[scribus] Flowing Text Across Frames

"Christoph Schäfer" christoph-schaefer at gmx.de
Tue Jul 8 17:19:34 CEST 2008

-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Thu, 03 Jul 2008 19:31:51 -0700
> Von: Gerry Snyder <mesmerizerfan at gmail.com>
> An: Scribus User Mailing List <scribus at lists.scribus.net>
> Betreff: Re: [scribus] Flowing Text Across Frames

> John Culleton wrote:
> > As often happens with newer open source projects, the documentation is 
> > done last, and never quite catches up....   
> If a noobie can put in $.02, my first analysis of scribus was "very good 
> s/w with minimal docs." Then I discovered the wiki. Now it's "very good 
> s/w with a lot of useful docs." And one of the great strengths of the 
> wiki concept is that it shifts the onus of good documentation from 
> "them" to "us."

To be honest, one of the problems is that many people who are complaining about missing documentation don't even bother to read what's available. The wiki has been available for years, and it contains heaps of useful documents, including detailed instructions for the use of CMake. The latter has been there two years, IIRC, and it's been continually updated, and even translated. Moreover, the wiki has a search feature. I guess more than 60% of the questions asked on the mailing list and on IRC would not have been asked if people had taken a few minutes to read the _available_ documentation, like the tutorial or the "Working with ..." chapters. There are links to both on the front page of the wiki! 

Do commercial DTP programs offer the same kind of support/documentation? It depends. Adobe has a well-deserved reputation of making manuals available for download once a new version is out. One can download complete manuals and reference books in PDF format, but neither of those will help beginners. They also offer heaps of tutorials and training videos for free on their websites, which, by the way, look so much nicer than a simple wiki. Regarding the quality of Adobe's and Scribus's available online documentation, I think Adobe certainly has an advantage as to quality, but no one should expect something like "Get Started with Scribus" for InDesign. Nevertheless, Adobe's great in that regard -- credit where credit is due.

So much for the shining example (Adobe). Other vendors of DTP programs are really customer-phobic when it comes to documentation. I won't list any vendor here, but in contrast to Adobe (and Scribus), at least some of them seem to suffer from customer-phobia when it comes to usable and user-friendly documentation.

> Are things always as easy to find as we might hope? Of course not. But 
> that's true of every program I've ever used, and I have been programming 
> for 46 years.

There's hope. As has been mentioned earlier in other contexts, we are preparing a printed manual, written by experienced users, pre-press experts and the developers. It will probably contain more than 400 pages. Currently we're busy with finalising the texts, the glossary etc., as well as preparing the layout for print. 120 pages (layout) are already finished, so expect a book that's available in online stores and your local book store very, very soon. We just have to sort out some legal and financial issues, and of course fill the few remaining documentational holes.

Writing the manual together helped us not only to find some bugs (most of which are already fixed), but also to discover and clarify some details that weren't even known to some developers. So, expect this to be the most detailed Scribus documentation that you can reasonably expect.

Moreover, we're already working on the manual for Scribus 1.4. While there's still some uncertainty as to the release date of 1.4 (it certainly won't be 2008), I can promise that we'll do our best to make available a manual for 1.4 shortly after its release (or perhaps the release of 1.4.1). The documentation team will appreciate any hints of readers of the upcoming 1.3.3.x manual as to what may be improved once it is released. Stay tuned for the announcement of the manual. We want to make sure that it's actually printed and available via Amazon and the likes before we do the announcement, but expect this to take no longer than about 2 months.

We're also contemplating to create a special list for early subscribers. Those will be able to receive the printed manual at a certain discount. 

Sales of the Scribus manual will help to fund the further development of Scribus.

Stay tuned for updates.


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