[scribus] Long Document Preparation Workflows

Aaron W. Hsu arcfide at sacrideo.us
Fri Jan 1 19:00:56 CET 2010

Hello everyone,

I've been trying to search through the archives for answers to my  
questions, but I'm afraid that I haven't quite found them. Many of the  
responses seem to relate to older versions of Scribus. Perhaps someone can  
help me with long document preparation.

I tend to write strong text-oriented documents which have a lot of  
character styles and a fairly complex hierarchy of headings and other  
objects that would be turned into entries in Table of Contents, indexes,  
cross-references, &c. For the most part, I'm a long time Plain TeX user. I  
write my styles, and then my books/papers/essays just sort of fall out of  
that. However, I've been curious about scribus since someone recommended  
it to me a short time ago, and I gave it a try on one of my recent papers.  
It was a small nine page paper, so I didn't think it would be too much  

I am using version 1.3.5 of Scribus.

There are a few things I noticed. Firstly, Table of contents support seems  
to extend only to individual text frames. So, I can't really attach  
entries in the Table of Contents to particular styles. I can see why this  
would probably be okay if you only want to record the chapter entires, but  
in books with lots of subsections that also receive an entry in the  
contents, this seems like a major hassle. Is this the only contents  
support in Scribus at this time?

Additionally, references are very critical in many of the documents I  
create. I want to be able to move around whole sections and have them  
automatically renumbered, and all the cross-references to those sections  
adjusted. There doesn't seem to be any support for this in Scribus, but I  
wanted to check to be sure. Moreover, there does not seem to be any  
similar citation or bibliography support. Is this also correct?

For building large technical documents with many references, links, and  
the like, it seems like Scribus could be a good tool, but I'm a bit  
confused about the normal workflow for these things in a program like  
Scribus. I come from the TeX world, where you first program your style,  
and then you write the content using the markup you have created. This  
means that all the layout work is done programmatically. This can be a  
headache to learn at first, but the advantage is that there is zero manual  
layout work that is done once the right computations are determined.  
Obivously, this appeals to someone who writes long books that focus on  
consistency of style, rather than individual point oriented alignment such  
as one might do with a newsletter or magazine. I have seen some of the  
tutorials on the wiki, but most of them seem to be focused on short  
document preparation. Does anyone have any recommendations for long  
document preparation?

I should also mention that I normally do everything with a text editor,  
and I don't even have OpenOffice.org installed. I really really don't want  
to have to use OpenOffice.org if I can avoid it. However, Text filters  
only seem to be able to apply paragraph styles. Is there no way to apply  
character styles? For example, I have a lot of entries that might look  
like this in TeX:

\datatype{data-name}{maker}{predicate?}{\field{field1} \field{field 2}}

Which would turn into:

{\bf Name:} {\codef data-name}\hfil\break
{\bf Constructor:} {\procf maker}\hfil\break
{\bf Predicate:} {\procf predicate?}\hfil\break
{\bf Fields:} \field{field1} \field{field 2}\hfil\break

Now, I can do some rudimentary paragraph styles on this thing with Scribus  
and get the same result except that I can't change the character style of  
the individual components in the above paragraphs. This means that I would  
have to edit manually hundreds of these entries. Additionally, each one of  
these would receive a cross-reference and index entry, which, with a  
little more TeX work would happen automatically. Are these sorts of things  
possible using Scribus?

If Scribus can't do them natively, is there some sort of workflow that  
allows for this sort of development which doesn't force me to do  
everything manually?

	Aaron W. Hsu

A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.

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