Making the switch… Any advice?

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macula
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Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by macula » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:40 pm

Hi everyone,

After extensive deliberation, I decided to give Nissus Writer Pro a serious try as a substitute to Mellel. The Mellel development cycle—and overall climate— unfortunately does not inspire much confidence, and the summer is ideal for such "housekeeping" duties.

I wonder if any users on this forum have attempted this transition, successfully or otherwise, and would like to a few some tips, impressions, findings, obstacles, dead ends, pitfalls, etc.

I should add that my workflow includes Bookends, OmniOutliner and DevonThink Pro Office.

Many thanks indeed.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by redlers » Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:55 pm

macula wrote:Hi everyone,

After extensive deliberation, I decided to give Nissus Writer Pro a serious try as a substitute to Mellel. The Mellel development cycle—and overall climate— unfortunately does not inspire much confidence, and the summer is ideal for such "housekeeping" duties.

I wonder if any users on this forum have attempted this transition, successfully or otherwise, and would like to a few some tips, impressions, findings, obstacles, dead ends, pitfalls, etc.

I should add that my workflow includes Bookends, OmniOutliner and DevonThink Pro Office.

Many thanks indeed.
I respect your decision here, but perhaps the Nisus forums are the more appropriate venue for questions, don't you think so?

macula
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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by macula » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:18 pm

"More appropriate venue for questions" of what type exactly?

There is nothing unreasonable in addressing my question to this forum, which brings together numerous users of both Mellel and Nissus. Choose any software product, and you will find numerous posts entertaining comparisons with competing products. What makes you guys believe to be the chosen ones, exempt from this reality?

I find it unfortunate that, among the countless threads on this forum that were met with your silence, it is this particular post that elicited one of your rare reactions.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by donb » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:42 am

Nisus Writer Pro has its strengths and its weaknesses. Back in the days of the Mac "classic" operating systems, e.g. System 9, Nisus was the only truly multi-lingual program around, but gradually it became buggier and buggier over the years until I finally had to abandon it for preparing texts for publication. However, the OS X Nisus Writer Pro, which has been developed from scratch, seems reasonably reliable; and Nisus Writer Pro has some valuable features which Mellel lacks: especially the ability to import and export html, and a few other enviable features. Mellel has a number of features lacking in Nisus Writer Pro (especially Mellel's cross-referencing and auto-titles systems), so in some ways it is "six of one and half a dozen of the other". I think the best thing for you to do is to try it out for a few weeks and see which of the two programs you prefer. I occasionally use Nisus Writer Pro, particularly for its ability to read html and translate that into rtf. To my mind Mellel is much stronger at working with fonts -- Nisus has no provision for the niceties of Open Type fonts --; Mellel excels at style variationss, and (rather interestingly) type setting. Both are excellent for working with RTF; both are equally weak at importing and exporting Word texts -- through no fault of their own but because of how Microsoft programs Word. I have occasionally found Nisus Writer Pro quite slow in comparison with Mellel, especially in complex find-replace operations. Mellel's find-replace system makes it easier to construct intricate macros. Nisus' macro system has its own values, but I think is not quite as refined as Mellel's (providing you are willing to put in the hard work to become really skilled at constructing macros, in either of the programs). I personally prefer Mellel as my every-day word processing program, but that is a highly subjective judgment. Both are good programs, each has special features not found in the other.

Don Broadribb

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by ealvarez » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:13 pm

macula wrote:"There is nothing unreasonable in addressing my question to this forum, which brings together numerous users of both Mellel and Nissus. Choose any software product, and you will find numerous posts entertaining comparisons with competing products.
For my part, I find your thread quite disrespectful. True, you might find threads about comparing softwares. However, it's less usual to see your kind of thread. It's like a slap on the face of the developers. You should have started it on the NW pro forum. In fact, you may have expected more answers! Although we might be unhappy with how things are going actually in Mellel development, we owe a minimum of respect to the Redlers for all the work that has been done.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by gpolberd » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:18 am

Indeed, I agree with ealvarez and would go so far as to state this thread an intentional slap. People compare various software on these fora when deciding which to use, not when deciding not to use Mellel any longer. Macula, I think you will find, as Don Broadribb and others (elsewhere) state, that Nisus has its own host of limitations. You really need to try to software yourself to see what you want. Slamming the pace of development achieves little productive.

macula
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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by macula » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:32 am

Thanks, Don, for the close technical analysis. Auto-titles are indeed a major advantage of Mellel. Would you perhaps be able to compare the two products in terms of stability and speed? I have not as yet written any documents longer than 100 pages using Mellel, but will be producing a 300+ page work this coming year, which should include numerous images and tables. Would both products be able to handle this amount of data satisfactorily (e.g. no slowdowns when moving across pages, no crashes, no graphics glitches, etc.)?

I also understand that Bookends interfaces with Nisus only indirectly—i.e. via a manual RTF scan. Is this indeed so?

Thanks again.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by nicka » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:58 pm

I've been refraining from contributing because I feel that it would be impolite to the Redlers and off-topic to have the discussion here that you want to have. If there are a number of people who feel that way, not only would it be more polite but it might be more effective to open a thread over at the Nisus forums. You can always link to it from here.

For what it's worth, I agree with DonB's description of the current state of play and I'm also sticking with Mellel: as he says, a personal choice. One thing he didn't mention which is worth bearing in mind if you are an academic is that Nisus Writer can slow down a lot on documents with many footnotes.

See you over at the Nisus forum, I hope.

macula
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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by macula » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:39 pm

I am generally accustomed to being on the 'polite' side, as I am accustomed to debate on technical (or scholarly, in other cases) grounds. I have also learned to discern the not-so-subtle boundary between the two. Since when is technical debate—or the expression of product preferences—impolite? This is truly the first technical forum I've encountered that seems averse to competitive comparison. Have I inadvertently subscribed to the forum of a religious cult?

The question of where to post this—here or at the Nisus forum—is only a question of bias and not of expected number of responses: Mellel forum members are simply more likely to prefer Mellel, whereas Nisus members more likely to prefer Nisus. I would expect both groups to have tried both Mellel and Nisus in more or less equal proportions. As a matter of fact, I was hoping to find adequately strong reasons to stick with Mellel, hence I have not yet posted the question on the Nisus forum.

At any rate, I do not intend to be inflammatory, so I would invite the moderators to close (but not delete) the thread if they so wish. On my part, I will abstain from further posting, now or in the future.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by shades » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:12 pm

I regularly use both NWP and Mellel, and like both of them. NWP works well for quick files and exchange work cross platform. If I do anything with footnotes, etc. (I write theological papers) I use Mellel. Each is a great product in its own right. Would I like one product to do it all? Yep. Will it happen? Not likely. So I go with the program that allows me to do the current task in the best way possible, which means I use both programs. Satisfied customer of both.
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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by fbrzvnrnd » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:22 am

I'm using mellel from 2002/2003. I can say it is stable, I build my university final work with a lot of notes, and last year I built an ebook with +1000 pages, +600 crossreferences and +500 autotitles and mellel never crashes (and it was no to slow on my six years old ppc). There are features I would like to see in Mellel (like external link or xhtml export) but every program I use has got feature that I like and features I would like to see. The perfect program does not exist on this earth. Dunno about Nisus 'cause I do not use it, I dislike the gui.

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by jannuss » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:07 am

I just would like to remind you all how many of us came to use Mellel in the first place:

Nisus Writer was my LtR/RtL-enabled word processor of choice for several years until I upgraded to OS X. Only, Nisus didn't make the port and showed zero inclination of doing so.

Mellel was a savior which made it possible for Arabic & Hebrew users to upgrade to OS X.

It was something like two or three years before Nisus Express appeared. By then, I was so happy with Mellel -- the stability of the product, the level of support, the friendliness of the user groups -- that I didn't even consider switching back.

I suspect all this talk about Mellel dying comes from people who have already been burned when Nisus Writer bototmed-up.

My sense is that the developers of Mellel are gentlemen who genuinely care about their users. Should Mellel go out of business (something I don't see happening in the foreseeable future), I trust that the developers will give the users ample warning and provide a migration path to other word processors.

Janet

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by Ori Redler » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:23 pm

macula wrote:"More appropriate venue for questions" of what type exactly?

There is nothing unreasonable in addressing my question to this forum, which brings together numerous users of both Mellel and Nissus. Choose any software product, and you will find numerous posts entertaining comparisons with competing products. What makes you guys believe to be the chosen ones, exempt from this reality?

I find it unfortunate that, among the countless threads on this forum that were met with your silence, it is this particular post that elicited one of your rare reactions.
Macula, I do not mind the polite/impolite side of things - it's certainly the place to ask tough questions, some of which are not as pleasant to us (the developers) to hear. The thing that actually bothers me is that the really tough question you wanted to ask -- is Mellel going to be developed in the future at a rate that I would be happy with -- is raised the wrong way. In a separate post, I will try to address that.
Ori Redler from RedleX

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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by Cattus Thraex » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:25 pm

macula wrote:Hi everyone,

After extensive deliberation, I decided to give Nissus Writer Pro a serious try as a substitute to Mellel.
To be frank, the ideal workd processor would be a combination of Mellel and Nisus! Neither is perfect, and cannot be.
As I use both, I may recommend something simple: export your Mellel files as rtf (NOT .doc), and... good luck. That is all.
NOTE. You know, I think, that no export is perfect, and no import, so you must adjust some details manually.
You seem to make the change when the Redlers are ready for a faster improvement of their apps, but you know better what you need.
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Re: Making the switch… Any advice?

Post by Cattus Thraex » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:08 pm

And, frank again, it is not quite polite to ask how to quit Mellel in favour of Nisus. This may be indeed a question for the Nisus forum, but—well—so be it.
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