Affinity Publisher! It’s alive! ALIVE!

Ra
Rayz
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Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:36 am Post

But still no idea when it’s going to be released. Serif are floating a video showing the app being released run through its paces. The only thing I can see for sure is that they’ve got master pages working.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jZHAk1a8vi0
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing

Ra
Rayz
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:26 am Post

If you're interested, Affinity has announced that they're ready to start beta testing … soonish.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/publisher/

'Before the end of August' probably means 31st August.
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing

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AmberV
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:11 pm Post

Very cool! I'm anxious to see what it will be capable of, and how well it will integrate with software that produces word processing style output, like Scrivener.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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nontroppo
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:49 pm Post

It REALLY is alive, public beta time!!!

https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/publis ... ture-list/
http://press.affinity.serif.com/pressre ... ee-2655186

Only just released two days ago, and nearly 4000 messages on their forum already!!!!!

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index. ... ta-forums/

I don't have time to play, but would love to know how it handles importing (and what it can import) from Scrivener...

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xiamenese
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:22 pm Post

I've installed it on my 13" MBP but for the moment have no time to play. On a quick look, I think it will be easier to use on my 17" MBP, though. The only thing I did was switch off dark mode. I don't mind that for photo apps, but felt i couldn't get on with it for page make-up.

:)

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
rMBP 13" (early 2015) 10.13.6, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
MBP17" (late 2011) 10.13.6, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
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Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …

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AmberV
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:09 pm Post

I haven't had much time to play with it either, but upon initial testing it seems to import RTF files with stylesheets intact (I would presume .docx as well), so that's a win. What I wished it would do better is recognise page breaks, but I suspect that would take come kind of tool other than importing a text file into a frame box.

It's looking nice though! I'm already a fan of Photo and Designer. I've been gradually switching over to them from Adobe products, as I fear my old CS6 installation will stop working some day, and I'm not about to sign up for rentalware of any sort. The level of quality one gets from Serif, for the price, is phenomenal.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:46 pm Post

All right, a few more spare minutes given to the beta, and it’s looking pretty good so far. Getting to Publisher from Scrivener’s RTF, depending on how much more RTF specification they intend to support, could be viable. Here’s a simple checklist I tried:

  1. Create a new document in Publisher.
  2. Made a little simple Master page with a page number token at the bottom.
  3. On the first sample page, assigned the master page layout and drew a text frame for holding the book content.
  4. Use the Text ▸ Insert Text from File... menu command, and provide the compiled RTF from Scrivener.
  5. This inserts the entire book into the one text frame, which will overflow the page of course. To solve that problem, you’ll find an “output” flow arrow on the right hand side of the text frame. Shift-click on that arrow to autoflow.

    This will create however many pages are necessary to display the content, and any page breaks that it encounters from one’s compile settings will be factored into when new pages are created.

There are still some rough areas with import: list formatting seems to get a little messed up, and embedded images vanish.

It’s still early beta days though, so I hesitate to even voice concerns, especially when there is clearly so much good going on. The interface is easy to understand and learn, and as I have come to expect from Serif, deep in those areas where it needs to be. As noted before, stylesheet support is there, and a well-designed Scrivener compile will be very flexible and easy to format using Publisher’s mode advanced typesetting and layout features. One question I have is how easy it would be to continually compile revisions into a Publisher file that already has extensive styles set up (or will the RTF style settings always take precedence). I am also pleased to see extensive typesetting controls in the style system. There are over a dozen different ways to tweak hyphenation and the justification model, for example.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops through the beta!
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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TooOldForThis
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Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:06 pm Post

I've been running Beta 1.7.0.57 for a few days. Some things are still missing, and some will never be available.

With the Beta, you can't see bleed lines. They'll be exported out, but you can't see where they actually are on the screen, so if you're displaying an image to bleed, you have to guess at where they are. My workaround is to create the page size to include bleed, and use guide lines in Master Pages to mimic bleed.

With PagePlus, I can create Master Pages complete with text frames, image frames, etc. When I set a page to use a Master, I can "Promote From Master" any of these frames, saving me the trouble of creating them from scratch on the page itself. This is not possible with the current Beta version of AP and is a popular feature request. Workaround is to create your desired text and image frames, along with any text, and/or images, and save them as Assets. You can set guidelines for all your Assets in the Master Pages. Then you can drag the Asset to the page using the guide lines and edit them as required. Hope this doesn't become the norm.

Affinity Publisher has a lot of great features, but will require some investigation to find them in the menu system. There is also severe limitation on Toolbar customization, as only a small subset of commands can be added. PagePlus also has a "Clean Design" feature. Click a button on the toolbar and all non-printing lines disappear, allowing me to see what the printed page would look like. So far, with Affinity Publisher, you must go to a menu item and find the entry to "Hide all guide lines" which hides everything, but leaves the lines around the text boxes--which makes the feature far less useful.

The Affinity Team has indicated that they are working on an InDesign import, but will NOT be adding a PagePlus import. Serif has decided that the PagePlus community was not worth it. In fact, you can not even copy a text frame from PagePlus to Affinity Publisher as a text box. It is converted to a bitmap image.

Serif has done a creditable job with Publisher, but there's still a lot of work to do. It's on Beta 8 now, and I expect it will be in Beta for a few months yet, as they iron out the problems.
Last edited by TooOldForThis on Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jo
JoRo
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Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:14 pm Post

Fine for a short brochure or leaflet. Much in need of a slick book-publishing mode and ebook support.

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index. ... ublishing/

Interesting early review:

https://medium.com/@postenterprise/affi ... 5f05c96c02

Slàinte mhòr.

Hu
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Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:22 am Post

JoRo wrote:Fine for a short brochure or leaflet. Much in need of a slick book-publishing mode and ebook support.

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index. ... ublishing/

Interesting early review:

https://medium.com/@postenterprise/affi ... 5f05c96c02

Slàinte mhòr.


Having tried the beta, I'm in agreement - especially so having also now read the Medium review (for which thanks, JoRo).
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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Siren
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Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:07 pm Post

An organisation for whom I have written regularly has used Serif's PagePlus for a long time, and I have been in a silent sulk with Serif for ages because PagePlus is Windows-only and won't run in CrossOver, which has made things awkward since I use a Mac. I have had to mock up alternatives using Pages or the rather idiosyncratic PrintWorks. I therefore had high hopes of Affinity Publisher, thinking that it might eliminate these issues.

But I'm quite disappointed by this beta version of Publisher (the other two Affinity products don't fall into my sphere of interest). I really wanted Affinity Publisher to be an absolutely brilliant desktop publishing solution, especially after the long timespan since it was first trailed by the developer company, but for my purposes I might as well stick to my clunky alternative solutions, because Affinity Publisher doesn't seem to offer me much more (albeit in a more sophisticated manner, with a lot more bells and whistles than I actually need -- and many that I actually find baffling). It seems more like a graphic design application than a desktop publishing application. I was hoping for a long-text-capable solution to play with, to bring back memories of Ventura Publisher, but Affinity Publisher so far doesn't seem to scratch that itch.

On the plus side, I managed to find out how to get rid of that nasty dark interface that so many applications use nowadays (yes, I am getting old, yes, I have a minor cataract and astigmatism; yes, I struggle to see such small icons on a small laptop screen; yes, I am grumpy). Tweaking a couple of options in Preferences at least renders the interface readable.

That said, it's good to see another application in this space, and I will watch its progress with interest. Perhaps the long-text capability will expand as the beta test progresses. As it stands now, though, I won't be buying. In fact, I'm not sure that I understand what the actual selling point is, other than the mantra "don't buy Adobe" (which I wasn't planning on doing anyway). I would have bought a reasonably-priced fully-fledged long-text DTP system like a shot, just for the sake of having it in my armoury, but it looks as though I am not Affinity's target market.
Literature & Latte support team

Jo
JoRo
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Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:17 pm Post

My first look at an Affinity app. Strangely placed, I think, with an anachronistic aesthetic that looks as if it was conceived by Windows 95. What era is that splash screen from, let alone the tutorial videos with their démodé supercar graphics? The eighties? Feels like a time warp: the kind of software given away with computer magazines or bundled into low-end Microsoft suites in decades past.

There's no evidence of original thinking in terms of the interface or programming, and it feels as if it has been fabricated from old parts, rather than designed from the ground up as a new concept. It certainly doesn't have the look or response or precision of a native Mac app, so I found my time with it to be unpleasant and jarring.

That said, it will surely suit users who can ignore its form and make do with its limited functions, while saving themselves from Adobe's claws. Good enough for SOHO users who produce short publications with low print runs. I could imagine a small arts company or a community project producing flyers and programmes and newsletters with it.

Its functions may improve in time, but its core aesthetic and programming aren't going to change.

Such a shame that it is a curate's egg, not a Fabergé.

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TooOldForThis
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Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:52 pm Post

The latest Affinity Publisher beta (1.7.0.58) now shows bleeds, and has fixed some issues.

I used PagePlus for my novels of 300+ pages. It can be a bit quirky at times, but I can produce the required PDF X/3 documents the PODs want, and I get perfect results.

Using the AP Beta, I've been trying to recreate my latest novel. It's been unbelievably difficult! Of course, it's still a Beta. Someone mentioned the difficult interface. I agree. It's hard to find what you need, and there are so many settings to get right before things work. Master pages are strange beasts in AP. They sort of work, but not really. The "Promote From Master" feature of PagePlus does not exist in AP, making it necessary to create an Asset item which can be dragged onto EACH page. You also have to watch how you export your project to PDF, because it will create spreads instead of pages on output--two facing pages together as one PDF page, which will not work for POD. You must be sure to change the output to Pages before you create the PDF.

I'm hoping the final version of AP will be at least as good as PagePlus, because it's the perfect platform to go from Scrivener to publishing.

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TooOldForThis
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:01 pm Post

I have been playing around with Beta "162" which is the latest. AP has done a lot of work since the early betas, but still has some issues. Interestingly, it seems to be showing fewer problems in Windows than Mac, based on the beta forum entries. For me, Master Pages are a big problem. They're hard to work with, and if you don't design them correctly, they'll give you some grief. The interface could be improved as well. Page icons are way too big, and can't be made smaller. Otherwise, it's beginning to look good. It's very reminiscent of PagePlus, but lacking some of its nice features. It will be interesting to see what they call the final version.