Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

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Eyal Redler
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Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by Eyal Redler »

For the next major version of Mellel we plan to rework and update the factory (built-in) templates.
We would love to hear what you have to say about the templates. What templates should Mellel include by default?
How should the blank templates be configured (fonts, autotitles, foonote streams)?
Any thoughts, complaints, things you like or hate about the current factory templates would be welcome.
Please note that the intention here is to discuss the set of factory templates that come with Mellel and not the template feature itself (save as template and the template browser)
Eyal Redler
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Amontillado
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by Amontillado »

I am probably in a minority. The best use of pre-packaged templates may be as tutorial material, or food for thought.

It is very nice to see examples of what can be done.

In practice, I made my own templates for everything I need. Personal letters, angry letters to Congress, business letters, short stories, and novels, in case I actually write any. I don't think I've ever used a pre-packaged template. I prefer to work on a file that isn't part of the distribution. If nothing else, I feel more at liberty to explore, but it is very nice to have those examples, particularly when first starting out.

Anything that promotes the use of features, artistic layout, and the use of styles is good.

Very eager to see the next release!
DavidH
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by DavidH »

I’ve used and loved Mellel for many years now, but struggles with its default templates (A4 etc.) delayed and continues to hamper my use of autotitles, note streams, etc. The templates gave me bad habits and got me invested in the maintenance of style sets I’d organize very differently if I was starting from scratch.

I think Mellel needs unspecialized default templates containing explicit instructions for how particular features can be modified or eliminated as users craft templates of their own taking the defaults as points of departure. These new “enriched default” templates could contain dummy text illustrating their various different features, telling users, in effect, here’s how to modify me or get rid of me entirely in a template of your own based on this one.

That said, default templates should nevertheless be appealing for beginners to use out of the box. They should have reasonably wide margins and built in provision for headers and footers and page numbers — things users can strip out if they don’t want them. They should use a good serif font for body text and a good sans serif for headings instead of Helvetica Neue for everything.

With people trying to get used to Mellel’s special style system and title flows at the same time, it’s perverse to have default templates that associate Title styles with Heading 1 Auto-Titles, Subtitle styles with Heading 2 Auto-Titles, Heading with Heading 3, Heading B with Heading 4, and Heading C with all other levels. Relations between style names and heading levels in templates should be utterly transparent, Heading 1 formatting should be suitable for a real heading as opposed to an overall title, and if a template provides for 10 distinct title flow levels, it should provide for as many distinct heading styles.

One footnote stream is probably enough in a default template, as long as it’s made clear somewhere how to switch to endnotes and how to add a second note stream if needed.
laup
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by laup »

The set of templates should prioritize being useful to Mellel users. My sense, which might be quite wrong, is that the focus should be on "serious" writers who prepare technical and nontechnical books and reports, including dissertations, and journal articles. If so, then I would look to what publishers require and work backward. Here is an example that uses the 10 auto-title levels. I would recommend adding at least two more auto-title slots. Widen the window to see the following "table" in two neat columns

Example 1: Scholarly book
Multipurpose unnumbered heading (UH)
Summary and sections Summary headings S1, S2 [more if number of auto-titles is increased]
Chapters, sections, and subsections Main-text headings H1, H2, H3, H4 [for chapter title, main section,...]
Appendices Appendix headings for title and sections AT, AH1, AH2 [more if permitted]

Footnotes and endnotes [both, preferably with endnotes optionally at end of chapter or book]

Times New Roman as a standard body font (even though it's a yuk) with something like Helvetica or Arial used for headings, perhaps font 12

Footnotes and endnotes in same font style as body, perhaps in font 10; probably table body text as well

Numbering: it should be easy to number headings as with 3, 3.1, 3.1.1 or only numbering chapters.

Font size. Journals often require smaller type sizes and more squeezed-together paragraphing.

Font. It would be very nice if one could switch fonts in a very few places and have the choice propagate to other items automatically. For example, if one changed Normal from Times New Roman to Bookman, the styles of footnote, endnote, and table body would change accordingly, and if one changed UH from Helvetica to Arial or some such, all other styles would change to Arial. There could a choice box in the style-set character menu allowing one to pick the exemplar font styles for text and headers. In the example, I just gave, the exemplars would be Normal and UH. Something similar could be done for font size (e.g., if one changed normal from 12 to 10, footnotes and endnotes would be reduced from 10 to 8 or 9).
Paul
shades
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by shades »

I definitely like laup's suggestions, especially footnotes and endnotes, and linked fonts.
Rich
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Amontillado
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by Amontillado »

The linked fonts would be like hierarchical styles, where a style inherits properties from a parent style.

Initially, I missed that feature. On the other hand, it's nice to have zero side effects, and there aren't many places where making a change has hidden consequences.

It's off-topic regarding templates, but I think it would be cool to have auto-titles allow all document features. For instance, it would be nice to have an auto-title that not only had boilerplate text, but also a graphic like a little swoosh under the title, or a place-holder for an illustration for the chapter.
Moises Zumaeta
Got the styles thing figured out
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A Tertiary Language?

Post by Moises Zumaeta »

I know that this thread is about templates for the next upgrade. However, I would like to take advantage to request a much (more) needed feature, namely, a tertiary language. Many of us who use Mellel for research writing very often interact with more than two languages that use different scripts. It would be nice to have in Mellel the option to allow different sets of fonts for different sets of languages that goes beyond the two language-set. To allow a third language would be ok; of course, more languages are welcome! I am not a programmer and I have no idea the amount of work this would require. However, perhaps the fact the we are able to set a secondary language may make it easer to add a third language and so on.

Thanks!
shades
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Re: Looking for your input regarding Mellel's Factory templates

Post by shades »

heartily agree with this request. For me, English is main, but I also write in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, German.
Rich
old, slow, and confused...but at least I’m inconsistent!

iMac 27" (10. 13. 8 ) and MBP 13" Retina (10. 13. 8 )
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