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Tadhg

Publisher Beta Released Far too Early

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I have the family of Affinity Software : Designer, Photo and Beta Publisher. I purchased these when I moved from PC to iMac. Prior to that I had the complete up-to-date range of Serif Software for PC : DrawPlus, PhotoPlus, WebPlus and Page Plus. Already I have reverted back to using DrawPlus for rapid Block Diagrams, Presentation stuff etc because it is quicker and and more intuitive than Designer and has some really nice features that are not in Designer. 

A current project involves the importation of Word Documents and Photographs into a publishing package to create a Local History Book from old documents. I very quickly found that Affinity Publisher is totally inadequate to the task and I reverted back to my old PC and PagePlus. It is a breeze on PagePlus. I have always found the older Serif software really excellent and intuitive. In relation to Affinity Publisher, even though it is a Beta version, it has been released far too early with far too many bugs. I really can't spend the time testing your software. 

I am regretting moving to a Mac now and strongly considering reverting to a PC and the original Serf Software, even if it is not supported. I really regret that I have to say this because of the great PC based software from Serif.

 

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So you complain about a beta product that it can’t do the job??

No one forced you to use Affinity Publisher, and, a beta product is a product not released for public use and professional usaged...

And, the Affinity products is both Windows AND Mac, so I don’t understand why you had to leave Windows and move to a Mac??

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5 hours ago, Tadhg said:

I have the family of Affinity Software : Designer, Photo and Beta Publisher. ......Even though it is a Beta version, it has been released far too early with far too many bugs. I really can't spend the time testing your software. 

I am regretting moving to a Mac now and strongly considering reverting to a PC and the original Serf Software, even if it is not supported. I really regret that I have to say this because of the great PC based software from Serif.

 

Many of us have been testing the Publisher Beta since August 30, 2018.   It has matured in wonderful ways during that time and I think you would be hard-pressed to find many of us in these forums who would agree with you that it was far too early then or that it  now “has far too many bugs.”   And as ErrkaPetti said above, you didn’t have to give up your PC to use the three apps.   They are available for MAC and Windows.  So perhaps you are just having a discouraging weekend, trying to learn something new while trying to produce something the way you are accustomed?   Although we all know that a beta is not intended for a finished professional product, again many of us have succeeded quite splendidly with just that using the various Publisher beta versions as they have arrived.

Of course, if the old Serif products suit your purposes, nobody would want you to give them up, or spend your time testing software you don’t want to use.  Hope the coming week is a better one for you.


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.      iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, jmwellborn said:

Many of us have been testing the Publisher Beta since August 30, 2018.   It has matured in wonderful ways during that time and I think you would be hard-pressed to find many of us in these forums who would agree with you that it was far too early then or that it  now “has far too many bugs.”   

Gosh, has it really been six eight months??

Quote

And as ErrkaPetti said above, you didn’t have to give up your PC to use the three apps.   They are available for MAC and Windows.

They are now, but the Windows versions of AD and APh only became available near the end of 2016.

Edited by Alfred
Brain returned from short vacation

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Affinity Designer 1.7.0.367 • Affinity Photo 1.7.0.367 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.0.135 • Affinity Designer for iPad 1.7.0.9 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

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18 hours ago, Tadhg said:

it has been released far too early with far too many bugs

It hasn't been released at all yet.  Only Designer and Photo have, both are at 1.6 versions.  The 1.7 versions, including Publisher, are in beta right now, not actually released.

 

18 hours ago, Tadhg said:

I really can't spend the time testing your software.

Yet that is the purpose of the beta.  The beta is a beta because it is still being tested and is not ready for release yet - that is by definition.

 

 

From the release thread:

On 4/26/2019 at 8:10 AM, AdamW said:

Purpose: Stability and General Testing

 

On 4/26/2019 at 8:10 AM, AdamW said:

As this is a beta it is considered to be not suitable for production use. This means that you should not attempt to use it for commercial purposes or for any other activity where you may be adversely affected by the application failing, including the total loss of any documents. 

 

If you are trying to get actual work done rather then helping to test it, do not use the beta.

 

 

18 hours ago, Tadhg said:

it is quicker and and more intuitive

Much more likely that it is simply more familiar.  If you were accustomed to using the older products then there would be an adjustment until you wrap your head around the way the new programs are designed to work.  With any kind of complex software this can take time.  The Affinity products are not a continuation of the old Plus series products - these are completely new programs with a different design and working philosophy.

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I am not familiar with the old Serif software, but at least coming from an older version of indesign, I can say that the Beta of Publisher works really well. It is not perfect, and it may not have all the features (yet), but as a first version still in beta, it is really good. I think Publisher does a very good job on small to medium size print projects. Indesign still has the edge in more complex documents with the book option and incopy. But I think Publisher certainly fits for professional users not working in large publishing companies.

For a freelancer like me I have been looking for an alternative to my old CS5 Adobe programs, as I don't want to get into the CC subscription. I seriously considered QuarkXpress and tested it, but it felt very odd and unfamiliar to work with, with a very dated interface. When the Publisher Beta started I almost directly felt at home, and managed to get work almost as quickly as in my familiar InDesign. This to me is the real test for the software, and I think Publisher is on a very good track. 

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I am perfectly aware that Publisher it is a Beta Version. I am making the point that a Beta Version should be as close to the finished product as possible and my contention is that there are too many fundamental issues (not even bugs) that should have been ironed out earlier. In other words even as a Beta package it was released too early in the design cycle. 

Unfortunately the costs involved in fixing and adding things late in the development of a software package can be quite costly and also have unforeseen consequences on other parts of the software. An example of this was adding arrow heads to terminate straight lines (easy in most packages). When they were subsequently added to Designer I discovered that if you did not reselect 'no ends' when finished with the straight lines and arrowheads that arrow heads were added to any shape: square, triangle, circle etc. Now it's easy to go back and deselect arrowheads but you should not have to do this . If you select a triangle shape it should be obvious that the arrowhead feature is not required. Small thing, but so irritating in a brand new design package.

With regards to the comment that familiarity with Publisher is the issue, I understand that this always is a factor. I am very familiar with many software applications in relation to Design etc. As Head of Broadcast Engineering in the National TV Station I made it my business to examine new equipment and software in a professional and non-biased way as possible. The ultimate Design package in the early years was Quantel Paintbox and I taught all the Design staff the intricacies of that system. I did likewise for our production designers and editors with many different systems.  So I am very used to testing new software and weighting it so that old habits do not impinge on opening one's mind to new and better software. I built computer hardware and software dating back to the first MicroComputers in RTE's Design Lab. so I am very familiar with the design cycle of software systems. 

I hope I have clarified things a little more. I have no hesitation in saying that I have always had the utmost regard and admiration for Serif Products. As you say fde101 the Affinity products are completely new programs with a different design and working philosophy. I am all too conscious of that, but I am, sadly, not as impressed with these more recent products even though they are very reasonably priced for what they deliver. Regards

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16 minutes ago, Tadhg said:

[...]Unfortunately the costs involved in fixing and adding things late in the development of a software package can be quite costly and also have unforeseen consequences on other parts of the software. An example of this was adding arrow heads to terminate straight lines (easy in most packages). When they were subsequently added to Designer I discovered that if you did not reselect 'no ends' when finished with the straight lines and arrowheads that arrow heads were added to any shape: square, triangle, circle etc. Now it's easy to go back and deselect arrowheads but you should not have to do this . If you select a triangle shape it should be obvious that the arrowhead feature is not required. Small thing, but so irritating in a brand new design package.[...]

I'm afraid this is by design, and not a bug. As I recall it is how arrowheads work in Illustrator, so it is actually a fairly standard approach for drawing packages. They would work like that in Designer regardless of when they were added to the software.

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20 hours ago, Tadhg said:

I really can't spend the time testing your software.

This one comment, as others have pointed out, was the clue to me that you are not actually looking for beta software.

As a more general response, whether you want to label this as beta or something closer to an alpha, the truth is that the way it was opened up to the community has allowed the community to have much input in the direction of development of the app prior to its official launch. The different beta versions have shown many hundreds (or thousands even) of changes and improvements because Serif has asked for and listened to feedback from the community.

If that is not what you are looking for, then you should probably skip the beta altogether and wait for the first "finished" product, or even better, the second or third release as it matures. For the rest of us, we are grateful that we can have a part in development of an app that in the end will be more useful to us because we could be in communication with the developers.

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4 hours ago, Tadhg said:

I am making the point that a Beta Version should be as close to the finished product as possible

Traditionally, a beta is supposed to be feature-complete but potentially buggy, with the release candidate being the final stage before the release.  What you are describing sounds more like a release candidate than a beta, so I don't think I agree with your expectations here in terms of relatively few bugs, but I would agree that what Serif is currently offering is better described as an alpha than a beta, as they are still adding new features.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle

 

That being said, not too many companies actually use the traditional definitions any more, so when trying to determine this in general... all bets are off.

 

 

4 hours ago, Tadhg said:

If you select a triangle shape it should be obvious that the arrowhead feature is not required.

This I agree with.

 

4 hours ago, Dave Harris said:

I'm afraid this is by design, and not a bug.

That's a shame as this was a wasted opportunity to do something smarter than what Adobe was doing.  Not that you aren't already doing things smarter than they are... but this could have been another one.

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I  would accept , fde101, your framing of the issue and the distinction between Alpha and Beta versions of software. I also agree with you about Dave Harris's contention that a design feature is ok because  Adobe does it that way and is, as you politely put it, a shame especially, I would add,  when Serif had the good sense to to do the obviously right thing with their older software. If Adobe becomes your yardstick then why bother competing with them. 

Despite what some may think, I am attempting to be constructively critical, and I hope Serif will sustain its reputation for excellence at a reasonable price. 

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On 4/28/2019 at 11:16 PM, jmwellborn said:

Of course, if the old Serif products suit your purposes, nobody would want you to give them up, or spend your time testing software you don’t want to use.  Hope the coming week is a better one for you.

Since Serif have ceased further development and support for their older software it is only prudent to look at the new replacement. One would expect, however, that even the Beta Version of the new replacement would have the feature set of the old version at the very least. 

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13 minutes ago, Tadhg said:

Since Serif have ceased further development and support for their older software it is only prudent to look at the new replacement. 

The older software is still supported on the CommunityPlus Legacy Product Support Forum.

Quote

One would expect, however, that even the Beta Version of the new replacement would have the feature set of the old version at the very least.

Given that the Windows-only ‘Plus’ applications were developed over three decades and are hugely dependent upon specific Windows functions, whereas the Affinity desktop apps are available for both Mac and Windows and have been written from scratch with platform-agnostic core code, I think that’s a highly unrealistic expectation.


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Affinity Designer 1.7.0.367 • Affinity Photo 1.7.0.367 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.7.0.135 • Affinity Designer for iPad 1.7.0.9 • iOS 12.3.1 (iPad Air 2)

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I don't agree that it is unrealistic to expect that a new software package should match the older system in terms of features which were there for a very good reason. It may be true that designing software that is platform agnostic is more difficult. But this is the challenge for the company. As far as the user is concerned, technical difficulties are not their concern.  

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I think you misunderstand what Serif are doing, namely making a professional publishing program designed from the ground up.

It is totally unrealistic to expect the new program to be a clone of the old Page Plus software as it has been developed as a suite of 3 programs that all have a common core code.

The old 'legacy' software has a code base that was written (probably) in a 32bit environment, which has its limitations, namely that Apple are dropping the ability to run older 32bit software in its next release of Mac OS. See this link: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT208436 (I know that the Page Plus is Windows only)

To expect a new program to have all the features of the older version, which has had many years of development, is unrealistic, especially as Publisher is aimed at the professional designer who doesn't want to be tied to the Adobe Subscription model.

It is admirable that Serif has taken on this challenge and Publisher is the last piece of the jigsaw.

Just cut Serif some slack! They're doing an admirable job and have achieved a suite of design, illustration and image apps that can be used to produce professional results.

Publisher is still in the testing phase and should not really be used for mission critical work.

 

 

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Strikes me that it isn't up to "the user" to design the software.   It is up to the user to decide whether the software, designed by brilliant professionals, suits his or her purposes.  If it does, then use it.   If it doesn't, then find something else that does.    Same thing for computers.   Fed up with Windows, Adobe, and spam?   Move to Mac.   Hopefully, nobody thinks himself or herself qualified to tell me how to write my books.    He or she is free to read them.   Fine.   But not to write them.     Same for software.   Personally, I haven't found anything as splendid as the three Affinity products in the last 30 years.    And they are just getting started.    We have been given the opportunity to try the Betas and to offer suggestions/find glitches.   The Affinity developers are incredibly helpful, receptive, and unfailingly courteous.    It must be a bit tiring to be presented on a regular basis with a chorus of Debbie-Downers.


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.      iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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8 minutes ago, StevieB said:

Publisher is the last piece of the jigsaw.

No, just the latest.  From what I gather they have a few more in mind...  but adding Publisher does create something of a core set of three basic design applications.

 

48 minutes ago, Tadhg said:

I don't agree that it is unrealistic to expect that a new software package should match the older system in terms of features which were there for a very good reason.

When Adobe released InDesign it was missing a lot of core functionality that had been present in PageMaker for a long time (http://lowendmac.com/software/i/indesign.html), so this is hardly unprecedented.

Affinity Publisher is not a renamed successor to PagePlus.  It is a completely different program in a completely different product line developed by a different team which just happens to be from the same company that had previously developed PagePlus.

 

4 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

Hopefully, nobody thinks himself or herself qualified to tell me how to write my books.

You should seriously use a typewriter...   :9_innocent:

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3 minutes ago, fde101 said:

 

You should seriously use a typewriter...   :9_innocent:

So what's the matter with feet?:40_rage:


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.      iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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6 minutes ago, fde101 said:

Feet work on typewriters too.

Not if you have an Apple keyboard! :46_confounded:


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.      iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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3 minutes ago, jmwellborn said:

Not if you have an Apple keyboard!

The older ones were much better.

Apple made great keyboards for a long time, then they got sucked into the whole "thin is the new big" fad and lost touch with the reality of how making some types of products too thin also makes them less practical when you actually USE those products.

They still get a lot of things right, but that is not one of them.

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3 minutes ago, fde101 said:

The older ones were much better.

Apple made great keyboards for a long time, then they got sucked into the whole "thin is the new big" fad and lost touch with the reality of how making some types of products too thin also makes them less practical when you actually USE those products.

They still get a lot of things right, but that is not one of them.

Agreed!   I actually have an old DELL keyboard with the proper raised keys, which I use when heavily into writing (:D) something.    For daily fiddling and trying to find CMD or CTRL or whatever when testing something out, I use the "thin thing" just because it takes up less room.    Unfortunately made up for in frustration for the countless typos.    Old-fashioned touch typing is almost impossible with the darned thing.


21.5 iMAC Retina 4K display. MacOS Sierra v. 10.12.6 (which I am not changing).  3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz.  Memory 8 GB 1867 MHz LPDDR3.  1TB Fusion Drive.  Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB.      iPad Pro 12.9, iOS v. 12.3.1, Apple Pencil.  Affinity Publisher 1.7 (pre-ordered); Publisher beta v. 1.7.0.384; Affinity Photo 1.7 and Photo Beta 1.7.1.138;  Affinity Designer 1.7. 

Magic mouse.9_9

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