[scribus] Master pages

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Thu Feb 3 17:44:57 CET 2011

On Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:48:30 -0500
Louis Desjardins <louis.desjardins at gmail.com> dijo:

>>> On Monday 31 January 2011 12:12:34 John Jason Jordan wrote:
>>>> You can't edit objects on a master page while in a document page.
>>>> The concept of the master page is for items that you want to apply
>>>> to all or several pages and you don't want them to be changed.
>>>> If you want to create automatic text frames look at the New
>>>> Document dialog box where you can check the box for Automatic Text
>>>> Frames.

>We have had long discussions about the empty text frames in a Master
>Page. Maybe at this point the confusion is only one of vocabulary
>since various DTP apps use Master Pages for a Master Layout that
>offers the possibility of putting empty frames that you can then fill
>while in the Edit Mode in the Document itself.

In PageMaker you could not edit master page items when on a document
page until late in its history - version 6.0 or so. I think it took
QuarkXPress until version 4.0 or so. And the initial version of
InDesign could not do it either, although it was added by the first CS
version. Typically, in order to edit a master page item while on a
document page you had to Ctrl-click or something, lest you select a
document page item. And I seem to recall a popup when you selected a
master page item while on a document page warning you that what you
were doing would affect only the particular document page, not the
other pages to which the master page was applied.

All of these apps added the ability to edit master page items while on
a document page due to user demands. Mostly people just wanted to delete
an item just for one page, e.g., a page number, rather than actually
changing the object. I remember having to create an empty white frame to
place over a master page object that I didn't want on a particular
document page. Sure, the user was supposed to create a new master page
without the offending element, but making a whole master page just for
one document page is extra steps. 

>What Scribus does is completely different — but in my view completely
>sane too. Hence, why not rename Master Pages to Background Elements or
>something similar that would lead just about anybody to understand
>what those so called "Master Pages" are all about.

We already have issues with terminology. Newcomers who are accustomed
to other apps have enough trouble translating terminology to Scribusese.

>Again, the actual behavior is completely sane in my view as people
>have to realize that once we give the edit capacity to those MPs, then
>they are not MPs anymore and this leads to so many errors in the
>professionnal world that I do stand completely with the idea of those
>BPs, background pages or BE for Background Elements.

There is no confusion as long as editing a master page item while on a
document page requires a special command, e.g., Ctrl-click or
something. Users of other layout apps have been doing it for at least a
decade, and they don't seem to become confused.

>Long-time apps in the graphic industry have defined the concept using
>the word "master". If we use the same word for a different concept
>we're only and obviously creating (evitable) confusion.

It would be better to stick to "master page," but clear up the
confusion in the documentation by making it really clear that items on
a master page cannot be edited while on a document page. When I first
started using Scribus I quickly observed that master page items could
not be edited while on a document page, but I also remembered that
other apps couldn't in their early years either. So I just shrugged and
figured that Scribus would get there eventually, and until then I knew
how to work around the issue. I can see where others without my
experience would become more easily confused.

I would prefer that we add the ability to edit master page items while
on a document page, but there are lots of other things that are more
urgent. That is, unless it's fairly trivial to change the relevant
code. In the meantime, considering how often the question comes up, I
think it's a documentation problem. 

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