NWE v Apple Pages

Have a problem? A question? This is the place for answers from other Express users.
jabbott
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Post by jabbott »

[quote="charles"]

On a related note, if we were to focus on one or two things to improve long document support in Nisus Writer Express, what would you say it should be? Typing speed? File open time? Find/Replace performance? More writing tools of some type? Something else?

-Charles[/quote]

Charles, thank you for asking, this is what I would like to see:
--greater speed in performing operations in long documents. NWE sometimes takes many seconds (around 10) just to select a few words in a long document (over 105,000 words).
--greater stability--which in a way is tied to my first request. When NWE takes an unusual amount of time to perform an action you're holding your breath, wondering if a crash is in your immediate future. Not conducive to good writing. :-)
--typing speed.
--return to the "concordance" style of reporting results on find/replace. This is particularly useful in long documents as it gives you an eagle-eye view of the relative positions of a term in your manuscript, and was one of the most useful features of Nisus Classic for long documents.

As Anne mentioned, we were spoiled by Nisus Classic. Thanks for listening.

Best,
Jeff

charles
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Post by charles »

Hi:

Thanks everyone for your feedback on speed and other long document features. I am curious about the speed issues that several of you had commented on. Our latest release should have fixed any speed issues you might have in long documents for typing, scrolling, and applying attribute changes especially. For those of you who have reported problems with these issues: are you using the latest version? Are these issues still a problem for you even after you update?

Thanks also for letting us know what other features are important to you in long documents. We will take these into account as we plan our upcoming releases. We have thought about most of what you have all asked for already...now its just a matter of building them all with our small team!

Cheers,
-Charles
Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

Tacitus
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Post by Tacitus »

charles wrote:Hi:

Thanks also for letting us know what other features are important to you in long documents. ..........

-Charles
Hi Charles,

I'm rather late to this thread, but one long doc feature I would like to see is some means of collapsing text, rather like Pat James' Collapse/Expand macro used to do in Classic. If you are not familiar with this, it collapsed selected text to the first two lines in each paragraph and coloured the text red (or blue - whatever). This made it easier to move round a long doc. I suspect the way macros are now set up would make this impossible, since it would need to operate on an open file to be of any use.

I suppose what I would really like is an outliner, but anyone familiar with the Dartmouth list will recall this was debated to death back in the days of Nisus 5.1 Still one would be nice.

Cheers,

Tacitus
History is a nightmare from which I am trying to escape.

HeatherKay
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Post by HeatherKay »

Speaking as one who doesn't use NWE for long document work, may I make an observation?

For those that require long document work, would there be any mileage in letting NWE work with multiple documents as if they were one?

I mean, if I wrote a novel (maybe one day :wink: ) I would be inclined to work on it as a chapter per document. If there was a more Mac-like way of treating those individual documents as if they were one 'book', it might solve a couple of issues users have at present.

First, it would speed the application up, as it won't be processing several tens of thousands of words. Second, it would answer some of the needs of a TOC feature. Thirdly, several documents are less likely to be damaged by a corruption to one: add the "back-up elsewhere" feature for nirvana.

Obviously, NWE would need to manage page numbering changes on the fly, but I'm thinking here of the palette (or whatever) handling the folio stuff like InDesign's book palette.

midwinter
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Post by midwinter »

charles wrote:Thanks everyone for your feedback on speed and other long document features. I am curious about the speed issues that several of you had commented on.
Charles: I've opened my dissertation (250 pages) in Nisus and had no problems whatsoever.
Thanks also for letting us know what other features are important to you in long documents. We will take these into account as we plan our upcoming releases. We have thought about most of what you have all asked for already...now its just a matter of building them all with our small team!
I look forward to seeing what you guys come up with, but I must say again that I believe it is imperative for ya'll to really offer something special in terms of the way Nisus deals with documents. Yes, you need these basic features (tables, columns, lists), but lots of this other stuff (outliners, bibliographic thingies, etc.) will be handled better by other apps. There are lots of niches where an app like Nisus could really shine, especially considering much of the word processing metaphor is still based on things like literally cutting and pasting strips of text to re-arrange elements of a document. Often, when I'm writing, I wind up opening a second document called "cut stuff" where I place elements I want to move or don't quite know what to do with. Some sort of dumping ground, built into the WP, would be an amazing asset. Consider that margins in WP documents are still verboten, when all documents could treat them as two columns on either side of the main body—and accept input. Why are we locked into a single-pane view? Even if we split that pane, we are still only looking at one document. What if we could divide a document up not just in terms of splitting the view, but as a way to keep from cluttering the tooldrawer?

OK. I need to stop now, otherwise I'll start mocking things up again.

cstross
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Post by cstross »

Heather: "For those that require long document work, would there be any mileage in letting NWE work with multiple documents as if they were one?"

Not for me, nope. I've tried writing books as separate chapters. The chapter is not actually a unit of text composition in a novel -- it just delineates chunks of plot/story development, but those aspects of the book are continuous throughout the entire work. If you try writing a novel in separate chapters, you end up keeping all the separate chapter files open simultaneously and losing your place among them (my experience, and that of 90% of the other authors I've spoken to).

Writing a book in multiple files seems to be a technique most applicable to short story collections or to non-fiction, especially where multiple authors are discussing different aspects of a subject.

HeatherKay
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Post by HeatherKay »

cstross wrote:Not for me, nope. I've tried writing books as separate chapters.
8) Like I said, I don't do long text files.

It was an idea. I wondered whether the putative TOC palette (with many of the functions of the Document Manager) might be able to handle some of the plot thread work - somehow.

Perhaps that's for the software engineers at Nisus. They probably have a much better finger on their user base than I do.



:wink:

charles
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Post by charles »

HeatherKay wrote:For those that require long document work, would there be any mileage in letting NWE work with multiple documents as if they were one?
Heather:

We have thought about this one quite a bit; it is definitely a good idea. I can't really talk much more about it right now though.

-Charles
Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

midwinter
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Post by midwinter »

charles wrote: I can't really talk much more about it right now though.
Sure you can. We won't tell.

MacSailor
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Post by MacSailor »

Today I had the chance to lay my hands on Pages for five minutes or so. I was not impressed. I expected something special, something more than just an application that deals with or handles templates.

Well, five minutes are probably not enough to make a fair judgment, but I’m still not overwhelmed and did not feel any euphoria regarding the product. But I maybe have to give it more time. Give it time to show it’s best pages. ;-)

As far as I can tell, NWE and Mellel seems to be far more mature products, in spite of the fact that they still have a long way to go before any of them fill all my needs.
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

vall4
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Post by vall4 »

I agree with midwinter. If Nisus could develop something like the left-hand window pane of iTunes, which would list all open documents and possibly even recently accessed docs or folders, it would make it much more easy to switch between open docs, cutting and pasting from one to the other, and referencing various chapters iin a multi-sectioned work. I don't necessarily mean making documents into subsections, as CopyWrite does (although that might be interesting), but simply allowing an open window pane with immediate reference and one-click access to other open docs while one is working on the current doc. Such a feature would be amazing actually.

Ryan
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Post by Ryan »

Sorry to be the voice of dissent, but I actually prefer having separate windows, with separate documents managed however I want them. I prefer the simplicity of just a window with my text, and a drawer I can slide in and out for my tools. Simple, sleek, elegant.

Of course, in some applications the single window approach is great. Obviously, iTunes is one example. But a media app is a different beast entirely from a word processor (I like to point out the obvious, by the way). Having a document manager that was so integrally and inextricably a part of the user experience would put me off, since I so appreciate the simplicity of the NWE interface.

Now, there are definitely programs that have provided excellent ways to choose between these two ideas. Xcode is probably the best example, where you can opt for the Project Builder-esque single-window interface (with a pane on the left showing your documents), or many windows. OmniWeb is also an example, letting you use the lovely graphical tabs or not. If NWE were to take an approach like this, we could all be happy, eh? :D

Ryan

midwinter
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Post by midwinter »

Ryan wrote:OmniWeb is also an example, letting you use the lovely graphical tabs or not. If NWE were to take an approach like this, we could all be happy, eh? :D

Ryan
Omniweb's model is *exactly* what I'm pushing for. An optional document manager in a drawer. No other word processors offer anything like this.

rallx
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Post by rallx »

midwinter wrote: Omniweb's model is *exactly* what I'm pushing for. An optional document manager in a drawer. No other word processors offer anything like this.
Actually, BBEdit and the now free Text Wrangler do have this function, but they are text editors, not word processors.

rallx
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Post by rallx »

midwinter wrote: Omniweb's model is *exactly* what I'm pushing for. An optional document manager in a drawer. No other word processors offer anything like this.
Actually, BBEdit and the now free Text Wrangler do have this function, but they are text editors, not word processors.

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