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Facing a new decade

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:54 am
by Stefan Green
I think all who value Mellel for one or the other reason would appreciate a "road map" by Eyal when we now are facing a new decade. The requests have been many and are still many, and probably sometimes we users are too impatient. But it would be nice to hear now what we can expect ahead, rather than a recap, when leaving the 10th behind us. That would keep up the spirit, even if I understand the danger with too many promises. So Eyal, the world is listening…

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
by Eyal Redler
I must admit that public road maps are something we were always trying to avoid. In the past we tried our best not announce anything before it exists. Sometimes, what seemed like a great plan on the drawing board, came out a little less charming in reality, sometimes you hit a snag that makes the feature impossible to implement or useless and always, the time it takes to execute something is longer than planned (and yes, we estimate and multiply by two and it still takes twice as long) and because of this we almost always forces out to get out with less features then we planned. Unfulfilled promises are not good for our mood, or business.
Beside that, reality is constantly changing and with it, our plans. What may have looked like a start of a promising direction in an update may meed a chilly response from our users (who tend to notice some minor thing - for us - and consider it a major change) and this can change our opinion regarding this particular direction.
Beside that we are really superstitious and we therefore avoid releasing updates on Fridy the 13th and avoid publicly announcing our plans for the next ten years.

So, if we can't see a roadmap, what can we see? Perhaps some directions which we thing are important and in which we are planning to make some progress.

More output options - As of today, Mellel sees print as the main destination for your documents. Mellel will continue to be an excellent WYSIWYG tool but more output options will be added. Among these we can include stuff like epub and html but also other documents formats like docx, indesign and perhaps more.

Writing project management tools - This is an area with a vast potential and where we have lost of very exciting ideas. The possibilities are numerous but I'll mention some (not necessarily in order of importance) like draft mode, possibility to concentrate on smaller parts of the document in isolation, a way to construct your document out of smaller pars, adding attachments and more.

Smarter, Improved Style management - Adding more functions to the style set (auto-titles, cross reference), more advanced management options - the ability to see which styles are applied (and where) and also the option to change them. Automation of style management tasks to allow streamling import of documents and texts from other sources and "normalizing" them to your style sets and standarts.

Refine and improve existing features - We have a lot more to say in the area of autotitles, notes, cross reference, bibliography and search (to name a few). A small sample of possible directions here would be allowing numbered and numbered structure flows at the same level, end of section notes, multi-column notes, flexible positioning of bibliography and end notes. In search - options to manipulate text beside or around the search term, support regex syntax and more.

Refine and improve the User Interface - The number of options here is huge but the main areas of user interface improvement here are a re-think of the platte system, options to control formatting without palettes (using popovers), arranging the options inside palettes in a more useful way (bring back the table options to the top level, for example) and allowing editing styles and attributes from the same palette surface.

These are some of the things we have in mind. We would love to know which things here excite you more, which less. Perhaps there are things that are important to you that you're not seeing here? What do you think?

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:44 am
by Till
Thanks for the last decade! I think captions should finally be realised in the next one…

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:26 pm
by Et cetera
Eyal Redler wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
More output options - As of today, Mellel sees print as the main destination for your documents. Mellel will continue to be an excellent WYSIWYG tool but more output options will be added. Among these we can include stuff like epub and html but also other documents formats like docx, indesign and perhaps more.
I'd like .docx, Affinity Publisher and InDesign in that order. In fact, a great export to docx is probably all that's really needed, since all major players will import .docx reasonably well.
Eyal Redler wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
Smarter, Improved Style management - Adding more functions to the style set (auto-titles, cross reference), more advanced management options - the ability to see which styles are applied (and where) and also the option to change them. Automation of style management tasks to allow streamling import of documents and texts from other sources and "normalizing" them to your style sets and standarts.
Yes!
Eyal Redler wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
Refine and improve existing features - We have a lot more to say in the area of autotitles, notes, cross reference, bibliography and search (to name a few). A small sample of possible directions here would be allowing numbered and numbered structure flows at the same level, end of section notes, multi-column notes, flexible positioning of bibliography and end notes. In search - options to manipulate text beside or around the search term, support regex syntax and more.
Yes!
Eyal Redler wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
Refine and improve the User Interface - […] allowing editing styles and attributes from the same palette surface.
Yes!

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:52 pm
by JanL
Eyal, I think this sounds like very good improvements.

I also agree that a great docx export would be the most important output option. For writing project management tools split window or new window, typewriter scrolling, focus mode (none, sentence, paragraph), and ability to fold sections of the document would be interesting. Regarding refined and improved existing features marginalia (margin notes), randnummer (viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3556), better column handling for side-by-side-translation, ability to print outline with remarks, better statistics (footnote inclusion option, show statistics for current chapter (level 1), and improvements to search (finding a note reference symbol in the text body viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3685) and findset (insert comment) would be interesting.

Kind regards,
Jan

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:43 pm
by macsailor
Et cetera wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:26 pm
Eyal Redler wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:45 pm
More output options - As of today, Mellel sees print as the main destination for your documents. Mellel will continue to be an excellent WYSIWYG tool but more output options will be added. Among these we can include stuff like epub and html but also other documents formats like docx, indesign and perhaps more.
I'd like .docx, Affinity Publisher and InDesign in that order. In fact, a great export to docx is probably all that's really needed, since all major players will import .docx reasonably well.
I second that. For me, Affinity Publisher is more important than InDesign. Be able to export to docx is a very necessary implementation as well.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:47 am
by Reiner
Hi Eyal,

for me your thoughts in the two areas "Smarter, Improved Style management" and "Refine and improve existing features" sounds as if that should be the top priorities.

Improve existing features
  • autotitles as locators for indices!!!
  • live indices or possibility to update indices
  • dates as autotitle numbering method. (years, months, days, handling of gaps if there is nothing to write for some dates)
  • end of section notes
  • end of section bibliographies
  • free positioned bibliographies
  • date/time-option for printing-date/time or date/time of pdf-creation would be useful. Also the option to completely free defintion of date- and time-format within style-sets.
New Features
  • Marginalia!!!
  • Synoptical Columns, please see case 16230 on FogBugz
  • Further useful would be good import and export of Markdown-Files. Import should match the files hierarchy with Mellel’s styles and handle diacritics correctly. Export should reflect the documents hierarchy within the md-structure.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:45 pm
by ealvarez
Great "road map" 😌

.docx would be a priority in my case.

For book publication, InDesign appears to have the favors with my collaborators.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:21 pm
by typofi
Great plans! For export formats, here are my votes, as someone who has worked both as an academic and also on the publisher's side:
  1. docx
  2. InDesign
  3. some common e-book format
I personally hate Word, but so many publishers want the material in Word format, so that is why docx has the priority. And InDesign after that as that will most likely be the tool for truly serious publishers.

However, for InDesign one might consider creating an InDesign plugin. I mean instead of implementing something on Mellel itself. It would keep the main software leaner and it would be perhaps easier to keep updated on its own.

If the idea is that Mellel should function as an independent writing + publishing platform, then I suppose it should have the ability to produce e-books as well. Or, just like with the InDesign plugin, this could be somekind of external solution. But in any case there needs to be a clear workflow how to do it.

As has been said by others in other topics, without such clear workflows from text to the final product (via InDesign or to an e-book format) using Mellel can create an extra complications.

Ps. I also wouldn't mind if in the future we would get a simple app for Android which would at least view Mellel documents. I do lot of writing mobile, usually using some basic text editor and Markdown formatting. It's frustrating how things I've written on Mellel are "locked away" when I'm mobile and I can't even view them. Dropbox doesn't seem to view them either. (And no, dear smartpants writer colleagues, I don't need to hear how I should just switch to an Apple phone... ;) )

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:11 pm
by Bulow
It all looks great, but what is really important is export to .docx
Adam

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:30 am
by Sani
The last few days I have tried again to make Mellel my main word processor. And again I stepped over the same old essential problems which prevents me to use Mellel for my academic work because of its really bad conversion to the .doc(x) format:

1. Footnotes: not the biggest problem but Mellel puts a tab space between the reference number and footnote text in the footnote. This translates in Word to a double as wide space between the footnote number and the footnote text. The tab space has to be removed manually because Word uses just a usual space between the number and text. I tried Nisus, Pages and Scrivener. They all export their footnotes in the same way, without a tab space between the number and the text.

2. Captions. No captions in Mellel, a long overdue IMHO. Writing a scientific book or research paper with images/tables/figures but no possibility to add captions disqualifies Mellel from using it as my main writing tool unfortunately.

3. Styles. Not even styles are converted over to word. To be precise, the formatting is, but not the styles themself. They have to be recreated in Word and reapplied all thru the whole document. Nisus, Pages, even Scrivener export their styles to Word.

4. Tables. If I remember correctly, tables were overhauled in 4.2. However, I made a few experiments and absolutely nothing converts over to Word besides the text inside the cells and the most basic table structure. Thickening certain borders on certains cells/columns in Mellel converts faulty to Word. Coloring cells/columns/rows doesn't convert over to Word at all. On the other side, Pages and Nisus transfer nicely and even the coloring of a cell in Scrivener is converted correctly! I'm scratching my head why Scrivener as a plain writing tool with most basic text processing features does those things right but not Mellel?

I'm sorry to say, I tried it so many times, but I simply can't use Mellel because all my complex texts have to end in Word format for the publishers and for the more basic texts one doesn't need Mellel at all. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation. For me, absolutely none new feature does make the slightest sense if Mellel doesn't come to the same level in converting to Word as Pages or Nisus.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:05 pm
by laup
Responding to Sani,
1. Footnotes. This is controllable in Edit Note Attributes (a selection under Insert Notes).
2. Captions. I have auto titles for figure and table captions. They work well. I probably am misunderstanding what you mean by captions.
3. Styles. Yes, this is a problem.
4. Tables. Yes, export of tables to Word is poor.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:55 pm
by Icelander
Hello Paul,
1. Footnotes. Sani is saying that *if* you choose to use a tab in the Note symbol format, this is not converted correctly, and he is right.
2. Sani means, captions should be "glued" to the figure/table. If you move the figure/table around, the caption should automatically follow.

Re: Facing a new decade

Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:53 pm
by laup
Ah, that makes sense.