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Everything posted by JGD

  1. Yep. I am a very hardcore shortcut user, and when I'm a few months without picking up InDesign I'll also forget some basic stuff. Line-, frame- and page-breaking hidden characters being another family of shortcuts I consistently forget about. Maybe I'm just getting old. Still, that doesn't excuse those idiots at Adobe from not showing the corresponding keyboard shortcuts on the Type > Insert Break Character menu; it's almost as if they were purposefully trying to make their software harder to use, thus forcing me to google something that should be two mouse clicks away as per Apple's HIG. It boggles the mind!
  2. The important thing to get right is where does text/content come from and where does it go to. QuarkXPress has (had? I stopped using it at v.6) these “to” and “from” source and destination linking boxes in the corners of master pages, which are the epitome of doing things “by hand”, so to speak. Back when I started using it, InDesign surprised me in the way it handles it automagically. You only have to link frames across your spread, and the text otherwise automatically flows from the last column in the spread to the first column in the next page, regardless of it being a different master, a manually set up page, or whatever; the same goes for spreads with mixed masters, IIRC. And when you apply a different master to a page already populated with content, the content is also preserved but reflows into that master, if I'm not mistaken. Conceptually, it messes a bit with my way of doing things, but much like Smart Guides (before which I'd just create a crapload of guidelines and make my vector work in Freehand and Illustrator extremely hard to navigate), in practice it works extremely well. I honestly never did any layout with two different tracks of text (as in, say, a fully bilingual layout), so I'm not entirely sure how you'd do one in either InDesign or Quark. But I'm sure they already solved that issue, and it's one of those things where Serif devs must have the humility of taking a page from their book (ha! ) if they got it right and did it elegantly enough. No matter how you slice it, if Publisher is to be taken seriously by professionals, it must be usable in those scenarios, and by “usable” I mean quick and functional. Of course I could redo most, if not all, of my past work in Publisher and have it print beautifully. It's just that I'd want to gouge my own eyeballs out and bite my own hands off in the end of the process.
  3. Yes, they are, indeed. But if you can't use them for content holders (i.e. frames), they are next to useless when it comes to [controlled] automation (which Publisher seems to want to do it in its own alternative and limited way by automatically creating text frames outside of the masters). That's the entire point of my rant(s). The fact that you can have your guidelines in your master pages only automates half of the process. If you still have to create your text frames by hand, because you can't flow stuff into the frames you created inside of your master pages, naïvely thinking you could use them, and do it more than 600 times because your layout is too complex for automatic frame creation, suddenly you're better off paying for a CC subscription. Being able to place content into master page objects is so, so, so extremely basic that not having it is a non-starter. Maybe it's hard to get the entire ancillary stuff (like how and where to allow users to manually override objects, like I've mentioned) right and in an elegant fashion, but that should be Serif's #1 priority right now. Period. It's better to have an app that works 100% in manual mode, than an app that tries to do the work for you but doesn't allow you to do things manually at all. Especially an app marketed to CC switchers. Prosumers, i.e. aspirational users, should be an extra, even if they make up the biggest swath of the market; if actual professionals, the influencers in the equation, eschew it, Affinity will just devolve into Corel Graphics Suite v2 or Serif Plus v2 all over again (as in, that versatile but niche thing – mostly at the low end of the market – Adobe users frown upon), instead of becoming Macromedia MX v2 (what we all want it to be, I'm guessing; a serious and beloved contender that will fill the void left by Adobe's monopolistic practices). Affinity is just doing a balancing act right now, and it can go both ways. A grossly incomplete Publisher and the scathing reviews that will ensue may just tip it over to the wrong side.
  4. Yep. Regarding master page object overrides, I've always thought that InDesign was extremely convenient, yes, but completely unintuitive at the same time… That entire voodoo of pressing a weird key combination to override a specific object (there seriously should be the option to just right-click the damn things and unlock them, just like in Apple Keynote), then not really knowing from which point will they become completely unlinked – if ever –, and finally having duplicate objects when reapplying master pages has always left me a bit confused. Even to this day, I sometimes get confused at the results, yes, and I have 10+ years of experience with it. Surely there must be a more elegant way of doing things. However, that still doesn't change the fact that the “master page” convention exists and that Serif tried to implement it. From the moment they did so, they should at least keep it fairly consistent with and as useful as in competing programs. Master pages aren't just used for adding a background veneer of decoration, which seems to be the only thing they're good for in Publisher as of now; they actually serve an extremely important purpose when it comes to layout design and content management, which Publisher is trying to fulfil elsewhere, altogether sidelining master pages. I completely understand where they are trying to get, and which users they are targeting (people who really don't get how master pages work but may not even need them to the full extent of their functionality). And that is completely fine; you can allow for many different workflows with no ill effects on UX design. But a professional app, right now, Publisher is not because it is lacking a core feature (I cannot stress this enough, so I'll say it again: proper master page support in a DTP editor is as essential as layer support in a pixel editor). And I'm not saying that Serif's implementation has to mimic Adobe's to a tee, absolutely not. But the equivalent functionality must be there, because comparisons will be made, whether we like it or not. As for the whole layer vs. artboard conundrum in Affinity Designer, which Serif brought upon themselves, that itself warranted (and still warrants) an entire thread. There should be at least the option to have document-level layers and not have them be always artboard-dependent, and also allow for certain (or all?) objects to transcend artboards and be fully visible outside them. The fact that you can't choose which model to use, or have them both, boxes you into Serif's philosophy. Maybe their way of thinking is best for illustrators, but I can assure you that for UX design (a very big market for them right now), it's absolutely terrible. I used Designer to do a website mock-up, and that entire layer situation frustrated me to no end…
  5. My bad, it completely skipped my mind. I could and maybe will link to the relevant topics, but I can give you a quick rundown of its shortcomings: • Lack of in-line and anchored objects (having to reposition hundreds of objects by hand just because they won't reflow along with the text would be, to put it mildly, an infuriating chore); • Lack of master page object/content override (especially for placing text), which is downright insane (yes, I know you can use your layout to automatically populate new pages with new text frames; but do you really have any fine control over them after the fact at the master page level? I think not… Comparatively speaking, it's almost as if Serif was shipping Affinity Photo v.1.0 without support for layers); • Lack of multiline composer (but this one I was already expecting, as the Serif team was completely upfront about it since the whole suite was announced; it is kind of sad that we may have to wait several years until Serif comes up with anything similar, but that wouldn't preclude us from doing technical manuals and ragged-right justified compositions, which are extremely popular anyway). Affinity apps still have some shortcomings when it comes to spot colour transparency and gradients (they have a tendency to convert them into CMYK), too, but according to my latest tests with the Designer betas they are on the right track, which makes me happy and optimistic about the future. I'd also love to see them fully conform to the PostScript spec and allow for seamless copying and pasting between Designer and digital type design editors like FontLab or Glyphs, but I'm not holding my breath, as I know that's a niche within a niche within a niche. However, I'll test that use case every now and then and ask for improvements if need be; if they came to pass, I'd no longer be dependent upon Illustrator for almost anything when it comes to vector editing and Ai/PDF-to-.glyphs/OTF conversion, but my long-term plan is to convert my type designer partner(s) and students to a generic vector editor-free and end-to-end digital type design editor workflow anyway, so no biggie there. I can, then, basically use Ai CS5 to convert old modular fonts my partner and I have lying around and perform the odd auto-trace (which Affinity Designer still lacks and probably will for a few years anyway), so I'm already covered. Great response, thanks! Well, I fully concur. I don't want another “InDesign 2.0”… But there are some basic conventions that are best left untouched. For simpler projects and less demanding users, sure, I'm all for options and for having your software work for you from the get-go, but I – and most pros – absolutely need to have finer control over my layouts at the master page level and have those changes reflect upon the entire document. The workflows currently suggested are, for lack of a nicer term, completely broken in my view. If they are good enough for you, great, more power to you. I just know for a fact that I couldn't reproduce most of my older projects in Publisher in its current form without it taking me 10 times longer, even excluding the time it would take me to redo the masters. And seeing how time is money… it'd still be cheaper to pay for a CC subscription, I'm afraid. Just my €0,2.
  6. Oh, I am not doubting that in the least. As an InDesign user I can tell t's… an apparently easier to use InDesign. It sure looks nice, and for someone coming from Photo or Designer – and I'm guessing many PP users are already transitioning from Photo Plus and Draw Plus to them, so leaving PP to its shiny new successor is the logical next step –, it will have a softer learning curve than going to, say, InDesign or QuarkXPress. As for the latter, i.e. hardcore DTP users, I hope I am wrong enough that Serif doesn't take a huge hit, but right enough that they take notice. And to that I have to add that… there's a lot of user feedback in specific threads voicing the exact same complaints and demands as I am. And the reason there's not even more of that in the forums is the fact that many potential users never gave the Affinity suite a real shot because they never heard of it, don't trust it enough just yet, or are waiting for the full suite to be complete to even bother, and the ones who did are not professional enough to actually detect its shortcomings. I've said it before and I'll say it again: once the suite is finally “complete”, specialty sites and YouTube will be chock-full with reviews. And most of the professionals, many of which already tried the rest of the suite and were impressed with it so far, will pile on Publisher instead when it comes to the “cons” section. They will specifically say that it is unsuitable for long-form, complex work, because it is. This is a case of sheer, brutal honesty; I love Serif's intentions here, but people lavishing them with compliments, however sincere, truthful and heartfelt as they may be, are not doing them any favours, because they paint an incomplete picture of the market. I'm treating Serif like I treat my friends (and how they treat me): by telling them not what they necessarily want to hear, but what is true and may actually have a material impact. Just because the numbers and the feedback added up until now, DTP apps are an entirely different beast and their users have a vastly different set of priorities.
  7. Unless some critical missing features are implemented in time for the GM release, it won't sell to serious pros, yours truly included (and I'm a staunch Affinity advocate otherwise, but I do feel the team has probably enough financing, so I am deciding on voting negatively with my wallet this time around). I completely get where you're coming from, but that “geek” term you're using is completely specious when it comes to DTP specifically, by the way. From a purely logical and philosophical perspective, designing huge documents is not a straightforward and strictly WYSIWYG exercise in the sense that you have to – or even can – be ultra-efficient immediately, like when you design an isolated poster or retouch a photo. In order for your computer to do your work for you and deal with massive amounts of data and elements, it will more often than not force you to do some extra ancillary investment upfront, and it may not look all too intuitive for the novice user. Especially if you're supposed to be able to do adjustments on the fly and after the fact. And do you know what? Publisher does not have to be easy or geared for the novice user at all. That's what Designer and Photo should be there for; once you've mastered them both and want to combine your creations into big-ass publications, you're half-ready to tackle the harder specific aspects of DTP because you already know the way around Affinity's toolset. #sorrynotsorry If you want a good comparison, take regular ol' automation. Whipping up an app on XCode, an AppleScript on Script Editor, a workflow on Automator or a Siri Shortcut on iOS Shortcuts are all ways of automating tasks and saving oneself's a lot of time in the long run, in varying forms of complexity and difficulty when it comes to the underlying technology and language used, but they are all, in and of themselves, fairly complex projects which require some investment on the user's part before they can even begin to tackle the actual task at hand. Desktop Publishing (much like digital type design, by the way), whether you like it and/or understand it or not, follows the exact same principle to a tee. I always tell my type design students who already know the inner-workings of DTP apps that, not unlike when using the latter, a lot of the seemingly boring tasks I'm teaching them to do in the early stages are intended to make their life easier and their work quicker later on in the process (which, in very complex DTP projects is, duh, absolutely critical when you have to deal with stupid clients/associates who drag their feet and fast-approaching deadlines). The issue being that printed and bound publications do not conform to this generation's obsession with instant gratification for any and all things. They stand on top of a more than 500-year-long tradition (in fact, if you compare incunabula – i.e. all books printed between the invention of the printing press and AD 1500, and I've personally handled a few and studied quite a lot about them – with modern books, you'll see they mostly look very similar and are built up almost the same way) which, yes, brought about a revolution in speed, but still has quite a lot of gritty complexity to it. Good quality print publishing, especially when it is meant to be sent to an actual 4-colour/spot colour offset printing press and bound into books, stitched, cut, etc., is not easy, and it will never be easy. Quicker? yes. Easier, yes; easy? No. You don't just have to know how to use a computer; you also have to understand 1000+ rules (take Robert Bringhurst's, John Kane's, Stanley Morison's, Willi Kunz's or Joost Hochuli's works as small sample) in order to produce decent, “professional-looking” work before you even launch the DTP app of your choice, let alone fiddle with it. Exponentially so for big and complex documents; they are more akin to buildings or other complex systems than they are to single works of art. This is the thing many people here don't seem to understand. In a sense, print publications are kind of like UI/UX or Web design projects (it's no accident that the very concept of stylesheets, as implemented in CSS, originated conceptually in style manuals and DTP apps), and I feel Designer, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. are all kind of lacking in that regard, because people are using what are basically WYSWYG vector and bitmap editors mainly designed for print in a different way than originally intended (Serif's “Personas” may be a step in the right direction, though, so let's see where that leads us). In a similar but more egregious vein (because whereas the phenomenon I've just described just adds some overhead and makes those tasks slightly more difficult, in this case the software is dumbed down and turns otherwise simple, automated tasks into mind-numbing manual chores), Serif devs seem to expect that a glorified Affinity Designer on very paltry steroids will suffice for serious DTP; it will not. Pardon my possibly pedantic stance, but in order for Publisher to be on par with Photo, Designer and the whole of Adobe CC (because the latter two already are), it must be suitable not just for your local church newsletter, but also for mundane and boring stuff like +300-page user manuals, or high-budget projects like event programmes, product catalogues, magazines, etc. I fully expected it to be simpler than the competition, because they are starting out from a blank slate and that means that they get to make it more friendly but also have a lot of catching up to do; I didn't think, however, they would be oversimplifying it to the point of uselessness and/or be so much behind. Print may be on the wane, but it won't die any time soon, and there will be a market for that kind of work for quite a while… And Serif will still be missing out on it for a while, I'm afraid. Many, if not most former PP users will be ecstatic about Affinity Publisher v.1.7.x, I'm sure. Most current InDesign and QuarkXPress, however, will rather unfortunately give it a pass. The expected synergies of having AD+APhoto+APub just won't pan out (or won't be enough for all kinds projects, and thus force them to keep paying for a CC subscription, buy a QuarkXPress licence or frequently deal with a stupid VM and an old version of InDesign CS like I'll probably do), which also detracts greatly from its value proposition. :\
  8. JGD

    New Icons

    Just so you know, the icons are changing yet again. Now they have a 3D-ish sort of treatment. I mean, I'm all for improvements, and all, but don't the guys at Serif know a thing or two about brand equity? I know, I know, this was a case of harmonising the Mac and Windows app icons with those of the iOS versions, but I seriously hope they freeze their branding until the end of the 1.x branch… The same goes for the splash screens; once there's an Affinity v.2.x out, having them stay consistent across point updates is a good way of distinguishing each major version.
  9. Judging from the description other users made here (I still haven't had time to fully test that, sorry), that appears to be the case in Publisher, too. And the column manager, plus the shaded column guides, really do seem to match InDesign. But that comes down to philosophy; it makes Publisher work too much for you in bad ways (as in work for you in the creative phase of the process, and not in the boring, later parts). As a professional app, it should allow you extremely fine control, even if it means a bit more work on your part. I know this sounds paradoxical and in contradiction of what I said before, but if you look at Designer and Photo, they also share that philosophy with their Adobe counterparts; both easy/intuitive and advanced/hard precisely where they should. Publisher, on the other hand, seems to be shaping up to become the new [Microsoft] Publisher. Ohhh boy…
  10. Since I've already expanded a lot on the subject on my last post, I'll keep it short and to the point: Affinity apps almost completely disregard the macOS system-wide option “Full Keyboard Access: In windows and dialogues, press Tab to move keyboard focus between: All controls”, in the Keyboard prefpane. In fact, they don't even honour the alternative and default “Text boxes and lists only” on all places, which would include the very useful input fields on many different palettes. There are issues on important dialog boxes such as “New Document”, and the only palettes where fields are properly addressable via tabbing are, AFAIK, the Transform palette, and only partially so. Some allow for tabbing between one or two items, and all of them, regardless of the number of fields, drop the user into the “Tab to hide the Studio” behaviour, instead of cycling back to the first field like in Adobe CC. This behaviour is, for lack of a nicer term, undesirable and unintuitive, and I could also reproduce it in the Windows beta of Publisher; seeing how I can also reproduce it in the MAS versions of Photo and Designer, I'm willing to bet that it's also reproducible in the release-quality Windows versions of those as well. I also noticed input field and UI control ordering inconsistencies between the Mac and the Windows versions of Publisher. I am aware that fixing this would require an overhaul (or at least an internal review process) of six different codebases across two different OSes (though the fact that some palettes and dialogues are rather similar across apps, so there should at least be some economies of scale at work there), and introduce further overhead in your development process from now on (because it does indeed require a change in philosophy, as tabbing has up until now been added just as an afterthought and only in the places where we specifically asked for it, instead of everywhere, organically and by default, following a predictable scheme and behaviour), but this is yet another thing which I believe you also must do in order to be taken seriously by design professionals who actually use your apps for UI and UX work; you must lead by example, because many of your users will know a lot about that very subject. For the same reason, Adobe was the butt of all jokes for the better part of a decade on account of their lack of polish and consistency (there's even a Tumblr page called “Adobe Gripes” [formerly “Adobe UI Gripes”] dedicated to their misgivings: https://adobegripes.tumblr.com ), but even they got their act somewhat together as of late (there are still inconsistencies between different apps of their suite, but at least most of these nitty-gritty UX issues are pretty much solved by now). Seeing how you're still in the beginning of your expansion in the market, and only have 3 apps in two platforms to contend with, please take the opportunity to polish all of them before the arguably momentous 1.7 release, which will mark the completeness of the originally announced Affinity 1.x suite. All eyes will be, then and once more, on you, and some reviewers will possibly go through all those details (maybe even making brand-new reviews of the original first two apps), and call them all unpolished or unfinished. I know I would, because that's the way they feel, at least on this major point in particular.
  11. That “best ‘for now’” you speak about is just not good enough. Sorry. If I were on the Serif team, on a management position, I'd drop everything else for the moment (save, perhaps, stability work; Publisher just crashed on me right now) and focus on that one feature for now (assuming, on a worst case scenario, that the devs can only focus on one issue at a time; I do believe they have a more complete team and can walk and chew gum at the same time, and tackle more than one feature at once). It might be limited in other ways at v.1.7.0, sure, but at least it would work as a proper DTP app from the get-go. Trust me, DTP pros and reviewers will completely eviscerate the Serif devs otherwise. :\ Also, another problem with not getting it right from the very beginning is the fact that you start training your users in using workarounds (sort of like little “vices”)… What if you need to change the interaction model later on? Yeah, you introduce changes which may confuse your users. Not an ideal situation either, if you ask me…
  12. Ok, I'll give it a look, then. Maybe it already works for really basic stuff. If so, I'll stand corrected. That still probably doesn't change the fact that the philosophy for editing those after the fact (including parameters like, say, baseline grids, styles, etc) is a bit contrary to all other DTP apps (basically, if you want to change your document, you edit your master pages and styles, and boom, there you go; if your content exists outside master page objects, are you supposed to just change system-wide document settings and pray for that not to screw up your document in certain pages? That may be a recipe for disaster, because it doesn't allow for finer control on a per-master basis). I get it, it probably removes an extra step, but it doesn't adhere to conventions and may make your work even harder in more complex documents. I'm all for challenging preconceived notions, but there are some sacred tenets in raster/vector/DTP apps that would be better left untouched. And the devs at Serif have a history of reinventing the wheel in some pretty debatable ways, like… that crazy artboard/layer implementation on AD, about which I've been complaining for months now. [Edit: yeah, I just tested what you suggested. Great, if I set up my text columns on a regular page, outside of the master page, it works… but I still can't change them after the fact and have the text reflow accordingly, I'd still have to delete all pages after the first, redo my layout, and repeat that command. Sorry, but that doesn't pass muster…]
  13. And therein lies the only major, absurd, unacceptable limitation of Affinity Publisher. You can't place text into text frames from master pages, period. What are those good for, then, pray tell? Dividers? Box backgrounds? Page numbers? Give me a break… If you can't create a master column/box/grid layout and fill it out with pre-written text en masse, and just create some pretty page decorations instead and have to do all the typesetting work by hand, that's not a DTP app; it is, as I said, a glorified vector editor. Conversely, if you can just place your text in empty pages and then have to manually apply masters to them, it's yet another extra step you shouldn't have to take; again, that feels like you're fighting against Publisher, instead of having it work for you. For the record, Adobe Illustrator also allows you to flow content between different text frames, so… might as well create the small leaflets/booklets Publisher is only good for in Ai instead, and keep using InDesign for serious DTP work (not that I wouldn't do all of that work in InDesign anyway… Ai is still pretty dismal when it comes to typesetting and performance after having only a few linked files).
  14. Hi guys, I know I'm probably in the minority here, but as a former longtime Windows PC user, all my Macs get the "tab between all elements” treatment (using the Ctrl+F7 shortcut), and I'm the master nitpicker when it comes to finding inconsistencies in the tabbing implementation because I happen to use the Tab key *a lot* (that's also what having two big screens and losing your mouse cursor a lot on a daily basis, even with El Capitan's “shake cursor to enlarge” function, does to you). This time, I realised two things: 1. When tabbing between fields and interface elements in the “New Document” window, I can never get to the four separators on the bottom half; 2. The little “Presets” button, with the four horizontal lines and the down arrow and to the right-hand side of the “Page Preset” drop-down menu, is never visually highlighted, though it is indeed selectable; also, when pressing the spacebar, the corresponding menu will not open adjacent to said button but underneath wherever the mouse cursor is; furthermore, this behaviour is reproducible in all Beta Affinity apps. So, yep, that's about it. If I can reproduce any of these behaviours elsewhere in Publisher, I'll let you know.
  15. Not at all, I'm afraid. If you have to typeset a 300-page book, with a single column on each facing page, but still have to manually create and link 300 text frames instead of just creating two of them and link them on your master page, how is that a good user experience? In InDesign, QuarkXPress or even, I'm guessing, older stuff like Aldus PageMaker, all you had to do was create your boxes on your master pages, drop/place your text file on a single document page with said master applied, and boom!, you'd instantly get hundreds of new pages with the correct boxes and links, filled with all of your content, and ready for style testing, adjustment, etc. The fact that the Serif devs didn't nail this very simple concept right from the very first public beta (bizarrely, you can only place images, not text files, even on the latest beta…???), thus exposing themselves to criticism (if not to outright ridicule), just boggles the mind. For a DTP app, this is almost as bad as not having baseline grids, or styles, or even basic typography settings. It's just that baffling. I mean, that whole lack of inline/anchored objects is a bit of a bummer and would preclude you to typeset complex, graphics-heavy layouts and manuals with Publisher v.1.x but, as you so eloquently (but, alas, mistakenly) put it, at least you could still use it for plain text books from the get-go if it behaved as a normal DTP app (which it doesn't; it may be a glorified, multi-page vector editor with baseline grid support, but a DTP app… it is not). I, for one, will not be purchasing v.1.7 in this state, even if the rest of it is polished to a sheen, as I have no good use for it (and neither will any self-respecting professional with a deadline to meet). And yes, I know I am repeating myself, but this is way too serious for me to just let it go. The closer we get to the final v.1.7 MAS release, the more vocal I'll be each time we get yet another beta without this functionality sorted out. I know perfectly well that I'm a nitpicker about such esoteric issues like “poor keyboard support”, but that's just noise and a bit besides the point; this issue here should be priority #-n, not even #1. It's way overdue, because in this state I can't even bring myself to beta-test this thing properly in a semi-realistic scenario. I will say it again: if you can't realistically launch v.1.7 with proper master page support, wait until v.1.8 or later of the rest of the suite. And if you can't get this functionality ready for v.1.x at all, you'd do well in skipping v.1 altogether and wait for it to be ready to put it up for sale. Selling manifestly incomplete software (even if it suits, say, 50% of your user base, which is just pent-up demand anyway and can wait a bit more regardless), means risking alienating a sizeable chunk of would-be customers, and/or tarnishing your reputation. If you can afford it, keep it as a free beta for as long as you need; it's not like your users can complain about Publisher taking ages to surface anymore.
  16. Indeed, I sometimes don't use thad function on more complex pieces of software… We still live mostly on a WIMP world, especially on the Mac. However, I rarely use the mouse to trigger confirmation buttons on most dialog boxes and prompts. In fact, I sometimes even press Tab followed by Space instead of pressing Return and triggering the default option, thus adding an extra step, to give me a split second to thing if I really want to save changes, print something, etc. Interestingly, you really need to have the “All controls” option selected for such a basic option, because otherwise you can only press Escape or Return (and those don't really cover all the options on many prompts. In my case, it's not a matter of difficulty; sometimes I just want to speed up workflows that aren't slow enough to justify using action/macro-based automation, but boring enough to, you know, justify me not wanting to use the mouse for them. I'm also a heavy keyboard shortcut user, something that came, as I said, from my Windows days, but also became further ingrained after working at a Mac lab. I was responsible for 16 Macs in one room, and 10 more in another, so imagine what it would be like to turn them off at the end of the day without my faithful Ctrl+Opt+Cmd+Eject shortcut, or updating them without full keyboard access (again, those numbers and the high network speeds we had didn't justify using imaging techniques, but doing it without resorting to the keyboard would be a damn chore). In my experience, that inconsistency, or overzealous UI coverage (that's precisely the point, in fact), is far outweighed by the advantages. It's just too bad that some apps which I already paid for and to which I desperately want to switch seem to be fighting me at every corner; Adobe's apps are also cumbersome in other regards, but seeing how I would always need them for certain projects and would, thus, have to use them on occasion (even if that entails running my trusty CS5 Design Standard on a crusty VM, or on Bootcamp, or whatever), the value proposition of Affinity apps comes out severely damaged from any and all defects that actually hinder the jobs I could indeed do with them right now. As it stands, I only use Affinity apps for stuff which is manifestly better on them. Which means, guess what: mostly gradients. https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/photoshops_gradient_editor_needs_an_overhaul And only of the RGB or CMYK kind, because Affinity's support for spot colours is, I'm afraid, pretty substandard, especially when it comes to, ironically enough, gradients (and, alas, transparencies, which is a great – and seemingly simple to implement, one would guess? – use case for them); those are precisely the kinds of projects which would always force me to use Ai, the others being type design (Affinity Designer's support for sending standard PostScript-compliant objects to the clipboard, on the MAS 1.6 version, at least, is, alas, dismal and completely incompatible with digital type design apps such as Glyphs or FontLab). [Edit: regarding gradients, I am very happy to see that the latest Affinity Designer 1.7 Beta finally supports spot colour transparencies/tints and gradients without converting them to CMYK but, when it comes to the latter, only to white (not even to a 0% tint of the same spot colour, which is a complete head scratcher because on Corel Draw 7 the reverse was true, and on Ai I believe both work just fine)… It is also indeed possible to make cross-spot colour gradients, but it entails setting an entire spot colour to be a global overprint colour (I sincerely hope you can have multiple swatches of the same colour, one in overprint, and one in normal mode, otherwise having to add an extra white object behind each object with a spot colour fill will be a pain), and overlaying the topmost colour over the other; the thing is, it only works for print, because on the regular display mode on normal PDF readers, only the topmost gradient to white will be visible… Overall, it's an extremely cumbersome workaround for something which Affinity will – or should –, hopefully, support soon] [Edit #2: Upon further testing, I am also happy to report that the “Multiply” blending mode works effectively as an always visible overprint on the final PDF file and on a per-object basis, even for spot colours, which is great and maybe explains why the developers didn't even bother to implement overprints in any way other than on a global basis… On one hand, that makes my workaround easier and more visible, while also avoiding the side effect of undesired overprints on all other objects of the same colour, but on the other hand, it still doesn't excuse them for not implementing cross-colour gradients; it is technically feasible, it's just a matter of implementing it, so there's no reason why they should be converted into CMYK by default. I will likely update my original post accordingly, with new PDF and .afdesign file demos]
  17. Well, let me put it this way: I know it is a bit hit or miss, but consider the following: 1. Apple does it right; 2. Adobe does it right; 3. It's something that when activated on macOS, makes it behave a little more like Windows (something that would please a user like @walt.farrell, for instance, and which makes the Mac so much better and quick to use for me); 4. Seeing how both Adobe *and* Serif offer cross-platform apps (in fact, Serif started out as a Windows-only shop), and that tabbing is a pretty natural behaviour in Windows, it stands to reason that Affinity should behave well with keyboards and tabbing in particular. Is my reasoning a bit of a stretch? You see, it's also not the first time I find weird tabbing behaviours in Affinity apps, the earlier one being, IIRC, a completely inconsistent tabbing order in the Transform palette, which made inputting values extremely cumbersome and unintuitive. Oh, news flash: I just checked, and I realised that it's still not completely fixed (at least the ordering on those four fields is now correct, I'll give them that). You see, when tabbing from the “link chain” constrain proportions button, you can't get to the next field, Rotate, and instead hide the Studio right away. This behaviour goes completely against this system-wide setting, too. You should be able to not only tab between all fields and buttons in each palette, but also to the palette separators and even between other palettes from the same group… Not even Adobe does that (when you select a field and start tabbing, you get stuck in an endless loop between the fields available in that panel, even with said system-wide “All controls” setting activated, but at least Tab doesn't hide the Workspace), but hey, there you have another golden opportunity to one-up them at something. Also, while I'm at it (and even though I will probably create a new thread, or just bump one which I started on the same subject and which has been lying around dead somewhere in the forums for 2 or 3 years now, I still feel this other bug is completely relevant to the topic), I should add that the Separated mode still doesn't work properly; I'd love to be able to use it in Affinity Photo (in fact, I still use it in Photoshop), but Serif never got around to fix it and allow for docking the toolbar and toolbox, and/or at least prevent windows from going full-screen at all, zooming or even being dragged behind them, something which Adobe, Macromedia, FontLab, Microsoft, etc. etc. etc. got right more than 30 years ago (if that happens, you either have to toggle full-screen from the menu, or switch to a different app just to be able to access the window chrome)… Serif isn't adhering to the best practices from even the Macintosh 128K era! It's in these little things that their former Windows-centric background really shows, but please, oh please, if you're answering user requests (and said Separated mode was probably born out of one of those), at least polish them to… I won't even say perfection, but just basic usability. Actually take the time to learn how the Mac's original “floating window + toolbars + palettes” UX concept works, *and especially the zoom button*, and get the details right (if you have to fire up a bootleg Snow Leopard VM and install FreeHand 12, or Office 2001:mac, or FontLab 5, so be it… Oh, wait, never mind all that hassle; you just have to fire up Photoshop CC 2019, turn off the very prominent “Application Frame” on the Window menu, dock your stuff and you're all set, boom!, with a fully functional Separated mode for comparison's sake and reverse-engineering… and do try the zoom button while you're at it, please! Because having it duplicate a sort of “maximize” function is just useless, we might as well just use the regular full-window or fullscreen mode!), because some people, and some apps/workflows, really do benefit from that model (especially Affinity Photo, for obvious reasons; in fact, we'd be better off if Serif just killed Separated mode in the rest of the suite and concentrated just on getting Photo right). The same goes for keyboard support, I guess, and here I speak as a former PC user who actually values the competition's effort in keeping the software as close between platforms as possible… IMveryHO, your (@Old Bruce's) way to go about OS-level features and Beta testing is completely lenient and backwards… I know I border on the obsessive and sometimes even on the aggressive with my nitpicking, but surely we should expect developers, especially self-proclaimed user-friendly ones and to whom we already gave our hard-earned money (maybe it's not your case, but it's certainly mine), to adhere as strictly as possible to Apple's HIG, am I right? Why make excuses for something which shouldn't be that hard to code correctly? This is not a full-blown new tool, or something that messes with the graphics engine and dependencies or whatever, and it's not some obscure accessibility setting either; it's actually just plain adhering to a top-level OS-wide setting which affects a default input method that makes a Mac or a PC, well… a Mac or a PC. In fact, I'd go even further and say that this is the kind of thing that should also be available on the iPad versions of Affinity apps or the upcoming Photoshop for iOS… I don't even know if you can tab between interface elements on iPad apps, but since there are first-party Smart Connector keyboards and built-in first-party and third-party Bluetooth keyboard support, complete with support for some system-wide keyboard shortcuts (yes, with a Command key, just like on a real Mac), you definitely should. Face it: keyboards may be archaic as hell, but they aren't going anywhere any time soon. Now, some final considerations on the reasons which may be behind these issues… I'd venture a guess and say that it all comes down to the usage of custom interface elements, and a desire to keep the interface as close as possible on both the Mac and Windows sides of things (which, as you'll soon realise, it's not a fully achieved goal by default on Publisher, either; I have yet to test it on release-quality software, but I'll be sure to run a trial of Photo and Designer on a fresh VM just to check it out), and the usage of not entirely native/first-party frameworks as they were conceived (I'm talking about Interface Builder and default Aqua interface widgets, specifically, and its equivalente Metro counterparts in Windows). Interestingly, when tabbing on the “New Document” dialog on the Windows version, you can't even get to said button, you also get to a phantom field which triggers nothing when pressing space (in a different ordering… but maybe it corresponds to said button, only it doesn't work?), and you can indeed get to the lower fields, too, but never to said middle separators, either… In addition, the ordering on those lower fields is also different, and it makes less sense than on the Mac version; whereas on the Mac, you get from the two Width/Height fields to the “Portrait” checkbox and, only then, to the DPI field with drop-down button, on Windows you get straight from the Width/Height fields to said DPI field and, only then, to the “Portrait” checkbox. You see, consistency across platforms is also key (pun unintended), especially considering how Apple doesn't produce certain devices like the Surface Pro, or easily upgradeable desktop computers, and some creatives may indeed end up working with a mix of both iMacs and Surfaces, MacBooks and PC towers, etc. etc. Those users already have to deal with the nightmare of different shortcut triggers by default, so let's at least spare them the indignity of those inconsistencies, minute as they may seem…
  18. Count me among those who also think this is a must-have in a pro-level application. GREP styles saved my proverbial derrière in more than one InDesign project already…
  19. Likewise. I just saw a presentation at 9ET (our Portuguese “poor man's ATypI” ) this weekend, where a designer from the Adobe type design team showed some demos of not only variable fonts, but also colour SVG fonts. Sure, the latter may be a bit gimmicky, but you can bet on all of them becoming a standard of sorts in the professional design world.
  20. As @Seneca said, the Affinity suite does indeed support OpenType, as any professional graphics application should. Still, I don't think one should be expected to pony up for a Glyphs.app/FontLab/Fontographer/Font Creator license, let alone have to deal with an open source editor like FontForge, just to get around shortcomings of this kind. I am a type designer myself, and even I would rather not have to have to deal with Glyphs and install yet another font on my system if I only want to add some bespoke ornaments or graphics to a single document. Besides, inline graphics can be more than just simple vector shapes; they can be full-blown vector illustrations (as you should know, even .SVG colour fonts – which I'm not entirely sure whether they are supported by Affinity or not, but I'm leaning on not – have their limitations), bitmaps, etc.
  21. Oh, by the way, kudos on the Preview mode. Is that new in the .145 beta? I was about to point out that it would be a nice to have, and just noticed it's there, yay! And… do you reckon you could do away with having to press the Control key and just be able to press W to toggle it, or is that a requirement because of the way Publisher is coded, an over-zealous adherence to the HIG or some other factor (like… not wanting to ape Adobe too much ^^ )? I know, I know, but… you know, muscle memory and not having to use my pinky so much… First-world problems!
  22. Hi @MEB, obrigado pelo update [thanks for the update], and you're welcome; I do my best with the little time I currently have. Not having ETA isn't the best of scenarios, but knowing you're taking our concerns and expectations seriously is way more important than that, and it's very good to know you are. As for those concerns and expectations… I was never suggesting that Publisher could ever replace InDesign for all, or even most of the use cases in its first commercial iteration. I only hoped that much like Designer, which I can use for almost everything except auto-tracing, 3D effects and projects which require gradients and transparencies with proper spot colour separation (yes, my exclusive use cases for good ol' Illy are now that much limited, and the only reason I don't use Designer for 90% of my work right now and use it instead mostly just for RGB stuff that requires gradients is the fact that, well, Publisher isn't officially out yet – or feature-“complete”, for that matter – and I want to switch to the entire suite at once, because of the obvious economies of scale). The thing is, as things stand, I can't use Publisher even for the most basic of projects without feeling I'm fighting against it and, in a sense, “losing” money because of wasted time. None of my usual projects are especially complex, by the way… It just so happens that some have dozens of pages, others are smaller but require multiple pages per spread, and pretty much all of them require object linking. And I'm not some über-elite designer doing exotic stuff, just leaflets and booklets for events, not unlike the ones I did at the company I worked for previously. Let me tell you, it's all very mundane stuff, really. Pardon my cheekiness (especially any old-time Serif customers reading this), but it seems that… PagePlus could be used for way more serious stuff but was bought mostly by people who just wanted to typeset their local church newsletter (maybe because of marketing, maybe because of the way the program was laid out, maybe a bit of both; I can't really tell because I never used it, but I did give it a look on your old website before I wrote you that prescient long-ass letter after Adobe threw their CC-only strategy at us, and it seemed to be a bit of both), whereas Publisher is being marketed as being suitable for more serious stuff (come on, man, read your own marketing materials when it comes to Affinity as a whole and Photo and Designer in particular; it is being aimed at pros) but is only good… for typesetting the local church newsletter. And it will still be hard to use and not exactly educate users in DTP's best practices, because of the reasons I've stated. Maybe part of your audience (and even a number big enough to recoup development costs) doesn't know any better and will lap it up, but you won't get as many [happy, satisfied] switchers from InDesign as you've got earlier from Photoshop and InDesign, that much I'm certain of. And that might in fact tarnish your reputation to a certain extent, especially among pros (which, for a change, have been taking you seriously; just compare the kind of coverage you've been getting to that of Pixelmator, Sketch, etc.). You know, as they say, never overpromise and underdeliver, and even if you don't do so on an official and ostensive manner, the very existence of Photo and Designer with the “Serif” label on them is, in a way, a form of “overpromising”. Publisher isn't exactly being marketed as “Publisher Elements” either, now, is it? In fact… Now that you've shown your hand, and haven't yet revealed any novel feature which Adobe might copy (good on you, really; the last thing we want is for them to rip you off, like they did with the corner tool), you would do better to keep this as a public beta for as long as you need until those three basics (global layers, proper masters and linked objects) are implemented (sure, multiple and/or differently sized pages per spread could certainly wait a bit longer, I guess; after all, InDesign didn't have those for years, either). We're not asking for anything very advanced, just the absolute basics. Please listen to your professional users, as we do have your best interests at heart (if anything, because it will also benefit us in the long run). And yes, that takes into account the fact that we had to wait much longer that we initially thought for the public beta to come out, but at least now we know why, and we know at what point in development it stands (as a matter of fact, I believe it should still be in internal alpha/beta, instead of being rushed to the PB stage)… If you try to charge (even if it's an extremely affordable price, yes) for a manifestly incomplete/unusable product, I'm afraid pros and reviewers alike will pile on you, no matter what you state in your forums or press releases, because Publisher will always be compared to your previous successes. In a weird twist of fate, Serif is now its worst enemy, more than Adobe itself. But yes, @tariq is absolutely right, transparency is key, and we can't fault you for not being transparent enough right now. Delaying the release but having an ongoing public beta will keep all your users entertained and content, and buy you more time (and heck, this wouldn't be the Duke Nukem Forever of creative software, now, would it? We know you have sound internal goals and management, and a fine team…). In fact, I'm sure most wouldn't mind to see some delays in Photo and Designer development (hey, where are our customer betas!? Just kidding… ) if that meant that Publisher came out “right”. My/our €0,02…
  23. I am now a bit more at ease by reading this, as it seems to at least address some of the similar concerns I voiced on a different thread. While I'm not in the least bit happy about the current situation, at least this is confirmation that addressing it is indeed on the pipeline, and that it is already technically possible. MEB, can we please get an ETA or some stronger commitment on this feature (in its final, usable form, at least, and it shouldn't be too different from how it works in InDesign or Quark; and allow me to elaborate: there should be an intermediate state where you could “unlink” objects in order for them to accept content placement, – and as for content flow, it should indeed be automatic with no “unlinking” shenanigans –, but they should still be “linked” in the sense that they would reflect changes done in the corresponding master pages)? It's just that I won't be buying Publisher nor recommend it until it is implemented it – it's unusable and an outright joke without it –, and I'd rather know your timeframe than having to check the forums every other week. [Edit: I have just tested what you said, and two things became self-evident: one, I can't seem to find a way to unlink said objects, and two, your master pages are “master pages in name only”. The objects contained therein are indeed… symbols, of sorts? I can't click on them directly with the selection tool, but if I select them via the Layers panel, I can indeed edit their contents, and all the changes will be automatically reflected in the master page view, even without deliberately selecting and editing it via the master page section in the Pages panel. This is crazy! I'm sure you either want to accommodate Designer users, or just haven't gotten around to fixing this yet, but… it makes no sense to a DTP (Quark/InDesign) user. Master pages are supposed to be these “sacred”-like entities, which you set up once and are actually hard to edit on a whim. You really have to commit when doing so and know what you're doing, as they can completely change the look and structure of your document with the slightest of edits… You know, much like styles. I see why you'd use your existing Designer framework (even from a file compatibility standpoint), but master pages really look like just a tech demo/visual proof of concept at this point. While on that subject, a third thing becomes self-evident, which is that you've philosophically painted yourselves up into a corner with your approach of defining artboards as layers, and layers as dependent upon artboards, hence the very need of your internal talk about “Global layers” (guess what, in Adobe apps, and apps by most other developers, all layers are, indeed, “global”) because your users are clamouring for a different – and more standard – approach. Your so-called “layers” are anything but, they behave more like artboard/page and object folders (whose visibility you can toggle, sure), and you have to recreate them for each and every page, much like your so-called “master pages”. While that would still fly with Designer users (and it's very debatable, still), it won't fly with DTP users in a multi-page document-centric application environment like that of Publisher et al.. Global layers, while supposedly being too “left brain” for your audience (or so you think), are an absolute necessity for long, complex projects that require some level of abstraction, and you should also port them into Designer while you're at it, even if you have to introduce further complexity and two different object management models (“layer-dependent + page/artboard-independent”, and vice-versa) into what's an otherwise quaint little vector illustration program (UX designers, on the other hand, would love that, and it was precisely on such a project that I missed global layers the most – in Designer, yes, and it was paid work, not just spec work for my portfolio or beta testing for your benefit).] By the way, I don't know if you read my reasoning on the other thread, but I strongly believe that it really should be a v. 1.7.x (if not v. 1.7.0 RC/GM) feature and that Publisher will not be taken seriously by professionals – as I've just said, as far as we're concerned, it isn't by me or my colleagues, at least – unless it's there, and soon; Serif would be doing itself more harm than good by rushing Publisher out of the door without basic master page functionality, I'm afraid. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I'll take it up a notch and do a little comparison: that would be akin to releasing Photo without support for layers or filters. You see, this isn't some nitpicky, obscure typography thing like Drop caps or some of those bloated InDesign features which you can compensate for with workarounds; you're basically expecting your users to not use master pages for *any* editable field (and DTP is all about… filling up hundreds of fields), which is nuts and makes working with Publisher harder and less efficient than working with even Microsoft Word (and that's really saying something, as Word is a cumbersome old dog of an application). It defeats the whole “create once, reuse often” purpose of master pages altogether. I'm very, very sorry for my tough stance on your collective work, which is hard and has been great so far… I'm mostly sad and frustrated, almost as if the wait for the first Publisher beta was still going on as we speak and this was just some cruel tease. I really, really wanted to get rid of InDesign and I just can't, and from the general tone of your post I don't feel I will with v. 1.7.0 either.
  24. +1. Essential for things as basic as the leaflets mentioned and book covers as well.
  25. +1. Without it I won't even be buying Publisher v.1.7, as I won't be able to do many of my usual projects in a sensible fashion, sorry. :\