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mini-review of Publisher - and comment on Affinity dev process

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What about having frames as styles? That way changing the frame-style (including dimensions and placement on a page) all frames of that style would change.

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I agree I want that Master page function too. For creating textbooks, consistency of style is essential. It will be too time consuming to layout every text box and header etc.,  and manually linking each page —especially in a 350 - 400 page textbook.

But, it is still early days; who knows what Serif have in mind for the final version. Obviously, they need to add the ability to creat ebooks, import .doc or .docx files as well as pdf. 

I hope they also add a preflight, and a proof reader (like in PagePlus) and the ability to manipulate images. 

Having downloaded the Windows version (128) I found it to be more stable than the same Mac version. But if  Publisher keeps developing, I will certainly be adding this to my desktop.

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In Serif's PagePlus, when you create a new page you have the option to include content from the existing page (such as text boxes). I hope this (or something similar) will be introduced to Affinity Publisher. It makes it much easier than having to draw out a text box on every page.

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42 minutes ago, Roger H said:

I agree I want that Master page function too. For creating textbooks, consistency of style is essential. It will be too time consuming to layout every text box and header etc.,  and manually linking each page —especially in a 350 - 400 page textbook.

We need to be able to put text frames (for document text) on Master Pages, but that's not the reason.

Even without it, you don't need to layout and link each text box on each page. You can use a Master Page for the text that should be on every page (headers, footers) and apply that to a document page. Then you can put a text box on the document page and start filling it. When it overflows, shift-click the "link" button and you'll get a new document page with the content from the Master and an identical text box (same size, position, and characteristics). Or, if you're pasting text into the box, you'll get as many new pages as needed to handle the overflow, all with identical text boxes.

Thus, you only layout the text frame once, and Publisher lays out and links the others for you.

What this lacks, though, is the ability to later change the layout of the text frames (position, other characteristics) and have those changes propagate to all the pages. That's really why we need to be able to put document text frames on Master pages, in my opinion.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.356), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.7.3.475 Beta

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17 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

What this lacks, though, is the ability to later change the layout of the text frames (position, other characteristics) and have those changes propagate to all the pages. That's really why we need to be able to put document text frames on Master pages, in my opinion.

If you turn your initial Text Frame into a symbol, changes to it's layout etc will be reflected on all pages.

Not sure if this is recommended/acceptable practice or not as we are all still learning how to properly use Publisher and there are no official guidelines as yet

 


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be concerned about.

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6 minutes ago, carl123 said:

If you turn your initial Text Frame into a symbol, changes to it's layout etc will be reflected on all pages.

Not sure if this is recommended/acceptable practice or not as we are all still learning how to properly use Publisher and there are no official guidelines as yet

An interesting idea, but a couple of problems, I think (or I don't understand how to do it properly).

  1. If I make that frame a symbol, and then put any text into the frame, the symbol acquires the text, too.
  2. If it would work (without the symbol acquiring the text) that would cover aspects like size, fill, stroke, etc. but not placement on the page. So if one decided that all the frames needed to be 3mm lower, that would be manual adjustment of each page.
  3. It does not seem that shift-clicking on the link icon for the frame (once it is made into a symbol), gives a new instance of the symbol. It merely gives a new instance of the text frame, on a new page.

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.356), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.7.3.475 Beta

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Create a Text Frame on page one with no text
Turn it into a symbol
Paste a large amount of text into the Text Frame, (enough to overflow into new pages)
Shift-click the "link" button and new pages are created automatically

Change the Text Frame dimensions etc on page one and it changes all the other text frames as well

 

 


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be concerned about.

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9 minutes ago, carl123 said:

Create a Text Frame on page one with no text
Turn it into a symbol
Paste a large amount of text into the Text Frame, (enough to overflow into new pages) ** problem 1 here **
Shift-click the "link" button and new pages are created automatically

Change the Text Frame dimensions etc on page one and it changes all the other text frames as well ** problem 2 here **

 

 

  1. At the marked step, the symbol changes and acquires all the text that was pasted in. Perhaps that's not really a problem, but it's odd.
  2. No, changing the dimensions on page 1 did not change anything on page 2.

-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.356), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.7.3.475 Beta

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2.  You have to expand the symbol layer in the layers panel and select the text frame layer, then change that layer's dimensions.  Changing the Text Frame's dimensions when the symbol layer in the layers panel is selected will not work.

(Just like you would change a normal symbol)


Due to the fact that Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, punctuation, spelling and grammar will never be worried about ever again.  We now have far bigger problems to be concerned about.

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40 minutes ago, carl123 said:

2.  You have to expand the symbol layer in the layers panel and select the text frame layer, then change that layer's dimensions.  Changing the Text Frame's dimensions when the symbol layer in the layers panel is selected will not work.

(Just like you would change a normal symbol)

Very interesting. Thanks, that does indeed work. Any changes (size, location, fill, stroke, etc.) made to the text frame on page 1 carry through to all the others derived from it via the auto-linking process.

Things get a bit weird if you duplicate a page containing that text-frame symbol, and after doing that, and trying to delete 2 pages, I crashed Publisher.

Edit: Also a bit weird if you drag that symbol onto a new page. You get a frame containing the text from the first page, but in the Layers panel it's labeled as an "Empty Text Frame (Symbol)" even though it has content. And if you change its content on that new page, it changes the content on all the previous pages.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 1903 (18362.356), 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00Gz, GeForce GTX 970
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.3.481 and 1.8.0.486 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.3.481 and 1.7.3.475 Beta

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I had so many weird things happen that I figure Symbols and flowing text will not work and I am cool with that. One line or a paragraph of text is fine but flowing text and resizing a following frame messes stuff up real bad, real bad.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.5

Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.7.3 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.7.x.x | Affinity Photo Beta 1.7.x.x | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.x.x

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Text frame is basic tool. Having to recycle it via symbols sounds too complicated – master frame should be much more accessible function.

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Agree with the idea that master pages should be able to have individual content. Here's my specific example: I have master pages for my comics that just has various margin things, like bleed, active area, page number-- basically things I want on every page, that'll be unchanged and can have visibility turned off on specific layers when I need to. And then I have to create the layers needed for lettering on each page:

  1. Sound Effects above artwork
  2. Text frame from object (oval or rectangular)
  3. Balloon/Caption Box shape with no stroke
  4. Pointer with stroke width desired
  5. balloon/caption box shape with 2x width of stroke
  6. Sound Effects below/within artwork
  7. Masking layer for placed artwork (comic page)

And that's a lotta layers. I thought about making a symbol with all those layers, but I would just have to "disconnect" (forgive me, I forgot the actual term) them anyway when I add content and for the most part each page will be different therefore all the layers will have to be empty, so I just made an asset with all of them, just adding an 8th layer for "page size." So now I just create a new page and drag the asset to the page and let the snapping place the asset, thanks to the "page size" layer exactly where I want them. 

Granted, comics is a very small niche use for Publisher, but so far it's working well for me. Better than Designer in a number of ways: real pages, not artboards. If master pages allowed Layers to have individual content (i.e. child layers) on pages would be a great feature, but there are workarounds, like the asset creation method. However for projects that change in mid-completion, this isn't much of a solution. But for now, for me, it's working okay. 

Hope the previous paragraphs weren't too involved, but i thought it best to actually give an example, and what I do to work around the limitations that presently exist.

----

 

I don't consider Affinity to arrogant. I've found them to be driven, considerate and approachable. then again, they do tend to give back as well as they are given, and I kinda like that spunky snakiness. But that's me. 

As far as the mini-review, for the most part I can see where the author is coming from. And I've been to this rodeo enough times to realize that development teams are snowflakes in the respect that no two are alike. What didn't get mentioned in context within the mini-review, is that Serif isn't just developing stand alone app, but developing an stand-alone app that can work with 2 other apps. I have no idea how complex that is, but I'm guessing it's not a spring time walk in the park. While we all would like to have feature A, B or Z, there could be reasons why we won't see 'em for a while. Serif shouldn't have to divulge chapter-and-verse on why things are the way they are. The broad brush strokes (to mix metaphors) they have said are enough IMO. 

I do agree that when version 2 of the Affinity Trinity (my lil' nickname for the assortment of Affinity apps.) is when things will get popping and hopping. And so far, in my niche needs, Designer and Publisher, and to a very lesser extent: Photo (which is just damned hard for me to get my head around), fulfills them very well. All I'm really missing is an envelope distort and some kind of pucker/bloat feature (for word balloons showing thoughts and exclamations), which ain't bad; I can spend a few moments hand-creating those effects for "warm-up exercises."

TL;DR:

Make master pages with stuff that'll be the same from page to page, create an asset for stuff that'll contain different stuff from page to page.

Serif has treated me right and with respect and I've treated them the same in return. I feel that there's a lot we users don't really need to know that may be misconstrued to them having an "arrogant" mindset. And that's an insult to everyone at Serif, imo.

Can't wait for the version 2 hubaloo to commence :D 


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet || Flux Capacitor in a secure location

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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1 hour ago, CartoonMike said:

Make master pages with stuff that'll be the same from page to page, create an asset for stuff that'll contain different stuff from page to page.

That is not quite what designers ask. The main problem with current master pages is that they do not support text frame placeholders, making change in design difficult after you have set your text/content. That is something that is not for assets/symbols.

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@Fixx True about what designers ask for, but I was just focusing on what matters in my workflow, because I'm not able to speak for all designers as I'm just a lowly comic creator. ;) 


2014 iMac, 3.5 Ghz Intel Core i7, Secondary Samsung SyncMaster B2430 display, 16GB RAM, MacOS10.12 || Magic keyboard w/numeric keypad, wireless trackpad, Kengsington Edge Trackball, Wacom Pro Large tablet || Flux Capacitor in a secure location

---

I encourage kids to go ahead and play on my lawn. I mean, how else can I make sure the death-traps work?

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8 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

We need to be able to put text frames (for document text) on Master Pages, but that's not the reason.

Even without it, you don't need to layout and link each text box on each page. You can use a Master Page for the text that should be on every page (headers, footers) and apply that to a document page. Then you can put a text box on the document page and start filling it. When it overflows, shift-click the "link" button and you'll get a new document page with the content from the Master and an identical text box (same size, position, and characteristics). Or, if you're pasting text into the box, you'll get as many new pages as needed to handle the overflow, all with identical text boxes.

Thus, you only layout the text frame once, and Publisher lays out and links the others for you.

What this lacks, though, is the ability to later change the layout of the text frames (position, other characteristics) and have those changes propagate to all the pages. That's really why we need to be able to put document text frames on Master pages, in my opinion.

the autoflow feature is severely limited as of now

my reviews specifically shows a failure mode: https://medium.com/@postenterprise/affinity-publisher-beta-hands-on-review-4f5f05c96c02

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