[scribus] programming workflow

Robert Marma robert_marma at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 20 16:21:40 CEST 2010

Hi, everyone,

It's been awhile since I've bothered anyone in the group, but I had to jump in 
to say "hello" and to comment about the "programming work 

flow" issue that seems to have developed on this mailing list forum.  Please let 
me preface the comments that follow with the statement that 

I have NEVER programmed professionally, with the single exception of needing to 
create a crude database program for subscribers to a land 

information service that we offered about 15 years ago at my job, when I worked 
as a civil servant.  The locally networked system that we 

were using crashed--along with our subscriber data files--and we were forced to 
continue maintaining records and to send out monthly renewal 

notices manually, working from paper records.  This was an entirely intolerable 
situation!!  Accordingly, I decided to take the initiative 

and attempt to develop a very crude subscriber data base maintenance program 
in--believe it or not--GWBASIC, for those old enough to remember 

when that was still popular.  ;-)

Anyway, back to my point ...  While developing that program--as well as another 
data base to keep track of my VHS video tape/DVD collection-

-I discovered that it was useful to first create a main menu before writing even 
the first line of code.  This menu served as a logical guide 

for creating the various program segments or modules that I would eventually 
need.  Since the GWBASIC interpreter allowed only 60,300 KB of 

usable memory workspace, you had to become very creative in order to maintain a 
data file that could eventually grow in size to several 

hundred or even several thousand KB in size--far beyond GWBASIC's default 
workspace limit!  In my case, I developed separate modules that 

could be chained in order to perform the various functions that I wanted the 
program to have.  Always keeping this menu in mind as I wrote 

the code, I would gradually, painstakingly fashion the application to include 
all of this menu's options.  I never found the need to write a 

user manual, guide, or any other documentation first, although I eventually did 
write one for the video database program, primarily just to 

see if I could do it.  I never had any intention of commercially distributing 
any of my software.  Frankly, I realized that it was not that 

good because of crude menus, very poor error trapping, etc.  However, it was 
immensely satisfying for me to have even gotten as far as I did

--especially having written a program that was successfully used in a 
professional environment for a number of years!

To summarize, IMHO, I don't believe that a manual is absolutely essential, 
provided that you have some sort of logical diagram or--in my case 

menu--to follow as you proceed to develop your application and add its various 
features.  Another point I could make is that it's far easier 

to change a menu if you decide to alter the program or to edit/delete/add 
features than it is to alter what might be pages of a user manual, 

especially if it includes screenshots and diagrams, as mine did.

Well, there you have it, for whatever it's worth.  Thanks for taking the time to 
read it, and thank you all for taking the time to help 

others like myself to navigate the sometimes windy, treacherous trails of 
desktop publishing and to properly employ Scribus.

Regards to everyone,
Bob Marma


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