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Make Baseline Grid Manager accessible by design

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Hi guys! As I've said earlier in the forums, apparently Publisher's Baseline Grid Manager is included in the code base of both Designer and Photo.

And, weirdly enough, this feature's corresponding button materialised in both applications, and it seems to be fully functional. However, when customising the toolbar, there doesn't seem any way to put it back there if it ever goes away (or if I actively delete it), nor any other way to access it via the menus, though “snap to baseline grid” is an actual option in the snapping manager.

Can you make this feature accessible by design, since it's already present in the code and seems to work just fine? Even if it's just as an exclusive for people who also own Publisher, in case you don't want Designer to cannibalise it or something? Or… did you mean to actually include as an accessible feature all along and just forgot to put it in the toolbar?

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No, this feature will not be appearing in ADe or APh and if you can access it accidentally that needs fixing.

With a shared codebase all the applications understand any features that the others can create but that doesn't mean all applications have to let you edit and adjust those layers and features that can't be created in a new document.


Patrick Connor
Serif (Europe) Ltd.

Latest releases on each platform 

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13 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

No, this feature will not be appearing in ADe or APh and if you can access it accidentally that needs fixing.

With a shared codebase all the applications understand any features that the others can create but that doesn't mean all applications have to let you edit and adjust those layers and features that can't be created in a new document.

So… how do you justify the presence of a “Snap to Baseline Grid” option in the snapping manager, then…? That seems a bit weird, to say the least.

Still, my suggestion still holds. It's already there, and if it works… I know Designer isn't a DTP app, but for light, single-page work, such as academic posters, I could totally see myself using Designer instead of Publisher (especially some vector-heavy ones). In fact, I make one or two every year in Illustrator, and I do miss having baseline grids, so… yeah.

If this is a feature segmentation decision to avoid cannibalisation, or to keep the software simpler, at least tuck the option somewhere else, like a menu item (e.g. under Text > Baseline > Baseline manager), or as an extra tab under the Grid and Snapping Axis manager, or something. And restrict it to Publisher owners, as you already do with its own Designer and Photo personas, if you must. I understand you may want to avoid feature bloat, but it's already in the code base. Removing it/omitting it just feels… petty, and… almost Adobe-like, if I must say so. You guys keep disappointing me more and more, I can't believe this.

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2 minutes ago, JGD said:

Snap to Baseline Grid” option in the snapping manager, then

It's a bug I will get it removed as it will cause confusion and raise expectations of being able to apply a baseline grid, which you cannot as you have found.


Patrick Connor
Serif (Europe) Ltd.

Latest releases on each platform 

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3 minutes ago, JGD said:

it's already in the code base.

This is a ridiculous argument as all the code is in all the applications. we may as well sell one for three times the price. That would not suit those who don't want all features and prefer to own just one or 2 of them


Patrick Connor
Serif (Europe) Ltd.

Latest releases on each platform 

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13 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

It's a bug I will get it removed as it will cause confusion and raise expectations of being able to apply a baseline grid, which you cannot as you have found.

Patrick, I don't mean to be rude, but that is patently false. I can (even if it's “by accident”, hence my suggestion of it being added “by design”), and it absolutely works. Perfectly. In a very predictable and workable fashion. Stuff snaps to it. Text snaps to it. Boom. I don't even think it needs much testing at this point, really… Maybe just validation, I guess.

It's a marketing decision, nothing less. I am genuinely disappointed in you, I'm not even kidding. I almost feel like not buying Publisher after all. You guys are really losing me. Instead of telling me that you'll look into the matter, you're actually arguing with a user (which, mind you, is one of your earliest advocates and internal beta testers who has been asking for essential features for FOUR YEARS and being – or, at the very least, feeling –, err, a bit ignored) and saying, point-blank, that you'll remove this. Wow. It boggles the mind.

Not even Apple, with its myriad hidden preference flags for power users, treats us like this. You've even outdone them in arrogance, jesus.

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1 hour ago, Patrick Connor said:

You argue passionately. I'll check if I'm wrong and this is there on purpose. It feels like an oversight and incorrect but the developers could have left this deliberately.

I do, Patrick, because I actually admire what you've achieved in such a short time span. And I'll stop short of asking you for a job at Serif because I had my chance to migrate to the UK, and I passed up on it, but if things had turned out differently, and if I had a degree in UX, or PR, or even software engineering, I would totally do that. But hey, I'm gunning for academia instead, and hopefully will teach young folks their way around design, including… yep, design software.

You can absolutely have an ally in me, but by god, get your act together, measure twice and cut once. Internal lapses of communication are perfectly normal in any organisation, but please don't give them way immediately – as it may show misdirection –, and don't assume they couldn't have happened either and that you know everything, even if you're the boss – as it shows overconfidence. Being human while running a business/team means straddling that fine balance between… I don't know, fallibility and confidence? Well, one company from which you could learn a lot are your buddies at Apple. They've been getting way better at that balance act as of late.

I want you to succeed, and the only reason I haven't been more vocal before was because I was stuck in the molasses of writing an MA thesis. Well, you wanted your beta tester/evangelist in full swing, and here you have me now. I'm sorry if I come across as a bit of a wisecrack, rude, whatever, but… I absolutely have my heart in the right place, I know how end-users think, and I really think my feature requests through (I've been sitting on this for a few weeks, ever since you released the last betas/GM previews which mangled my toolbars and birthed these buttons, and I only committed to these posts after testing the feature and having the epiphany that, yes, it could be very useful). If they didn't have decent, sensible use cases behind them, and if I hadn't spent the last 15 years of my life reading on UX and working with this kind of stuff, I wouldn't even bother spending my time here writing these rants. These aren't just brain farts I wake up to or something; they are ideas I come up with and on which I hone in while testing the apps, or just by looking at my and my colleagues' professional corpus, and realising that feature A or B is essential to reproduce some of that in a sensible fashion. And believe me when I tell you that I can absolutely imagine all the troublesome ramifications some of my suggestions may bring; if you care to read my posts, I actually anticipate some of them.

Also, while on that subject, I want to make this perfectly clear: I don't want Affinity apps to turn into Adobe apps, or into convoluted, F/OSS-like apps such as Scribus. I know what feature bloat is and how to mitigate it. But I also know you want to attract users to your apps, and… if it's already done and works perfectly, please don't chuck it in the bin. I mean, I know I keep pestering you about your spending of resources on flashy features instead of on polishing the underlying UX and document model, but wasting work that's already done just feels extra crazy; that includes additions like arrowheads, and if you notice that discussion thread, even though I started out by criticising your priorities, I immediately switched into improvement suggestion mode because that feature was already a fait accompli and I do prefer giving out constructive, useful comments.

The same goes for my current suggestion of implementing a market segmentation strategy, that perhaps wouldn't be ideal or even sit well with some of your intermediate but eclectic users but would at least reward the most loyal ones who are willing to buy the entire suite. That is, after all, what you're essentially doing with Publisher personas already, and you never once heard me dissing your strategy there. It makes sense, it was communicated upfront, and you may very well have Publisher-only clients which may have to embed .afdesign and .afphoto files but not really edit them (especially if they are dedicated seats inside of a larger organisation), or users who just prefer to use Corel apps, or F/OSS apps like Inscape and GIMP and just pair them with Publisher (I mean… poor Scribus, really… It's not even in the same league). It's a smart business move.

But crippling at least Designer (Affinity Photo and Photoshop are an entirely different matter; I strongly believe users should actively be discouraged from typesetting long blocks of text in bitmap editors for production reasons, period, and I will always tell that to my students and colleagues; on the other hand, as a typographer, baseline grids are absolutely a soft spot for me, and whenever you may have to or even just be able to typeset but a few lines of text, they should always be an option), on the other hand, feels short-sighted. It only reinforces the fact that Designer is, first and foremost, a vector illustration application, and not a design application. You can absolutely design a typography-heavy and vector-heavy single-page document and make good use of baseline grids in a vector app, and turning to Publisher/InDesign/Quark would be overkill in that scenario and might make some other operations harder for no good reason.

Oh, and I know this is slightly off-topic, but when I ask you to lift some stuff from Adobe is because a) they are also doing that to you, big time (look at their new corner tool in Ai… gee, I wonder where that came from?) and b) it's because I am absolutely sure it will benefit your apps and your end-users. It really boils down to a simple cost/benefit analysis.

Anyway, I have my viva 7 days from now and I have to prepare it in earnest, so I'll have to go now. After that, come the 25th and beyond, do check out the forums. I'll hopefully have earned myself a nice little vacation, but I'm sure I'll also have time to do a few demo videos for the three or four belated features I've been asking for (just simple stuff that can make or break the whole UX); even if you decide against implementing them, I at least owe you that after the earlier votes of confidence you gave me.

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@JGD I think it's a good idea if you wait till Publisher is officially released on Wednesday before passing judgement on their decision to remove this feature from Designer. You will probably understand the developers' reasoning a bit better by then.

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On 6/17/2019 at 11:49 PM, Frozen Death Knight said:

@JGD I think it's a good idea if you wait till Publisher is officially released on Wednesday before passing judgement on their decision to remove this feature from Designer. You will probably understand the developers' reasoning a bit better by then.

Not really. And I won't. Serif can't really surprise me any more than this, for reasons I'm not legally allowed to discuss (unless, of course, the special relationship I do/did have with them is/was, in fact, a tad meaningless, or their strategy calls for an added level of secrecy, which I would definitely understand). I should know for a fact that there's not much more to their product line than what's already public knowledge (unless there's a big surprise coming and, if so, good on them). Also, if I had to guess, the Keynote will either serve as a platform for announcing to the world at large the same Publisher version we already know, or maybe previewing some new component (the openly-“secret” DAM, which has been alluded to in the public forums by the devs themselves, anyone?). It will make a lot of people happy, I'm sure. As for current customers with very real, objective grievances? Ah, who cares, am I right?

Also, having the option to align to a baseline grid which you can't control or customise makes zero sense. It's bad form, bad UX, bad everything. And an extremely obnoxious decision if it is in fact just a matter of market segmentation. Affinity apps should, by definition, have a bit more of redundancy than competing packages; it really comes with the territory of using a “shared document format”. Serif should have foreseen this, and I know there must be a cut-off point somewhere (Designer should never ever have multiple pages aligned to a spine, or master pages, or Table of Contents and Index features, for instance), but that “border” should be more blurred and forgiving for users who own the entire suite (and Publisher personas already opened that can of worms, there's a precedent already set there). If anything, because those are the ones who will create the biggest number of projects with objects/documents made on more than one component of the suite, duh.

Anyway, I've just updated Designer to v. 1.7.1 on my iMac and I'm already beating myself over it, as @Patrick Connor and his team made good on the promise of removing the Baseline Grid manager button. I should be downgrading to v. 1.7.0, by copying both the app and its preferences from my MacBook and painstakingly recreating my Studio to its former state (heh, I've been working for the past few months without a working Time Machine backup, whoops). Then, I'd make a poster for the 10th Typography Meeting using this hidden feature just to show off a very real use case (even if it means I'll have to redo my Ai templates just for this occasion). Hey, I might even make a little demo video of the entire process (probably of the process of redoing my poster for the 9th edition, as otherwise I'd have to wait until mid-summer, after the Scientific Commission finishes going through all the submissions). But you know what the ideal scenario would've been? Perhaps Serif could've asked me to test this feature, so they could see if it was worth adding in an official capacity; I'd gladly have done it, and wil still do if asked (or maybe even if not asked, just for the sake of it, but I'm not really feeling it for reasons I'll explain further down).

I'd be putting my money where my mouth was, as I believe this feature is already good enough to use it in real projects. And since I already have Ai templates ready to go, and Designer supposedly honours a baseline grid – which, mind you, it can't officially control –, I'd be hoping that whatever changes I'd make to it would stick deep into the file and work in the future. And if they didn't, I'd always have Ai as a fallback. Or InDesign. Maybe even Publisher, but I'm pissed enough about this not to use it for that, and I'm even passing on the chance of buying it with the 20% discount at Serif's store because I'd rather have it right on the MAS, so I could know when there would be updates available without having to check the forums or open the app unless I absolutely needed it for some reason.

But heck, at this point, unless there are some big surprises at this keynote and some big changes in priorities, I'm even reconsidering the whole point of even buying Publisher at all. And the only reason I'm not even thinking of asking for a refund of Designer and Photo is the simple fact that it's been ages since I've bought them and I already made enough money off of them; that would just be insane and unethical. But the time I've spent here on the forums beating dead horses? Nobody's giving me that back.

The best comparison I can come up with is: Apple's languishing 2013 “trashcan” Mac Pro and the perception it created among pro users that they were just being ignored. I was never in the market for a Mac Pro but, from reading their complaints about the state of affairs until very recently, I can assure you I feel the same way about Affinity. Funnily enough, there's a common theme to both companies: iPadOS (well, in Apple's case, it was more the iPhone, but I digress) as a vortex of attention and investment. Yes, it's the future, but until Apple stops designing and manufacturing Macs, and Serif stops coding versions of Affinity for macOS and Windows, they'd better make a killer job of catering to that market, too.

So yeah. Serif is most definitely in the process – hopefully reversible, but I'm not holding my breath here, and this disgraceful reaction to my suggestion, compounded with a Keynote focused only in photography, may be the final nails on the coffin – of losing a few hundreds of potential users. I'm not even a teacher yet, and I'm already a quite influential guy here in Lisbon. I'm the one guy hundreds of people (more than 250 on my Facebook page, and then some, because they just advertise my services via word-of-mouth) still turn to these days when their macOS/Adobe CC/CS installations/actual Macs get borked and need fixing. I gave Serif several warnings. I asked for stuff, some of it very simple and reasonable, some of it more complex, for years, and most of it went unaddressed (they're not even in the roadmaps, not even as a tiny blip on the radar, zilch, nada).

The truth of the matter is that, four years in, I keep using Adobe CC for almost everything, and whenever I try Designer, the app I would use the most, for even the most basic of tasks, I end up being frustrated like hell. What's even the point? And in the event that I do buy Publisher, I'm likely even putting off using it for an upcoming project that was actually simple enough to typeset with it and would line up neatly with its public release… I'm just not feeling like it right now, as this whole viva thing is very draining and I'll barely have time to get my bearings together to test, head-first, a new piece of software in a real-world scenario. The same goes for that academic poster, which has a tight deadline that will likely coincide with this DTP project, and even though I already somewhat know my way around Designer, multitasking with two different suites and their respective, vastly different muscle-memory models is a recipe for total disaster. Nuh-uh. There's no way I'm jeopardising both my academic and professional careers because of a piece of software, no matter how keen I am on putting it through its paces.

I still want Serif to succeed, but I'm fed up with wasting my time. I have work to do. Vacations to enjoy. Stuff to research. I just want my tools to work, to be versatile, to be quick – not just smooth, but quick, because I'd rather use a choppy CC app which allows me to automate workflows than super slick apps which are then dumbed-down by default and/or incomplete – and to pay for themselves – see above; time is money, and if CC keeps saving me time, I will gladly pay for it (even after having invested in Serif apps, yes; they'll just sit in the drawer, sadly). I'll go even further and put it out there for the world to read: Affinity on the desktop is probably too cheap for what it already is. And, at the same time, I should've known from the get-go that it was too good to be true. It could never, at 1/4 of the price of the old CS6 Design Standard, seriously compete with it until version… 5? 6? How long will we have to wait for a true CC alternative? But perhaps keeping the current pricing for the education market and raising it by a staggering 200% could still be tenable (at the end of the day, it would still be 1/2 the price of that old CS sub-suite, and the same as 14 months' worth of a CC subscription, only perpetually licensed), and allow Serif to actually finance itself and compete with Adobe on all design fronts, right now. Because, as it stands, it really feels a bit like a loss-leader-wannabe and makes me fear for the future, that's what it is. If Serif wants to hike prices for version 2, I'm all for it, as long as they promise, if not outright deliver, a more solid suite right from the initial feature roadmap.

As for my feature suggestions, I'd also like for them not to fall on completely deaf ears. At this point, the only thing I'm doing for Serif is not even for Serif per se. I kindly answer information requests on Affinity-related Facebook pages, and more often than not I end up directing users right here, to the forums (though I do give straight answers frequently, too). And guess what, they love it. I'm doing it because that's the stuff I'm made of (you know, just as in that old saying, “you can take the Mac guy out of the Mac Room, but you can't take the Mac Room out of the Mac guy”). I do like to help people, and since these souls already spent their hard-earned money on Affinity apps, I might as well assist them in recouping their investment when the proverbial crap hits the fan. I also like to help small (or, in this case, smallish/indie) businesses out when I believe them, but now I will, once again, kindly ask you people to do your part. Peace out.

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On 6/17/2019 at 7:51 AM, Patrick Connor said:

This is a ridiculous argument as all the code is in all the applications. we may as well sell one for three times the price. That would not suit those who don't want all features and prefer to own just one or 2 of them

Jeez, @Patrick Connor, that's downright insulting. I just hadn't read that second reply with all my ranting. If the first was already grating, this one takes the cake.

I said multiple times, including on the opening comment and on the very same sentence you quoted, taking my observation about the codebase wildly out of context, that if you wished you might make this feature available only to Designer+Publisher / Photo+Publisher customers (though the latter combination doesn't make that much sense, as I've said before, but I still feel that if you can snap to baseline grids, you should also be able to customise it, obviously; that's just UX and dependency 101), just as you already plan on doing with Publisher and its dedicated Designer and Photo personas. Heck, if you must, create a “Typesetting” Persona for Designer with a Publisher icon (or a nice, big “T”, for consistency with the Pixel persona, which is also limited compared with Photo itself), which would only be unlocked after purchasing Publisher. Boom, problem solved, you can fit all those Text Styles, and baselines, and other stuff your vector illustration customers don't use frequently, they'll also thank you for that further streamlining of their experience. You can take my idea and run with it on version 2 (ideally on v.1.x, but I'm not holding my breath anymore, not after this PR debacle).

That would make the big Venn diagram that are the three Affinity apps a bit more balanced (if they all cost the same, why should Publisher be the one that gets unlockable personas for the other two? Souldn't a Photo+Designer customer get a vector persona, while we're at it?). Now, get a grip and stop insulting your users. I'm not in any way, shape or form proposing feature implementations which might damage your commercial strategy, do you think I'm stupid? If that's the level of discourse you absolutely must resort to, please take your considerations with you and discuss them in a board meeting, or something.

Also, while you're at it, check your internal files, and all my communication with you. I've been sending e-mails regarding what would become Affinity since almost SIX years (minus one day, ironically enough), do you want me to forward that first one directly to you? I basically predicted/guessed Affinity would come out just from scouring design software companies' websites when I was mad at Adobe because of their CC announcement. Also, I do have a closer relationship with you than most of your users, I just can't discuss it here openly, otherwise you might sue me or something (and judging by your tone, I wouldn't put it past you). And I already said I was sorry for the fact that, because of personal reasons, I wasn't able to benefit you as well as I wished in the context of the contract your company and I signed.

Now, take a hard, good look at what you wrote and how you worded it. I know I'm not the nicest of guys in my own discourse, but I'm working towards a sensible goal (and not that dissimilar from yours, I'm once again betting) and I'm still your customer (and quite a valuable one, at that). And though I did some harsh assessments of your work and decisions, I always kept it respectful. And that includes that really hard “Dunning-Kruger effect” jab of the other day, which I'm not retracting, sorry. But never once have I called your ideas “ridiculous”. Misguided? Perhaps. Coming from certain assumptions which I consider deeply wrong? You betcha. But, then again, we're all human and make mistakes. Being “ridiculous”, however, means operating at a whole different level… According to the dictionary, it means “deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd”, as in not even putting in an effort to come up with a workable idea, or actively trolling, or something.

But I will actually entertain the opposite scenario, sure, why not? Even if you were not to make this feature an exclusive for Publisher users, it would be, at worst, too nice for the end-user and a bit risky for you. Yet, do you seriously think any self-respecting user would be cheap to the point of trying to do a complex, multi-spread document in Designer? I tried doing a website mockup not too long ago, with but a few artboards, and it was already complete chaos, so I can only imagine what it would be like to do anything with more than four pages and without master pages. Oh, and there's still that nagging issue of not being able to have objects spanning multiple adjacent artboards, because of that artboard-centric layer and document model with which I've been hitting you over the head for so long (and which I even demonstrated in a video, fully acknowledging that fixing it might enable some people to emulate Publisher-like documents in Designer, but also other use cases for which Publisher will never work!). So, at best, you might even be using Designer as a trojan horse for further Publisher purchases, in a kind of “DTP halo effect”.

How's that for turning the entire argument around…? And I don't even think that's what you should do, but I think you're seriously too worried about the negative implications of such a feature. While you're at it, why don't you remove Text Styles from Designer too, then? Isn't that mostly a DTP feature? I surely use it all the time in InDesign and almost never in Ai (in fact, a custom Baseline Grid would be much more useful, IMHO, and Ai doesn't even display Character and Paragraph Styles in the Workspace by default, and I never even bothered to put them there, hah). And now I'm obviously and deliberately being facetious (“ridiculous”, even?), because if removing a “phantom feature” already made one of your most dedicated users mad, I can only imagine the effect removing/hiding a current feature and potentially breaking thousands of documents in the process would have on your user base. But that Ai angle, and your current focus on illustration, does make a good case for a dedicated Typesetting persona – which could have some exclusive extras for Publisher owners, but otherwise aggregate by default all the typesetting-related features in the Studio, thus greatly improving those tasks in smaller screens either way – as a counterbalance, that's for sure.

So, no, Patrick, my ideas and arguments are most definitely not “ridiculous”, especially when they're not forcibly removed from their context. That's what politicians do, and it's not very fitting of a seasoned professional like you, especially when discussing matters with a customer. I may overthink stuff, but I suppose that is a good thing in software development, am I right? You know, anticipating stuff. Coming up with ideas. Throwing them against the wall (or virtual white board) to see if they stick. Isn't that like rule #1 of brainstorming? “There are no dumb ideas”, they say, right before starting a session. Gee, thanks for outright destroying rule #1, then. Very encouraging for your other users and testers, really. But the thing is, that's not even what I do most of the time when I open a thread. Further down the road, maybe, but never in my opening statements (seriously, go and check out all of my posts). And most certainly not on the current thread.

Edit: this issue has been escalated to customer support at affinity@serif.com and john@serif.com . I'm deeply sorry it got to this point, but I'm seriously dismayed at this treatment. I know I'm oftentimes (if not most of the time) a pain in your proverbial and collective derrière, but a) that's my “job” here and b) that doesn't give you the right to call users' suggestions, requests or arguments “ridiculous” (especially if they aren't, as is the case, but even if they are. That's customer/public relations 101).

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On 6/17/2019 at 8:07 AM, JGD said:

as it shows overconfidence.

Often, I’d argue, it shows the opposite.

Reading this whole thread is incredibly disheartening. @Patrick Connor Seems to be taking time out to essentially insult a concerned user. Please show a bit of respect.

It seems this whole thing could have been dealt with so much better.

I get that the Serif team are probably working their socks off and are very passionate about the Affinity apps. They should also be proud of what they have achieved. However, the disregard for, and sometimes aggression towards users feedback is is puzzling and rather concerning.

There are a number of essential features that are languishing, unheeded and barely acknowledged for years. Then times like this that the user is insulted for, what I think are, very reasonable and fairly argued points.

You do have to wonder what the hell is going on? @Ash

 

On 6/17/2019 at 11:49 PM, Frozen Death Knight said:

@JGD I think it's a good idea if you wait till Publisher is officially released on Wednesday before passing judgement on their decision to remove this feature from Designer. You will probably understand the developers' reasoning a bit better by then.

This sounds like a blind, irrational, belief. Perhaps I’m wrong. Do you have any logic or data to back this up?

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53 minutes ago, robinp said:

This sounds like a blind, irrational, belief. Perhaps I’m wrong. Do you have any logic or data to back this up?

It's neither blind, irrational, or a belief, since I made that judgement myself after seeing all the features Publisher has once it launches, and I mean every single one. I am not going to spoil everything here out of respect for the hard work that the developers put into Publisher, but I do know you can find the info about it if you are looking for it, since a few people already revealed the surprise. It's really up to you if you think it's good enough once Serif has made the official announcement today, since I am not the one to make that call.

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14 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

It's not really blind, irrational, or a belief, since I made that judgement myself after seeing all the features Publisher has once it launches, and I mean every single one. I am not going to spoil everything here out of respect for the hard work that the developers put into Publisher, but I do know you can find the info about it online if you are looking for it, since a few people already revealed the surprise. It's really up to you if you think it's good enough once Serif has made the official announcement today, since I am not the one to make that call.

Are you saying that there are features in Publisher beyond what was in the Beta? I ask, and my original statement was on the basis of this, as someone that has extensively tested the Beta since it was released to the public.

I’m also not sure how features in Publisher are going to solve the request for a feature in Designer. Maybe they do have some good surprises for Publisher that will be announced later but I can’t see how that will help here.

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28 minutes ago, robinp said:

Are you saying that there are features in Publisher beyond what was in the Beta? I ask, and my original statement was on the basis of this, as someone that has extensively tested the Beta since it was released to the public.

I’m also not sure how features in Publisher are going to solve the request for a feature in Designer. Maybe they do have some good surprises for Publisher that will be announced later but I can’t see how that will help here.

The vast majority of testers didn't test the other Personas in Publisher, so yeah. I guess you've tried them as well since you've Beta tested Publisher? There was a bug that activated them for people who used an older version of the Beta builds. I'm surprised you are asking if there are features beyond the Beta as a Beta tester when features being locked away till the official release have been known for months.

I personally think it is fair to give the developers the chance to make their case themselves for the official reveal, and it is up to us consumers to decide if it's good enough or not. Besides, even if I didn't know all the launch features for Publisher I still think that would be the better option to wait and see, since it is illogical to make a complete judgement of a product that still hasn't revealed all its features and hasn't even launched yet.

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28 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

it is illogical to make a complete judgement of a product that still hasn't revealed all its features and hasn't even launched yet

Except Designer was launched in 2014. On this basis criticism is never logical because there is always potential for an updated version.

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1 hour ago, robinp said:

Except Designer was launched in 2014. On this basis criticism is never logical because there is always potential for an updated version.

Exactly. My suggestion was squarely aimed at Designer. Specifically, adding a phantom feature that probably originated in the Publisher-bound part of its cross-app codebase, but which should still be visible because of a feature dependency (that darned “snap to baseline grid” checkbox). Do you guys seriously think it's any use, or good UX, having a toggle to snap to a fixed baseline grid, but not being able to view it, edit it, or actually snap to it at all?

I've just tested it in v. 1.7.0 (yes, I've since downgraded to it, for the obvious reason that I may still be willing to demo this one day or another and want to have Designer at the ready for that), and until you turn on the baseline grids, the other checkbox in the Snapping manager doesn't do anything. I'm not sure if it's still there in v. 1.7.1, and I'll be sure to run it on a different user account; but if it's still there, it's yet another remnant of this “feature”, which leads me to thing that there's either some miscommunication, or even internal disagreement, between Engineering and Marketing/Management, or a lot of general forgetfulness inside of Serif's HQ. I just happened to be the one who stumbled upon that lapse, and the banger feature both that checkbox and said Baseline Grid manager represent, by accident and very late in the development process (so late, in fact, that it only appeared in the actual, commercial GM release, when the conversion of my original v. 1.6.x toolbar preferences into v. 1.7.0 mangled it into pieces and made it spew that “garbage” Baseline Manager button.

Serif has some possible paths for the future regarding this “feature”, and this one that's being currently pursued has got to be the most user-hostile, overly compartmentalising one. Especially for users who buy all three apps. I always speak from the point of view of that user. That's me. I run Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, sometimes in turns, and sometimes even multi-tasking between the three. If you want to cripple any of the Affinity apps when in isolation, go ahead, knock yourselves out. Because, yes, it does make business sense and most single-app users will understand why. But please leave whole-suite-customers out of those shenanigans.

In that sense, Photo and Designer are like the “poor brothers” of the suite, in the sense that their users don't gain much from buying Publisher along them (other than, of course, being easily able to typeset larger pieces of running text across multiple pages). Triggering some Publisher-related bonus on the other two apps would be a nice flip side for something which already happens in Publisher (i.e. the Photo and Designer personas become active after purchasing the respective components). Publisher users are encouraged to buy Photo and Designer, but not the other way around. I was proposing a feature that might address that, and people on the Serif team thought I was saying the opposite. I know I write a lot, but… seriously?

So, guys, is my analysis of this whole thing that “ridiculous”? Yeah, it doesn't seem that farfetched, now, does it? If it makes sense from a functional standpoint (and as a soon-to-be Typography MA graduate, I can assure you that the more usage of Baseline Grids wherever you have text, regardless of the app, the better), and if it makes sense from a commercial standpoint, WHY NOT?

Also, the reason why they may feel a bit attacked is the fact that, for possibly the first time ever, one of these decisions and the work it really entailed was accidentally exposed for all to see; apparently, it's not just the core document engine that is shared, and, instead, the three apps are much more alike than different, so “porting” certain features from one app to another is probably as easy as toggling a checkbox somewhere in XCode. That also explains why I, in particular, am so shocked at this; not only did Serif not take the time to code features which have been requested for five years straight, they are also now acrively willing to not implement others which are already baked in and could be useful, right here and right now, to some of their users, because of some questionable and self-defeating commercial decisions. There are at least five posters I did over the last four years in Ai which could greatly benefit from this feature if they were done in Designer instead (and for which either InDesign or Publisher would be overkill, because… they are single-page and vector-heavy), and if it was there, I'm sure it would be yet another reason for some users to buy both Affinity Designer and Publisher in tandem. I'm giving Serif suggestions as to how they could make more money (though, for some reason, they believe it's the opposite and that I'm suggesting they enable Publisher-in-Designer freeloaders???) and they were ignoring me, when not outright taking my words out of context.

I rest my case.

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31 minutes ago, robinp said:

Except Designer was launched in 2014. On this basis criticism is never logical because there is always potential for an updated version.

Talk about hyperbole. I never said all forms of criticism are a bad thing or illogical. I've made made fair share of criticism for Affinity products. However, when a product launch is just around the corner and the developers have said that they are going to reveal more information about the future for all their products, including Designer, it is a bit unreasonable to make a complete judgement of something when you don't have all the cards on the table yet. They might solve the issues you have or they will not. That is up to each individual to decide.

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3 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

I never said all forms of criticism are a bad thing or illogical. I've made made fair share of criticism for Affinity products. However, when a product launch is just around the corner and the developers have said that they are going to reveal more information about the future for all their products, including Designer, it is a bit unreasonable to make a complete judgement of something when you don't have all the cards on the table yet. They might solve the issues you have or they will not. That is up to each individual to decide.

Short of revealing a sneak preview of v. 2, right after an arguably big 1.7 release and at the same time as the Publisher unveil, I can'r really fathom what could be so awesome that it justifies a dedicated event. And if it's the DAM, it won't do nothing for users like us. In fact, it may rile some of them even more.

Back when Serif was still delaying Publisher like crazy because they were porting Designer and Photo both for Windows and the now-called iPadOS, many of us could still be very excited at the prospect of a Lightroom killer, just because we wanted (and still want) to see Adobe crash and burn. Now? After having spent our money, our dedication in these forums and our patience in general, I believe many of us are turning into selfish mode.

Sorry guys. I love photography, and I have many photographer friends to whom I'll definitely recommend “Affinity Library” or whatever they call it, but I still won't be able to avoid feeling a bit, err, left out if that's what this keynote is all about.

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8 minutes ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

Talk about hyperbole. I never said all forms of criticism are a bad thing or illogical. I've made made fair share of criticism for Affinity products. However, when a product launch is just around the corner and the developers have said that they are going to reveal more information about the future for all their products, including Designer, it is a bit unreasonable to make a complete judgement of something when you don't have all the cards on the table yet. They might solve the issues you have or they will not. That is up to each individual to decide.

So criticism must stop while waiting for an announcement. Not sure of the logic there. If they are about to solve all of the criticisms out there, then that would be marvellous.

I highly doubt it though. Therefore criticism will continue.

You seem to be being very defensive about this and I’m a bit puzzled as to why. I don’t think what I’ve written, or for that matter, @JGD, is particularly complicated or hard to understand.

If you have insider knowledge of what’s coming then I’m very pleased for you but I haven’t.

Whatever the reality of what’s coming later, it doesn’t get over the problems around communication and listening to user feedback to date. 

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In my opinion, in short:

- This feature, added in Designer, wouldn’t make both apps to compete.

Best regards!

P. S.: By the way, as a lottle advice: be passionate, but don’t let your passion overflows through the keyboard. Make your reason keep your “fire” in check.


You'll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go!   

AMD FX 8350 :: Radeon HD 7870 :: Windows 10 ::  http://mithferion.deviantart.com/

Oxygen Icons :: Free Quality Fonts :: Public Domain Pictures :: iOS 11 Design Resources :: iOS App Icon Template :: Hot to do High Quality Art :: Mesh Warp / Distort Tool Considerations

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22 minutes ago, Mithferion said:

In my opinion, in short:

- This feature, added in Designer, wouldn’t make both apps to compete.

Best regards!

P. S.: By the way, as a lottle advice: be passionate, but don’t let your passion overflows through the keyboard. Make your reason keep your “fire” in check.

So? If it was active only for Designer+Publisher customers/owners, it wouldn't.

Or Photo+Publisher owners, whatever. It's not as critical there, but I'm a strong advocate for baseline grids wherever there is text. Activate it in either/both apps when Publisher is present, I say.

Why do people ignore this crucial little bit? I don't think most users would complain about that. It's only normal that buying all three apps should be advantageous across the entire suite, not just when running Publisher. You know what I'm saying is, indeed, fair, and might lead to more Publisher sales even to less DTP/Publisher-heavy users.

As for your advice, it's obviously more than welcome, and I'll tone it down for the benefit of all. But if my “passion” is fairness and common sense, well, I'll just let it flow through whatever media or device it must flow (and, fair enough, not “overflow”). I'm a simple guy: I see a potentially useful feature, I advocate for it and I demo it if I must; I recognise a business opportunity, I point it out to whom it may be useful (unless it's useful for me, first and foremost, and I have the time to pursue it, in which case I'll likely keep it a secret but, fortunately for Serif, I'm not in the business of coding and selling graphic design software ;) ).

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20 minutes ago, JGD said:

So? If it was active only for Designer+Publisher customers/owners, it wouldn't.

Or Photo+Publisher owners, whatever. It's not as critical there, but I'm a strong advocate for baseline grids wherever there is text. Activate it in both when Publisher is present, I say.

And I am supporting your idea.

Whay I meant was that "A" is in Photo and not in Designer because they try to make the apps focus on specific tasks. And I say that this feature would fit in Designer and Publisher, without hurting the logic of "focusing on specific tasks", and it makes perfect sense to me.

 

20 minutes ago, JGD said:

I'm a simple guy: I see a potentially useful feature, I advocate for it and I demo it if I must; I recognise a business opportunity, I point it out to whom it may be useful

I've read some of your other posts and I find things that make a lot of sense (haven't commented because sometimes I don't have the time and forget to write), and I encourage anyone to make this better for the greater good of Serif and their users (current and future). Also, yeah, I try to contribute with this little advice.

Best regards!


You'll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go!   

AMD FX 8350 :: Radeon HD 7870 :: Windows 10 ::  http://mithferion.deviantart.com/

Oxygen Icons :: Free Quality Fonts :: Public Domain Pictures :: iOS 11 Design Resources :: iOS App Icon Template :: Hot to do High Quality Art :: Mesh Warp / Distort Tool Considerations

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1 hour ago, Mithferion said:

And I am supporting your idea.

Whay I meant was that "A" is in Photo and not in Designer because they try to make the apps focus on specific tasks. And I say that this feature would fit in Designer and Publisher, without hurting the logic of "focusing on specific tasks", and it makes perfect sense to me.

I've read some of your other posts and I find things that make a lot of sense (haven't commented because sometimes I don't have the time and forget to write), and I encourage anyone to make this better for the greater good of Serif and their users (current and future). Also, yeah, I try to contribute with this little advice.

Best regards!

I would react with a “Thanks”, but I've spent my reacts for today, ha. :P

Yeah, I mean, I totally get the segmentation thing. Much as I don't want for Designer, Photo or Publisher to turn into Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, I don't want Designer to turn into Publisher, or Photo to turn into Designer, or less still Photo to turn into Publisher.

However… Publisher will sort of “morph” into Designer or Photo as needed. What irks me is that Affinity's shared document format concept is much more powerful and versatile than they're ready to recognise or make use of (or, more accurately, to let us make us of).

Yes, it absolutely makes a ton of sense having Publisher at the top (or bottom; ok, let's just say vertex) of a pyramid towards which both raw vector and bitmap data converge. Great! As such, it needs to be a very powerful app. But is it fair that the other two benefit much less from their DTP counterpart than Publisher does from them?

It's as if Serif is throwing in the towel regarding Publisher and just accepting that it offers very little in the way of DTP features, that only a very small subset of users will ever buy it, and that the only way to sweeten the deal further is to have it benefit the most from the other personas, while saving its most basic feature, which could hugely benefit the entire suite, only to itself? Or are they convinced that the crux of editing DTP documents is being able to edit vectors and bitmaps inline? Well… it depends. For self-publishing and small shops, yes. For larger organisations, where stuff may already arrive on your virtual desk pre-digested, not really. You may be yet another cog in a larger machine, and some users may use only Publisher, others may only use Designer or Photo, etc.

As for use cases for DTP features in non-DTP apps, well, Baseline Grids is the crux of the matter here. Seeing them in non-DTP apps was a bit of a revelation for me. As a prospective typography teacher (I won't likely start out as one; I gave some type design workshops, and some classes on colour, but I'll likely make the rounds and teach generic stuff like Project – the main subject in any design course), I can assure you that one can never have enough Baseline Grids. Serif has the chance to redefine those, as not being a DTP feature anymore, but as something which should be present everywhere where a text box, or multiple text boxes, may sit. I wouldn't really mind seeing it as a feature even by default and in all the standalone Affinity apps but, unlike other suggestions I've made before, I fully understand Serif's reasoning for restricting it (for the time being, hopefully, but if it stays that way forever, it's not like their app would be any worse than those of the competition) and it's not a hill I'm willing to die on. But seeing it was a bit like when Apple introduces a brand new product category, which you didn't even dream you had a need for, and suddenly it “clicks” in your head and makes perfect sense. My job here as a tester and customer is to tell Serif all about that, since it didn't cross the mind of anyone over there, it seems, or if it did, it was discarded for dubious reasons (maybe in the short term, it makes sense, as it probably requires some reworking of Designer's Personas, but the way this was handled doesn't inspire much confidence).

So… in any case, what would set apart Designer from Publisher, then? So. Much. Stuff. Not as much as there could be if Publisher was already a Quark- or InDesign-caliber app, but already a lot, yes. Master Pages (that's a big one, and sure, users might be crafty and use a combination of symbols and assets to replace those, but… really? That wouldn't be elegant or practical in the least); spanning objects across spreads (hopefully Designer will allow for that too, one day, once the document model conundrum is properly addressed, but even then I'm guessing it will only be possible by using non-default universal layers, which will be a power-user-bound feature anyway); pages self-aligning to a spine (Designer or Photo will never do this, thus making them inherently cumbersome for “pseudo-DTP”); automatic text reflow when creating new pages (this is an obvious and big one, which its brethren will also never do); pinned, inline objects (this only makes sense for large numbers of pages, and we fought a lot for this one to be a priority for v. 1.7… Either that was one of the few “victories” we had, or we were just lucky that Serif had that one high enough up on the hidden roadmap for it to push through in time); index panel; table of contents panel; some form of GREP-like expressions for automatic text replacement, including GREP styles, and other power-user-bound use cases; advanced text box options; tables…

Is that not enough to differentiate between them already, even in v. 1.7.1? Sure, Publisher will be missing other big ones for quite a while, as per the devs' own admission, like a Multiline Composer equivalent, but still. It will hopefully and quickly turn into a fully functional DTP app in its own right.

However, creating a one-page poster heavy on illustration or other types of vectors might be easier and quicker to do in Designer than Publisher. It all depends on the app where you start, the time you think of spending on each operation, and the relative text-to-illustration ratio. So, check out the example I may redo in Designer as a demo:

337187919_Capturadeecr2019-06-19s11_32_58.thumb.png.825c0123a63a6f7df43b06b871d47af8.png

This, my friends, is something that, by its very nature, might make more sense to make in Designer than in Publisher. Maybe not this one in particular, but the same kind of single-page, slightly text-heavy but still vector-dominant poster. Sometimes these fonts are not even finished or even imported into Glyphs.app, and I just copy my still vector sketches directly from a different work file, all inside of Ai (again, that was not the case for this one, as this font was already so advanced that 90% of what you see here is all actual text, but having modular type in raw, vector form line up with baseline grids would indeed be awesome). Doing so in a more long-form bound app doesn't make much sense, IMHO (in fact, the official template files usually come in Ai format, leaving any further conversions or reworking up to us). And even though it could benefit from automatic column creation in a DTP app, for such a simple layout which I know I'll reuse virtually unchanged every year, the time it takes me to whip up those more than makes up for not having to deal with extra text box shenanigans; it's not like that with such a bespoke layout, I wouldn't have to link them all manually even in a DTP app, anyway).

The thing with these posters is: I just paste the text into some text boxes, and most of the time is then spent fiddling with those alphabets to get stuff right. In fact, it would be much quicker to re-convert all that stuff to curves and just use distribute commands across the board, instead of bothering with manual kerning and tracking. I know, because I've tried both approaches, and when just doing it with curves it's just much more quicker (the only reason I decide against it when I have the chance is to protect my designs; sure, they are super easy to copy, but I'd rather not make it so easy as to it just being a copy+paste operation away). And the same goes for fitting those titles and subtitles to the grid. Also, if I forget to add an accent or something, it's also easier that way, as I can group them straight away with the corresponding characters.

But where a Baseline Grid manager would really shine here would be to ensure that my smaller, caption text boxes would cross-align with the larger ones at some key lines, in a fixed ratio (usually 4:3, 5:3 or, in this case, 6:4, except I just checked my file and realised that, oops, even though the ratio was correctly set, it's not cross-aligning correctly as it should because… yeah, you guessed it, Ai doesn't have a Baseline Grid and because of some oversight on my part, I got it wrong). To get my stuff to all line up correctly, I'd just have to divide the combined leading of the common, cross-aligned block, by the product of their ratio, i.e. 12, and set that fractional point value as my baseline grid. Boom, done. Most people don't give a damn about this kind of detail, but I was taught this by my typography teachers, I always apply that principle whenever I can, and I intend to impart that wisdom and sense of care on my students as well. Having this feature on all Affinity apps (whether by default or when the three are present, whatever) would go a long way towards enabling this kind of extra care and making them the premium choice for all things typography and typesetting, whether in DTP of a 100+ page document or on a tiny business card. And speaking of business cards, guess what, I sometimes do those in InDesign already because they are precious little objects which physically represent my clients, not quick and dirty posters to show off a work-in-progress font of my own, and I want the extra control it offers me, including baseline grids, but besides that it's totally overkill and I'd much rather do them in something a bit more lightweight, like Designer, while still retaining access to advanced typography features (not exactly tables of contents, pinned objects or automatic text flow, but what we in the field call microtypography, something which should, by default, encompass Baseline Grids; from that it follows that those should, then, extend to all apps which already include some form of said microtypography). Understandably, I'm a bit mad about seeing Serif shooting themselves in the foot with this decision and, once again (and, this time, not for technical reasons), crippling my potential workflows in Designer. I'm really pushing hard for this because it's one of the subjects nearest and dearest to me.

So, yeah, thanks for all the positive feedback guys. I really do try my best here, and I usually back up my suggestions with real-world work. As I've said before, my suggestions are almost always based on past experience, and not just on pure speculation.

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1 hour ago, JGD said:

Is that not enough to differentiate between them already, even in v. 1.7.1?

I believe so. And as you said, it'd be an advantage of Designer over Illustrator, not over Publisher, wich is a good thing to allure potential clients (boviously, you have to show it off), in a similar fashion when Serif added the Pixel Persona, instead of making those Raster tools an exclusive thing of Photo.

So, let's hope we all can agree on the greater benefits for this addition.

Best regards!


You'll never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go!   

AMD FX 8350 :: Radeon HD 7870 :: Windows 10 ::  http://mithferion.deviantart.com/

Oxygen Icons :: Free Quality Fonts :: Public Domain Pictures :: iOS 11 Design Resources :: iOS App Icon Template :: Hot to do High Quality Art :: Mesh Warp / Distort Tool Considerations

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