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Article #10 (29 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.16-32bit.reviews
From: al278@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Shoou-yu Tang)
Subject: PageStream 2.1 from ZNET/DTP/Commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa400 - Marc A. Lombardo)
Edited-By: xx004 (aa400 - Marc A. Lombardo)
Date: Mon Jul 15 14:44:53 1991



PageStream v. 2.1
Z*NET Magazine, June 12, 1991
Written by Vernon W. Smith
ACE of Syracuse Newsletter, Contributing Editor

 

 PageStream 2.1 is the latest upgrade of the first fully professional
 desktop publishing program for the Atari ST.  Starting as Publishing
 Partner, it changed briefly to Publishing Partner Professional and then
 crawled through a series offirst-buggy-then-improving regenerations into
a program which leads the rest of the ST desktop publishers.

 This newest version comes with a completely new User Manual and
 QuickStart Manual which are the best yet produced by Soft-Logik
 Publishing Corporation, P.O. Box 290070, St. Louis, MO 63129, Phone:
 1-800/829-8608.

 Although Soft-Logik has abandoned the three-ring binder which made page
 changes easy to add, it has expanded upon it's well-organized, step-by-
 step approach to using easily a complex program.  The QuickStart Manual
 uses two extended tutorials to cover the basics and painlessly introduce
 a new user to functions which might otherwise be overlooked.

 After completing a newsletter page and an organizational chart, you will
 have learned not only how to import text and graphics, but also how to
 use templates and create repetitive elements with a minimum of key
 strokes and mouse movements.

 The tables of contents and the index are comprehensive and 2.1 continues
 the tradition of 1.8 and the original Publishing Partner in providing
 sequential actions which are easy to remember with repeated use.

 The most noticeable immediate difference appears on the screen.  Using
 the larger sizes of magnification, 200%, for example, type displays with
 the same characteristics which will appear on the printed page.  It is
 much easier to adjust spacing and kerning between characters.

 Another type of appearance has been improved, too.  That is the dialogue
 boxes which in 1.8 were plainer and more prone to the appearance of
 garbage characters during multiple operations.  The 2.1 boxes frequently
 combine into one box elements which previously required two sequential
 boxes.  For example, special type applications such as backslant,
 mirror, upside down, underline, etc., can now be selected from the same
 dialogue box as the name and size of the font.  Fill style and color can
 be chosen in the same dialogue box.  Previously, they were separated.

 These changes may seem trivial in the telling, but to an experienced
 user of earlier versions of PageStream they are quality improvements
 shaving minutes off preparation time for a document.

 An annoying bug in 1.8 was the way in which one had to complete
 selection of justification in the Tag section of the Text Menu.  Tags
 enable the selection of several characteristics of text at one time so
 that they can be saved for future implementation with a couple of key-
 clicks.  When justification was chosen, the dialogue box would appear
 briefly and then dump the user back to the attributes dialogue unless
 the left mouse button was held down and the cursor slid to cover the
 category of justification desired.  In 2.1, that bug is gone.  Click on
 the justification attribute and the dialogue takes its place (like the
 other attribute boxes do) firmly ready for a reasoned choice.

 A new feature which fits the description of quality improvement is the
 thickening of the cursor when it appears in dialogue boxes, which makes
 it easier to find.  Where the cursor used to automatically come up at
 the left of any area in which the left mouse button was clicked, it now
 appears anywhere along the line.  What this means in practical terms is
 that where the speediest way to change a multi-digit entry under the old
 system was to use Esc to clear the area and retype the whole thing, it
 is now easiest to place the cursor to the right of the characters to be
 changed and delete and reenter only specific changes.

 I did run into a couple of problems in making the initial installation
 and completing the tutorials.

 I installed the program with all its fonts (Compugraphic CS Times, CS
 Triumvirate, CS Garamond, and eight Soft-Logik creations) onto the F
 partition of my Toadfile 44 Syquest Removable Hard Drive.  The
 instructions on changing the path for the fonts were skimpy and when I
 first tried to type in text, I got a request to insert the floppy disks
 from which I had made the installation.  Because I was familiar with the
 earlier PageStream, I knew that I had to go to the Global Menu at the
 upper right of the screen to select Set/Save paths.  Still, when I had
 indicated that the path for all of the folders in the program were
 F:\PGSTREAM\, the floppy disk request was repeated.  I went back to the
 Set/Save dialogue and discovered a new button labeled Manager which
 brought up the fonts location dialogue box.  The font paths here still
 showed the floppy disks.  Changing them completed the installation.
 Although this procedure is described somewhat in the User Manual, it may
 be confusing to a new user who relies on the QuickStart Manual for
 setting up a hard drive.

 A bug which has not entirely disappeared is the tendency of the screen
 to repeatedly renew itself when text entries in a column reach the place
 where a new section of the screen has to be displayed.  Apparently what
 happens with both 1.8 and 2.1 is that the speedy typist gets ahead of
 the computer and at the point where the screen has to change, each
 character triggers a refresh.  The solution is to stop typing and look
 carefully for the location of the cursor which is also blinking on and
 off with the screen changes.  Guide the cursor to the white area of the
 vertical scroll bar and click on the left mouse button.  The refreshes
 will stop and work can continue.  It does seem to me, however, that this
 bug is less prevalent in 2.1.  It does not do this every time as it did
 in 1.8 but only on occasion.

 In the tutorial on setting up a Drop Cap (a large initial to start a
 paragraph made up mostly of smaller characters), I lost sight of the
 initial when following the instructions.  Again, I knew what to do from
 prior use of the earlier versions of PageStream.  I went to the Object
 Menu and placed the text column in back of the initial.  Since the
 initial was in its own object area, this made it visible again.  While
 the Bring to Front and Send to Back commands are covered in the
 tutorial, their application to this particular problem would not be
 readily apparent to a new user.

 I am always concerned when a tutorial doesn't do what it's supposed to
 do and there were two other instances of this in the PageStream 2.1
 QuickStart Manual.

 Text can be linked from one column to another and if there is more text
 in a column than it can hold a small plus sign appears at the lower left
 of the column.  When the newsletter tutorial is completed as the Manual
 instructs, the last line of copy (a byline giving the supposed author's
 name) disappears from the screen and from any printout which is made of
 the page.  The solution is to place the cursor in the white space
 following the last visible line and press Backspace until the hidden
 line reappears.  The example simply has an extra line space between the
 last line of copy and the byline.

 A more complicated problem surfaces in the demonstration of Rotation of
 a GEM symbol used as a company log in the organization chart tutorial.
 PageStream (1.8 and 2.1) permits rotation by degrees.  A dialogue box
 not only allows for entry of specific numbers but also has a rectangular
 box which changes to show how the rotation will look.  (Skewing and
 slanting are also possible from this box.)  In the organization chart
 demo, the GEM symbol which is imported has several layers of overlapping
 sections.  The tutorial explains this and shows the user how to group
 and ungroup these layers.  Unfortunately, it instructs the user to group
 all the sections before making the rotation.  It turns out that this
 does not produce what the creator of the tutorial intended.  An inner
 section which is supposed to be diamond-shaped goes to a broken square
 instead.  It turns out that to get a match to the illustration shown in
 the QuickStart Manual the GEM symbol has to be ungrouped and only the
 extreme outside section rotated.  Not a big deal to an experienced user,
 but a real frustration to a new user who probably would not know what
 was happening or what to do to correct it.

 With 1.8, I used to enter text directly into the columns (as I am doing
 now) with a user magnification of 125%.  This was the magnification
 recommended in one of the earliest versions of Publishing Partner as the
 optimum operating mode.  In 2.1, I find the 200% level of magnification
 more desirable for direct text entry.  Not only are the characters
 easier to read, but at this size they show more of the characteristics
 of the finished printed letters.

 Those who were concerned because Soft-Logik spent a lot of time creating
 an Amiga version which reached 2.0 before Atari, can be reassured that
 the company has not short-sheeted its original Atari users with a look-
 alike product.  By mistake, I received the Amiga version in the fall of
 1990.  The manual was very similar to the Atari 1.8 manual although the
 program itself had many of the features now appearing in the Atari 2.1
 version.  The new Atari manual is nothing like the older Amiga one.  It
 is completely produced with PageStream and output at 1270 dpi on a
 PostScript imagesetter in a wire-bound format that reflects the best in
 modern printing.  No apologies are necessary to any other desktop
 publishing platform for the quality of this program.

 For users of previous versions of PageStream, there are a number of
 desirable changes.

 The Toolbox at the right of the screen now can be moved to any other
 location.  The Reshape Tool supports the modification of Bezier curves.
 (What this means is that after drawing a shape, it is possible to change
 it in specific directions which will be automatically smoothed out when
 the operation is finished.)

 According to the User Manual, it is possible to design a page as large
 as 1200 foot (Yes, I said Foot) by 1200 Foot and as small as one inch by
 one inch.

 PageStream 2.1 allows up to six windows to be opened so that elements
 can be pasted from one document to another.

 Another change is called Smart Titles. If the title of a window is all
 in lower case, there have been no changes since the file was last saved.
 If the first character is capitalized, then alterations have occurred
 which should be saved before closing the file.

 Often you see commercial publications which have pictures extending all
 the way to the edge of the page.  These are called bleeds.  They are
 produced by printing on a larger sheet of paper than the finished page
 so that when they are trimmed in a paper cutter they appear to end at
 the cut edge.  PageStream now supports this kind of production.
 Combined with crop marks to guide a printer, this enables a level of
 publication which has not been possible in Atari ST desktop publishing
 programs.

 Although designers of small newsletters are not likely to want to go to
 the extra expense of bleed pages, this feature makes the Atari able to
 compete at a higher level of professional magazine production.

 The new PageStream 2.1 contains several keyboard equivalents for former
 mouse-only instructions.  For example, I mentioned earlier the
 occasional need to click with the mouse on the scroll bar when repeated
 refreshes tie up the screen.  I notice that the keyboard equivalent for
 this is Esc U and the next time I get the refresh bug, I'll see if it
 stops the action as effectively as does the mouse click.

 There is some confusion in my mind about the fonts change in PageStream
 2.1.  I was informed when I telephoned my credit card order to Soft-
 Logik that it was not necessary to purchase new fonts to use the program
 with my UltraScript packages of equivalents to the PostScript faces
 found in many PostScript printers.  (UltraScript is an emulation program
 which allows PostScript files printed to a disk to be used with dot
 matrix, deskjet, and laser printers.)  PageStream 2.1 will print
 PostScript files to disk but to match the PostScript printer fonts, the
 User Manual recommends the PageStream Fonts Plus Pack which contains
 outline font files, screen font files, and font metric files for 11 of
 the most popular PostScript families: Avant Garde, Bookman, Chancery,
 Courier, Dingbats, Helvetica, Helvetica Narrow, Palatino, Schoolbook,
 Symbol and Times.

 I can use all those fonts now with PageStream 1.8 because I have a
 PageStream Disk A (converted from an earlier Publishing Partner Disk A)
 which provides the screen font files and the font metric files.
 However, the files from this disk do not show on the screen as they will
 appear on the printout, so I expect I'll purchase the PageStream Fonts
 Plus Pack which lists at $75.

 PageStream also offers a Font Pack 1 at the same price which provides 14
 more fonts.

 For the moment, at least, I'm keeping both PageStream 1.8 and 2.1 active
 so I can use either the new or the old fonts rather than experiment with
 trying to mix them in the newer program.  The Manual makes clear that PS
 and PSF font files used in PageStream 1.8 should not be used in
 PageStream 2.1.

 I had expected kerning to default to automatic in 2.1 but it still has
 to be invoked by selecting the type to be kerned and either batch
 kerning the whole thing or manually kerning specific combinations.  In
 other words, it can be made automatic but it does not default to
 automatic.  Kerning is the process by which two letters like AV when
 next to each other can be reduced in space so that they do not appear to
 be abnormally far apart.  When this text is viewed in a PageStream 2.1
 page printout, it should show that it has been kerned.  It does not show
 on the screen as kerned, though.

 I am not impressed with the Spell Checker.  I never used the one in 1.8
 and after spending almost 30 minutes spell-checking this document up to
 this point, I am unlikely to use it again.  It does not recognize plural
 or past tense forms of common words.  I also find it annoying that
 company words like PageStream have not been added to the dictionary!

 I'll save a discussion of graphics in the new PageStream 2.1 for another
 time.

 At this point, with two days of experienting with it, I am completely
 convinced of the value of upgrading to the new program which lists new
 for $299.95.

 VWS, 315/474-0450.

==============================================================================Above appeared in Znet 91 issuse #29, the 
whole article as it were posted in the
magazine.






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