When I’ve finished doing my accounts (I hate it) I might check out this:
I’ve downloaded it, as for some documents I need something of a page-layout kind. Much as it is my favourite word processor, I’m afraid Nisus Writer Pro doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to placing graphics; Swift Publisher 2 goes haywire after about 6 pages and there doesn’t seem to have been any development for a long time; and I’m afraid I’m really not that comfortable in Pages, though that may well just be a matter of habit. InDesign I do like, but I haven’t been able to afford to upgrade from CS1, which means having to reboot from an external running 10.4.11, and that’s often too much bother.
iStudio Publisher looks like it might be a solution, but I currently have one hell of a problem … the way they do their trial licence seems to be blocked by the Great Firewall of China, so it’s crippled on my machine at the moment … I can’t import text — though it seems I could import graphics — can’t save, can’t print …
On the other hand, the devs are being very responsive and helpful. Apparently there’s a new upgrade release coming out in the next few days that they hope may solve the problem.
I haven’t downloaded it yet, but I think it is a great idea. There is a yawning gap between Pages and the big league layout programs such as InDesign.
I suspect that iStudio Publisher would have all I’d require myself.
I hope the problem with “Great Firewall of China” gets resolved.
As an aside I do get visitors to my website very occasionally from mainland China which suggests that the Chinese authorities don’t see my website as a threat. I’m a bit disappointed actually
Are you familiar with Scribus?
Free and powerful. Cross-platform.
I didn’t know about Scribus.
I guess I should have a look at it. I confess I don’t get excited about open source applications because I find the ones I look at to be yuk
It may be I am over picky or just unlucky. The two big ones I’ve explored are The Gimp and OpenOffice in its Mac native version which I think was NeoOffice. The latter I did try ages ago so maybe it has improved.
I didn’t like The Gimp or NeoOffice personally.
However maybe Scribus is a different matter.
As a “former OSS” person I am ashamed to say that I am not a fan of most OSS software that presents a GUI. I think the problem is that a majority of OSX OSS is built for Linux then ported over. Ex GiMP and OpenOffice. The Apple interface standards are part of what makes OSX my choice over Linux, Solaris, and other BSD derivatives. Add to that the amount of fiddling to get some of this stuff to run and I’ll pass.
I find this true of most “cross platform” software that is not supported by multiple development teams. Maybe I am getting picky and resistant in my olding age, but I would rather spend the $$ than waste time with most of this stuff any more. Developers like Keith here and Kevin over at MoneyWell make it even easier to just pony up the money.
Now if we are talking about system level daemons my tune changes. Then again this is what I do for a living.
Just a note that Adobe, at least in the U.S., is currently offering upgrades from any previous CS to the current CS4 at the same price as an upgrade from CS3 - no extra fees to upgrade older versions. I think the offer is valid into February.
Look at iCalamus: good app & good support !!!
Thanks for the info, Lenf, but, apart from being behind the Great Chinese Firewall, which has caused me problems with Adobe in the past, have you any idea how much Adobe screws us Brits with their pricing? Early last year, a bit of Adobe software was nearly double the price if your credit card was a UK one, compared with the price for you guys in the US.
And no, I haven’t had any mail from Adobe talking about a special upgrade offer. And I still can’t afford to pay such amounts out of my wife’s income.
I have used Ragtime (education version), which is a German product, and apparently quite popular in the EU.
Ragtime, available for both Mac and Windows.
OK, I’ve downloaded Scribus for a look — when I finally managed to work out where to get the Aqua DMG, and not have to go through installing X11 and learning how to compile it myself. I’ve only had a very quick look and haven’t tried to put anything together on it, but here are some immediate impressions.
Plus side: It’s free!
Middling side: The UI is OK, not totally Mac-like, but it doesn’t scream “I’m really a Windows or X11/Linux app” at you. Some rather weird visual features, though, like the document is a window inside the app window and has the rounded corners at the top together with the traffic lights and the resizing handle at the bottom. I guess that’d be useful sometime, but it looks very odd.
Down side: (1) It doesn’t register any of my external disks or my .me disk which is a real bummer; (2) it can’t find any of my Adobe fonts, including most of my preferred fonts — there seems to be a way in the preferences to give it an alternative pathway to the fonts, which might mean I could get at those, but it feels like I would lose all the others, including Chinese as a result; (3) minimal paste-board space.
I’ll play with it a bit, though.
[Edit] It won’t import RTF files, only plain text files … so, unless you want to spend a lot of time and energy cutting all the RTF code out of your file, if you want to import one of them you’re going to have to run it through Nisus or TextEdit or Pages or whatever … in which case, unless the layout is truly complex, you might as well just do it in Pages.
Ragtime … looks great … $695 as I can’t get an educational version.
iCalamus … looks nice … €129.
I could probably go for an InDesign upgrade for that.
iStudio Publisher $50 … there’s the difference.
More on this … the really good thing is that Andy Carrott the sales/support person has been really helpful, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, there is finally a way to get a trial license for it via email while living behind the Great Firewall of China! In the current version, 1.03. The trial license is 30 days from when they issue it, so although I’ve only just installed it on my MBA, it’s 3 days after I received it, so I’ve only got 27 days.
It looks interesting, but this particular version (Publisher: there seem to be a “Book” and a “Pro” version in the eventual pipeline) seems to concentrate very much on the graphics side of things, and will be best orientated towards graphics-heavy flyers, advertisements and the likes.
They seem to be rolling their own text engine (unlike Swift Publisher which uses the Apple text-engine) which if they get it right may bode well for the future, but it lacks so many basic features at the moment — text import, character and paragraph styles, tabs, find/replace … and if you copy text from an RTF and paste it in, instead of hard paragraph breaks you get line-feeds … to name just a few — that it will be virtually unusable till version 2 for anything other than a single-page affair.
And it is slow! You can only highlight by dragging, and if you highlight one of those LFs and press it takes 6 seconds to do the replacement on my 2.16 GHz MBP. If you go to the line after the LF and do a backspace, it takes 3 seconds to delete the LF and another 3 seconds to enter the CR after pressing . About 3 seconds to reformat a paragraph of about 8 lines from ragged-right to justified.
They publish a development roadmap, according to which those basic text management features will be put in place in version 1.4, but it’ll be version 2 before they get round to speeding things up.
It has a lot of graphics things built in, including text on a curve and so on, but apart from that one, I use OmniGraffle Pro to produce all my graphics and I have Vector Designer too, so I don’t need what they provide. The eventual “Book” version will strip out those, I hope, putting in headers and footers, page-numbering, footnotes, endnotes, indexing and other such book oriented features.
So if you’re looking for a low-cost page-makeup app, it looks like Pages is still the best bet. Swift Publisher goes haywire after about 10 pages, and the pros and cons of the alternatives I mentioned in a previous post. I wish I was wealthy enough to blue USD50 to help fund the continuing development of this one, but on a monthly salary of USD730, that’s not an option.