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Author Topic: let's trot this one out again  (Read 16320 times)
Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2007, 10:30:40 pm »

Typesetting    Is anyone here *really* doing typesetting? The term here seems to be a substitute for word processing. Typesetting means taking text (not necessarily written by you), choosing a font and styles, and turning the text into professional-looking output. I have done a lot of this in Windows. Eventually I'll be using Scribus when the text engine is improved.
--GrannyGeek
Well, I sort of used the term as a synonym for DTP (Desktop Publishing). I started with First Publisher, then Ventura Publisher 3 and 4 a long time ago, then the inevitable MS Publisher, then Pagemaker and a couple of others. I've just been toying with Scribus for a couple of years, because I haven't really needed to do any publishing tasks for a long time. Still, I can see it's potential.

hanumizzle's First Theorem:

Publisher = Turdburger
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2007, 10:55:16 pm »

I've just been toying with Scribus for a couple of years, because I haven't really needed to do any publishing tasks for a long time. Still, I can see it's potential.

Yes, Scribus is already very good and will be a killer app when it improves the text engine, gets an indexing feature, and better memory management.

I find it very difficult to use Scribus for justified text because Scribus has no H&J controls (Hyphenation and Justification) and you can't set allowed parameters for reducing and increasing spacing. So you tend to have too-large spaces between words and it's very difficult to adjust them.

This will be changing with Scribus 1.4. It shouldn't be too much longer. 1.3.3.9 was just released a few days ago. Oh yes--they will also have character styles in the new version. That has been badly needed, too.

Can you tell I can't wait?<g>

I should mention that TeX, LaTeX, LyX, and their derivatives are terrific for straightforward text (certain types of books, reports, articles, scientific papers). However, they are very hard to work with if you need more flexibility or graphics with text that contours around them. TeX, etc., are great for people who want good-looking text without having to make design decisions. Somebody else has made them for you! And that's fine. When graphical word processors came along, all of a sudden every writer was supposed to become a typesetter. Well, using type well is a skill that takes a long time to master. The word processor makers sold people a bill of goods--the assumption that the software can turn you into a master of typography. We see the results in some of the extremely ugly documents that are common today.
--GrannyGeek
--GrannyGeek
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2007, 01:25:26 am »

I should mention that TeX, LaTeX, LyX, and their derivatives are terrific for straightforward text (certain types of books, reports, articles, scientific papers). However, they are very hard to work with if you need more flexibility or graphics with text that contours around them.

Thread bump time.

In a sense, that's true. For many people, the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the LaTeX typesetting system are long, dry, Computer Modern Roman 10pt documents with titles like A 'Gentle' Introduction to Haskell, with nothing to break up the monotony beyond code examples and/or theorems. (Complete with book on tape, narrated by Ben Stein.)

But the potential diversity of LaTeX shines through in such instances as the beamer class. Have a look at examples here and here:

http://nanda.satukubik.net/2006/10/12/latex-beamer-is-cool/
http://slashboot.free.fr/blog/index.php?2006/06/30/57-oo-impress-powerpoint-vs-latex-beamer/

Yes, someone else is usually calling the æsthetic shots. Which is a good thing in my case!!
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Joe1962
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« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2007, 07:53:05 am »

I started with First Publisher, then Ventura Publisher 3 and 4 a long time ago, then the inevitable MS Publisher, then Pagemaker and a couple of others.
Heh well, sorry to quote myself, but I just remembered one of "the others": Quark Express, of course... Grin
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2007, 09:08:30 pm »

For many people, the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the LaTeX typesetting system are long, dry, Computer Modern Roman 10pt documents with titles like A 'Gentle' Introduction to Haskell, with nothing to break up the monotony beyond code examples and/or theorems. (Complete with book on tape, narrated by Ben Stein.)

But the potential diversity of LaTeX shines through in such instances as the beamer class. Have a look at examples here and here:

http://nanda.satukubik.net/2006/10/12/latex-beamer-is-cool/
http://slashboot.free.fr/blog/index.php?2006/06/30/57-oo-impress-powerpoint-vs-latex-beamer/

Yes, someone else is usually calling the æsthetic shots. Which is a good thing in my case!!

The beamer examples simply confirm what I said. The presentations used templates and repeating styles of text. They didn't do any fancy placement of graphics, contoured wraps around graphics, text rotation, etc. This is exactly what TeX and its derivatives are good at. For more creative layouts--newsletters, posters, books with certain kinds of graphics, book covers--a real DTP application like Scribus is needed.

LaTeX is way ahead of Scribus in typesetting at this time. The Scribus developers are well aware of this and are working on major improvements in Scribus's typesetting abilities.

One should use the tool appropriate for the job.
--GrannyGeek
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2007, 09:12:33 pm »

I made a mistake in referring to a forthcoming Scribus 1.4. The forthcoming version is 1.3.4. We're a ways away from 1.4! The current version of Scribus is 1.3.3.9.
--GrannyGeek
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Vanger
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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2007, 07:21:20 am »

Editor   mc
File Management   bash
Browser   Opera
IRC   Opera
AIM   Pidgin
Terminal   aterm
Window Manager   fluxbox+3ddesktop
Media   xine
Image Viewing   gqview
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2007, 10:26:08 am »

The beamer examples simply confirm what I said. The presentations used templates and repeating styles of text. They didn't do any fancy placement of graphics, contoured wraps around graphics, text rotation, etc. This is exactly what TeX and its derivatives are good at. For more creative layouts--newsletters, posters, books with certain kinds of graphics, book covers--a real DTP application like Scribus is needed.

Not strictly true. The cover of the beginlatex document is typeset with an original style and looks beautiful.

http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/CTAN/info/beginlatex/beginlatex-3.6.pdf
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newt
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« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2007, 10:53:04 am »

Here's an example of some simple text wrapping around figures in tex/latex: http://www.andy-roberts.net/misc/latex/latextutorial6.html
Though it doesn't demonstrate controured text wrapping, it does indicate that some basic text wrapping is doable.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2007, 11:34:25 am »

I know that LaTeX can wrap text around a graphic. But notice what I said: it can't CONTOUR text around a graphic. If all your graphics are rectangular, that's no problem. But if they aren't, you get a much better, more professional look if the text moves around the contour of the graphic. Also, this needs to be adjustable. The user needs to be able to adjust a bounding box around the graphic and do whatever hand-tweaking is necessary.

The example at http://www.andy-roberts.net/misc/latex/latextutorial6.html is not very good from the graphic design standpoint because there's too much space between the graphic and the title. And what's that empty space doing at the top of the graphic? I didn't like the two-letter syllable before the hyphen. I always like at least three letters before a hyphen unless the alternatives are too awful to use. How LaTeX treats this depends on how the person setting up the stylesheet sets things up. If you say "a minimum of three letters before a hyphen" the program should be able to make the necessary adjustments in spacing to conform to the "rules." By the way, it's difficult to set justified type well. LaTeX can do a better job than most users who lack knowledge and skill in typography.
--GrannyGeek
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2007, 11:55:55 am »

Not strictly true. The cover of the beginlatex document is typeset with an original style and looks beautiful.

http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/pub/mirrors/CTAN/info/beginlatex/beginlatex-3.6.pdf

But it's still a simple document. It could be done more easily in a program like Scribus, where somebody didn't have to come up with the style changes. You can make anything with anything as long as what you're doing fits within what your tool can do.

Designing with markup language is not the way designers work. You need immediate feedback, precision, and the ability to make changes both large and subtle easily.
--GrannyGeek
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2007, 07:31:04 pm »

I hope I'm not being inflammatory. I think the crux of the debate is about what kind of things you are trying to do and we misunderstand each other on that point.

True, as a decided non-expert, I would probably use a desktop-publishing tool to do things like the beginlatex cover, but (IMO and JMO) for the most part I prefer something LaTeX or Lout. It would seem that Scribus can export to encapsulated PostScript, which is really cool because that should (hopefully) allow high-quality scaling of any embedded documents. I did some marginal work with Adobe PageMaker in school (for Comp App class only, so naturally almost forgotten by now), and I thought it afforded a lot of advantages, but it seemed clumsy to work with compared to my favored tools.

One reason I <3 LaTeX so much in particular is because most of the documents I read or write are not graphics-rich, and certainly not magazine covers or posters. Personally, I tend to find a lot of graphical manipulation distracting. Even many glossy magazines I've read could probably be covered by a custom LaTeX class (except maybe the cover). But the biggest reason is that LaTeX and similar markup languages, in concert with Vim, impose only the least of restraints on my hypergraphia. I can just keep writing and writing without having to worry about adorning the document with heavy formatting, clicking on and resizing frames, or what the outcome will look like. Because LaTeX is made with runes, beef jerky, and Ehud Barak's sweat, the only possible outcome is: awesome.

One's innate tastes also play a big role here. What I like about LaTeX extends to other things in my life, such as my taste in architecture (Bauhaus) and why I frequently like radio more than television.
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newt
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« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2007, 08:24:12 pm »



Here's an example of some simple text wrapping around figures in tex/latex: http://www.andy-roberts.net/misc/latex/latextutorial6.html
Though it doesn't demonstrate controured text wrapping, it does indicate that some basic text wrapping is doable.
I know that LaTeX can wrap text around a graphic. But notice what I said: it can't CONTOUR text around a graphic. If all your graphics are rectangular, that's no problem. But if they aren't, you get a much better, more professional look if the text moves around the contour of the graphic. Also, this needs to be adjustable. The user needs to be able to adjust a bounding box around the graphic and do whatever hand-tweaking is necessary.

The example at http://www.andy-roberts.net/misc/latex/latextutorial6.html is not very good from the graphic design standpoint because there's too much space between the graphic and the title. And what's that empty space doing at the top of the graphic? I didn't like the two-letter syllable before the hyphen. I always like at least three letters before a hyphen unless the alternatives are too awful to use. How LaTeX treats this depends on how the person setting up the stylesheet sets things up. If you say "a minimum of three letters before a hyphen" the program should be able to make the necessary adjustments in spacing to conform to the "rules." By the way, it's difficult to set justified type well. LaTeX can do a better job than most users who lack knowledge and skill in typography.
--GrannyGeek

I understand what you are saying, and I felt that I qualified my post to begin with.  I don't do latex, tex, lout, et al. I was just participating in a conversation of which I know nothing Grin.  Certainly publishing apps have a STRONG place in graphic design - thus Quark, InDesign, PageMaker, etc. (they are defacto standards of which tex cannot replace).  BUT, tex demonstrates an uncanny ability of taking out the by-hand formatting that often times daunts even intelligent minds.  I cannot believe the lengths some folks go through to add a simple table to a word document.  The most impressive that I recall was a table made of lines (as in, shapes) with tabs and spaces to get the words to line up half-assedly Grin
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2007, 08:47:22 pm »

I hope I'm not being inflammatory. I think the crux of the debate is about what kind of things you are trying to do and we misunderstand each other on that point.

I was attempting to say the same thing.<g>

Quote
It would seem that Scribus can export to encapsulated PostScript, which is really cool because that should (hopefully) allow high-quality scaling of any embedded documents.

It depends on what it embedded. If the EPS consists of raster graphics (i.e., bitmapped graphics), they won't scale well in EPS because they're still raster, not vector.

Quote
One reason I <3 LaTeX so much in particular is because most of the documents I read or write are not graphics-rich

Those are precisely the kinds of documents for which LaTeX is a superior tool.

Quote
I can just keep writing and writing without having to worry about adorning the document with heavy formatting, clicking on and resizing frames, or what the outcome will look like.

You shouldn't have to worry about the formatting while you're writing even if you're using a word processor like OOo Writer. Just start the document and write away. Don't bother with formatting at this stage. When you're finished, THEN go through and apply paragraph styles. You could use the same template for all your documents.

The problem is that people don't know how to use paragraph styles. Instead, they format as they go, which is a waste of time and very distracting, as well as being extremely inefficient. The key is to USE STYLES, USE STYLES, USE STYLES. Have as many styles as you need (headings, subheadings, paragraphs with hanging indents, paragraphs indented from both right and left margins, etc.). When you use paragraph styles, you can make global changes in one place and they'll be reflected throughout the document.

But there's no need for you to change anything you're doing. You've found tools you like that do everything you want to do. What more could anyone ask?
--GrannyGeek
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2007, 09:31:35 pm »

Of course raster graphics do not scale as well as vector graphics and that isn't any tool's fault. If Scribus at least has some capability, that's fine: it's certainly not Scribus' problem if one uses JPEGs and they look crappy when blown up.

Of course I've used styles religiously in every word processor I've come across. Even in OpenOffice, I still find them a weak solution for many reasons, not least of which is that changing them generally involves my hands leaving the keyboard, which is of course dreadfully inconvenient.
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