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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.