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crash, crash, crash

Posted: 2007-01-29 12:34:59
by foobar
How stable is Nisus Writer Express, really, in everyday use? Please share your experiences.

I have found footnotes to be a constant source of trouble in Nisus. After purchasing it for my academic work, it hasn't lived up to its billing as an everyday, reliable word processor. I've experienced crash after crash involving moving, restyling, and cutting and pasting footnotes and endnotes. Normally I just crank autosave up to every minute and live with it, figuring this is the price you pay for dealing with nice, friendly, independent software developers, but now I have important documents I basically can't edit without hanging or crashing NWX, and I'm getting aggravated. I've submitted bug reports, some months ago, and heard nothing much back; I've seen a couple of dot-releases claim they'd fixed footnote bugs, but my NWX still crashes daily. A friend to whom I recommended NWX recently lost a draft of a whole thesis chapter when the program crashed without warning.

It's probably time for me to move on -- I certainly can't stomach paying more money for an upgrade to a program that seems this half-baked to me -- but I thought I'd ask about others' experiences first. (FYI, my working Mac is a completely vanilla setup used only for writing, running the latest OS X for Intel, so there doesn't seem much chance there's some oddball software conflict here.)

I know there are some frequent users of this forum who don't like to hear any criticism of Nisus, but I would like to ask them just to report on their own experience rather than commenting ceaselessly about how they just don't understand where the rest of us are coming from. In my experience, and I really <i>want</i> to like Nisus, this is a buggy and half-complete program that's not yet worth the money it costs, with a slow-moving and uncommunicative development schedule. I can't help thinking it seems like it'll be a great word processor -- sometime in 2012 or so. For now it seems almost like an indefinitely extended beta.

Posted: 2007-01-29 15:07:24
by cchapin
Sorry to hear that you're having these kinds of problems, foobar. I'm sure others can do a better job of suggesting ways to prevent crashes (delete preferences, repair permissions or whatever). I'll just tell you my experience.

I had to deal with crashes with the early versions of Nisus Writer Express. Once it got to 2.0 or soon after that, I found that it crashed only very rarely. I have not done much with footnotes, so I can't say whether that is an area of special peril, but I have put together some pretty long and some pretty complex (or at least pretty weird) documents.

Another difference between my experience and yours is that I've found Nisus Software to be among the more responsive software makers. I'll often, not always, get a note back on the same day or within a few days of submitting feedback.

All this is not to negate your experience. I hope we can help you get to the bottom of the crashes because I've found Nisus Writer Express, while a little thin on features, to be very stable.


Posted: 2007-01-29 16:37:02
by martin
Feel free to discuss your experiences. I just have a few things to add:

Documents with many footnotes (or "complex" footnotes) do tend to cause instability in Nisus Writer Express. This is something we are working on for Nisus Writer Pro, along with additional footnote features.

When you submit a crash/feedback report we do not always respond, especially if there's nothing helpful for us to disclose to the user. We definitely look at all the reports we receive, but honestly there's a great deal of them. Hopefully you can understand why we can't reply to each one.

Posted: 2007-01-29 19:58:57
by dshan
I've found it to be very stable. I use it almost every day and haven't had it crash on me since 2005-08-10 @ 17:42:53.166 according to CrashReporter (that's amazing, Migration Assistant actually brought those logs across from my old PB G4!). And that was apparently NWX 2.1.3.

But then I've never used footnotes...

not stable enough

Posted: 2007-01-29 20:18:50
by Ruchama
I am also a loyal user of nisus software and I also serve as sort of a computer advisor to my father who is using nisus for his research more than 10 hours a day, almost every day. Nisus does crash more times than any other application we use, in various and unexpected circumstances.

It is annoying, sometimes (when file's content disappears...) irritating.
deleting prefs file helps to reduce frequency, but it is tedios to reset all prefs again and again. We do like nisus, better than other choices, but stability issue does need extensive attention..

thanks in advance to Nisus people..

not stable nough?

Posted: 2007-01-29 23:43:13
by tbo
Just for balancing out: I think the main question is, what you use NW for. I use it for text editing, sometimes preparing drafts, but no layout work and only occasional footnotes. For a program at that price I am very happy with it. I wouldn't take my old car to the races, so I don't use NWX for long and complex documents (I wouldn't use this bloat thing from Redmond, either). There are applications for every use, and we should not expect NWX to live up to pro-apps like Quark or InDesign when it comes to layout, nor FrameMaker or Tex when it comes to longer documents.
NWP might be another class, though.


Posted: 2007-01-30 04:03:01
by Ruchama
sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but in truth, I don't think our applications are much different from yours, texts that are written are from the humanities fields, no equations, no pictures no special pagination- just simple word processing. I think footnotes and several fonts are no special demand from a 2007 word processor.. I have been using footnotes with computers since the 80s...

I have written my PhD in science in the 95, with NW, including detailed pictures, equations, graphs, footnotes and whatever- except from long printing time (which had nothing to do with NW but with the capacity of the machines and heavy files) I had no problems.

Still, we believe in NWE, especially when we see the efforts done to solve the problems. We wait (eagerly) to the more stable version and to all other additions good old NW spoiled us with..

Posted: 2007-01-30 13:25:32
by Patrick J

With respect to stability I have found Nisus Writer Express to be very good. I've only be using it for seven months but I've been using it a lot.

However I have not used footnotes very often. Oddly enough I started really using them a lot just this weekend for the first time.

Nisus Writer Classic was terrifically stable, but funnily enough I remember it did have a footnotes bug, though I can't remember the details. However it was very well documented. It may have been cured for version 6.

I do hope that the problem is solved for foobar, I don't doubt for one moment that it exists.

Posted: 2007-01-31 00:56:38
by Tacitus
Patrick J wrote: With respect to stability I have found Nisus Writer Express to be very good. .................I do hope that the problem is solved for foobar, I don't doubt for one moment that it exists.
My own experience is very similar. I use NWE most days and have experienced no trouble. I swore by Classic Nisus as an absolutely rock solid app and for me at least NWE is starting to approach that degree of utter reliability. I use footnotes, sometimes quite long, but possibly not long enough to cause any trouble. One thing I do miss from Classic Nisus are the collapse/expand macros, which made navigating long docs so much easier :-)

Maybe trash the prefs and Nisus New File and do a clean install. Other than that I can't suggest any cure.

Posted: 2007-01-31 12:56:25
by Patrick J
Tacitus wrote:One thing I do miss from Classic Nisus are the collapse/expand macros, which made navigating long docs so much easier :-)
That is very kind of you to mention them :D

If there is an invisible style in Nisus Writer Pro then collapse/expand macros could maybe live again!

One thing I think NWP might well have is the document manager as in Word which I would greatly welcome myself. This makes skipping through long documents very easy indeed. I think NWP might have this because I see it in the pics though it isn't mentioned in the text.