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NauticalMile

Will it sell? (The whole world vs professionals only)

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29 minutes ago, jepho said:

Progress derives from examining current methods and then making improvements in methods and capabilities. I may not know where the journey will end but for me it will always be exciting. The serious business of making money does not get in the way of finding new and interesting ways to accomplish repetitive tasks which result in better endpoints. YMMV :)

Yep. Regarding master page object overrides, I've always thought that InDesign was extremely convenient, yes, but completely unintuitive at the same time… That entire voodoo of pressing a weird key combination to override a specific object (there seriously should be the option to just right-click the damn things and unlock them, just like in Apple Keynote), then not really knowing from which point will they become completely unlinked – if ever –, and finally having duplicate objects when reapplying master pages has always left me a bit confused. Even to this day, I sometimes get confused at the results, yes, and I have 10+ years of experience with it. Surely there must be a more elegant way of doing things.

However, that still doesn't change the fact that the “master page” convention exists and that Serif tried to implement it. From the moment they did so, they should at least keep it fairly consistent with and as useful as in competing programs. Master pages aren't just used for adding a background veneer of decoration, which seems to be the only thing they're good for in Publisher as of now; they actually serve an extremely important purpose when it comes to layout design and content management, which Publisher is trying to fulfil elsewhere, altogether sidelining master pages. I completely understand where they are trying to get, and which users they are targeting (people who really don't get how master pages work but may not even need them to the full extent of their functionality). And that is completely fine; you can allow for many different workflows with no ill effects on UX design. But a professional app, right now, Publisher is not because it is lacking a core feature (I cannot stress this enough, so I'll say it again: proper master page support in a DTP editor is as essential as layer support in a pixel editor).

And I'm not saying that Serif's implementation has to mimic Adobe's to a tee, absolutely not. But the equivalent functionality must be there, because comparisons will be made, whether we like it or not.

As for the whole layer vs. artboard conundrum in Affinity Designer, which Serif brought upon themselves, that itself warranted (and still warrants) an entire thread. There should be at least the option to have document-level layers and not have them be always artboard-dependent, and also allow for certain (or all?) objects to transcend artboards and be fully visible outside them. The fact that you can't choose which model to use, or have them both, boxes you into Serif's philosophy. Maybe their way of thinking is best for illustrators, but I can assure you that for UX design (a very big market for them right now), it's absolutely terrible. I used Designer to do a website mock-up, and that entire layer situation frustrated me to no end…

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3 minutes ago, JGD said:

Master pages aren't just used for adding a background veneer of decoration, which seems to be the only thing they're good for in Publisher as of now;

They are also very good for guides. I use that a lot.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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19 minutes ago, Steps said:

They are also very good for guides. I use that a lot.

Yes, they are, indeed. But if you can't use them for content holders (i.e. frames), they are next to useless when it comes to [controlled] automation (which Publisher seems to want to do it in its own alternative and limited way by automatically creating text frames outside of the masters). That's the entire point of my rant(s).

The fact that you can have your guidelines in your master pages only automates half of the process. If you still have to create your text frames by hand, because you can't flow stuff into the frames you created inside of your master pages, naïvely thinking you could use them, and do it more than 600 times because your layout is too complex for automatic frame creation, suddenly you're better off paying for a CC subscription.

Being able to place content into master page objects is so, so, so extremely basic that not having it is a non-starter. Maybe it's hard to get the entire ancillary stuff (like how and where to allow users to manually override objects, like I've mentioned) right and in an elegant fashion, but that should be Serif's #1 priority right now. Period. It's better to have an app that works 100% in manual mode, than an app that tries to do the work for you but doesn't allow you to do things manually at all. Especially an app marketed to CC switchers.

Prosumers, i.e. aspirational users, should be an extra, even if they make up the biggest swath of the market; if actual professionals, the influencers in the equation, eschew it, Affinity will just devolve into Corel Graphics Suite v2 or Serif Plus v2 all over again (as in, that versatile but niche thing – mostly at the low end of the market – Adobe users frown upon), instead of becoming Macromedia MX v2 (what we all want it to be, I'm guessing; a serious and beloved contender that will fill the void left by Adobe's monopolistic practices). Affinity is just doing a balancing act right now, and it can go both ways. A grossly incomplete Publisher and the scathing reviews that will ensue may just tip it over to the wrong side.

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35 minutes ago, JGD said:

 That entire voodoo of pressing a weird key combination to override a specific object (there seriously should be the option to just right-click the damn things and unlock them, just like in Apple Keynote), then not really knowing from which point will they become completely unlinked – if ever –, and finally having duplicate objects when reapplying master pages has always left me a bit confused.

:D

This reminds me of Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E in Photoshop to create a new copy of all visible layers. Using PSE 12 for over 5 years now I need to do this about every two month and guess what... I always need to look it up.

A four key combination is so hard to remember and I never understood why I just could not hold any key pressed while clicking on a new layer to achieve that.

I mean creating masks have several modifier keys.

Confusing.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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5 minutes ago, JGD said:

However, that still doesn't change the fact that the “master page” convention exists and that Serif tried to implement it. From the moment they did so, they should at least keep it fairly consistent with and as useful as in competing programs. Master pages aren't just used for adding a background veneer of decoration, which seems to be the only thing they're good for in Publisher as of now; they actually serve an extremely important purpose when it comes to layout design and content management, which Publisher is trying to fulfil elsewhere, altogether sidelining master pages.

I agree with you that master page functionality is a convention and is a vital function where it is included and implemented well. I would like to think that any of the elements which I attach to a master page are reflected throughout a document. Any change in master page composition should be reflected throughout the document contemporaneously. I suppose that it is the developers that tend to view master pages as a software program within a software program.

Herein lies the first problem... that the master pages sometimes have a life of their own because of their implementation methods and they may not act entirely in concert with the ordinary pages. The tighter that master pages are integrated into the general program, the more useful they are functionally, in my view. How difficult are these pages to implement, so that they can be independent of the pages that they determine the layout for, is unknown by me. Once I understand what it is that I want to achieve in terms of my overall layout, then I would hope that the software permits me to arrange my pages how I wish. My own use of master pages falls at one of the early hurdles when I find myself trying to apply several different master pages within the same document.

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22 minutes ago, jepho said:

I agree with you that master page functionality is a convention and is a vital function where it is included and implemented well. I would like to think that any of the elements which I attach to a master page are reflected throughout a document. Any change in master page composition should be reflected throughout the document contemporaneously. I suppose that it is the developers that tend to view master pages as a software program within a software program.

Herein lies the first problem... that the master pages sometimes have a life of their own because of their implementation methods and they may not act entirely in concert with the ordinary pages. The tighter that master pages are integrated into the general program, the more useful they are functionally, in my view. How difficult are these pages to implement, so that they can be independent of the pages that they determine the layout for, is unknown by me. Once I understand what it is that I want to achieve in terms of my overall layout, then I would hope that the software permits me to arrange my pages how I wish. My own use of master pages falls at one of the early hurdles when I find myself trying to apply several different master pages within the same document.

The important thing to get right is where does text/content come from and where does it go to. QuarkXPress has (had? I stopped using it at v.6) these “to” and “from” source and destination linking boxes in the corners of master pages, which are the epitome of doing things “by hand”, so to speak.

Back when I started using it, InDesign surprised me in the way it handles it automagically. You only have to link frames across your spread, and the text otherwise automatically flows from the last column in the spread to the first column in the next page, regardless of it being a different master, a manually set up page, or whatever; the same goes for spreads with mixed masters, IIRC. And when you apply a different master to a page already populated with content, the content is also preserved but reflows into that master, if I'm not mistaken. Conceptually, it messes a bit with my way of doing things, but much like Smart Guides (before which I'd just create a crapload of guidelines and make my vector work in Freehand and Illustrator extremely hard to navigate), in practice it works extremely well.

I honestly never did any layout with two different tracks of text (as in, say, a fully bilingual layout), so I'm not entirely sure how you'd do one in either InDesign or Quark. But I'm sure they already solved that issue, and it's one of those things where Serif devs must have the humility of taking a page from their book (ha! :P ) if they got it right and did it elegantly enough. No matter how you slice it, if Publisher is to be taken seriously by professionals, it must be usable in those scenarios, and by “usable” I mean quick and functional. Of course I could redo most, if not all, of my past work in Publisher and have it print beautifully. It's just that I'd want to gouge my own eyeballs out and bite my own hands off in the end of the process.

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30 minutes ago, Steps said:

:D

This reminds me of Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E in Photoshop to create a new copy of all vidible layers. Using PSE 12 for over 5 years now I need to do this about every two month and guess what... I always need to look it up.

A four key combination is so hard to remember and I never understood why I just could not hold any key pressed while clicking on a new layer to achieve that.

I mean creating masks have several modifier keys.

Confusing.

Yep. I am a very hardcore shortcut user, and when I'm a few months without picking up InDesign I'll also forget some basic stuff. Line-, frame- and page-breaking hidden characters being another family of shortcuts I consistently forget about. Maybe I'm just getting old. :P

Still, that doesn't excuse those idiots at Adobe from not showing the corresponding keyboard shortcuts on the Type > Insert Break Character menu; it's almost as if they were purposefully trying to make their software harder to use, thus forcing me to google something that should be two mouse clicks away as per Apple's HIG. It boggles the mind!

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3 minutes ago, JGD said:

The important thing to get right is where does text come from and where does it go to. QuarkXPress has these “to” and “from” source and destination linking boxes in the corners of master pages, which are the epitome of doing things “by hand”, so to speak...

Unless one begins a document with a primary text frame--it's an option when beginning a new document. Which in turn uses the margins to set the frame(s) to. Not all document types even use master page text frames and or uses the margins to size the primary text frame. The thing I miss most in QXP vs. ID is the option of having non-master page linked frames upon placing a text document. It's an extra couple steps in Q (Linkster).

The important part is the use of master page text frames versus regular pages as per APub. This issue is getting a rethink by Serif.

Earlier automation was mentioned. There are a few areas that I need before I even would do a plain novel again in APub. A primary one is QXP-style tagged text (ID's is too verbose). In the past few years I've moved clients from exporting XML to tagged text from their various CMSs. I would welcome this in APub. Even with tagged text, APub is still "slower" in formatting books. While I put slower in quotes, I do not that APub simply feels slower. It is.

APub also is simply, for both myself and my wife, less...less obvious in usage. Some of this hunt & peck for how to do something will abate over time. But not all.

Mike


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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28 minutes ago, MikeW said:

Unless one begins a document with a primary text frame--it's an option when beginning a new document. Which in turn uses the margins to set the frame(s) to. Not all document types even use master page text frames and or uses the margins to size the primary text frame. The thing I miss most in QXP vs. ID is the option of having non-master page linked frames upon placing a text document. It's an extra couple steps in Q (Linkster).

The important part is the use of master page text frames versus regular pages as per APub. This issue is getting a rethink by Serif.

I'm happy to know about it (and to believe I may have had a bit of a hand in that, too). Let's wait and see… I know many here will hate me for saying this, but I'd rather experience another little or even not-so-little delay and see them get it right at v.1.7.0 GM and avoid a fallout with pedants like myself. ;) I know that from my posts I may come across as a perverse, Schadenfreude-filled Nostradamus-like figure, but I really, really want these guys to succeed no matter what.

It's not that I hate CC or love Affinity per se, but I've been royally pissed at Adobe ever since they've bought Macromedia and killed off Freehand, it's only gotten worse throughout the years, I also like the idea of owning my work, and I know for a fact that there are a lot of people who share that sentiment (and while some of them don't, that's just because they weren't exposed to the alternatives yet, because true Adobe fanboys are rare; once they find out about it, they'll love the idea). Doing it in modern, multi-dimensionally cross-platform apps (let's not forget about the iPad! Maybe we'll get Publisher for iOS too, one day?) is just the icing on the cake.

 

Quote

Earlier automation was mentioned. There are a few areas that I need before I even would do a plain novel again in APub. A primary one is QXP-style tagged text (ID's is too verbose). In the past few years I've moved clients from exporting XML to tagged text from their various CMSs. I would welcome this in APub. Even with tagged text, APub is still "slower" in formatting books. While I put slower in quotes, I do not that APub simply feels slower. It is.

APub also is simply, for both myself and my wife, less...less obvious in usage. Some of this hunt & peck for how to do something will abate over time. But not all.

Mike

Interesting. I never worked with QXP to the point that I had to import text from clients and deal with different text standards. I stopped working with it before finishing my BFA, as InDesign became all the rage meanwhile, and now I have to deal with MS Word files because my tech-illiterate clients just can't be arsed to use something better; their formatting is as good as useless and I basically have to reformat everything myself, thus wasting time and risking further typos. From a cursory look at Quark's documentation, it kind of looks like John Gruber's Markdown language…

By the way, while we're talking about that, what can you say about TeX and LaTeX editors and formats? From what little I know, those are supposedly used as an end-to-end alternative to WYSIWYG DTP apps and the scourge of MS Word, but surely there must be advantages to combining those with our DTP packages, especially for more graphically complex layouts which also involve science-y stuff, no?

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18 minutes ago, JGD said:

...

Interesting. I never worked with QXP to the point that I had to import text from clients and deal with different text standards. I stopped working with it before finishing my BFA, as InDesign became all the rage meanwhile, and now I have to deal with MS Word files because my tech-illiterate clients just can't be arsed to use something better; their formatting is as good as useless and I basically have to reformat everything myself, thus wasting time and risking further typos. From a cursory look at Quark's documentation, it kind of looks like John Gruber's Markdown language…

A tagged text file is just plain text. Some/many publishers use Drupal or WordPress to keep books in. This way they can more readily multi-output to various formats. They can then output however they need. For me that will either be a Word file or tagged text.

I use tagged text in ID as well and it is QXP' version and is imported via Em Software's tagged text plug-in (I also use their XTension for Q, but that's for other automated work).

I am fairly software agnostic. I really don't care what layout software I use. When I need to use ID (my second choice in layout software), 90x% of the time I can use my perpetual license CS6. But I do need to subscribe now and again. I don't overly care about that as it is most often a single month, sometimes 2 months. Because these are usually publishers I deal with, I just absorb the cost as the work with them is on-going. When I subscribe to pick up work from another designer, the cost is built-in to my fee. I also use Viva Designer Pro for one or two clients a few times a year. But QXP is what I use the most. The simple fact is if a client wants me to use software X or Y or Z and if I want the job, that's the software I'll use. Doesn't bother me much.

RE Word. I get enough Word manuscripts. These I spend between minutes to an hour or so cleaning them up. Most publishers give me pretty clean Word files and the few minutes I spend on them is just a cursory run-through to check them. When I do a book that is "author direct," as they do not generally adhere to using styles, it can take about an hour to run-through. In either case, I export tagged text from Word either using an add-on I have or via my own macros. For a novel, a tagged text file come in with clean, perfectly applied styles. All then that is left is paging the document, even if there were say chapter-start images. This takes less than two hours. I can turn them out pretty fast.

A book with more graphical elements can take me a day or a tad less if I need to touch the images and/or illustrations.

18 minutes ago, JGD said:

...

By the way, while we're talking about that, what can you say about TeX and LaTeX editors and formats? From what little I know, those are supposedly used as an end-to-end alternative to WYSIWYG DTP apps and the scourge of MS Word, but surely there must be advantages to combining those with our DTP packages, especially for more graphically complex layouts which also involve science-y stuff, no?

I rarely do scientific or math books. Which is the only reason I'll run or build equations through LyX and export them to a format such as PDF or PostScript (and then distill). These are then added in (generally (QXP.

There is no reason for TeX/LaTeX for myself. And I cannot imagine, with all its weird formatting commands, it could ever have a successful integration. But as a fun note, I once entered into an informal competition for "The Perfect Page." This laid out by one LaTeX "master" and went through a few rounds of other's input for minute details. This was then made into a PDF. I laid out the same page in MS Word with a final PDF. It took a light table to spot incredibly small variances. It took me minutes to do using the same font/margins and I used MS Word defaults for the most part. Point (to me) is that some of the hype about text formatting in a TeX package is hype. But where it shines is scientific & math work. I believe those two things have yet to be resolved in any modern layout software. Back in the day, I did use Ventura Publisher to do a few, though.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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3 minutes ago, NauticalMile said:

Would someone following this please send me an email

Posting your email address on a public forum is a bad idea... unless you are trying to attract more spam messages from less reputable types who scan for such things.

I strongly recommend you edit your post to remove the address.  The forum itself is a place for asking questions, and a lot more people can see them and help to answer them.

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41 minutes ago, NauticalMile said:

Would someone following this please send me an email so i can ask a few basic questions?  Jim / Florida

Just make new threads, this forum is the best place. You can email queries to affinitysupport@serif.com if you do not wish to ask them here


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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Further to automation, one often will hit the data merge issue. I do a lot of data merging.

But I do not desire a "stupid" data merge ala ID or PagePlus or ...

What I desire is a scriptable data merge ala another plug-in/XTension I use all the time. It also comes from Em Software. But with it, one can do things not possible in the dumber merging. The below was a merge from a few years ago that I repeat.

During the merge, the merge script language detects when one of the fields change. When this happens, a different Master Page is used. So I have 5 different master pages and when the business type changes, then a different master page is used (the master pages are color-keyed to business types).

capture-002380.png.17e17fa04a0ff93249a7c02603d19936.png

The entire 700+ name database is merged in seconds and I am simply done and ready for imposition.


My computer is a nothing-special Toshiba laptop with unremarkable specs running Windows 10 64-bit.

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On 12/11/2018 at 2:21 PM, NauticalMile said:

d

Why did you delete everything?


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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2 hours ago, Steps said:

Why did you delete everything?

I wanted to delete the thread, it needed to be rewritten and reworded. It sounded like I was complaining and criticizing, didn't want to offend anyone. The forum doesn't let us delete out own posts.

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18 minutes ago, NauticalMile said:

I wanted to delete the thread, it needed to be rewritten and reworded. It sounded like I was complaining and criticizing, didn't want to offend anyone. The forum doesn't let us delete out own posts.

Wow... 

This would be very bad because lots of people wrote many helpful things and shared interesting insights. It should not up to a single person to decide wiping all of that.

I did not think you or anybody else was complaining. I read what people like and what they dislike and they all take their valuable time to write that down because they want to help Serif.

You could have use the edit function to add a reworded version of your original topic.

I think with changing all to "D" you messed up the whole thread because to new readers it's unclear how we got there.

It is just solely @jmwellborn who is offended by any critism of Affinity products. For everybody else this does not apply.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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7 hours ago, JGD said:

Being able to place content into master page objects is so, so, so extremely basic that not having it is a non-starter.

It's better to have an app that works 100% in manual mode, than an app that tries to do the work for you but doesn't allow you to do things manually at all.

Prosumers, i.e. aspirational users, should be an extra, even if they make up the biggest swath of the market; if actual professionals, the influencers in the equation, eschew it, Affinity will just devolve into Corel Graphics Suite v2 or Serif Plus v2 all over again.

Your first point is an absolute with which I wholeheartedly agree. Its natural corollary is your second point and once again, I am in total agreement with you. The final point appears to be common sense but I don't believe the software industry has worked quite like that in the past. In years past I had attended an Adobe day where the CS2 suite of programs was launched. My software use included Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign along with Acrobat. My work was to produce stand alone photographic work, graphic design for logotypes and posters, tabloid newspaper production, corporate brochures, web page catalogue assembly, technical manuals and books. I was always, inter alia, a professional film photographer and I owned and used cameras that covered the whole gamut of film sizes and formats from 4x5inch down to sub miniature. My colleagues were all going digital and my first 6 megapixel professional digital camera cost me around £2,000 for the body only.  

I was keen to get an Adobe staff member's view on where the Photoshop aspect of CS Suite was going. This was in the light of Apple's Aperture software and its aspirations to become a highly regarded professional photographic production tool. I was told by Adobe staff that there were only about 100,000 professional photographer's globally and the market which was driving Photoshop development was the amateur photographer with his new found public accessibility of digital photography.

It was clear to me then that Adobe had little interest in the professional photographer's needs market and so it has proven to be the case. Amateur photographers can now access Photoshop and Lightroom CC plus 20GB of storage for under £10 per month while another £10 payment secures 1TB of storage. Smartphones now have far more megapixel resolution (by a factor of 3x) than my first professional dSLR. Adopting Lightroom digital image management and Photoshop digital image processing looks to be a no brainer for many amateur photographers. Very specific professional photographic tools such as the NIK plugins were purchased by Google and now they have languished, despite being really excellent tools. 

While professional photographers are charged more (if they are paying the Adobe CC rates shown earlier in the thread) it is the amateurs that provide the bulk of Adobe's photographically derived income. No surprise that Adobe wants to woo amateur photographers, in preference to their professional counterparts. I am really guessing here but my educated guess is that market numbers will win and dictate where the software developers will aim their products. The ability to print direct from a computer to really capable home printers is a significant factor which helps to drive the DTP software markets. I can print 300 dpi dye sublimation up to 12 x 8 inch in addition to high resolution A4 colour laser output. 

There is no need for the user to be familiar with graphic design tenets or computer to plate printing methods when simplified DTP software is readily and cheaply available. To brand a piece of software as 'professional' usually implies a massive hike in price in return for a few obscure facilities that only a professional would want. This, in my view, is the precise area where the serif Affinity software must not inhabit. I welcome the simplicity of software and the underlying abilities to carry out professional work. Where the sales dictate the market, it remains to be seen whether Serif can overcome the temptation to make vast numbers of amateur sales and neglect the needs of publishing professionals. 

 

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4 hours ago, jepho said:

There is no need for the user to be familiar with graphic design tenets or computer to plate printing methods when simplified DTP software is readily and cheaply available. To brand a piece of software as 'professional' usually implies a massive hike in price in return for a few obscure facilities that only a professional would want. This, in my view, is the precise area where the serif Affinity software must not inhabit. I welcome the simplicity of software and the underlying abilities to carry out professional work. Where the sales dictate the market, it remains to be seen whether Serif can overcome the temptation to make vast numbers of amateur sales and neglect the needs of publishing professionals. 

Well, I'm not saying that you can't do decent-looking booklets in your own laser or inkjet printer without having read 10 different typography manuals and/or completed a BFA in design. What I am saying, and you can't exactly counter that, is that Serif is indeed marketing Affinity squarely towards professionals. Not towards prosumers, and most certainly not towards amateurs. As per Affinity's “About” page: ( https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/about/ )

Quote

The idea was to develop a whole new range of professional graphics software. These apps would be special in their conception – built from the ground up with the workflow of creative professionals in mind. [emphasis mine]

[snip]

  • Be unashamedly pro - core requirements like CMYK and 16 bit would be built in from the start and not allow wizards or anything else get in the way of a pro workflow [emphasis mine]

So, I am not just dreaming this up, now, am I? And, last time I checked, 16 bit CMYK, along with PANTONE spot colour support, etc., are precisely the kind of features which set their apps apart from “amateurish”/utopian packages with sometimes extremely dubious UX design like the F/OSS Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, etc., and supposedly put them squarely on par with Adobe CC (yes, with some features missing, but mostly the bloat and cruft added over the years and not the bare essentials).

If they want that claim to be mostly an inspirational thing, fill their software front and centre with user-friendly tools (not necessarily wizards) which cater mostly to prosumers and reap massive financial rewards in the process, more power to them. But that shouldn't – nay, cannot, lest they just end up doing false advertisement, which is a big no-no in the UK – preclude them from staying true to their claim, by either adding those advanced tools in a more covert fashion (those multi-level partially expandable/collapsible palettes in Adobe CS/CC are a good example, and it seems those collapsible sub-sections, like the ones found in the Character and Paragraph Studio panels, are serving a similar purpose to a certain extent), or by outright splitting their apps between a Pro and an “Elements/Express” variant.

I certainly wouldn't mind paying between 50% and 100% more for Publisher if that meant that I got something along the “barely usable” to “near feature-parity with InDesign/QXP” spectrum; as it stands, right now, I can't even envision buying v.1.7.0 at all, because I will have no good use for it, and that was decidedly not the case when it came to even the earliest (and buggiest!) Designer and Photo betas. Yes, they were missing some very useful functionality, but I could still quickly whip up a logo or retouch a photo with them instead of having to launch my crusty ol' Ai or PS if I really wanted (and, in fact, I even used either the betas or some very early versions – as in pre-v.1.4.x, which, IIRC, was a pretty big overhaul – for production work, namely to make .PDF and .JPG assets to place into InDesign documents). And, as I've said many times here before, I'm not some exotic editorial designer; I do mostly rather mundane stuff like event programmes, really (do check my LinkedIn page to get a sense of it; simple as it may look, it would still be a pain to do in Publisher, as it has loads of narrow text columns, text decoration, floating linked elements, etc.).

Just my €0,02…

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36 minutes ago, JGD said:

Serif is indeed marketing Affinity squarely towards professionals

Agreed! Paying more is always an option and it may be that Serif have misread the audience of professionals at this point in the development of Publisher. I had not found any difficulties with using Photo or Designer and the softwares largely perform as expected. I don't mind that there are different sequences of actions or behaviours to achieve what I want. The acts of image editing and vector image creation are pretty well understood and minor differences between softwares are ultimately of little consequence. In photography, I can and will use any item that can be called a camera and I have no interest in the manufacturer or the format... I will always produce an image. Likewise, I can and will use any software (on a Mac) when it comes to producing a vector design or editing pixels. Naturally, I prefer to use software that does not require me to fight it to achieve simple things. I have even used GIMP which I dropped when I needed to edit 16bit images and the software could only handle 8bit images.  

The matter of using a single software to pull together all of the elements of any designed production in a layout program... such as a newspaper, magazine, technical publication, pamphlet or a book; requires the software to be capable for multiple levels of activity. Arranging the elements both freeform and constrained and outputting accurately placed items in a format understood by printing houses and including end to end colour management and permit all manner of text adjustments, ligatures, glyphs &c., is a simple overview. Yes, 16bit CMYK output and Pantone support for spot colours absolutely implies a professionally capable piece of software.

In Publisher beta as is, grids and frame handling do not yet seem ideal and master pages have already featured in our discussions. Possibly the beta version of Publisher was released rather too early. The calls for features that may appear (to the developers) as if all people request and want/need is a cheaper version of ID or QXP; in order to get out from under Adobe's subscription model heel or the oppressive pricing structures of professional layout software like QXP, may feel as if there has been a sustained attack on their efforts. Project management can be a nightmare filled with dependency networks and Gantt charts. Whichever point in the envisaged Publisher development cycle has already been reached for the current beta of Publisher, may dictate that it is not yet possible to add some features in the developer's current development timeline.

It is something of a mixed blessing to learn that certain facilities may not be added for a time (or even told that there is no intention to provide a facility discussed in the forums) but at least we should be able to decide whether the software is worth our time investment on the basis of what we know and can see and have tested. It is evident that Publisher beta misses several essential marks for a layout software and it remains to be seen how Serif addresses that particular fact. The beta suggestions and bug reports will help to refine the product but I can see why the development team may be reluctant to be sidetracked while the software is still effectively in a pre-release form of development.

I can relearn to work within limitations set by software and I do not have any old files that will require conversion or reworking. That is a rather long story but with image editing sales I was constantly receiving obscure requests many years after undertaking a commission. I decided to never store client files again. All of my images were sold complete with the copyright and the RAW files and the need for large costly storage and file handling software as well as dealing with copyright abuses; was removed in one fell swoop. I am happy to wait and see what the final Publisher product looks like. We all would like to make cost savings because we must defray our costs by charging the customer. Can we get more work by charging less than our competitors for doing the same work? Probably, so I am going to wait until the final product is released. I can see that the Publisher software will not suit people who have requirements which are not met by the current beta and for which the plans to provide the facilities needed are not in place.  

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@jepho @JGD

Guys... in Germany it deep in the night right now and your conversation is so interesting I can't put my phone aside. :)

The insights you share from different viewpoints are very valueable to me.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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1 hour ago, jepho said:

Agreed! Paying more is always an option and it may be that Serif have misread the audience of professionals at this point in the development of Publisher. I had not found any difficulties with using Photo or Designer and the softwares largely perform as expected. I don't mind that there are different sequences of actions or behaviours to achieve what I want. The acts of image editing and vector image creation are pretty well understood and minor differences between softwares are ultimately of little consequence. In photography, I can and will use any item that can be called a camera and I have no interest in the manufacturer or the format... I will always produce an image. Likewise, I can and will use any software (on a Mac) when it comes to producing a vector design or editing pixels. Naturally, I prefer to use software that does not require me to fight it to achieve simple things. I have even used GIMP which I dropped when I needed to edit 16bit images and the software could only handle 8bit images.  

The matter of using a single software to pull together all of the elements of any designed production in a layout program... such as a newspaper, magazine, technical publication, pamphlet or a book; requires the software to be capable for multiple levels of activity. Arranging the elements both freeform and constrained and outputting accurately placed items in a format understood by printing houses and including end to end colour management and permit all manner of text adjustments, ligatures, glyphs &c., is a simple overview. Yes, 16bit CMYK output and Pantone support for spot colours absolutely implies a professionally capable piece of software.

Yep. That's exactly my point of view as well. I use whatever software is good for the task at hand; I've been using Affinity Designer for CMYK and RGB gradients, as they look[ed?] much better than Adobe's shoddy implementation, and have this nifty little test file set up with spot colour gradients and transparencies to periodically check how far along the Serif team is on their support thereof (I am happy to say they are progressing well, though they're not quite just there, yet).

Quote

In Publisher beta as is, grids and frame handling do not yet seem ideal and master pages have already featured in our discussions. Possibly the beta version of Publisher was released rather too early. The calls for features that may appear (to the developers) as if all people request and want/need is a cheaper version of ID or QXP; in order to get out from under Adobe's subscription model heel or the oppressive pricing structures of professional layout software like QXP, may feel as if there has been a sustained attack on their efforts. Project management can be a nightmare filled with dependency networks and Gantt charts. Whichever point in the envisaged Publisher development cycle has already been reached for the current beta of Publisher, may dictate that it is not yet possible to add some features in the developer's current development timeline.

It is something of a mixed blessing to learn that certain facilities may not be added for a time (or even told that there is no intention to provide a facility discussed in the forums) but at least we should be able to decide whether the software is worth our time investment on the basis of what we know and can see and have tested. It is evident that Publisher beta misses several essential marks for a layout software and it remains to be seen how Serif addresses that particular fact. The beta suggestions and bug reports will help to refine the product but I can see why the development team may be reluctant to be sidetracked while the software is still effectively in a pre-release form of development.

Absolutely true. I know Serif developers, like any other, are only human. Maybe it was too soon, or maybe it wasn't. Gmail was in beta for years on end, and nobody complained; many Rev.A Apple products, like the Apple Watch or the original iPhone, revolutionary as they may be, are a bit like “paid hardware betas”, as they miss some critical functionality found elsewhere because the developer decided to focus on, you know, revolutionising things and didn't have enough time to add those features (like, say, copy and paste and, rather more dramatically in the grand scheme of things, third-party apps [!!!]). Affinity Publisher, to me, seems like a proof-of-concept of sorts. It may work for a subset of prosumer users, and make them extremely happy.

My only fear is with what kind of PR Serif will get once ruthless reviewers get their teeth into the GM release, because let's not beat around the bush here: Publisher is way behind the competition than Photo or Designer ever were, even in their respective beta stages, for the very simple and unavoidable fact that DTP apps are much more complex than bitmap and vector editors (or much harder to get to a level of functionality that makes most people happy), because they are extremely dependent on workflows and automation, as you've just mentioned. incidentally, a cursory look at the forums reveals that besides master pages, the other two most requested features are GREP-like search (and styles) and anchored objects, and I'd say the absence of any of those features in isolation (especially master pages and anchored objects; GREP is arguably a power-user feature which even those who do have a need for it only do so occasionally) would be damning enough, and their combined absence would be utterly catastrophic from a PR, conventional and word-of-mouth marketing standpoint. I am adamant in my view that Serif is being lulled into a false sense of security by their past experience with Photo and Designer users…

Yes, people can make those decisions, and they may also revisit those decisions. But we shouldn't forget that Serif isn't putting out these apps to the world at large in complete isolation, and that first impressions matter, especially when it comes to impulse purchases and to the distinct possibility that there may be current Photo and Designer users who might not be paying attention to the forums or review sites, only to the Mac and iOS App Stores, and might end up sorely disappointed. It's already bad enough that many (if not most) Page Plus users are a bit mad at the fact that they will likely never get a first-party conversion tool for their old files; making CC switchers feel defrauded as well would basically alienate or otherwise irk the rest (and, by all accounts, the majority) of their potential future user base. If the guys at Serif can cut their losses, they should absolutely wait to get these two/three features right. And while I can appreciate that dependencies may be an issue… maybe they'll just have to live with it and rethink their roadmap accordingly. And yes, if they have to drop other less crucial features from the v.1.x roadmap, so be it.

Quote

I can relearn to work within limitations set by software and I do not have any old files that will require conversion or reworking. That is a rather long story but with image editing sales I was constantly receiving obscure requests many years after undertaking a commission. I decided to never store client files again. All of my images were sold complete with the copyright and the RAW files and the need for large costly storage and file handling software as well as dealing with copyright abuses; was removed in one fell swoop. I am happy to wait and see what the final Publisher product looks like. We all would like to make cost savings because we must defray our costs by charging the customer. Can we get more work by charging less than our competitors for doing the same work? Probably, so I am going to wait until the final product is released. I can see that the Publisher software will not suit people who have requirements which are not met by the current beta and for which the plans to provide the facilities needed are not in place.  

Interesting angle. It's certainly one way to work around the issue. As for me, seeing how I work mostly in graphic and editorial design, that's really not an option. I frequently have to reopen old stuff and repurpose it… I am, however, very adept at redoing layouts. It's a bit of a PITA but, as long as the rest of the work is fairly automated, I'm good. Which is decidedly not Publisher's case. Otherwise, I'd already have repurposed some of my old layouts, “just in case” [my next commission(s) arrived in time of v.1.7.0 GM]. I guess maybe next year…? Two years from now? Who knows, really, because their roadmap is still not entirely clear. What I do know is that if I were to include the extra hours to get the same job done in Publisher, they would come out as more expensive as the CC subscription, and I'd probably have to redo them anyway once the final, proper functionality was in place; seeing how I can just use ID CS5 instead of either option, why would I even bother with any of that?

What also personally irks me is the fact that from the moment Serif releases Publisher in a grossly incomplete form (if that does indeed come to pass, and I'm seriously hoping it doesn't), I'll be, for the first time in years, “out of the loop” so to speak. I feel like I am a valuable member of this community, and would've liked to have given more useful feedback much, much sooner (in fact, I was given a rare, privileged chance to do so and wasn't up to the challenge for personal reasons), but I just can't bring myself up to be a paying guinea pig. Not even my slow-as-molasses Apple Watch Series 0 is as frustrating a piece of tech than… having to take 10x longer to do basic work tasks, even just in a strictly QA scenario as a beta-tester. Do you now see where I'm coming from?

I feel a bit duped by Serif, honestly, because Photo and Designer raised my expectations through the roof (as I've said here on the forums before, ironically enough, Serif's past success is also their biggest enemy, and the reasons are two-fold; it may induce hubris on their part and, as it just so happened with me, raise their users' expectations unrealistically), and the whole extended wait certainly didn't help. Now that we know the bigger picture, well… I'm no longer nervously and eagerly anticipating it; just sorely disappointed. I'm just asking the Serif team not to compound that with the added insult to injury of making me choose between paying for useless tech or being left even further out of the loop. I'd basically have to constantly peruse the forums, or run trial after trial on a guest account/virtual machine or some other stupid shenanigans just to check if the bare essentials were there and if it was finally worth the money, instead of just outright buying a useful app on day one, make use of it and update it in frequently to check if any more “nice-to-have” bells and whistles were added.

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You helped me to understand why the first version of Publisher may indeed reach more amateurs like me rather than you real professionals.

But this does not mean it will not get there by version 1.8 or 1.9.

I feel that it's not necessary a bad idea to release what they have now since it's already capable of doing amateurish things like my photobooks.

I will buy on release as I assume the biggest bugs and hopefully some of the usability flaws will be ruled out until then.

Maybe you true professionals just have to wait one or two years longer until Affinity gets there. So failing reaching professionals on 1.7 makes Publisher itself not a "failure", but more something like a basis to talk about.

I have faith.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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22 minutes ago, JGD said:

 My only fear is with what kind of PR Serif will get once ruthless reviewers get their teeth into the GM release, because let's not beat around the bush here: Publisher is way behind the competition than Photo or Designer ever were, even in their respective beta stages, for the very simple and unavoidable fact that DTP apps are much more complex than bitmap and vector editors (or much harder to get to a level of functionality that makes most people happy), because they are extremely dependent on workflows and automation, as you've just mentioned. incidentally, a cursory look at the forums reveals that besides master pages, the other two most requested features are GREP-like search (and styles) and anchored objects, and I'd say the absence of any of those features in isolation (especially master pages and anchored objects; GREP is arguably a power-user feature which even those who do have a need for it only do so occasionally) would be damning enough, and their combined absence would be utterly catastrophic from a PR, conventional and word-of-mouth marketing standpoint

Ok, did not think about that, but you're absolutely right as this is how reviews at least work in the games industry.

If a game comes out with bugs or do not fulfill its promises it gets bad reviews that usually stay forever with the game even if later patches complete it or change the whole game. "No Mans Sky" is a popular example of that.

So Serif has a really hard decision to make.

Do they want to get money out of Publisher right now from all people which see their needs already satisfied, but risk to not reach an even bigger group of users, or can they afford to wait to also please professionals on the first version? 

Wow... I'm glad not having to make such a decision.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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