while not huge, are usually 128 
pages in size, mostly text (short stories).  The only real difficulty is 
manually adjusting text frames to control widows/orphans, and it can be 
pretty tedious in a long chapter.  I see that has been on the feature 
want list for a while, so I'll just be patient and hope it materializes 
in the not-too-distant future.

I could see possibly adding a rudimentary index feature similar to the 
table of contents generation -- flag a text frame with its related 
"Index" variable and a list of comma-separated keywords and hit 
"generate index" and the index would be built from that.  It would be a 
fair amount of work adding the index tags to each text frame, but for a 
basic index it would go quickly.  The main difference from the TOC would 
be in the formatting.

Another approach might be finding a way to tie in index generation with 
styles.  Say, for instance, you have a checkbox in a style definition to 
flag it as "index this".  You'd have two styles: "body text" and 
"indexed body text".  You'd start by setting a whole block to "body 
text" and selectively changing keywords to "indexed body text" so the 
index creator could use it to generate the index.

It might even be conceivable that you could specifically flag a word or 
group of words as "indexable" in the text frame editor and not need to 
tie it in with styles -- just as you could bold or underline text, you 
could also index it.

- Jason

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