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1 hour ago, Oval said:

in order for Serif to succeed

Semantics ....... if Affinity did not succeed then Serif would not succeed.

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9 hours ago, PeanutsA said:

 

Mac has always been the 'favoured son' of Affinity - (perhaps) understandably so as the 'Mac market' was a market that Serif had never had and which they had to capture in order for Affinity to succeed, But that still doesn't stop it rankling at times with those Windows users who have supported them over the years, when the Mac users treated Serif as a 'joke'.

Why should Mac users have treated Serif as a 'joke'? - Just because a software isn't available for a specific platform doesn't mean the company who makes that is a joke for users of other platforms then. According to that then Linux users would probably treat it all as a joke.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.7.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.7.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:19 PM, v_kyr said:

Why should Mac users have treated Serif as a 'joke'? - Just because a software isn't available for a specific platform doesn't mean the company who makes that is a joke for users of other platforms then. According to that then Linux users would probably treat it all as a joke.

You will have noticed that joke was in inverted commas, meaning that whilst Mac users may not have actually laughed at Serif products,  that they did not take them 'seriously' as 'professional products', despite them being more than capable of doing a very competent job with Windows.

For example I have used, for more years than I can remember, and for some things am still forced to use, Serif DrawPlus (in all its incarnations) in my job/profession as a design engineer - because in all honesty as I initially had a home desktop set-up and used three laptops I could not afford Macs, so went for Windows (in all its incarnations) and Serif products.

So a couple of examples of Serif products not being 'professional'  - (1) I submitted, via email, a proposed design for a new piece of equipment ..... which was rejected as being 'un-openable' as their office only used Macs - I then had to travel a large distance in order to attended in person and submitted the proposal on my laptop, much to their surprise, even the disbelieve of some, that such work could be done using Serif DrawPlus. (2) I was asked to tutor a 'beginners design' group at night-school but found out that I was unable to do so because all my course work was prepared on Windows, using DrawPlus, but the school only used Macs because "Macs were the preferred system for professional offices where the students would be working.

In my experience many so called professionals, who have not heard of or seen the Affinity products, know that Serif are now in the 'Mac market', still think you are not being 'serious' if you suggest that they think of using Serif products.

Bearing the above in mind I can fully understand why Serif are, or seem to be, giving the Mac versions of Affinity 'preferential treatment' in order to break into that market and I wish them ever success in winning over the 'scoffers and disbelievers'.

 

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So you mean more or less due to a certain overall arrogance in the former times heavily platform related design domain. - Well in my experience this was always like that in the past, since in former times people always touted that things like graphics design and DTP etc. can only be done on Macs. So to say, the strong fan boy believer communities and hip syndrome fellows etc. - However, outside of that designer domain things haven't been that extreme, people there were much more tolerant.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.7.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.7.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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On 3/4/2019 at 10:58 PM, Hokusai said:

Maybe this thread can be put to bed now that Arrowheads are in the latest Designer Beta!

It would be lovely to see other long-running threads such as this one being put to bed, too:

Or other, more recent ones detailing also long-standing conceptual issues in Affinity Designer, like this one:

The popularity of certain feature request threads and the time Serif devs take to address them makes me sometimes wonder what exactly is their criteria; is it the marketability of them towards a certain target user? Is it the technological implications and dependencies of each tool or feature?

Well, I'll tell you something: this tool seems to be very useful mostly for people into technical drawing. It is no accident that in Ai it's lumped in with stroke customisation, such as dotted/dashed strokes. But… I will stand my ground. If they are finally trying to attract technical drawing users now, they must implement these two features I mentioned first, because… they will also benefit other less technically-inclined users and lay an important groundwork without which those users won't even get to use or even test those arrow-head terminations. It's a simple cost-benefit equation and a matter of priorities, even if these two features are harder to implement on a deeper level.

Or maybe they are in fact not trying to attract those users by adding arrow-heads because… people may want to use them artistically? Or just sparingly? If that's the case, I believe they are wasting their time on fluff (users who need them artistically would probably be better served drawing them by hand, and if they are doing just a few of them at a time can very well afford to do so) and only dangling yet another carrot which will only serve to disappoint those technical drawing users when they inevitably run into the aforementioned limitations. Yes, I'm actually saying it: some new tools may actually harm Serif's reputation more than they help it because of the expectation they raise. It's better to keep a certain user at bay, by not offering nearly any of the critical tools they need, than to attract them and disappoint them, as that may actually be your only chance of successfully luring them in.

Again, here are Serif devs focusing on the tools instead of on the core and general usability features. Please fix the core first, guys. And I'll tell you something else, which is indeed very worrying coming from me, the soon-to-be-graduate in a MA in Typography: these omissions are more serious than even those pertaining to typography. And I know I've badgered you with how important those were even before Publisher was a blip on the radar, but… drop everything else, including those, and focus on these features first, even if you have to address these in a phased manner. Show some commitment into making Affinity Designer a bit more “universal”, even if the tools that go with many potential use cases aren't there yet and won't even be there for a while. That will at least signal to your user base your true intentions of eventually replacing Ai, while not really hurting your current, happy user base in any way, shape or form. And yes, I will make no excuses for my use of that verb, no matter what the apologists will inevitably say about “Affinity being an alternative and not a replacement”. Of course it won't be but an alternative for a while, and of course the end-game is for it to become a replacement, even if it takes them 20 years to do so. But for them to be able to do so, they will have to line up their actions in the correct order and create the kind of proper, positive engagement with their user base.

And yes, I know what I'm proposing sounds a bit paradoxical and even hypocritical, but to me it somehow feels that it's much easier to justify that you don't have the time to implement tool a or b because you're busy getting the basics, core feature x or y, right. I know that I would be much more accepting of that than the current status quo. It feels as if Serif set some lofty goals, and still boasts about them on their website, but in all truth has just settled for keeping their illustrator/artistic/web/UX user base happy (by the way, I can't, for the life of me, understand how their UX clients haven't raised the same issues I did; or maybe many of them could, but just fled from Affinity instead of putting in the time to explain their reasoning…) while migrating them to iOS. Those two goals are super important, I'm sure (and regarding the latter, the upcoming rumoured transition Apple will make on the Mac from Intel x86 processors to ARM-based, A-series ones will be a golden opportunity for Serif to do to Adobe what they did to Quark), but I'd rather see a price increase on the entire Affinity range and see them hire a few more developers and UX experts (and yes, I also know that putting more people in a project doesn't always translate into faster developing times, but clearly Serif seems to be biting more than they wanted to chew and could certainly use a few more hands on deck) so that four-year-old basic requests and inexplicable and indefensible UX gripes become a thing of the past.

For all those who may think that I'm being self-centred, well, I'm not. I'm thinking not of what I do currently (or not just of that), but as a former design student and potential design teacher (as in, of the main project subject). I can immediately think of several academic and professional projects that would be an absolute pain to do, if not outright impossible, without those two features I mentioned, whereas… arrowheads? Excluding technical drawing, those would be just nice to have in some niche cases.

As for the whole Mac vs. Windows thing, and the slight mismatch in tools and/or features – in a beta, mind you – I'm siding with the devs on this one; it's commendable that their releases are as in sync as they are right now. What other companies, besides the 800lb gorillas in the room – i.e. Adobe and Microsoft (and maybe now Corel, too) –, do you know that can keep entire cross-platform software suites so very much aligned in their feature set and so cross-compatible in their file formats? Come on, give us some examples… You can fault Serif for a lot of what happened (and especially what hasn't) these past few years but, if there's something you can't really be mad about is their level of commitment to different platforms. Indeed, it's that very commitment that admittedly caused all the delays in projects like Publisher, so, as someone who eagerly waited for that piece of software (and still does, for its final commercial release, at least), methinks the gentlemen (and ladies?) doth protest too much.

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I haven't read all of your post, but it sounded like you believe that arrows on lines are only for technical drawings. Have you never seen any arrows in your environment outside of technical drawings? Or is everything with an arrow a "technical drawing" for you? I see arrows every day, in all kinds of places. They are one of the most basic sign language concepts of mankind. And as with a drawing tool, I want to be able to style my arrows as I like while keeping them accurate (i.e. not MS Paint freehand-mouse style). The old point-outline-shape tools were simply inappropriate for most such cases. I very much welcome the addition of arrows in the beta and now quickly switch from 1.6 to 1.7-beta whenever I find I need arrows in a document.

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I believe JGD spoke of “technical” drawings as opposed to illustrations in a more artistic sense. In his other thread he gave the example of a map or a public transport information system, which is a technical drawing in a loose sense only. Certainly, he didn’t mean to confine himself to diagrams of electrical circuits and the like. :)

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11 hours ago, ygoe said:

I haven't read all of your post, but it sounded like you believe that arrows on lines are only for technical drawings. Have you never seen any arrows in your environment outside of technical drawings? Or is everything with an arrow a "technical drawing" for you? I see arrows every day, in all kinds of places. They are one of the most basic sign language concepts of mankind. And as with a drawing tool, I want to be able to style my arrows as I like while keeping them accurate (i.e. not MS Paint freehand-mouse style). The old point-outline-shape tools were simply inappropriate for most such cases. I very much welcome the addition of arrows in the beta and now quickly switch from 1.6 to 1.7-beta whenever I find I need arrows in a document.

That is not in any way, shape or form what I said. What I said was that automatic arrowheads at the end of strokes are useful mostly for technical drawings, when you may have to draw hundreds of them at a time just to indicate measurements. For everything else, manually drawing them and saving them as symbols is most definitely an acceptable workaround, especially if you're drawing just a few of them.

My issue with Serif's priorities is the fact that there are no possible workarounds for issues like the ones I cited. Missing core functionality usually turns your life into a living hell and just makes you stick with what you already have. To add insult to injury, it does seem like those two features could be implemented with a few lines of code. They are not even tools that you have to draw entire icons and design entire studio panels for (well, when it comes to universal layers and if they want to implement those in a neater fashion, maybe, but there could be an intermediate and even temporary compromise just for v.1.x, as my demonstration videos attest; it's already technically possible to somewhat circumvent Designer's weird “artboard-as-container model”, with no ill effects, except you can't really work at all because you'll be fighting the application at every corner; as for selection options, Serif could very well implement basic, Ai-like selection options for v.1, and work on a more advanced, Freehand-like selection dialog for v.2 or even v.3).

If you have users trying, or wishing, to fight your app, and if not addressing that is reason enough for them to quit using your app, and if addressing it is easy enough for you to do, you should definitely consider yielding. To me, this entire container model nonsense feels like it's Serif's “darling” and they're afraid, or just too proud, to “kill it”. This isn't a case of being something too hard to implement, no. It's the case of them having reinvented the wheel five years ago for no real good reason, and now maybe being stuck (except they aren't; their document engine would work just fine in an Ai-like way if only we were given a measly checkbox). There's a lot I hate about Ai, but their implementation of layers and artboards is not one of those things (the overall crustiness and slowness of the app, the horrid bézier tools, etc. are, and Affinity Designer did seem to bring a breath of fresh air when it came to tools). And sure, they got a lot of compliments from users – mostly illustrators, I'm guessing – on their model, but those users could very well live with Ai's model and wouldn't even bat an eye because they wouldn't know any better, whereas many other users just can't use Serif's container model. At all. Period.

And before you tell me that I'm being stupid because I want Affinity Designer to be more like an Adobe app, well… No. I want Affinity Designer to be more like every single design app in existence since the beginning of time. Glyphs.app (a type design app) works like this. AutoCAD works like this. ArchiCAD works like this. CorelDRAW works like this. Inkscape works like this. Illustrator obviously works like this. ALL design apps feature universal layers which are sacred. Affinity is the only app that treats artboards as containers (I will say it again: paper is always the bottom layer, not a container; and if you want a container, well… I dunno, create/use a specific slice/crop tool/whatever for that, or just group your objects into a group or a layer) and makes layering/grouping decisions for you, and before you tell me that that kind of abstraction is a good idea because kids these days will just use iPads and be done with it, no, no and no. Some professionals will always use some kind of real media, just like some photographers and DJs will always use some kind of physical media, and even if they don't, having a sensible, WYSIWYG/skeumorphic/whatchamacallit connection with the physical world and its inner workings is always a good idea.

I am sad about this, but I'll have to repeat it again in this thread: Serif devs think more like engineers than like artists, and whichever artists or designers who worked with them and told them this was a good idea or at least failed to warn them of the side effects led them astray because they didn't know any better. I'll even go further and say that I will consult with some former MA colleagues of mine and UX buffs (I mean, they are teaching a postgraduate degree on that very subject) at my faculty just to confirm that I'm not the one in the wrong here. And yes, having your app making decisions for you can be good in some scenarios, but if some of your users start actively complaining about it maybe you should reconsider having that as the only option. And in this case, being different from the established standard interaction model, with not enough of a tangible benefit and verifiable disadvantages is indefensible, no matter how happy some users may be about it. At least give the users the option to disable that “feature” (I've said it before and I will say it again: in some cases, especially those which I've outlined in my demonstration videos, it feels more like a bug than anything else).

Since I've already talked about wheels and reinventing them, I'll adapt an analogy used elsewhere in these forums: Affinity Designer is a bit like a Lamborghini with square wheels. Or maybe with a square, rusty steering wheel on a curved column. Or both. Sure, it has a beefy, modern engine and you can go reeeeaaaally fast with it (as in, you can import very complex .PDF documents, and look at them with buttery-smooth scrolling and zooming), but you can't make it go where you want it to go. You can't work with it. I mean, maybe you personally can, but many users – including myself and my future students – can't, not for the lack of tools (heck, I've been manually doing stuff that I know for a fact to be easier or automatic in other competing apps for years, that's just par for the course), but for the lack of core features or the weird document model. This is a deeper issue and Serif's priorities are completely lopsided, that's what I was getting at. And yes, you may be able to do simpler projects with it, but consider this from a professional's perspective; if you have to invest time – and, thus, money – in retraining your muscle memory for a new app, wouldn't you wait until you could do like 95% of your projects with it, just for the economies of scale/ROI? For me, Affinity Designer hasn't even passed the 50% threshold, hence why I'm holding off (I may make an exception for modular type design or the odd illustration to put into InDesign documents, as Designer would be just another cog in a larger workflow, but for end-to-end, .afdesign-made print media? Fuggedaboutit).

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On 5/29/2019 at 8:23 AM, A_B_C said:

I believe JGD spoke of “technical” drawings as opposed to illustrations in a more artistic sense. In his other thread he gave the example of a map or a public transport information system, which is a technical drawing in a loose sense only. Certainly, he didn’t mean to confine himself to diagrams of electrical circuits and the like. :)

I was thinking more of technical drawings of 3D objects with top, bottom and side views, with measurements and stuff… In fact, you can see that in the examples I've given on my videos, there's probably only two arrows in total, and those are precisely the instances where I wouldn't mind in the least drawing them by hand (in fact, I did draw them manually in Illustrator, as those aren't even strokes, but shapes, and the arrows aren't even arrows per se, but just pointy bits). ;)

Imaging doing this other example I'm attaching without automatic arrowheads; yeah, it would be an absolute pain to do. But one could argue that a) this isn't yet one of Affinity Designer's target use cases (nor should it probably be anytime soon… A communication designer like myself, who can't use product design-bound CAD apps, doing a project such as this one will always be an extremely niche case) and b) for me to be able to even think of doing this in AD I'd need a sensible layer model, and having the whole mass-selection situation sorted out would come in handy, too. Even with arrowheads in AD, yes, so I really fail to see the urgency in implementing them, even with this 4-year-old request. Do you people now see where I'm getting at with my logic? I'm not being all pompous and envious about it, there's a thought process and a method to my opinions as to Serif's priorities. Features and tools don't exist in a vacuum; they must support each other, make sense, and correspond to the needs of specific target users.

In fact, even Ai isn't very well suited for this… If I was making this today, now that CorelDRAW is finally available on the Mac again, and not two years ago, I might give it a spin instead – and bear with its horrid selection, zoom and pan model, which is all but erased from my muscle memory after 15 years without touching it – just because it has a dedicated and automatic measure-marking tool. If Serif ever wants to tackle that market and try to eat Corel's lunch as well by implementing such a tool, sure, I'm all for it, but only after the basics are addressed.

I believe even Adobe initially implemented arrowheads as a a bone to throw at this kind of niche case more than anything else; the fact that it's also useful in other scenarios, including artistic ones, is just a nice side effect that eventually became their main application (because, you know, almost everyone uses Ai anyway). And yet, Ai is horrible for this kind of work because if you need to make a 3D render of one of these, boy oh boy, are you in for a world of hurt. But at least you can manage to do it with a sensible layer model, as SketchUp can import vector files just fine. Now try and do that with AD, and having three plates (this one I've shown is just plate 2 out of 3) in the same document (which makes sense, as you can have guidelines across them) with the same layers on all of them (which is critical for subtracting all the unneeded, human-bound measurement fluff when doing those renders); whoops, you can't, because AD will insist on treating artboards as “containers” and moving all your stuff (oh, I forgot to add: including guidelines) into them instead of letting you have it on specialised layers. :33_unamused:

So, to sum it up: Affinity Designer is great for doing collections of self-contained artwork, like different illustrations or logo versions (and even then I have a few doubts about its limitations), but positively, absolutely horrid for complex projects where some logical relationships between each artboard's content are needed or at least just desired. Really, if all we can have are several small “mini-documents” instead of projects containing an entire document-level logic, we might as well not have/make use of the current multiple artboard tools at all and work like we did in Ai in the pre-Macromedia days (as in, we could have rectangles on their own layer as faux artboards, and turn them into actual artboards whenever exporting and be careful enough not to save our artwork and thus screw up the entire layer situation). It's just that sad and would, indeed, make more sense as a workaround.

Captura de ecrã 2019-05-29, às 20.05.26.png

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A "workaround" may be acceptable, but it certainly isn't desirable.

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2 hours ago, ygoe said:

A "workaround" may be acceptable, but it certainly isn't desirable.

Yes, @ygoe, I know. And I know that expecting users to just accept having to use workarounds after four years of requests is, at the very least, worrisome. But surely you can appreciate that, in the grand scheme of things, ignoring the fact that your app doesn't work at all for a sizeable portion of your current customers and/or potential user base is, for lack of a nicer term and using the obverse of the one you just used, unacceptable. We're talking nice-to-have vs. absolutely essential here.

I don't know about you, but if Serif devs spoke to me, as a customer, about their strategic decisions in the same terms I outlined in my latest posts, I would understand and applaud them, because there is indeed real power in numbers (in this case, number of users). I would feel that they would be measuring twice and cutting once, trying to attract as many users into the fold as possible, and admitting that v.1 or even v.2 would indeed be a bit “road-to-Abilene-ish”, in the sense that it wouldn't be perfect for absolutely anyone but at least barely usable for everyone (that's not what they do, quite the opposite; they will say that their product is great for some users who are very, very happy… Well, good on them all, then; I've been waiting for four years for some bare essentials, and one of my biggest “small” gripes with it took as much to be fixed; I suppose you could say that doesn't bode well for the future, am I right?).

As it stands, Affinity Designer, in its current state, is great for illustrators and prosumer/amateur designers, and next to useless for almost everyone else. Or else, Serif would be swimming in cash – and might've been able to hire a few more people and speed up development – and Adobe would already be trying to acquire them, or something. Even with a manifestly incomplete product by 20/30-year-old-app standards (yes, I would buy the entire Affinity range, in an incomplete – but functional – state, for an entire, multi-seat professional studio just to stick it to Adobe, even if the current tax rules in my country actually make paying a CC subscription when you own a small business a bit of a no-brainer because of rebates). Just my €0,02.

Also, this kind of shortcoming is still acceptable in a product like Publisher, as DTP is an über-complex field, the app suffered a lot of delays, and is not even commercially available yet. But Designer is supposedly the most mature of the bunch and, yet, these features aren't even on the roadmap. Instead, we're getting… arrowheads. I don't know a lot about software development but, to me, this all kind of reminds me of the active procrastination I did while finishing my MA dissertation. I would invariably turn to every fun DIY project I had going on the side instead of focusing on the boring 90+ page behemoth I really had to finish and turn in before the deadline. Sure, I would feel very accomplished, but that didn't change the fact that with every delay I'd be paying more and more tuition fees and further hampering my future career.

Same here with Serif: focusing on cool new tools may make Affinity look good on paper, but it won't necessarily attract those potential users anyway and will result in a loss of media and word-of-mouth momentum. They're already losing me, for one, and I'm what you could call an “influencer” (former Mac room monitor at the leading fine arts faculty in my country, with hundreds of followers and customers, and in the future hundreds of students, anyone?). Oopsy-daisy.

Anyway, I digress; until I'm proven otherwise, I'm betting Serif decided to focus on illustrators and prosumers for v.1 and that's that. I sure hope to be surprised with some v.1.8.x beta or something, but it seems that the make-or-break moment will instead be v.2. If that one isn't a serious attempt at expanding the user base, with a feature roadmap ostensibly geared for just that (having it laid out in a Trac-like system would also be nice, by the way), I will not be buying it. Worse even: I probably won't be paying much attention to its development and to v.3, unless it somehow reaches critical mass and I start getting students mentioning it. You see, if and when I become a teacher, I will be able to afford a CC subscription… forever (probably with some discount, even… or maybe I'll even get it for free, depending on where I'm working). And as much as it pains me, and as much as I hate Adobe's guts, my patience is limited, and I've been trying for more than five years to help Serif devs turn this into a serious contender. And I won't be doing that anymore, possibly soon, especially if I end up doing a PhD and my entire mental energy is directed elsewhere again.

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Just for people visiting this thread and think arrowheads aren't implemented yet:
version 1.7 has arrowheads implemented. :)

1.7 is currently at release candidate state (RC2), so it's just a matter of time now to make it to the 'store'.


 

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Ok, some observations on the feature, which I may eventually use one day for the aforementioned kind of projects (and, indeed, the kinds of arrowheads available right now do seem to be mostly geared at technical drawings rather than “artistic” stuff):

What I like: the fact that you can see the arrowheads in outlines mode. It really helps a lot, since in the projects they are most useful in their current state, that's also where that mode frequently comes in very handy. It's also a nice preview of the Expand Stroke command when working in that mode. So, kudos on beating Adobe on this particular point, as it's already shaping up (ha!) to be nicer overall.

What I don't like much, but understand it's probably not to be expected in a v.1.7.0 implementation, as it's so new: you can't have separate “within the line/at the end of the line” parameter settings for head and tail, but must instead select it for both. Seeing how there's an “origin” terminal, it would make sense to have, say, that one “at the end of the line” on the tail, and an arrowhead at the other end, “within the line”. A small panel reshuffling would be in order, as the “swap arrowhead with tail” button would have to give way to a duplicate pair of radio buttons for that parameter (maybe by getting rid of the “Start:” and “End:” labels altogether? I mean, that portion of the stroke panel is pretty much self-explanatory)… And, by the way, the “swap…” button should also swap that parameter along with the corresponding arrowhead. Since I've mentioned Adobe before, I just realised Ai does not even allow for this option. Should you choose to implement it, you'd actually be one-upping them.

Also, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, I've just realised that the “cap” on a stroke is just another form of terminal (please pardon the typographic jargon, but that's just how my brain works). What if you consolidated the panel further and got rid of those three “cap” radio selectors altogether, while changing “arrowheads” to just… “terminals”? The “square” (or, in Ai jargon, “projecting”) cap could just be achieved by using that parameter, with the added bonus that you could also have a round cap with the outermost node contained within the stroke, and different caps on different ends. Again, that's something Ai can't do, and which could be very useful in diagrams like the ones I've shown you on the other thread (and please, oh please, do add triangular caps/arrowheads that don't protrude further than the stroke, while you're at it; I know it could also be yet another form of “cap”, but the arrowhead implementation is just so much more flexible right now and could become even more so if you added that suggestion).

The only issue I could see with this would be… now that you've opened the whole outlines view can of worms, how would those caps display? But eh, I suppose that would be a little inconsistency (either the caps would not be visible at all, or be visible and appear as “arrowheads”, as the strokes/stroke bounds shouldn't appear in any case) that wouldn't hurt users that much.

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