I am starting to see a few posts asking Serif why Publisher hasn't been released yet. After just completing my first BASIC layout project with Designer and Photo it makes sense to me for at least some of the reasons why Publisher hasn't been released. The two currently available apps are still missing some very basic layout tools so Serif needs to get the basics put in those two apps before moving on to the more complex layout software. I wrote a lengthy piece about this in another thread but it was buried one hundred posts down. I just wanted people to be aware of these points so I am starting a new thread so that they can get more exposure.
After doing my first layout project on Affinity I can understand why Serif isn't rushing Publisher out (even though I enjoyed using it for layouts.) There are still a number of basic layout features that need to be added to Designer and Photo to even work well as a basic one page layout software. Why rush out complex layout software before you even have the basics working right? This is the list I have come up with that Affinity should complete before moving to a layout program.
- Visible bleeds in the program, not just after exporting the file. There was too much work trying to set up bleeds at a half an inch when I could see an object after it was dragged out into the bleed area. I basically had to draw a half inch box and then drag the object to the size of the box and then delete the box after I no longer needed it.
- Adding and editing artboards needs to be done in Photo. If Photo let me edit artboards I could have done my entire book cover layout in Photo (I think) and not had to jump back to Designer each time I needed to make a slight revision. For an example the publisher I was working with said that my book spine needed to be .58" rather then what I previously had it set to which was .5". Such a small adjustment should not require me to go to another app.
- I consider text wrap to be a basic tool so this needs to be done without having to rely on a workaround. There is also a feature from InDesign where the text follows along the side an object that I find to be very useful but I can't remember what it is called off the top of my head.
- I should be able to select a shape that I want to import an object into. I know there is masking from the layers panel but with InDesign I have gotten used to selecting a shape, selecting place and then having an object get imported in. This object could then show up in the layers panel as a masked item.
-The first version of Publisher should include some of the features that InDesign users have been clamoring for over the past several years and never get. The goal is not to just make a clone of InDesign but provide functionality it can't do or can't do well.
I think Affinity got off to a good start as a basic layout tool but I really believe that all of these basics need to be done before Publisher comes out. Ideally Publisher should be a solid app right from the first version since so much polishing would have been done to layout tools in Designer and Photo already. This way the focus for Publisher can be placed entirely on things like long document features and ebooks rather then adding layout tools that have been available for decades now (those features should already be in Photo and Designer by release.) Another advantage of placing the focus on Designer and Photo is that people will get comfortable using those programs as solid basic editing apps so when Publisher comes out the transition to the more powerful long document tools will feel more natural since it will be so similar to the programs they already use.
PS. I noticed as I was typing this that there is a shortcut for adjusting leading. That is a useful idea. Is anyone else getting this to work? It doesn't work for me. That seems like a much better idea then having to type numbers into a leading box.
Thanks for your comments. I have to say that making a clone of InDesign is not our goal; we have our own vision. Also, our plan is to release Publisher as soon as it has enough to be useful to someone. We won't wait until it can do everything InDesign can do and more. As a result, you can expect the first version to be quite basic. In the same way that Designer is still missing things like arrow heads which are crucial to some people, Publisher will be missing features that some of you will need. I don't want you to think we are already sitting on a basic Publisher and not releasing it because we want to add more advanced features first.
Publisher is delayed simply because it is taking us longer than we expected. I can't say too much about what we have and haven't done, but here's an example: text styles are a crucial Publisher feature, and the reason they are in Designer 1.5 and not earlier is because they weren't developed earlier. In general, when we have a Publisher feature complete that we think also belongs in Designer, we'll include it in Designer as soon as it is ready. (The caveat is that there are some features we know you'd like to see in Designer, that we don't think belong in it.)
I'm sorry it is taking so long, and I'm especially sorry that our past timelines for Publisher were so wildly optimistic. Our original vision of three apps all sharing a file format and a common way of working, was something we were very excited about. That exuberance spilled into some fairly delirious announced schedules. We will get there. We're still excited about the vision and determined to bring it about, just as soon as we can.