The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

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aechallu
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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by aechallu » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:37 pm

I'm not thrilled about the crossplatform Reader idea. I thnk it diverts development time for little benefit. I can't ask collaborators and readers to install (!) and learn (!!) a new software because I happen to use something different than word. Even in all its apple glory I've never used Pages collaboratiom tool.

Two proposals, which do not exclude each other:
1) What this user wants is good (style preserving) roundtrip conversion to de-facto standards (docx, odf, but more realistically rtf) so that my readers and collaborators can comment and edit on the document. I think that Redlers-supported and Redlers-supplied transformation scripts (XSLTs) are essential.
2) What about embedding some kind of code in the PDF that uniquely connects the PDF file with a Mellel file (e.g. some internal snippet declaring that this file produced by Mellel File 0214324324). Then Mellel could import the comments and markup added to the PDF to that Mellel document. Papyrus even adds its document as a binary stream to the PDF.

Better XSLTs, format documentation and creative interaction with the existing standard for document sharing and commenting (PDF) seems a better way of devoting development time than creating a standalone application.

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by nicka » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:34 pm

Aechallu, I don't think that a cross-platform reader application is what is envisaged, nor do I think that the idea is to produce a reader application that your colleagues would have to install. Ori said:
An "embedded Mellel": you will be able to send Mellel files to others, and they will be able to read them even if they don't have Mellel.
It sounds as though each such file exported from Mellel would include a standalone viewer application, so that your colleagues can simply double-click it to view the document. I imagine it would only work on OS X (Mac, possibly plus iOS).

I think you are right, though, that support of de facto standards -- full-featured export to pdf, full-featured import/export of rtf -- is the best way to make Mellel useful for collaboration.

On a side-issue mentioned in your post: you don't need to ask anything special of your collaborators if you use Pages for tracked changes and comments, because they are preserved perfectly in import and export of doc files. I do all of that kind of commenting in Pages rather than Word these days (Pages seems more stable than Word and the comments are easier to read because the layout is better). This workflow has been seamless since Pages '08, although it's best to keep Word around to convert rtf and docx files into the doc format that Pages prefers, and to sanity-check documents before sending them back.

So I don't really need Mellel for collaboration, this late in the day, and I'd rather that the limited development time was spent on giving it the missing features required for its primary purpose: to properly layout long, structured documents -- e.g. endnotes per section, hanging indents, marginalia, text tracking, better handling of small caps -- and export all of that as nice interactive pdf files (and maybe epub or whatever the e-reader crowd settles on).

But I'm glad the Redlers have a road-map, even if it's not the one I would have wanted.

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by aechallu » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:53 am

Nicka-- I agree with your point about Pages. I meant that the share feature in Pages is inconvenient (imo) and that roundtrip support of the word format (including formatting, document features and comments/track changes) makes it even more irrelevant. Word support is one of the main reasons that today I mostly use Pages for my work, but Mellel still rocks in stability, speed, organization features and bibliographic management, all key for long manuscripts. (The omission of styles is intentional :)

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by Jake-1 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:34 am

* Track changes and comments: this feature is already running (in an Alpha). It was written to play nicely with track-changes features with other word processors (we also intend to add, though I'm not sure if it will be with this release) the ability to export and import track changes, so you will not have to lose formatting and other niceties and continue to work on changes within Mellel).
This is tremendously exciting: if you go through with it, I could begin using Mellel for 80% of my writing instead of 40%, because the people with whom compatibility most matters could edit my documents.

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by jannuss » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:33 am

nicka wrote:if you use Pages for tracked changes and comments, because they are preserved perfectly in import and export of doc files. I do all of that kind of commenting in Pages rather than Word these days (Pages seems more stable than Word and the comments are easier to read because the layout is better). This workflow has been seamless since Pages '08, although it's best to keep Word around to convert rtf and docx files into the doc format that Pages prefers, and to sanity-check documents before sending them back.
Of course, this solution applies only to Left-to-Right documents.

I use NeoOffice to read "doc" files with track changes, but that will continue to be a partial solution for as long as PC users continue to rely on buggy fonts for their Right-to-Left work.
[Times New Roman is the cause of at least half the RtL problems reported by users on this forum.]

Janet

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by talazem » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:17 am

ealvarez wrote:Hope it's just a small feature and it's the reason it was not listed : line numbering.
+1

Line numbering was the only reason I bought Nisus Pro (which turned out to not work well with complicated documents with many (i.e. 50+) footnotes).

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by 2chevaux » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:50 pm

ealvarez wrote:Hope it's just a small feature and it's the reason it was not listed : line numbering. I just ask for this! :D For scientific publications, it's essential. I need to switch to Word for that.
I totally agree. Line numbering is required for scientific publications. Therefore this feature would be a great improvement of Mellel, since the software itself already seems to be tailored to the desires of every scientific writer (e.g. in terms of it's implementation of text structuring and bibliography support as well as it's speed and stability when dealing with long and complicated documents)

+1 from me

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by bruni » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:34 am

2chevaux wrote:
ealvarez wrote:Hope it's just a small feature and it's the reason it was not listed : line numbering. I just ask for this! :D For scientific publications, it's essential. I need to switch to Word for that.
I totally agree. Line numbering is required for scientific publications. Therefore this feature would be a great improvement of Mellel, since the software itself already seems to be tailored to the desires of every scientific writer (e.g. in terms of it's implementation of text structuring and bibliography support as well as it's speed and stability when dealing with long and complicated documents)

+1 from me
I would also agree. I use Mellel on a daily basis in a patent firm. Line numbering is a requirement when drafting patent applications in certain countries. It is also desired by some of my clients.

BTW, I really look forward to the tracking feature. I'm presently simulating tracking manually using character formatting. I need to make changes apparent to my clients. I remember when tracking was introduced in MS Word ages ago and how I liked it. Let's have it soon in our favorite word processing :D

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by donb » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:47 am

"I had need for them today: both a document wide watermark ("draft") and a single image placed under some text, not next to it."

These at least are already possible in Mellel. I suggest you read the chapter titled "Images and Figures" in my Tutorial on Mellel's provision for these things.

Don Broadribb

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by jannuss » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:21 pm

donb wrote:"I had need for them today: both a document wide watermark ("draft") and a single image placed under some text, not next to it."
Thanks, Don, I hadn't realized we could use background images for watermarks.
Unfortunately, the process is still a bit complex.

I would like Mellel to offer a built-in watermark option. If I want to mark all pages of a document as "Draft" I'd rather not have to create an image, size it, adjust the "Alpha" setting and then position it -- I'd simply like to click the draft setting in a watermark option.

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by nuttmeg » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:35 pm

Hi!

I don't know if I may only be hallucinating but I think when I came across Mellel a couple of years ago, it was being promoted (in reviews etc.) as a word processor meant for academic purposes. I have already put down a number of feature requests in an other thread, so I don't want to go into lengthy details. My suggestions were all related to capabilities I believe Mellel should have to better cater to scholarly needs (e.g., tables spanning over a single page etc.). Even if it was never an intention to market Mellel as an "academic" word processor, maybe it could be. I have a feeling --although of course I may be totally wrong-- that in the market of word processor, filling this niche could actually work. Why compete with general purpose word processors which may have a huge development team working in the background and so they can have all the glitter and fancy (often unneeded) features.

csaba-

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by zoul » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:45 am

I find it embarrassing that every single post about the future state of Mellel gets overwhelmed with feature requests. It would be such a perfect thing if Redlers could set up some tracker to take care of the feature requests so that (1) people know what’s been suggested before and we don’t have to go over the same things again and again, and (2) we know how many users want some particular feature. This could be something as simple as Get Satisfaction or some other similar hosted service and in my opinion it would make the future of Mellel much more clear and open.

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by ppnkg » Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:36 pm

:lol: it's been already a few months since the redlers laid down the roadmap to mellel's immediate future. Are we going to see a new version very soon (?)

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by kcjimmyk » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:13 pm

ppnkg wrote::lol: it's been already a few months since the redlers laid down the roadmap to mellel's immediate future. Are we going to see a new version very soon (?)
Or anything else other than crickets?

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Re: The state of the Mellel (a road map of sorts)

Post by ahankinson » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:03 pm

*bump*

Any news on this front? I was excited to hear the pace of Mellel development was picking up again, but so far it's only be as many words. Although it's not as bad as *some* software I use (I'm looking at you, TextMate) there are some features in Ori's original post that I've been waiting for for years. Track changes is chief among them.

Like others, I'm not so worried about the embedded Mellel features, or an iPad version, or Mellel Reader, or any of these "nice to haves." Track changes would have an immediate and direct impact on how I work, and I'd willingly pay for an upgrade for this feature.

Ori: Any updates since your post in August? Are you still not "slacking off?" Have you hit a speedbump or roadblock development issue? Any releases, major or minor, in the pipeline?

Thanks!

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