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Everything posted by JGD

  1. Hi guys. Once again, I'm sorry for overusing my “CRITICAL & OVERDUE” “tag” of sorts, but… until the end of the v.1.x cycle, better get used and pay attention to it. I'm reserving it only for the most glaring omissions, especially those which damage Affinity apps' reputation the most as professional tools. Anyway, I digress; what I'm asking is: please make Affinity apps (especially Photo, where it makes the most sense) under Separated Mode behave like all Adobe apps when the Application Frame is disabled, FontLab 5.x, Microsoft Office X/2004/2008 for Mac, AppleWorks, and pretty much every classic Mac app with floating UI elements since 1984. Nineteen-freaking-eighty-four; those are thirty+ years of muscle memory for some users (in my case, it's only a respectable 16, but still). Floating palettes and other UI elements have a reason to exist, but they also should work in a sensible and intuitive fashion, otherwise you might as well not have them at all. If you decided to implement a “Separated Mode”, at least take the time to fully learn, understand and respect Apple's Human Interface Guidelines (and, by extension, Mac users). Don't make the same mistakes Microsoft did with their infamous, universally-hated Microsoft Word 6 for Mac (source: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/rick_schaut/2004/02/26/mac-word-6-0/ ). As it stands, the Separated Mode is very cumbersome, forcing users to painstakingly resize windows by hand, one by one, so that they fit on the screen and fit their content, aren't obscured by the floating UI elements (which forces them to switch to another app or toggling the Studio just so they can grab their titlebars), etc. Making them dockable and properly coding the document windows and Zoom behaviour to prevent those scenarios would allow one to open several windows in cascade, side by side, tiled, etc. I should add that the Window>Zoom command/green “+” titlebar button is not MS Windows' “Maximize”!!! We all know that Serif devs come from a Windows background, and this is a common misconception former Windows devs have, and a common error they commit, when porting their apps to the Mac. To make matters worse, the Affinity apps actually started out as Mac-only but never even behaved properly as such, ever. Please make that button behave precisely like in Photoshop, Preview, TextEdit, Pages, etc. Will it be inconsistent with the Windows version? Maybe, yes. But it should, first and foremost, be coherent with the host OS. On the Mac, that command/button should be a toggle between a default/custom size and a “fit-to-content” size (which can be very useful in Affinity Photo, and which I constantly use in Photoshop, Preview, etc.), and not a “maximise button”; for that, we have the default Fullscreen behaviour. Better yet: under Separated Mode please disable Fullscreen for the green button and make it Zoom (properly, please) by default. Seriously, try activating Separated Mode and opening a document window in Fullscreen; it's not very useful and doesn't bring much to the table, functionality-wise, over opening the app in regular mode and making it Fullscreen am I right? I'm willing to bet that maybe 0,0001% of your users ever turn to that particular combo… At least, please allow the user to set the default behaviour under Preferences. Yes, I know this is no longer the default “green button” behaviour in macOS, and that Apple is pushing us heavily towards Fullscreen mode. But seriously, until Apple disables it altogether (and I reckon they never will, as they keep selling huge iMacs and now will start selling the even bigger Pro Display XDR, which will be a massive hit with pro photographers), please implement it correctly for the users who still use the Window>Zoom command. It's the least you can do as a self-respecting Mac developer.
  2. To be fair, Adobe apps also deal with my dual-monitor setup terribly. But Affinity's floating palettes are even worse, as since there's no Workspace function, I can't reset them with a hotkey. I just force-quit and reopen the app in question so that I don't lose their positions. As for having to use third-party tools to fix UX shortcomings being unacceptable, I fully concur. I know Affinity apps are affordable, but it's a matter of basic usability and principle.
  3. JGD

    Variable fonts

    Make no mistake about it, @MikeW: I fully agree with you. RTL support should definitely be higher up the priority list for “best-in-class” in a classical sense, as is a multi-line composer equivalent. But the way I see it, Designer is very much focused on digital illustration, so I can certainly accept that typography in general is probably not a priority there. On the other hand, Serif is no stranger to going for flashy, low-hanging-fruit features, and maybe these are just easy enough to implement for them to make the cut. It's not that I think that's the best way to go about it, but I'm biased toward typography (so sue me ) and considering just how harder it might be to implement the support you mentioned, I wouldn't mind at all seeing at least those features in Designer a bit quicker so that they become an industry standard ASAP. Full disclaimer: you mustn't forget that, as a type designer, I do have a vested interest in seeing certain things become standard so that I might commit to them (and, of course, reap the benefits, both creative and pecuniary ). As for Publisher, well… Being a DTP app, it must allow for some “boring” stuff, as in manuals, packaging, labels, etc. And even as a western designer, you can't do many of those without RTL, I'm afraid, so you're absolutely right in that it should be a top priority. Still, that doesn't preclude us from discussing the possible implementations of this thing, am I right? We could certainly create a dedicated RTL thread or post on an existing one, even if it was just for +1 posts (because there's not much to it when it comes to the UX, is there? It's basically standardised at this point). Also, it's hard to ascertain just how big that market is, as the lack of said support is a complete non-starter and will make most potential customers self-exclude from the user pool.
  4. Patrick, I know we had our differences, but these two snippets right here warrant some kudos: I now see that you totally get our sentiment. That about sums it up nicely. Also this. I've been mentioning it before as something I just assume it's going to happen, hard and ambitious as it may be to achieve (in fact, I think it's something akin to squaring the circle), but to see you actually commit to that is refreshing. Never in a million years did I wish for any of my suggestions to make Affinity apps harder to work with for those who already enjoy and are used to them, and I expected they would get that by default. I'm hoping that your statement clears that up a bit. Anyhoo, I'm now heading back to my little SVG/variable font corner.
  5. I'm not sure I fully agree with your assessment. They will actually see a lively back-and-forth between devs and users. Sure, it may not always be perfect, but it's leagues ahead of what happens at the competition's user forums (and here, I'll single out Adobe by name: I will never, *ever* forget that infamous Photoshop gradient thread). We are discussing very precise factors here, and users who don't feel affected by them will either ignore the discussion altogether, or realise those issues aren't that big of a deal anyway. Also, Affinity apps are so affordable that taking the plunge isn't that big of a risk, IMHO. Even if you never pick them up again, they cost as much as a few months of a CC subscription, and you can absolutely recoup the initial investment in no time. The main reasons I (and others?) am so “passionate” about the Affinity suite are, as stated earlier, because I do wish to switch to a more affordable alternative, but also because I'm trying to recoup the time investment and regain some of the credibility lost for having peddled it to no end at the very beginning of the public beta phase. And the main reason I'm not doing so anymore, nor investing in crazy workarounds without any guarantee that they will become obsolete ASAP, is the fact that I know of the sunken cost fallacy. Nuh-uh, I'm not getting caught in that rabbit hole. Once I realised AD did not work for me and my students in its current state I pulled out of my self-appointed duties as a full-blown tester and evangeliser, and focused on its irreconcilable structural shortcomings instead. For all the people here thinking that I'm too emotional, or passionate or whatever, I would kindly ask you to take a moment to appreciate how very rational, logical and laser-focused those decisions actually were. As for Serif, a company constantly propped up by none other than Apple itself, I think you worry too much about its short-term future. Our comments about the long term are aimed mostly at Serif management itself, not other users – current and potential –, and I fully believe the latter realise that and are more than able to decide for themselves if Affinity is good enough for them in its current form. There is, IMHO, plenty of time to correct course here and there, and these latest posts are absolutely a step in the right direction.
  6. Also, not what I said. Overall, AD is indeed more user-friendly. I did mention its intuitive tools, didn't I? As for Ai, I believe I mentioned it before but it does bear repeating: it has a steep learning curve and features some positively horrible vector editing tools. So, it stands to reason that for a digital illustrator that wants to quickly plop down some artwork into a simple virtual canvas, AD is WAY friendlier. But for someone who's more of a perfectionist (re-read my comments regarding artwork repositioning in more complex documents), the current document model may start to irk them a bit… And, finally, for an information designer who may have to produce, say, an entire signage system…? Ehhhh, things start to get ugly and slow, real fast. As I've also demonstrated before here in the forums. As you should know, when it comes to software usability and workflows, things are anything but obvious and linear. Once you get past that learning curve, economies of scale kick in, and I can assure you that whatever workarounds I'd have to come up with in AD would be way worse and time-wasting than having to deal with Ai's horrid tools every now and then. I know, because I tried them.
  7. Nope, we're doing it even faster with the tools we already know how to work with (and which work in a way compatible with a) our workflows and b) the complexity of our projects), with our 10+ years of accumulated experience.
  8. You completely missed the mark here. Where, pray tell, did I single out Adobe on my last comment? Quite the contrary… I mentioned ALL of Serif's competition. That includes: CorelDRAW; Inkscape; Scribus; the defunct Macromedia; yes, Adobe, but certainly not just them; Glyphs.app; FontLab; and I'm willing to bet that the list goes on, and on, and on… Sure, I'm willing to admit that per-artboard, per-master and per-spread layers can be incredibly useful, as @Seneca pointed out. In fact, just because I think the implementation is flawed/incomplete, and outright weird from a conceptual standpoint, never have I said that they were an inherently useless, bad idea. But universal layers are also demonstrably useful, and I gave plenty of examples elsewhere on this forum where that may be the case… To claim otherwise is, to put it mildly, fanboyism and intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.
  9. *And therein lie the issues which, IMHO, plague Serif apps (also, for the sake of accuracy and intellectual honesty, no, Ai's artboards are most definitely not “glorified rectangles”; they are smart enough to also drag objects along with them, have a database and panel of their own, and allow for quick export with printers' marks, so, if anything, they are “glorified slices/groups” which do their intended job just perfectly and with almost zero complaints from end-users – or none that I heard of). No other design application does this, and for good reason. Conceptually speaking, artboards are pieces of paper/media (or their final, cropped state), and artists, designers, etc. can and will on occasion work well outside their boundaries and readjust said cropping factor, or reposition their artwork, while still keeping an unobstructed, bird's-eye view of all their stuff. The etymology of the word, and the way the physical object used to work – and still does, in fact – offers some insight as to how it should be approached in a mostly digital-first but not digital-only world, and a container/box/folder it is not. You may conceptualise it as such, being a developer and all, but artists do not “see” it that way, nor does it work that way in real life with physical media. That is why I've been saying for years that Serif apps are inherently non-WYSIWYG/non-skeumorphic/non-whatchamacallit. They do not behave like real-world, physical tools at their basic level (of course, digital tools will always offer a degree of abstraction impossible in the physical world, but to do so at the very conceptual/structural core may break some people's minds). And most other competitors, conversely, do. For all its snappiness and even intuitiveness when it comes to certain tools, Affinity apps – especially Designer – add a layer of user-unfriendliness that is hard to survey or put into words, but believe me, it's there. Just because enough users and Apple itself heaped you with praise, that doesn't mean I'm wrong about it; it's just that they didn't notice it or it didn't make much of a difference to them considering their demands and/or how affordable Affinity apps are. Honestly, have you personally seen non-digital illustrators work, in the field, with their pens, pencils, brushes, masking tape, scissors, x-acto knives, rulers, glue sticks and whatnot? I've dated one for three years and I saw her and her colleagues work almost daily for more than two years straight. They do that kind of tinkering and repositioning a lot, and the “artboard” only becomes an irreversible, done deal much later in the process (more often than not only in digital form, after the original artwork is scanned). As for my design work, even I do that a lot (albeit digitally), and I'd love to be able to do so in Designer, too. Maybe it comes down to the fact that I was trained at a fine-arts school, as are many top-level designers all over the world, and started out working in physical media myself (and the same goes for our MA, which includes an entire semester at a letterpress workshop as the main subject). You might ask: in a digital-first/mostly-digital world, why should a developer like Serif even worry about physical metaphors and accommodate for users who started out on physical media? Ask me, and I'll say that 99.9% of art and design teachers at the under- and postgraduate level will tell you that learning first how to draw by hand is essential. Ask them directly, and you'll be lucky if they don't outright laugh at you. I know, because I tried having that very debate with some of them, and it wasn't pretty. Also, the more I read on the subject and teach students of my own, the more convinced I am they are absolutely right, and I'm very far from being conservative as a person, as a creative or as a teacher. And I'm not even getting back into the whole “universal layer” conundrum (and I'm ecstatic to see that you may be fixing it soon, thus allowing you to have your cake and us to eat it too)… As I've said before, those two concepts, while related, aren't mutually exclusive, so we should also have the ability to turn off “Clip to Canvas” even in a multi-artboard document whose objects are indeed contained in specific artboards (if you must insist in keeping that interaction model around, and I understand why you would, for backward compatibility with that always-cropped, iPad-first paradigm that I'm sure a sizeable portion of users enjoy). If I may give you a constructive suggestion, an easy solution for the inevitable issue of having objects contained in an artboard overlap with objects contained in another, maybe that mode might affect only the active/selected artboard, thus acting a bit like an “isolation mode” of sorts. That would probably also force you to add further functionality to the Layers panel, such as entering modal states via, say, double-clicking/tapping (i.e. “entering” an artboard/group/clipping group/inpainted group/layer/universal layer), instead of just selecting stuff; all that modal functionality offers a level of abstraction for power users which, IMHO, is perfectly acceptable, desirable and sometimes vital, unlike the arguably and demonstrably weird/crippled “container model”. That, too, would also allow us all to have our cake – i.e. artboards as containers – and eat it too – i.e. seeing stuff outside of them even in complex documents. My €0,02.
  10. Well, by any other name, I guess it is. And it makes a world of difference… Wait, is it finally coming?! Considering how nicely Publisher is also coming along, especially the IDML importer, I could really start digging into Designer for the odd job. If I do indeed get used to it, all those other advanced features from Ai would then be just “nice-to-have”; and as long as Publisher correctly renders PDFs generated in .Ai with unsupported features (such as, say, the variable and SVG fonts we're discussing on another thread), I could certainly do the bulk of my work in Designer and save Ai for those odd use cases. It's not as practical or elegant a solution as having embedded, editable .afdesign artwork, but I've been working that way with ID and Ai for years, it's not like it's a downgrade to my workflow or anything.
  11. JGD

    Variable fonts

    This being a thread with some traction and very recent posts, and on a generic “Affinity Desktop” forum, no less, I believe it's the best place to discuss this matter. The last objective feedback we had on this feature was by Dave Harris himself, and it doesn't bode well. It seems variable font support is not in the cards at all at this moment, which, considering the current variable font support landscape, is a shame. You see, all of Adobe's former “Design Standard” apps (Ai, Id and Ps) already support them via this teensy button that opens up any and all variable parameter sliders that type designers may have put in their own fonts. Adding support for them may be hard, but necessary, at least if Serif wishes for their digital typography support to be best-in-class. I commended Serif before for offering proper OpenType support, and I expect nothing less from them. The same goes for SVG fonts, but those could be discussed in a different thread and are an entirely different beast (they are strictly appropriate for artistic work, whereas variable fonts can also be used for finer adjustments in DTP projects). And now, for something completely different (because I never thought that Serif should just ape Adobe; they should try to one-up them at every step of the way and, if that wasn't the case, I'd be writing this on an Adobe forum instead): As I've said on this thread, I just came back from 10ET, in Porto, where one of the hot topics was precisely variable fonts. One of the issues Peter Bilak raised was the excessive choice provided by them, a factor which apparently also doomed the Multiple Master format before… Being a great fan of Barry Schwartz's “The Paradox of Choice” talk, I concur in thinking that too much choice can do more harm than good. Fully featured variable fonts can, at the very limit, allow for really, really stupid choices, which make you wonder what good they are for, after all. And that's where one of the suggestions I made to Bilak during Q&A comes in: constraints. I.e., there should be a standard method, in font editors such as Glyphs.app, FontLab, RoboFont, etc., to add certain rules that limit specific stupid/illegible combinations as per Bilak's own “design space” concept. Basically, when drawing one slider all the way up or down, others might be limited in their range and vice-versa; also and as a consequence of that, you might be able to lock them selectively in design apps so as to prioritise certain parameters over others. Alternatively, because choice can be good, there might be a special mode akin to the current anarchy where anything goes, which would accordingly disable said constraints altogether; we could call it “sandbox mode” or some other playful term that emphasised that it should not be the default setting (kind of like Affinity apps do not allow optical deformations of text along a single axis, come to think of it). What do you think? If this idea gains enough traction, I'll be sure to put it into an actual paper and propose it to the powers-that-be.
  12. Big kudos for the IDML import; I, like many others, did not expect it so soon or so functional from the get-go. That's a very nice addition which makes all the difference for a successful transition to Affinity apps. Now, please fix layers/artboards in both Affinity Designer and Publisher and we may get on the right foot again. So far, I'm indeed liking what I'm seeing (I just imported my latest CV into APub via IDML conversion, and I only got a small error, namely a text box whose contents did not line up with the correct baseline for some reason; still, that's mightily impressive for a very complex document with hundreds of text boxes and objects, as the last two pages of my CV are actually a chronological diagram on a continuous spread), but I won't have any use for either of them until I get universal layers, sorry. The opportunity costs of sinking any more time into this without any guarantee that it will be fixed – and yes, I stand by my choice of words, as I do consider AD to be especially broken and APub only a little less so – are just too great. By the way, only now did I realize, after happily checking that all my custom swatch names carried over and that it's indeed possible to display them as a list, that being able to manually reorder them is very useful. Currently, we're only able to either sort them alphabetically or by colour, but on a DTP project, I can assure you that being able to manually sort them makes things much easier (bonus points if you can extract and/or preserve that information from the IDML file, of course).
  13. I mean, this topic is named “discussion on outstanding features” and he's an expert on something that could become a feature in Affinity one day. While on the subject of keeping things strongly offtopic, I didn't even know Adobe had a HQ in Edinburgh, and I've already been there twice. And here I was thinking the only famous company that did was Rockstar North (F.K.A. DMA Design)…
  14. Yeah, we could go there instead. In fact, those topics should be merged, or something, but I guess I'll just pick the one that's got more traction. As for your comment regarding SVG fonts, well… I totally get it. They are flashy and, compared with the arguably complex variable fonts, are low-hanging fruit, UX speaking (though Adobe did solve it, for the time being, with a single button and a floating dialog with simple sliders). They don't really entail any standard setting other than, you know, properly implementing the format. Sérgio is actually an expert on those, by the way, and did a presentation about that topic last year. Still, I'd say that variable fonts can be more useful, especially in Publisher, and all those formats aren't mutually exclusive. The only reason I periodically bring it up is the fact that Serif, for all their failings, did prioritise decent OpenType support early on. That's a major win in my book, and likely one of the main reasons that got me interested in Affinity in the first place.
  15. Is my understanding that, since this thread was split, it won't be shut down correct? If so, can we now talk about other stuff, namely variable fonts? That's the feature I currently have more info to share on right now, including some very interesting insights from type systems and interpolation extraordinaire Peter Bilak. He raised a few of the same issues some of you did and, in fact, I had an interesting but as of then inconclusive one-on-one with him during Q&A. I may write a paper on that soon enough, in fact, and share it with him; if it's any good, I think it would be great to raise that issue with the powers that be (i.e. type designers, as well as type design and graphic design app developers; I already got Rainer covered, and maybe Rui Abreu, from Adobe – who, guess what, was also also there and always attends that conference –, or my future colleague Sérgio could also be a good entry point to that unavoidable behemoth). But, of course, I'd love to first hear from, you know, “regular” designers. I am one, too, but I'm obviously biased, as you may guess. As a teaser, that's me actually sharing my concerns and suggestions with Mr. Bilak.
  16. @ErrkaPetti that is uncalled for, and untoward both to me and Serif. But since you ask, I don't expect special treatment. I just didn't like some of the treatment I, and others, got in the past, and defended myself way back when and once again now. It's no secret that I had my fair share of issues with @Patrick Connor, and still am not fully satisfied with our current status, but it would be completely unfair to say that it got worse or even stayed the same. As a matter of fact, kudos to him for distancing himself from your comments. Whenever I pull up my credentials, the only reason I do so is to shore up my credibility and the validity of my arguments. As for “special treatment”, if anything, *I* am the one giving it to Serif, both in the form of feedback, suggestions and potential networking deals, and “tough love”, where other users just would up and leave. It saddens me that those haven't had the effect I expected, which doesn't inspire me the least bit of confidence in the future, but hey, accepting or even acknowledging suggestions or not is their prerogative. As for you, other than speaking for Serif without having any contractual obligation towards them or checking with them first (do you see the absurdity of your situation? In order to be able to do the latter without coming across as an uncritical fanboy, you should also have the former… which, AFAIK, you don't) and attacking other users, what do you have to offer to either Serif or us? I did not address you directly, and if you're happy with Affinity, good on you. But being a “yes man”, while certainly great for their ego and motivation, doesn't make much of a material difference to the development process, now, does it? As I said to those who made the suggestion, I will open or bump a thread on variable fonts, specifically for us to discuss said feature (and, yes, a bump on typography threads will always be in order every now and then, as each year there are new developments to be discussed; for all it's “600-year-old-industry” status, its digital manifestations in the commercial arena are, IMHO, vastly underdeveloped when compared to the kind of experimental stuff some of us are doing in academia), because I firmly believe – and that belief is grounded in experience, hence me mentioning it in the first place – it will be useful, usable and finally reach critical mass, so if you have something useful to contribute with – even if it's on-topic criticism, yes –, you'll be more than welcome. But if not, please spare us that attitude. @Patrick Connor, for all I care, please lock it down, sure. We'll take this elsewhere and hopefully learn something useful in the process.
  17. You raised some interesting points, which we discussed ourselves already during said meeting. I won't rehash them here as yours is a great suggestion, so I'll either create a new thread or revive an old one if I find it (after I'm done with said abstract, of course ).
  18. I accept your remark regarding the first feature request (which I will still defend on the grounds that, as per my stated MO, I'm trying to get as many team managers to realise just how serious the document model shortcomings are, but I respect your position so I will leave it at that), but not at all the one regarding variable fonts. It's completely misguided and unfair of you to lump a valid, exciting feature request with something that, I'll readily admit, is sad and stale of me to keep beating you over. Please do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You see, I hadn't mentioned variable fonts in months (if not years, actually, as the last time I was with Rainer was two years ago), so some actual feedback, either public or private – again, I realise how you may not want to give away your plans, but heck, have me sign another specific NDA if you must –, on that matter and my generous offer – it can't be done in person anymore, as the event is pretty much over and Rainer is gone by now, but it's still fresh on his mind and I still have some workshops of my own which I'll have to ask him volume licences for –, would be much appreciated (anything else, IMHO, will be seen as nonchalance and dismissal of something that not only is related to my bread and butter, it seems to be all the rage in the type design community right now; much like the Bluetooth explosion with Apple Watch and the AirPods, third time seems to be the charm and the latest GX revival is what Multiple Master should've become if Adobe hadn't killed their own baby because it was “too confusing to use”). Oh, as would be a belated apology for the whole “baselinegate” thing, mind you. I got extremely mad at Serif because of your post but, once I realised it was you again, meh. You see, I actually forgot it was you, so I am very much willing to forgive (I always was; this was just further proof of that). By the way, for some context, I just spent the last couple of days talking with or otherwise listening to some of the finest minds in the world of type design. Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer's Glyphs.app is to FontLab what Affinity is to Adobe CC (actually, I'd say it's closer, but the power dynamics are the same, as Glyphs.app v. 2.0 forced FontLab Inc.'s hand and shaped FontLab VI and precipitated its release decisively, much like Adobe keeps lifting features from Affinity apps); Peter Bilak is the leading designer of font systems, and the closest we could get to a spiritual heir to the now sadly deceased Adrian Frutiger; our fellow countryman Dino dos Santos is one of the leading type designers for printed press and branding, having worked with multiple newspapers across the Atlantic and world-class clients such as FIFA, UEFA, multiple world exhibitions, etc.; besides being an awesome, inspiring designer, Fred Smeijers authored Counterpunch, a cult book that, being out of print, now costs more than €400 second hand; just to name a few… And, as I've been trying to make you realise for some years now, I'm not some random kid; my PhD plans are now out in the open and in full swing, as I'm about to submit an abstract to the Springer-backed, 11th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, I'll begin cooperating with Sérgio Martins, a University of Reading graduate who worked as a type design intern at Adobe, on an advanced type design workshop module and am currently lining up a panel of workshop hosts – the Spanish expert on modular geometric type systems and bespoke 3d-printed letterpress type, Roberto Gamonal Arroyo, being an example –, evaluators and interviewees – my first ones will actually be the KABK alumni and still the Hague-based Carvalho+Bernau couple/studio, who started it all 10 years ago when they gave us a workshop at our BFA – across Europe. This is actually becoming serious business, and I can assure you we're not some autistic types stuck alone in ivory towers; we're actually working in the field, cooperating amongst ourselves and with the software industry, and shaping the future of typography and graphic design as we speak. So, please show us – and when I say “us”, I really mean it in the sense of being the leading representative of the type design community in these forums, as I'm the only type design practitioner/researcher/educator I know of who advocated for Serif, but if there are any more of us out there please do chime in! – a wee bit more respect, Patrick.
  19. If I could give you 10 votes/reacts for this request, I would. I'm attending, along with a student of mine, a Variable Font Workshop given by none other than Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer (one of Glyphs.app head developers), this Thursday in Porto, and will give at least one lecture/exercise on that subject to both my workshop classes at the Faculties of Fine Arts and Architecture (and, if I have the time, to some potential future classes at IPTomar and ESE-IPLisboa, two other schools where we may be giving our Calligraphy+Type Design Workshop as well*). It's a new format that is finally reaching critical mass, so it's about time that Serif started supporting it as well. Yes, it's a pretty advanced typography feature, but something tells me it's not as hard to implement as, say, a multi-line composer equivalent, especially if you get some external assistance (and who would be best suited for that than a small, indie developer not unlike Serif, who would also stand to gain from added support for said format?). As I've said time and time again, if anyone from the Serif team wants me to put them in direct contact with Rainer and the team at Glyphs.app, please PM me. We'll likely spend some time together afterwards during the conference that promotes the workshop ( https://10et.esad.pt/en ), just like we did in Faro two years ago, so now is your chance for me to put in a good word for you as well. * See? I did warn Serif that I was probably getting more classes soon and, in fact, shortly after said workshop and conference I'm also giving a lecture on vector-editing-app-to-font-editing-app workflows at IPCA-Barcelos where, once again, AD will be just a sad footnote and Ai the undisputed industry standard (yes, even for undergraduate students at a Polytechnic, where a prosumer package like Affinity could stand to gain more traction; it's not me who's calling the shots and the BFA coordinator who invited me only mentioned Ai, so… I didn't even bother creating .afdesign templates). I didn't want things to turn out this way but, alas, such is life.
  20. You may not, but for a sizeable group of people like myself – in my case, I've been personally working with Macs for 16 years –, I can assure you it does. May I ask, if that's not too personal, if you ever worked with Windows PCs and, if so, when did you do the switch? I did mine back in 2003, when I was still using an old Pentium III box running Windows 98 SE. Back then, even Windows was fairly consistent, but then Mac OS X was even more so. Then, Microsoft got completely out of control and started experimenting with their UI. It's true that Apple did, too, and these latest Marzipan apps and unified toolbars are yet another step in a tricky direction. And, yet, I'd still argue that macOS is still more internally consistent, and third-party Mac-only, Mac-first or “Mac user-loved” are waaaay more consisten with Apple's first-party apps, than Windows and its third- and first-party apps.
  21. On that same note, Affinity apps should, now that they have unified toolbars, adhere to Apple's latest standard for full-screen apps. This is the Finder, and the behaviour I'm hinting at: Finder.mov And this is iTunes, an old and, indeed, soon to be retired app: iTunes.mov And this is Affinity Publisher, which, as you can see, is not using the latest UI/UX standards, even though the very first version was presented when sliding unified toolbars in fullscreen mode were already a thing (also, if you notice, there's a visual bug in the titlebar gradient): Publisher.mov The advantage of using a model akin to that of the Finder should be obvious and self-explanatory, but I'll point it out anyway; even in fullscreen mode, users can make use of Fitt's Law and throw their mouse pointer at the screen edge and still be able to click any of the toolbar's buttons. Conversely, with iTunes' outdated model, Fitt's Law can only be used deliberately for accessing menu items and will, in fact, become a hindrance when trying to hit those small button targets, which are now closer to a trigger point that will obscure them. This is a big usability no-no and while we could give it a pass in iTunes, whose button controls are basically huge and duplicated in our very keyboards, in Affinity apps, not so much. Those are tiny and even closer to the edge than they were before.
  22. And speaking of which, as it warrants a separate post: Separated mode is still broken, as new windows still go behind the toolbars when maximised. Yes, I know this is a longstanding request which I've been hammering Serif about, but I decided that for each new Beta and GM release, I will point out any and all unnecessary inconsistencies with the HIG or otherwise expected and useful behaviour. That is, until they are either fixed or Serif explains us why they are not doing so. You see, these aren't “bugs” that might reasonably slip through; these are wrong decisions that shouldn't have been made in the first place.
  23. What I said has absolutely zero relation with screen size. Said asterisk could and should be displayed in document tabs, just like in Adobe apps, but on that “status” thingy (which, mind you, is a weird name for that non-complaint UI element, with the weird background and without the clickable proxy icon and disclosure triangle for renaming, as “Status” in WIMP-based operating systems is usually the name given to a dynamic info widget displayed near the lower border of each window), it makes zero sense as the dot on the close button is even more visible. In fact, it's easier to find and see, as it will probably be always in the left-hand corner; unless, that is, if you use either Separated Mode (and I don't see why anyone would, cumbersome as it is; and yes, I've just checked it out in this latest beta and it still doesn't work properly) or full-screen mode (which would force you to drag your mouse to display the menu and phantom titlebar).
  24. Oh, and the Index panel is still broken in the Beta, just like it is in the current stable version.
  25. I guess I was a bit too emotional back then, just… because, I guess. Let's just say “for personal reasons” and leave it at that. Now, I'm still emotional because I'm even more fed up, even though I'm in a much happier place overall right now. My relationship with Serif is a bit like “OK boomer”; they want to keep their model that way? Ok, sure, but count me out, and wake me up when it's fixed. It's utterly frustrating having students to recommend this thing to, and… just not being able to bring myself up to do it, as that would be a professional liability (I will mention AD, but just in case someone is using it already, not as an endorsement; in fact, I now actively add caveats if someone answers affirmatively). That's how inadequate I think AD is for real-life graphic design work (not digital illustration; plain vanilla design) right now. What I said before, about my position on this, wasn't an empty threat but a statement of fact, but for those who didn't read it, I'll recap it here. I have, first and foremost, the best interests of my students (and, it should go without saying, my own and my career) at heart, not Serif's. I will never, ever spread false information, and I do want them to succeed, but I don't think it will be in my rather large niche (or at least not yet) and, accordingly, I'm not risking my credibility.

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