what are the advantages of NWE over Mellel?

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TimL
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what are the advantages of NWE over Mellel?

Post by TimL » 2006-02-09 04:13:19

I've read some of the old posts and a lot of people talk about how they don't like the Mellel interface, and how styles are difficult to use. Those factors don't really bother me much (you can turn off the brushed metal, and I'm willing to put some time in to learn an app if I'm going to use it all the time).

The main reason I'm considering NWE is because it retains styles if I have to share documents with Word users, and I'd like an app that is more stable and doesn't have the quirks of Word. The main feature I like in Mellel is the outlining pane that allows you to see and quickly navigate the structure of a long document.

I just answered my own question, but curious what other people think who've tried both apps.

Reiner
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Post by Reiner » 2006-02-09 04:40:27

imho Mellel is the greatest wordprocessor which ever existed. It is still in developement what means, that it isn't completed, many important features are still missing (the same with NWX), as well as while it's permanent (and fast) improvement process users' needs and wishes are considered.

I don't share the opinion that Mellel is complicated to use. It uses its own way and does not try to copy any other wordprocessor. But that is an advantage imho. They way Mellel works is much more logical for me than its competitors ways but this may be an item of personal preferences.

I'm using NWX also in cases I have to write little unimportant things I have to share with others (mostly word users, sad but true). Mellel uses its own file format for good reasons and you have to export files to rtf (or doc, but I would prefer rtf). So if the texts are small, I use NWX then I don't have to handle two files with the same contents. But if writer longer texts I always use Mellel. The export-thing is worth the ease of use and comfort Mellel provides imho. (See the Mellel-forum for a long rtf-ex-and-import-thread, which is not without problems.)

Also I bought NWX because of sentimental reasons: I was a enthusiastic Nisus Writer Classic user for years. But this is not very rational I must say and I would say Mellel is the real inheritor of the good old Nisus Writer on Mac OS X.

All in all I would say NWX and Mellel are the best two wordprocessors for Mac OS X. I prefer Mellel. But e. g. if you need more than just basic find and replace features or the ability of scripting you have to use NWX or wait until Mellel can do this too. The find-replace of NWX is until now unbeaten. Also it is a decision of personal taste. Just try both.

If you understand german language, have a look at the comparison of AbiWordk, Melle, NeoOffice, NWX and Pages on http://apfelwiki.de/wiki/Tests/WordAlternativenTest

TimL
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Post by TimL » 2006-02-09 05:16:58

I've read that thread about rtf export in Mellel, those are the reasons that I'm using Word instead for the time being.

The reason I ask is that the Mellel developers claim that they can build a more powerful word processor by not using RTF as the native format. I'm inclined to believe them, and probably their nifty outlining features are one example. However, I'm willing to make the trade-off, as compatibility is too important. And I don't really see the advantage of treating outline headings as "special objects" as opposed to using style headings as in Word*, apparently it allows for a lot of customization for outline headings. If Nisus can add something like the Document Map function in Word (I think it's changed its name in Word 2004), that'd be good enough for me.

*see http://forum.redlers.com/viewtopic.php?p=1538#1538

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SteveH
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Post by SteveH » 2006-02-09 07:47:03

Sorry for the long reply! As part of a Usenet discussion on Pages, I recently posted my own views of the relative strengths of the two applications.

I use both and rate them both highly but use them in slightly different way. NWE is a tool that lets one focus on writing and doesn't let much get in the way. Mellel is a great tool for creating structured documents.
For me the true word processors that stand out are Nisus Writer Express and Mellel. My first thought was that there is a lot of overlap between these two but the reality is somewhat different. Both are Cocoa applications but things start to differ from there on:

NWE uses RTF which means there are few problems in moving data to other platforms; Mellel uses a proprietary format (although moving to an XML format) and can therefore be harder to migrate to other platforms. XML won't really solve this problem unless you are happy to hack around with the raw text or until someone creates a stylesheet.

Both applications support read and write to Word formats although from my experience Nisus hold onto formatting better then Mellel. Post-posting note: Page 2 is now fantastic at importing Word docs.

NWE has a fantastically simple implementation of paragraph and character styles where Mellel has a steep (vertical) learning curve. The real strength of Mellel is that is is fantastic for long, structured documents such as technical specifications or academic papers. Mellel also has support for tables of contents, references, citations etc that are not currently available in NWE.

Of the two, NWE is unique in that it supports Linkback which can be useful for working with documents that include a lot of graphics.

I would recommend both of these without hesitation. There's always Word of course and to be fair it does have its strengths but I have never liked using it and tend to move text over once I have created it in other applications. My problems with Word may be unique to me but include:

1. Text is not rendered onto the screen as beatifully as it is in the apps listed above.

2. Scrolling in documents is poor. I tend to work with long tech docs so this is important.

3. It feels buggy and particularly unresponsive with large docs.

The BIG plus associated with Word is that documents are exchangeable with the Windows world with no problem. If you have to use Windows Word docs with things like Macros, custom templates this can be a big winner.

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joehardy
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Post by joehardy » 2006-02-09 08:37:09

SteveH wrote:Sorry for the long reply! As part of a Usenet discussion on Pages, I recently posted my own views of the relative strengths of the two applications.

I use both and rate them both highly but use them in slightly different way. NWE is a tool that lets one focus on writing and doesn't let much get in the way. Mellel is a great tool for creating structured documents.
[
To me, the greatest strength of Nisus is the focus on writing. I mainly need a word processor for (a) short documents such as syllabi, and now that NWE has list capability, it works fine; and (b) longer documents such as my short story writing.
Word can be set to turn most defaults off but it still seems intrusive sometimes. With the customized palettes, NWE gets out of my way except for what I want it to give me and lets me get on with writing.
Now were I to do a lot of page layout work, then I would stick with Pages which does it very well.
By the way, I import my NWE-created work (which I write chapter by chapter, in no particular order) into Pages since Pages has table of contents and the import works very well.
<a href="http://web.mac.com/joehardy">Blog the Day!</a>

The Antiquarian
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Post by The Antiquarian » 2006-02-09 09:41:42

One word: unicode. I stuck with Mellel for a while because I discovered unicode (when Word for Mac didn't support it) and saw that it was the future of computing for those using non-Roman alphabets; at the time, NWE was very basic (didn't even do footnotes). But as I discovered more about unicode, I also discovered Mellel's less than perfect implementation of it. Specifically, combining diacriticals will not work with left-to-right languages, at least with the unicode font that comes built-in with OS X (Lucida Grande). Sometimes I just have to use them - and the last straw came when I had to use TextEdit (!) to make a teaching handout because Mellel, 'designed especially for scholars' as they tell us, could not make the combined characters I needed for my class on ancient Greek accentuation. As I wrote to them, there is no feature more important to the scholars I know than the simple ability to produce the correct characters with the correct diacritical signs. (Even the current version of Word for Mac can't do these unicode combining characters, nor - surprisingly enough - could Pages 1: I haven't tried Pages 2.) So I switched to NWE, which of course can manage all this, and since then have seen the further important advantage it enjoys of .rtf file format.
FILOSOFOU=MEN A)/NEU MALAKI/AS

gemboy27
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if you know what I mean

Post by gemboy27 » 2006-02-09 12:06:36

Nisus has a much better, and more open, forum

Gem*Boy
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education/Mark Twain (1835-1910)

midwinter
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Post by midwinter » 2006-02-11 15:39:47

I really, seriously, do not like writing in iTunes, which is what writing in Mellel feels like.

jwx1
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Type and text formatting

Post by jwx1 » 2006-02-14 11:14:44

are why I generally prefer Mellel.

It supports Open Type features, such as small caps, swashes, old style figures, and many other OT features that make formatting papers much faster. Nisus does not choose to implement these, nor does it provide access to the OT features included in OS X. (I don't know why, and have asked many times.) Also, changing type sizes by one point is easier in Mellel, particularly in text sizes.

Find and replace ARE much better in NWE, but the massive Insert menu options in Mellel
help me a lot.

In general, I like the text rendering/casting engine better in NWE, but the type features make the case for Mellel.

My 2 cents.

John

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Post by MacSailor » 2006-02-14 13:10:35

If I type the same text in Word, NWE and Mellel, the text looks awful in Word, good in NWE and beyond perfection in Mellel.

I don't know why, but it seems to me that whatever I type/write, I'm typing/writing better in Mellel than in any other word processor. :?

I have used many different word processors over the years, starting with MacWrite II, Taste, Wordperfect for Mac, Nisus Writer Classic to Abiword, OpenOffice, Word v.x, NWE and Mellel.

My favorites are in Classic Nisus Writer and Wordperfect, and in MacOSX Mellel and NWE.

NWE is easier to use from the start and I really like the way it behaves in many areas, but at this time I believe that Mellel is far more powerful as a writing tool (especially after you managed to learn to use the software).

It will be interesting to see the development of both these fine products.
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

midwinter
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Post by midwinter » 2006-02-14 14:29:05

I have noticed that the text trawing is really, really pretty in Mellel, too.

Edit: Hm. I guess I just made that up. Where do I go to do my penance, Nisus guys?
Last edited by midwinter on 2006-02-14 14:48:24, edited 1 time in total.

joao
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Post by joao » 2006-02-14 14:46:13

I've used Mellel a bit, and I just can get beyond its awkward interface and the over-reliance on styles as the main source of handling text.

The problems with the interface go beyond just the metal look or "writing in iTunes" as has been mentioned. I don't find the bouncing palettes to be useful, because they are visually distracting and I have to spend far more time opening the ones I want than with NWE's toodrawers. NWE gives me two very clearn writing environments (page and draft view), and I find I can concentrate on my writing far more than I can with Mellel. When I need to manipulate text, NWE is far easier to use with both its tooldrawers and a much easier keyboard command system than Mellel.

Yes, I could use the keyboard command system available in OS X to assign keyboard commands in Mellel, but it's a very kludgy workaround and takes up far too much of my time.

I also don't like how Mellel limits so many keyboard commands just to styles. If you don't like Mellel's styles implementation - and I don't - then it's nearly impossible to work with the program in a way that feels user-friendly.

I also find NWE's tables to be more sophisticated and easy to use.

Mellel has some interesting ideas behind its interface, but it's too busy and too much "their way or the highway" to get work done. I really have tried to like it, but NWE gives me far more opportunities to work the way I want to than Mellel does. Without a radical re-design of its interface and a re-thinking of styles implementation, I really don't have any interest in experimenting with Mellel any further.

Jzents
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Post by Jzents » 2006-02-15 12:13:36

I find myself unable to do without either of them. Mellel provides much better control over footnote format than NWE. As an academic that is very important at times, as is its integration with Bookends©. On the other hand, I do outlines for students a lot, and I prefer Legal outline form (e.g., 1, 1.1, 1.1.1, etc.) with each level indented appropriately. This is cannot be done in Mellel using their outline implementation. You have to use auto titles. That involves a manual—with no keyboard shortcut—assignment of each level. At least in Nisus, you can do it and only have to click on the change level markers. (Alas neither allows you to easily assign a style to an outline level so that the style changes when the outline level changes, a la Word, Neo/OpenOffice.) Nisus will auto correct my common misspellings e.g., t e h for the, which Mellel does not currently do. Unfortunately, neither has the great auto-complete feature that Neo/OpenOffice does. The current implementation of that in Nisus is not usable. OK, I have pontificated enough, Cheers!
Jeffrey Zents
jzents@mac.com

Jzents
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Post by Jzents » 2006-05-01 09:12:19

The Antiquarian wrote:One word: unicode. I stuck with Mellel for a while because I discovered unicode (when Word for Mac didn't support it) and saw that it was the future of computing for those using non-Roman alphabets; at the time, NWE was very basic (didn't even do footnotes). But as I discovered more about unicode, I also discovered Mellel's less than perfect implementation of it. Specifically, combining diacriticals will not work with left-to-right languages, at least with the unicode font that comes built-in with OS X (Lucida Grande). Sometimes I just have to use them - and the last straw came when I had to use TextEdit (!) to make a teaching handout because Mellel, 'designed especially for scholars' as they tell us, could not make the combined characters I needed for my class on ancient Greek accentuation. As I wrote to them, there is no feature more important to the scholars I know than the simple ability to produce the correct characters with the correct diacritical signs. (Even the current version of Word for Mac can't do these unicode combining characters, nor - surprisingly enough - could Pages 1: I haven't tried Pages 2.) So I switched to NWE, which of course can manage all this, and since then have seen the further important advantage it enjoys of .rtf file format.
In what way do you find Nisus any easier to use here than any other app? I too often need Greek with accents. I just use the keyboard pallet and SIL Greek fonts which have the characters combined with the accents. Then I just pick the correct character/accent combination and presto. How are you doing it in Nisus? Thank you!
Jeffrey Zents
jzents@mac.com

gemboy27
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dooodes....

Post by gemboy27 » 2006-05-01 16:33:17

Nisus is better because it has Gem*Boy as a beta tester

what else could you ask for....man it is a cinch


intel imac G5, NWE 2.7b8
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education/Mark Twain (1835-1910)

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