NWE v Apple Pages

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pastorblue
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NWE v Apple Pages

Post by pastorblue »

I note that Nisus thinks Pages is after their market (I read a quote from Charles that Pages would affect the Nisus market).
I purchased NWE 1 and used it in spite of the problems, on the promise v2 would be better. What I really wanted was columns that actually worked. I got used to the Nisus way of working, I had tried Mellel in the past and thought NWE better. Now we are at 2.1.1 and columns still don't work. Nisus don't answer my questions. So I buy Pages, and it has what I need and it works.
Nisus people, what am I supposed to do? You had my money, you didn't come up with the goods. I don't know what you think, but I am sorry.

Grahamjavascript:emoticon(':cry:')
Cheers,

pastorblue

midwinter
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Post by midwinter »

I bought Pages, too, but I'm finding it nearly impossible to work in. Because it attempts to split the difference between being a word processor and a page layout application, it does neither of them particularly wall. Trying to add a table to an existing document and then resize that table nearly gave me fits the other day.

I'm still waiting on some news from Nisus. I want sneekypeaks!

minux
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Post by minux »

I have not personally used pages, but from what I saw, it looks terrible. Mainly, for the same reason that someone else said: it tries to do too much.

For me, NWE is a perfect, clean-cut blend of word processing power. I would describe NWE as being the Charles Atlas of text editors: it's simple enough so that it's not distracting, and it's complex enough so that it's scalable to a wide range of purposes.

Michael
Yours truly,

Michael

charles
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Post by charles »

Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

gke
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NWE, Mellel, Pages, Word

Post by gke »

NWE is potentially a great application, but its main problem is that it does not function properly. At first I was enchanted with the application, but when I tried to compile an 85 pages research paper with lots of graphics and tables, it turned out to be so slow as to practically stop responding. This is a serious problem I would say, which makes NWE so far impossible to use for me.

Mellel is much faster, but misses features, Pages, as I understand, is not much of a writing tool, AppleWorks is too old and does not support Unicode etc. etc. What it all boils down to is that, so far, there are only promising applications, but no work-horses.

Except for Word 2004, which has all the features, is not buggy as far as I have noticed, and has only two disadvantages:

1) its price
2) its speed - particularly typing is slow in rendering, which is of course, quite a major setback and the main reason why I am looking for a replacement, so far without success, though.

rallx
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Post by rallx »

though I don't really think it is appropriate to discuss Pages here in the NWE forum -- this place is supposed to be about NWE after all -- I am curious about what people think are the writing **tools** that Pages lacks but that NWE has?

True NWE has grep find (though currently still buggy) which Pages doesn't and it has scripting though text only and in a language that few people outside of programmers are comfortable with. NWE also can count words in a selection and has a built in Thesaurus unlike Pages although the latter can be brought up to speed with free ad-ons from Devon Technologies and from Nisus itself. But what else? Why is NWE a better writer's tool than Pages?

I have both open on my screen this minute. NWE has the above features, which Pages doesn't have built in, but Pages has many features that NWE lacks, many of them very useful for writing such as auto-numbering, list styles, widow and orphan support, selective hyphenation, etc. Pages GUI is no more cluttered than NWEs.

What am I missing?

midwinter
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Post by midwinter »

rallx wrote:though I don't really think it is appropriate to discuss Pages here in the NWE forum -- this place is supposed to be about NWE after all -- I am curious about what people think are the writing **tools** that Pages lacks but that NWE has?
Have fun writing an endnote in Pages. ;)
But what else? Why is NWE a better writer's tool than Pages?
Here's why:

1) Pages wants me to use a template and a style. Even if I don't want to use a template. And even if I'm using a blank template, it's still a template. Even if I'm just using Times New Roman, double spaced, with 1" margins, I'm still using a style, and Pages won't let me forget it.

2) Auto-hyphenation is on by default. That is really, really annoying.

3) The text-formatting options are buried in the inspector (3 clicks). I know the shortcuts, but there should be an option for me to place commonly-used tools in the toolbar or a sidebar.

4) Switching between views is more complex than it needs to be.

5) Manipulating tables and objects is unclear and unintuitive.
I have both open on my screen this minute. NWE has the above features, which Pages doesn't have built in, but Pages has many features that NWE lacks, many of them very useful for writing such as auto-numbering, list styles, widow and orphan support, selective hyphenation, etc. Pages GUI is no more cluttered than NWEs.

What am I missing?
Agreed on the lists and bullets and whatnot. But I'm certain that Charles et al will have that available in their first sneekypeak release! ;)

rallx
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Post by rallx »

midwinter wrote: Have fun writing an endnote in Pages. ;)
True, I forgot about endnotes, probably because I don't use them but I'm sure for many this is a make or break deal
midwinter wrote: 1) Pages wants me to use a template and a style. Even if I don't want to use a template. And even if I'm using a blank template, it's still a template. Even if I'm just using Times New Roman, double spaced, with 1" margins, I'm still using a style, and Pages won't let me forget it.
I don't see this as an issue. Pages has a "free form" style just like NWE has a normal style in the default file. In fact, NWE's default file or template is to my way of thinking exactly equivalent to Pages' blank template. Even if NWE doesn't call it a style, the default font, size, paragraph that you get when you start up NWE is an implicit style. You can just start writing in both programs, changing individual font characteristics etc., without ever worrying about styles if you so choose.
midwinter wrote:2) Auto-hyphenation is on by default. That is really, really annoying.
So turn it off. You can set up a variation on the blank template with this turned off so it only has to bother you once.
midwinter wrote:3) The text-formatting options are buried in the inspector (3 clicks). I know the shortcuts, but there should be an option for me to place commonly-used tools in the toolbar or a sidebar.
Perhaps, though you can clone the Inspector palette (option click on any of the tabs) so that you have four views of the text formating palette each with different options available and only a click away. However, NWE is arguably more elegant here especially if you have limited screen real-estate.
midwinter wrote:4) Switching between views is more complex than it needs to be.

5) Manipulating tables and objects is unclear and unintuitive.
These are pretty subjective. Personally, I don't find either to be unintuitive or complex. You choose Insert:Table in Pages and Table:New Table in NWE. Nisus does let you choose the number of rows and columns initially, which is nicer than Pages, but the experience after that is pretty similar, though I realize that just because something works for one person doesn't mean that it is suitable for the next.
Agreed on the lists and bullets and whatnot. But I'm certain that Charles et al will have that available in their first sneekypeak release! ;)
Add to Pages' list of tools: auto generation of table of contents, bookmarks, hyperlinks all of which are potentially useful to some writers. Then there is the stability issue. Probably for many this is a complete non-issue as NWE has been trouble-free for them and so they have no need to look further, but this was not my experience.

My experience with Pages is that, although it does have page layout capabilities, one can treat it and use it as a word processor pretty much just like NWE. However, I think it would help everyone to clarify how NWE is distinct from Pages. So far, we've seen the enumeration of a few different features -- some in NWE's favor and some in Pages -- but I don't see the compelling argument yet that NWE is a better "writers tool" in some fundamental way. I hope someone proves me wrong! I wouldn't mind seeing David win this one over Goliath.

Anne Cuneo
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Post by Anne Cuneo »

I have used Pages lately, I was co-testing it for our site (http://www.cuk.ch - in French), and I find it problematic. Of course it is true that you can consider it is a word processor and forget everything else. It is also true it has bullets, and something I miss quite often: handling of widows and orphans, and keeping paragraphs on the same page (soooo useful when one writes a script or a play for instance - and that is what I do for a living). As for hyphenation, it does not really work in French, as it does not in the French build of NWE.
But my point is: if one (me, let's say) is a writer who needs to WRITE, I'm afraid the NWE tooldrawer beats Inspector by several lengths. The spelling window is smashing, even though in French I don't have the thesaurus which is such a wonderful feature in English (I use the Ultralingua French Thesaurus, but it's not the same).
François, my cousin and webmaster at www.cuk.ch, has been using Pages for a document full of drawings and such, some 60 pages, and he says it's all he ever wished for. But all the arguments he gives me for Pages versus NWE pertain to layout rather than to writing.
The truth of the matter is, as someone on this forum was saying, there is no compelling wordprocessor for OS X. I lost too many texts with Word, AppleWorks is too antiquated, I find Pages too complicated and it has lots of disadvantages I don't care to dwell on here, Mellel is dreary and it lacks features, Mariner Write is too... too.. I don't know, too much like Word, maybe, even though it is simpler.
We still lack something like Nisus Classic, or WriteNow - a word processor which can do all a word processor needs, plus a minimum of layouting.
I find NWE is the best there is - but this is not yet a compliment, dear Charles, because it still lacks elementary features.
I know some of your difficulties come from OS X itself. Which makes me think that OS X was created mainly for something else than word processing: filming, photographs, tunes - all that works beautifully.
I still dream of the perfect (almost perfect would do) word processor, particularly because I used to have it. It was called Nisus Classic (sniff, sniff).
Anne

rallx
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Post by rallx »

Anne Cuneo wrote:I still dream of the perfect (almost perfect would do) word processor, particularly because I used to have it. It was called Nisus Classic (sniff, sniff).
I can't agree with you more. NWE suffers not so much in comparison to Word, Pages, or Mellel but in comparison to its former self, NisusWriter Classic. I used it almost exclusively and beta tested it for the better part of a decade.

Ryan
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Post by Ryan »

Anne Cuneo wrote:I know some of your difficulties come from OS X itself. Which makes me think that OS X was created mainly for something else than word processing: filming, photographs, tunes - all that works beautifully.
I still dream of the perfect (almost perfect would do) word processor, particularly because I used to have it. It was called Nisus Classic (sniff, sniff).
Yes, Anne, I think that the switch to OS X has caused some of the difficulty. But, as someone who's working on a project that uses the Cocoa frameworks for text rendering and word processing, I can say that it seems very well-suited for this type of thing. Many of the bread-and-butter features we've all come to expect (from anything other than Word or AppleWorks) are inherent in Cocoa, such as beautiful text rendering and font handling, built-in spell-checking, and logical keyboard controls (e.g. option-delete deletes an entire word). Because of this, TextEdit isn't a half-bad editor, though it obviously falls short in important ways.

My point is that the Cocoa frameworks provide a remarkable foundation for a powerful but elegant word processor. This is why Nisus chose to scrap their previous codebase and migrate to Cocoa, rather than just porting what they had. It's a huge and risky leap, but one which I, at least, think makes sense and is resulting in a compelling product.

Nisus' biggest enemy is getting their brand-new shiny product to live up to some of the expectations from their older product, and integrate it with the best of what Cocoa has to offer. The tool drawer is a beautiful example of this.

Clearly, we can agree there is room for improvement. There always will be. I'm betting that most of the things we miss from the old NW will find their way into NWE shortly, with some more new Cocoa-infused tricks.

Ryan
www.r-blog.com

Anne Cuneo
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Post by Anne Cuneo »

Yes, Anne, I think that the switch to OS X has caused some of the difficulty. But, as someone who's working on a project that uses the Cocoa frameworks for text rendering and word processing, I can say that it seems very well-suited for this type of thing.
I must be dense, but I cannot understand, then, WHY it is so difficult to have basic features in ALL cocoa-based word processors. Frankly, I sometimes regret having made the leap: Nisus Classic has shown what a word processor should do, and then I change the OS for the better (undoubtedly) in all matters but one. That is, the application I use most misses elementary things. NWE still hasn't managed 100% automated paragraph indent, offers no solution for widows or orphans, no paragraph numbering, no bullets, no index, no table of contents with a line of dots between title and page number, no automatic back-up in another location (it saved me from all my blunders in Classic). I don't care for image wrapping and such, there are enough solutions for that. But I have to write professionally. All the features I name exist, but in other programmes, so why not all of them in ONE. Since you work in the field, you can maybe tell me why. I'm kind of desperate. I make do with NWE because it's the one the solves some of my problems, and it's now stable, at least with text. But there are lots of things missing which really bother me.
Anne

gke
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Post by gke »

Anne, I share your feelings. The OS is great, but I can only enjoy its benefits in Mail and Safari; all other applications I used under OS9 so far are inferior to their predecessors, or are even non-existent under X. Now, obviously, it takes time to build up new applications from the ground, unless you port them to X like MS did with Office, giving you the same functionality but at a crawling speed. So maybe we are just to impatient, but still - I need to get my work done!

jabbott
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Post by jabbott »

I share the frustration of the other posters, especially since I work with long documents (over 90,00 words). I wrote my last manuscript in Word 2004 but wanted to use NWE for find (to make a number of edits across the manuscript), because Nisus Classic was so much better at this than Word.

Using Express was a giant pain. Doing something as simple as selecting three words sometimes took ten seconds or longer. NWE locked up temporarily (but to its credit, never crashed) several times. The cursor changed shape without warning. In short, it fell far short of using Nisus Classic. Word 2004 may not be super fast, but in this case it was faster than NWE.

Have I given up on Express? Probably. I'm not touching it again until it's a 3.0 release and only if there are assurances that it's ready to handle long documents. And that's not an attack on the great people at Nisus: I think it's fantastic that they're so open to users' comments. I know they picked a harder road. The potential for a great product is there. But it's just that: potential. And like gke said, we all have to get our work done. . .

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Matze
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Post by Matze »

jabbott wrote:I share the frustration of the other posters, especially since I work with long documents (over 90,00 words). I wrote my last manuscript in Word 2004 but wanted to use NWE for find (to make a number of edits across the manuscript), because Nisus Classic was so much better at this than Word.
Hi Jeff,

remember me? I have been one of those guys who have once recommended NW to you, when you asked the dartmouth list, whether NW would be an option for you as a writer.

If you asked the same question regarding NWE, I wouldn't recommend NWE! In fact there is NO word processor under X I would recommend. (And NWE is one of the better word processors!)

I've bought NWE as well and I am still hoping for a far better version of it. I am writing a novel at the moment and have started with NWE. At page 16 I have switched back to NWClassic. NWE got too slow and it misses too many features NW 6.5 has. NWClassic is not as stable as NW 6.5 under OS 9 but it is far more comfortable than NWE is.

Anyway, keep on writing! ;-)

Best, Matze

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