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Is Express's Problems A Cocoa Problem?

Posted: 2004-10-24 01:43:18

Just so it's not me, I'd request you to take a single page "virgin" Word (Courier 12) or (RTF converted) NW 6.5 document and import it into Express and eyeball each copy. Is the Express version exactly the same as the Word or Classic NW or does the Express one seem to "swell" and run off several bottom sentences into a second page and do you have to reset Express's paragraph ruler settings to keep the same number of characters on the same line as Word or Classic NW?

I've been told that this occurs (and maybe Express's other problems?) because Express uses Cocoa, which draws characters differently than Quickdraw with extra pixel character and line spacing and so on. This is why Mariner's conversions of Classic NW (via RTF) and Word documents are rendered so faithfully (character per character, line per line and paragraph ruler settings) with miminum adjustments.

Maybe it's too late, but maybe Nisus should reconsider using Cocoa in Express. A fast and dirty way "out" would be to "upgrade" NW 6.5 into a OSX version using Quickdraw like Mariner does, which ought be far "easier" to do than converting the whole works to Cocoa. Nisus can call this OSX NW 6.5 "Nisus OSX - Heavy Duty" compared with Express, which could be marketed as a more lightweight OSX Nisus word processor.

James Greenidge

Posted: 2004-10-24 07:11:51
by Peder

Sorry to have to point out a few – let us say – inaccuracies in your post, but they do have a great bearing on what you're saying.
Cocoa does not draw anything on the screen; Cocoa is a programming environment in which NWE has been developed.
The graphics engine in Mac OS X is Quartz (Extreme), and that is what puts NWE on the screen, as it does with any other programme running under X. Since NWE (as is, I think, the later versions of Mariner Write) is OS X only, there's no avoiding Quartz.
Mariner Write was, as far as I know, developed in the Carbon environment, which makes is possible for a programme to run under both Mac OS 9 and X. QuickDraw is the graphics engine in 9 and earlier, and not a programming environment. Nisus has explained why they chose Cocoa intead of carbonizing the old Nisus Writer in their FAQs. Carbonizing NW 6.5 would be a lot of work, most likely to little or no purpose, and without Cocoa we'd have to do without, to take one example, the rather nice Tool Drawer, which frees up space for text (just think of the horror of Word's innumerable tool bars).
But, that clarified, the problem of text reflow remains. However, that can be caused by so many different things: same font in different formats (TrueType, PostScript, OpenType); same name fonts from different foundries; kerning pairs activated or not; other settings in the programme used, etc, etc. The only – reasonably certain – way of creating files with entirely unchanged typography is using pdf:s.
I know, doesn't help you if you have an older document that you want to look the same in a newer version of your application – not to mention a file created with a different application. It just seldom happens that way.


PS Another culprit in the rendering may actually be various differing Style settings (my favourite subject :wink: ), but admittedly, NWE also has a tendency – pointed out elsewhere – to change fonts when files are converted or text pasted from other docs; Helvetica 14 pt seems to be, for some inscrutable reason, a favourite there. But I don't think Cocoa is to blame. Let's see what the NOPs (Nisus Official Person – sorry, Charles, Mark and all) say.

Re: Express Rendering Word and Classic Nisus

Posted: 2004-10-24 17:13:46
Greetings Peder:

Thanks for the clarification. There's just one question left which hinges Express's fortunes and the crux of concern for potential purchasers: How does Mariner Write 3.6.4 "get away" with rendering documents from other apps (Word) and even older NW files so faithfully in formatting and font spacing in OSX when Express can't? Believe me, I want homegrown Express to do it, but this is a major marketing stickling point. It's really not acceptable to many for a company to just say "Oh well, you'll just have to put up and adjust to the way our program changes things converting documents" when there's an alternative program that doesn't shove you around and lets you have it your way -- the way the original doc is.

I just can't believe there's no solution to Express's inability here!

James Greenidge

Posted: 2004-10-25 06:24:37
by Peder
I'm with you, James, and I, for one can't give you an explanation. With the same font, it should be (reasonably) possible. I think Nisus has to do something about font changes. I may take this more lightly than you and other potential users, but please remember, I speak from the perspective of someone who merely processes text in the word processor and worry about the look of it in the layout programme :wink:


Posted: 2004-10-25 14:43:33
by charles
<p>Hi Jim:
Perhaps you could tell us more about what you are trying to do that makes it so important for you to have documents open with exactly the same number of lines per page/characters per line, etc. If we better understand what you are trying to achieve, perhaps we can find another way to solve your problem.
Also, I'm not able to reproduce such faithful rendering as you describe with Mariner Write. As I've mentioned to you before, every word processor opens the exact same file with different lines per page and characters per line. For example, I created several simple files using different common fonts and here is what I found:
<p>I'm not saying your wrong. I just don't see the same faithful rendering you describe. What am I doing differently than you?
PS: The above results are actually for NWE2.0. In response to your feedback before, 2.0.1 contracted line spacing by one pixel so that its line count is closer to Word, Mariners and NW Classics. This has led to complaints from other users because they think the text is too close together; so we are still trying to find the right solution here. :)</p>

From The Horses' Mouth

Posted: 2004-10-26 00:45:38

The text rendering in Mariner Write is more true to the original because we don't only rely on the system to draw our text but we do a lot of the calculations ourselves. In the past there was no option, but this is now a double edged sword. Many people want the great text rendering that Mac OS X provides. The text rendering has issues in Carbon which force us to do some of our own work. In Cocoa, the text rendering is handled well by the system but repagination will occur when rendering older documents. To further complicate the issue, Text input methods and fonts play a part in this as well. We attempt to never re-flow text. In the future when we add full Unicode text input support we will need to figure out how to address this issue.

Thanks for your feedback.

Best Regards, Dan


Dan Noonan
Technical Support Specialist
Mariner Software