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  1. As someone who writes 1000+ pages technical manuals, I would say that InDesign (starting from CS6) is a viable substitute for FrameMaker. In addition, it offers a more modern user interface, more versatility in the page layout, better support from CAT tools, and compatibility with the Mac. I've been using FrameMaker for about a decade. When the Mac version was dropped, I switched to the Windows version, that was actually a downgrade (less keyboard shortcuts, worse support for extended characters). At the time, InDesign was severely lacking for a technical writer. With CS5.5, Adobe started to move some long-document features to InDesign, later perfected in CS6. With multi-chapter synchronization, better ToC and Index management, and other useful features for long manuals, InDesign became a good technical writing tool, mixing great page design features and long document management. Plus, it was nearly-ready for eBooks, worked with spreads (instead of pages), was compatible with multimedia file formats, and exported much better PDFs. What InDesign still lacks is a multi-chapter outliner, allowing for keeping track of the overall book structure. I don't know, however, if multi-chapter books are still the best idea for long books. I know that bundle file formats like Apple's .pages or .rtfd are folders masked by monolithic files, therefore light on reading/writing, but easy to manage. I don't even know if this type of file can be moved to a Windows or Linux platform without becoming a folder. However, maybe a single bundle file, with options to separate and export individual sections, could be a more modern option for long documents (just think Scrivener, and how it deals with separate sections). Paolo
  2. Hi, I received a technical drawing, that was exported as an AI file from CorelDraw X3. The file opens perfectly with Illustrator CS6, but is shown as a blank page with AD. The same drawing, exported as EPS from CorelDraw, opens perfectly in AD. Unfortunately, I cannot attach the file, being an ongoing project I'm not authorized to spread. Paolo
  3. At least on the Mac side, there are two options from Apple that would be hard to beat: iMovie and Final Cut Pro. They cover the occasional and the pro needs, so an Affinity video editor would risk to appeal to a very limited number of users. I don't know on the Windows platform, however. Paolo
  4. I suggest the developers purchase a license of Affinity Designer, and get the free UI designer tools. They contain elements for both a dark – and a light UI! :) Paolo
  5. I like what Apple did to the workflow of their pro apps I know (Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro X). They are more logical, keep all the tools you use the most in the main window, and let you configure everything in a snap. What I don't like is the dark UI. While it may make sense for the preview mode of a photo or movie app, since it would simulate the dark room or the movie theatre, I find it doesn't work with music, where you usually work in the light, to see scores (white paper) or the face of the other musicians. And I find it doesn't work for illustration/page layout, where you work on white paper. Paolo
  6. There is something I just discovered (sorry, just exploring): if you set the document's background color to a bright/white color, and work in separate mode – that is, with the documents you are working on in separate windows, and the tools collected into floating palettes – the dark UI is easier on the eye. There is much less dark surface, and the documents blend better with the environment. It's not perfect, and white text continues to be lost in the dark, but it's better. Paolo
  7. On the Mac, it's not exactly an "old thing". It's the standard way, that can be flanked, when needed, buy a tabbed mode. As for me, I can't imagine working on several documents (for example, an original and some copies I'm editing, or the source and the target text I'm translating) in tabbed mode. Paolo
  8. Hi Tony, I don't know of the other pro apps, but for Logic Pro X there are a few hacks to make the UI lighter. The darker one is really difficult to work with. Then, Logic does not uses "candy" icons, but big, essential ones, making everything easier to read. Paolo
  9. Dear Serif/Affinity, I’m a technical writer still using Adobe Creative Suite 6 on my Macs, anxiously awaiting for your Affinity Publisher. Having heard that you will also release it on Windows makes me believe that an alternative multi-platform writing and publishing tool for a team distributed around the world can be found. Please let me explain how I and my team work, in the hope Affinity Publisher can include features useful for our work. The final goal is releasing user manuals for complex electronic devices. An original, extensive manual (called the User Manual) is released in English. From this, used as a master, a smaller manual, including less and alternative text (called the Quick Guide), is derived. The Quick Guide is translated into various languages, including CJK and Middle-Eastern ones. The master User Manual contains conditional text, allowing for at least these easily switchable conditions: User Manual Only, Quick Guide Only, Hidden, Advanced, PDF Only, Print Only, and any other custom conditions that might appear useful. Conditions make deriving different versions very easy. These manuals are then reused for derived or future products. Most translators use Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software to work on InDesign/InDesign Markup Language files. The coordinator receives a translated manual ready for delivery after a quick revision. A manual is made of separate chapters. In InDesign, these are a “book” file, linking to “document” files. Paragraph, character, tabel, cell, text frame, object/graphic styles are easily synced in the book. Page and section numbers, as well as indexes and cross-references, are always up-to-date. Interactive or on-demand preflight allows for identifying problems before releasing the manual. Illustrations are linked external bitmap (TIFF) or vector (AI) files, surrounded with captions (text frames inside the illustration frame), lines, lassos. Lassos are sometimes just rectangular shapes (with or without rounded corners), some others layers of effects, highlighting the image below them. Editing captions in the publishing software, instead of the illustration software, is very important to keep a single illustration file, with text to be translated inside the publishing software. Mass-relinking to a different folder would be needed when reusing older material for a new, derived work. Being able to see two different parts of a document onscreen is important, when comparing of editing a similar passage (say, instructions sharing the same structure). Very important is a way to always see a live and navigable outline based on the document’s headings (something that InDesign cannot do, while a wordprocessor like Nisus Writer Pro makes wonderfully well). Quick adaptation of the content, depending on the output format, would be useful (something InDesign calls Adaptive Content, paired with Liquid Layout). We prepare materials for PDFs in A5 page format, to be read on a tablet or computer, but also to be printed on A4 sheets. Soon we will output materials on the device screen (more or less an A6 landscape page). The output should be in various formats: PDF for onscreen reading, PDF for printing (with a quick way of adding crop marks and additional page margin), ePub, HTML. A collection consisting of the layout file and all the linked files and fonts would be useful for translators. Producing a spread (double-page, or multi-pane) instead of single pages in a file would also be useful for proofs. Printing or exporting to PDF a selection of non-contiguous pages (for replacement of separate pages) would be useful. The UI's color should be adapted to the kind of work. Editing photos would benefit of a black background for increased contrast. Working with a page layout or technical drawing would on the contrary benefit of a luminous grey, like in the Finder windows’ top bar, or a dimmed one, to avoid too much contrast and eye fatigue when working on white pages. In the bitmap/photo editor, processing bitmaps would need custom sets of multiple actions. For example, you might have to resize, change proportions, and cut several screenshots, using the same parameters. Batch processing via preset actions would be needed when updating screenshots. In the vector/drawings editor, selecting similar objects by line thickness or color, or by object style, would be needed when having to quickly replace a company’s color, or adapting to a different style. Best regards, Paolo