The Future of NWP

Everything related to our flagship word processor.
Digimarkus
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The Future of NWP

Post by Digimarkus »

Now, with the public release of Nisus Writer Pro (which is quite nice in many ways), I wonder what people would like to see added, improved, or simply changed in the next release? Here are a few of my initial thoughts:

- Better reference management (Sente, Bookends, endnote) software integration.
- Track changes and comments compatibility with MS word.
- A more leopard-like look and feel (similar to the way Pages 06 changed in Pages 08 ).

KimTwemlow
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Post by KimTwemlow »

Comments is (are?!) a must. Track changes would be nice too (Pages 3.0 does it beautifully).

I'm still driven nuts on a daily basis by the "virtual" page number in the lower-left corner. Oh, don't get me started.

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scottwhitlock
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Post by scottwhitlock »

Well, since you asked...you know, I can't refuse feature request lists...:)

1. Split pane, where you can see two parts of the document at once. This is a must for working on a long documents and it is the #1 feature I miss most from Word.

2. Wrapping around tables. This could eliminate the need for both #3 and #4.

3. A way to caption images (very important in academic writing). Someone mentioned watermarks (repeating graphics layer), and I am for that as well.

4. Paragraph borders. Or, alternatively, some way to insert a horizonal divider line.

5. Better hyphenation (including the support of a soft hyphen). I know that the apple text engine controls this, but hyphenation in NWP is abyssmal.

6. Bookends or Endnote support. Although, to be fair, Endnote is quite compatible already. Just no Cite While You Write stuff. I would like to see the same (or better) level of compatibility with Bookends.

I think that's it. NWP is SOOOO close to being everything I ever wanted in a WP.
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odrisc
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Future of NWP

Post by odrisc »

Here are a few features I would like included in a future version of NWP:
1. 'Live' headers and footers
2. Insertion of date/time without macros
3. Side Heads
4. Integration with Endnote
5. Horizontal line insertion
6. Fix problem with MathType on Intel Mac.

I know it is a long list, but the foundations of most of these are already in place in MWP 1.0.

I think that if these additions were included, it would be my perfect word-processor.

martin
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Post by martin »

What are 'Live' headers and footers exactly? Can someone explain it for me?

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greenmorpher
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Post by greenmorpher »

1. Vertical ruler, absolutely.

This really is desperately needed. Nisus pioneered this for WPs, now everyone else has it and NWE/Pro doesn't. The vertical ruler is a boon for anyone setting up pages for any sort of publication.

2. Upgrading of hyphenation

Ability to insert soft hyphens. Ability to add to the hyphenation library with new words in which you can specify the hyphenation you wish to have applied. I wonder whether some options in terms of

3. An extra selection mechanism to expedite NWE/Pro's use as an outliner

A selection mechanism which allows you to place the cursor in a List number head and make a selection which includes that head plus all following material until a new List head is encountered. The notion is that you would be able to select a head plus the body text associated with it and then you could drag that head with its body text to a new location and the head would automatically renumber and slot in, complete with body text.

4. Margins locked/optionally locked

Movable only by changing measurements in the document format palettte or by optionally unlocking them so they can be dragged.

5. Tables

Set up by measurement, vary by measurement.

6. Email as part of the print dialog.

"Save as" to email and/or print to email so you can rip off a quick note in the middle of a job and shoot it off to a colleague. No receipt of email required.

6. Mail merge

For both print and email. Either using its own database document or using the silly address book.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

Both to print and email. Drawing from

pgaillar
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Post by pgaillar »

martin wrote:What are 'Live' headers and footers exactly? Can someone explain it for me?
'live' headers is, for example, an headers who take the text of the current style (heading 1, for example). Useful to have the last chapter title automatically in the header... This sort of feature exist in FrameMaker

martin
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Post by martin »

Ah I understand, thanks for the explanation.

rickl
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Post by rickl »

scottwhitlock wrote: 6. Bookends or Endnote support. Although, to be fair, Endnote is quite compatible already. Just no Cite While You Write stuff. I would like to see the same (or better) level of compatibility with Bookends.

I think that's it. NWP is SOOOO close to being everything I ever wanted in a WP.
I, and no doubt many other academics, would love to hear what it is that makes NW Pro the best option for academic word processing, perhaps comparing it to leading alternatives such as Mellel.

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scottwhitlock
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Post by scottwhitlock »

rickl wrote:
scottwhitlock wrote: 6. Bookends or Endnote support. Although, to be fair, Endnote is quite compatible already. Just no Cite While You Write stuff. I would like to see the same (or better) level of compatibility with Bookends.

I think that's it. NWP is SOOOO close to being everything I ever wanted in a WP.
I, and no doubt many other academics, would love to hear what it is that makes NW Pro the best option for academic word processing, perhaps comparing it to leading alternatives such as Mellel.
First, see my post (http://www.nisus.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2495) on using Endnote and NWP. As you can see from that post, NWP's customizability of keystrokes (and allowing multiple keystrokes) comes in really handy, not to mention its macro support.

Secondly, and this is where it shines over Mellel, there's compatibility considerations, especially considering the collaborative nature of most academic writing. NWP's native format is RTF, which open pretty dependably in Word with no loss of formatting or styles. Also, NWP will open an RTF saved in Word with almost no hitches as well, as long as NWP supports the feature. Mellel must translate, and it always seems like things are being lost, or changed, or otherwise messed up.

Thirdly, interface interface interface. NWP is a joy to use. Mellel, not so much. NWP is easy to learn. Mellel, not so much.

To be fair, Mellel is better integrated with Bookends, but I think NWP fits better into an Endnote workflow, especially in that its native format is RTF and Endnote will format files saved in RTF with NO loss of formatting, styles, etc.

I hope this helps,

Scott
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WolfUK
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Post by WolfUK »

As someone who has just downloaded and is trying out Nisus Writer Pro I thought that I would add to this thread with my initial thoughts and comments, some of which echo what others have said. However, before criticising anything I do want to say that I am really impressed so far and I am about 90% sure I am going to buy a copy.

Anyway, the things that I would like to see improved or included are:

1. A way to caption images and include a table of images similar to a table of contents.
[Edit: I've just learnt how to include a table of images (very clever system by the way and nice and flexible) but being able to automatically number image captions would be lovely.]

2. The ability to add paragraph borders.

3. More control over table layout. If I set a table to fill the page width and then change a column width I don't want the whole table to narrow.

4. A more comprehensive AppleScript dictionary. I know that the built-in macro system is the preferred way to automate things but extending AppleScript support would simplify things for people like me who know it and don't know Perl.

5. More image formatting settings such as being able to add a shadow or border around a picture.

6. Some short tutorials or guides that mean that new users don't have to plough through the user guide!
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ProfT
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Post by ProfT »

I too would echo much of what's been said:

* Better table control
* Improved graphics handling
* Vertical ruler
* Paragraph borders
* Comments (change tracking would be nice but comments are a must)

The last one, comments, is especially useful in the academic arena. I much prefer to give student's feedback on their papers using this electronic feature. They receive faster, more legible feedback with no coffee stains!

But even with this wish list outstanding I love NWP and have encouraged many others to consider it.

KimTwemlow
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Post by KimTwemlow »

I'm new to Nisus and would like to ask what is probably a tactless question ... How regular are updates?! Are we talking about a month or two ... a year?

Everyone seems to want Comments, for example. Might we get that improvement quickly and then other, more esoteric changes over time? How does it work?

Anyone care to hazard a non-binding, just-for-kicks, broad, ball-park, take-it-with-a-pinch-of-salt time-line?

rickl
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Post by rickl »

scottwhitlock wrote:
First, see my post (http://www.nisus.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2495) on using Endnote and NWP. As you can see from that post, NWP's customizability of keystrokes (and allowing multiple keystrokes) comes in really handy, not to mention its macro support.

Secondly, and this is where it shines over Mellel, there's compatibility considerations, especially considering the collaborative nature of most academic writing. NWP's native format is RTF, which open pretty dependably in Word with no loss of formatting or styles. Also, NWP will open an RTF saved in Word with almost no hitches as well, as long as NWP supports the feature. Mellel must translate, and it always seems like things are being lost, or changed, or otherwise messed up.

Thirdly, interface interface interface. NWP is a joy to use. Mellel, not so much. NWP is easy to learn. Mellel, not so much.

To be fair, Mellel is better integrated with Bookends, but I think NWP fits better into an Endnote workflow, especially in that its native format is RTF and Endnote will format files saved in RTF with NO loss of formatting, styles, etc.

I hope this helps
It sure does. Thanks a lot for this informative summary of your experiences. I'm a Bookends user, so your final point would seem to push me the Mellel way. On the other hand, I've never found the tight integration between Mellel and Bookends (the feature where a keyboard command switches between the two apps and puts the selected reference into the Mellel Bibliography pane for easy reuse) to be as useful as others do. For me, the constant switching, however skilfully it's achieved, is distracting and I prefer to insert references after writing a large chunk of text. In any case, it seems that both Bookends and EndNote can be made to work fine with many different writing tools.

Regarding interface, I know Mellel people would say that it just seems difficult because it's different from what we're used to, and that a little time spent early on understanding the developers' thinking will make all clear pretty quickly. You obviously don't feel that way. Are there any specific features you would point to to make the comparison clear?

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scottwhitlock
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Post by scottwhitlock »

rickl wrote:
scottwhitlock wrote:
First, see my post (http://www.nisus.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2495) on using Endnote and NWP. As you can see from that post, NWP's customizability of keystrokes (and allowing multiple keystrokes) comes in really handy, not to mention its macro support.

Secondly, and this is where it shines over Mellel, there's compatibility considerations, especially considering the collaborative nature of most academic writing. NWP's native format is RTF, which open pretty dependably in Word with no loss of formatting or styles. Also, NWP will open an RTF saved in Word with almost no hitches as well, as long as NWP supports the feature. Mellel must translate, and it always seems like things are being lost, or changed, or otherwise messed up.

Thirdly, interface interface interface. NWP is a joy to use. Mellel, not so much. NWP is easy to learn. Mellel, not so much.

To be fair, Mellel is better integrated with Bookends, but I think NWP fits better into an Endnote workflow, especially in that its native format is RTF and Endnote will format files saved in RTF with NO loss of formatting, styles, etc.

I hope this helps
It sure does. Thanks a lot for this informative summary of your experiences. I'm a Bookends user, so your final point would seem to push me the Mellel way. On the other hand, I've never found the tight integration between Mellel and Bookends (the feature where a keyboard command switches between the two apps and puts the selected reference into the Mellel Bibliography pane for easy reuse) to be as useful as others do. For me, the constant switching, however skilfully it's achieved, is distracting and I prefer to insert references after writing a large chunk of text. In any case, it seems that both Bookends and EndNote can be made to work fine with many different writing tools.

Regarding interface, I know Mellel people would say that it just seems difficult because it's different from what we're used to, and that a little time spent early on understanding the developers' thinking will make all clear pretty quickly. You obviously don't feel that way. Are there any specific features you would point to to make the comparison clear?
Thanks for reading. Now, to answer your question.

To me, the ultimate statement on the importance of interface in NWP (and how that interface works with you instead of you working with it) is how the program handles styles. I have found no easier, more intuitive, or clearer implementation of them in any other program. The style sheet is amazing.

Also, the document manager. Although I would like to see it get more features (like the ability to change where it points to), the document manager is a good example of developers really thinking about the user and making their lives easier.

The importance of custom keystrokes (and the allowance for multiple letters after the modifier) cannot be overstated here. It allows me to intuitively use the keyboard to control commands. In other words, instead of Cmd-Shift-Option P for Page Break, I can assign cmd-PB, which is easy to remember. What good are keystrokes if you can't remember them. With Nisus' implementation, I have no problems remembering my keystrokes.

Although every program has a learning curve (even NWP), Mellel's interface is too complicated. Software is user-oriented, and you should never have to understand the developer to understand the software. When I'm writing, NWP goes away and I never think about the software. Mellel never does, because things are never in the right place, etc. and you feel like you have to bend to the way the software does things. This is not the user's responsibility.

And, once again, the fact that Nisus's default format is natively Word compatible, although not necessarily an interface thing, cannot be forgotten, especially in the context of the original question. What good is any of Mellel's features if, when you go to co-write with someone, you can't get all of your document (footnotes, styles, etc.) to them?

Scott
Last edited by scottwhitlock on 2007-08-19 18:47:56, edited 1 time in total.
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