Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting style

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frvs
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Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting style

Post by frvs » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:54 pm

Hello,

I ceased working with Mellel some years ago. Now I'm back for a spin with a short project. I love living in Mellel, would never leave if I could. A number of things improved since I left, and that's all for the best.

But a couple of fairly basic things are still missing and feel like party spoilers to me. They make it much more difficult for me to use Mellel regularly. Since I don't seem to find many recent exchanges on theses issues, I'm hoping there are workarounds that some of you may have found and might like to share regarding:

1) Export to Word. I tend to use simple formatting in my documents and they usually export fine. But the styles are stripped out clean. Is there a way to find my basic styles still in place when I open the Mellel-exported document in Word-like programs?

2) Endnotes. I find the continued absence of end-of-section notes maddening. It spoils the possibility of doing a simple paper featuring endnotes and a list of cited works in Mellel. I grant there is a simple workaround here, I can turn the notes to end-of-section notes in a Word clone. But this lack also keeps me from being able to put together a book that requires end-of-chapter notes in Mellel and exporting the final PDF from Mellel. Has anyone figured a workaround for this?

Thanks for any feedback. I'd really love to be able to build more projects in Mellel. It feels good to live here, but I need to get around those pesky quirks.

Francisco

frvs
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Re: Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting s

Post by frvs » Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:52 pm

Hi folks,

Sorry for insisting, just want to understand the situation. As far as I can see, the thread asking for end-of-section notes petered out a while back. And I notice that Robert Cameron has posted pleas for the developers to implement the full potential of the RTF protocol in order to increase translatability to Word, but otherwise I see no one recently complaining about the massive fact that when you export a document to Word all your styles get lost in translation.

So my question is -- does no one care about these shortcomings anymore, or are there workarounds that I don't know about?

I ask because my interest for Mellel has recently been rekindled by (1) the phenomenal Mellel app for iOS, which in my experience is so much better than Pages, including in its implementation of iCloud synchronization; and (2) the continuing fantastic support that Mellel offers for Bookends, my choice reference manager. These are, for me, big reasons to take up Mellel again, on a regular basis, for serious projects. But I wouldn't want to be caught once again in the situation where I write a book entirely in Mellel and, instead of just printing it to PDF and sending it to the publisher, I have to export it to Word and rebuild a tone of lost-in-translation features there...

So, for those of you who produce full academic manuscripts with endnotes and bibliographies in Mellel and actually succeed in finishing them in Mellel; and for those of you who regularly must send out Word documents with styles -- how do you manage? What ingenious tricks/workarounds to you use?

Thanks for any clues.

Francisco

Bulow
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Re: Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting s

Post by Bulow » Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:39 pm

I don't think the Mellel community has lost interest in the issues you mention, I suppose we have just given up on getting an appropriate reaction. I agree with everything you say, not least the loss of styles and the unsatisfactory communication with Word. When I receive a manuscript in .docx I have to open it in Nisus and then save in rtf and only then can I import it into Mellel. There ought to be an easier way. If Nisus can open docx, why can't Mellel?
Bülow

rpcameron
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Re: Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting s

Post by rpcameron » Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:45 pm

We haven't given up interest. I can't speak to other users, but I personally have moved on from Mellel. I believe it was over 5 years ago when Mellel updated their XML format, and at that time I requested the format's DTD/XSD. Eyal said they would publish Mellel's format spec, but that has never happened. Having the format spec would immensely help with integrating Mellel into other workflows.

However, because Mellel doesn't support the features I need, I've since moved on to other programs. For most basic documents, I use MultiMarkdown. For more complex documents, such as interlinear glossing, parallel columns and more fine-grained notes and headers/footers, I use XML+CSS with some custom JavaScript to generate PDFs.

Mellel simply doesn't support the features I now need, and many of the features that are missing are ones that users have been requesting nearly nearly Mellel's beginning. Indexing? Parallel columns? Table styles? Proper pagination for tables? I now have all these features, in a plain text format that I can easily integrate into a versioning system such as git.

The advantage of moving to a different workflow is better support for RTF and MS's XML formats, as well as ODT, et al.
— Robert Cameron

frvs
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Re: Back in Mellel: Questions on endnotes and on exporting s

Post by frvs » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:04 pm

Thanks Bulow, thanks Robert,

After having been onto Mellel and written a book with it, having gone elsewhere in frustration, and having just now returned for an assessment after almost a decade, my impressions are:

1.The community in this forum seems to me much less vibrant than it was a few years ago. I recall your well-informed posts, Robert, and am sorry to hear your disappointment.

2. Mellel is awesome (that's why we're talking about it, right?). It is efficient, helps me (us) think with clarity, gets out of the way and lets me work. Its Bookends-support is like fairy-tale magic. Its little brother (or sister) in iOS is stupendous.

3. Mellel is frustrating (that's why we're still talking about it...) My point is not that it lacks many features. After all, if I wanted a word processor that has everything under the sun I would be a happy Word customer. My point is that Mellel is very much a solipsistic project. It basks in its own glory and tends to disregard the fact that most projects done in Mellel eventually have to go out into the world. Translation, compatibility, are of the essence. But the developers have spent too much time marveling at their own navel. Translation is crappy. (Absurdly, Mellel is all about styles, but after you export your style-stripped document your colleagues will see you as a digital illiterate—or, although you worked in Mellel to escape Word, in the end you have to rebuild every style in Word hell after all. Frustration.) And some basic features are just not there if you want to do a standard academic work fully in Mellel. (You cannot do a MS that has endnotes followed by a bibliography. You cannot do a book with end-of-chapter notes. Frustration.)

The developers must have matured, like most of us, and I'd guess one day or the other they will wonder about their legacy, the real-world use of their cherished project beyond starry-eyed PhD candidates and gloomy old-timers.My single word of advice would be, cut out the solipsistic dream. Look outside of your cocoon. Do serious work under the hood in order to make Mellel documents seriously translatable, fix endnotes to heal this Achilles heel to an otherwise stellar program.

I''m brazenly assuming the developers will read this because, well, the forum is just so dead.

I'm very much hoping Mellel will still do a somersault and nicely surprise us all. I don't care for going for complicated programs. Just want a word processor that's lean and efficient and bright, and fosters my productivity. Like Mellel was meant to be. Please, developers, will you heed there is a world beyond your cocoon?

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