Everything posted by Kevin Scally
My experience of using flakey apps is that nobody cares what features they have, or makes demands of the programmers; they just get quietly abandoned. This makes it a reasonable assumption that—for whatever purposes they need it—some users find its current feature set and price acceptable. How could you possibly take issue with another person's assertion that a program has most of the features they need? You are entitled to say that Affinity Publisher is not fit for your purposes because it doesn't include footnotes; though I discovered the absence of that feature during the free trial, before I paid any money. As a counter example, while MS Word has footnotes and endnotes, it is an application that I avoid like the plague. I prefer to use a combination of Scrivener and Pages to write. When I need accurate page layout Affinity Publisher is doing enough. Regarding PagePlus, the code for every program is independent. Each new version of a program is an opportunity to build in new bugs. Some features delve into the guts of a program and can affect thousands of lines of code. Quark, with Xpress, had the advantage of seeing what Aldus got wrong with PageMaker (no text frames) but, as XPress grew, adding features became more complex and more difficult. Sometimes the only solution is to rewrite a program from the ground up, but of course that introduces a whole cohort of new bugs. Consider that Adobe bought Aldus and with it owned PageMaker but they decided to build InDesign from scratch. They also had the benefit of seeing Quark's mistakes on Xpress. Now they too have a behemoth of a program where every major feature takes weeks or months to QA. I too live in hope that a robust footnote feature will appear soon, but I have observed that management harassment of coders has never produced a better software product.
Having worked in software development I can only say that I'd vastly prefer to use a robust product with limited features than one that claims to have features but is buggy and crashes. Even the demand for footnotes here confirms that the rest of the program's feature make it a pleasure to use, and that it is being used. A previous contributor to this thread referred to the first limited versions of InDesign, and I would agree. I was also happy to work with a very early version of MS Word (on the Mac before the PC version appeared) and that was lacking most of the features. The same was true of early versions of Quark Express. It takes time to build a robust product with a full array of features. Numbered footnote capability is a tricky feature since edits can affect the text flow and layout right through a long document. While it seems that endnotes would be easier to achieve than footnotes, there is a relationship between them, and coding one feature independently of the other is laying the ground for future problems and QA headaches. Affinity Publisher is a robust product with most of the features I need. I have avoided projects with footnotes and—where a choice was available—opted for endnotes and bit of elbow grease. It's fine until they get the feature working 100 per cent.
I'd like at least endnote capability, which in in coding terms must be a small bit easier than footnotes, since it means creating just one flexible block at the end of each chapter rather than juggling the flow of every single page. However, I'd fully support Serif in not releasing a complex feature like this without ensuring that it has been stress tested to death, and is fully robust. The Publisher app is reassuringly smooth as it stands, and I am currently able to manage endnotes by the old fashioned manual method, by generating them in Scrivener with minimal editing in Publisher. Coding Q&A is like proofreading in design: there never seems to be time to fix the errors before something's printed, but there's always time to reprint it when the errors are found later. Don't do it that way.