Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Post about projects that involve using Inkscape and Scribus.
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Kjohrf
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Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby Kjohrf » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:52 am

I'm just starting to learn Scribus. I get the feeling it's not at a sufficient quality level to use productively (think Inkscape 0.45 at best), but this is based on limited use so far. What do others think? I appear to be running 1.3.3.14 from January, so perhaps I should look for an update.

My specific qualms so far are very limited Undo capability (many steps are skipped), and snapping to grids and guides is like playing with magnets that are determined to foil proper movement.

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tomh
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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby tomh » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:32 pm

I know that that newer versions are better on the undo/redo front, although I don't think they are perfect. not sure about the guides issue as I don't really need to use scribus that much.

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Kjohrf
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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby Kjohrf » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:41 pm

Thanks! I did update to the newer release, 1.3.7. They have changed some of the UI very substantially, which takes some getting used to. I was starting to get the hang of the older version, and almost all of the tutorials on the web are based on the old UI. Anyway, it does seem put together better, but I need to use it more to be sure of that. The guides are definitely better. I haven't tried undo/redo much yet.

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brynn
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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby brynn » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:56 pm

Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Certainly not professionally, that's for sure!

You know, Scribus has been recommended for me, to convert Inkscape images which contain gradients, blurs and filters to PDF. And I've seen it suggested for others as well, even by me :? (trust too much in advice given to me :roll: ) So now I've finally gotten around to trying to produce a PDF from some Inkscape drawings, actually I'm trying to write some tutorials, using Scribus. Unfortunately, I'm quite disappointed :(

Any computer program which uses a gui, that does not have functioning Undo/Redo, should not see the light of day :evil: imo, even if it's open source and free! For goodness sakes, a desktop publisher without Undo??? omg! That was the first problem I ran into. Documentation scattered around several different webpages, websites, and Help menu, I've learned, is more or less status quo for open source programs in active development. That's been frustrating, but certainly not a deal-breaker. What has been nearly a deal-breaker, is the lack of email, or message board style forum, for support. The only 2 options for Scribus support (beyond tutorials) are 1 - join mailing list (email annoys me) or 2 - IRC chat (I've never tried before). Well, to be fair, there are apparently a couple of forums for non-English-readers/writers.

After spending several hours reading what tutorials I could find, I still could not solve what seem to me to be very, very basic problems. So another couple of hours trying to figure out how to access IRC chat, downloading a client and trying to figure out how to set it up, I finally found myself hooked up and typing my problem. The short version of this part of the story, is there seems little patience for Scribus beginners.

One of the first things I read, as I began to study Scribus, is that Scribus is not to be thought of or used as a text editor to format text. The whole idea is to create your text in a text editor, and formatted as needed; and to create your graphics in some graphics editor. Then both are imported into and combined in the layout that you've created in Scribus. Further I learned about the importance of Styles in Scribus. And that if OpenOffice Writer is used to create the text of the document, Styles are imported automatically into Scribus, avoiding the need to define and apply these important styles in Scribus. (only text is imported from Word, no styles or formatting) So that's what I did -- I created the text of my doc in OO, carefully defining and applying Styles throughout. Unfortunately, when I imported the styled and formatted text, some of the text had lost its formatting, and in some cases, had even lost its style :o What the heck?!!

Well, the gist of what I gleaned from the IRC discussion (besides the aforementioned shortage of patience for beginners), is that it's quite common for this to happen, and that restyling and/or reformatting text in Scribus is almost always needed (even with OOWriter). So what with the non-functional Undo/Redo, together with such a basic import problem, I cannot conclude that Scribus is ready to be used for serious dtp.

I have found a sort of workaround for the style importing problem. My doc consists of 4 styles -- paragraph, 2 list styles, title and subtitle. I discovered that the paragraph, title and subtitle styles imported properly. It was just the list styles that did not. So I simply typed my list as a paragraph, by typing the numbered items, rather than using a numbered list. Now the text imports beautifully :D I still rather dread creating the layout for the images, and importing them, without Undo -- there will be much deleting and starting over, as indeed there already has been, for sure! But I can see that it IS "doable".

Anyway, from this new perspective, I am more eager than ever to have Inkscape capable of fully supported SVG to PDF, including gradients, filters and blurs! (as well as whatever text issues remain) Does anyone know how hard this is going to be to implement/develop, or how long until it might be available?

Thanks for listening, and for any comments :D

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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby ~suv » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:03 pm

brynn wrote:I still rather dread creating the layout for the images, and importing them, without Undo -- there will be much deleting and starting over, as indeed there already has been, for sure!
Scribus has 'Undo' - the only issue with it is inside a text frame (what you do while editing text inside a text frame is not recorded in the Undo history). AFAIU all other operations are recorded in the undo history. So - no need to worry about not being able to undo individual steps while layouting (and keep editing the text externally and not within the the text frame).

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brynn
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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby brynn » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:12 pm

the only issue with it is inside a text frame (what you do while editing text inside a text frame is not recorded in the Undo history

Maybe so, I have not had a whole lot of experience yet. But I know that I could not undo the text import. I had to use context menu > Content > Clear, to remove it so I could import again. Maybe that's considered "inside the frame"?

fizzcat
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Re: Is Scribus Good Enough to Use?

Postby fizzcat » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:03 am

Whether Scribus is good enough to use depends on what you want to use it for. It is a page layout tool. I have used it to layout lots of pages containing images and text, and it has worked really well. I've only had one or two monor problems with PDF output. By the time you get to layout all of the text and images should have been resolved, and only minor changes needed. It is not a word processor. Don't try to use any page layout software (even paid-for software) for word processing if you want to remain sane.

On the other hand don't ever try to use Micosoft Word for serious page layout if you want to remain sane!

Using a page layout tool takes a different mindset. You are dealing with blocks of finished text as a graphic element along with illustrations, rules, folios etc. The book designer will want direct control of the detailed graphical design of these elements. Most publishers who accept electronic submission of manuscripts will specifically request that the text is supplied in a neutral style or as plain vanilla text. The book designer will then spend a while stripping out double spacings, extra paragraph marks etc. until he can flow completely style free text into the text frames and apply his own styles as he wants without any accidental carry-over from the author.

What I'm trying to point out is that page layout software comes from a world where the person writing the text is not the same person who lays out the book. Often it is a positive disadvantage if styles are carried over from word processor to page layout software, as the book designer might not spot any text with the wrong format.

I keep all text in word processor files and update the text in Scribus when I make any changes. It is a pain, but the secret is not to jump into page layout too soon. Wait until the text and graphics are finished.
Clive


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