[OS X TeX] OT: Some wonderings on iWork Pages and NeXT and Pages by Pages

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Jan 12 10:50:53 EST 2005

Le 12 janv. 05, à 15:46, William F. Adams a écrit :

> Some other questions:
>    - how are the templates made? Is design similarly easy to Keynotes?

 From being a Keynote user, and looking at the screenshots and 
description at Apple's site, it seems like Pages is much closer to 
Keynote than to MacWrite or Word, say. Its interface seems to favour 
presentation over composition. By this I mean Pages seems to favour 
moving blocks of text and images around, resizing them, etc., rather 
than thinking in terms of paragraphs, indentations, interline spacing, 
document structure, etc. (these are certainly not the correct technical 
terms, but I hope the idea gets through).

Or is it just because these usual settings (justification, interline 
space, indentations, and the like) are not accessible via toolbars as 
in MacWrite and Word, and instead are accessible in a separate panel à 
la Keynote. At least there is just one such panel, again à la Keynote, 
instead of many separate panels eating up much of your screen estate as 
in Adobe applications!

>    - what H&J algorithm is used --- is it something which considers 
> more than one line at a time?
>    - how good are the tables? is there named object-oriented access to 
> data in them?
>    - how are cross-references handled?

Probably they aren't. It seems like the only document structuring 
information that Pages can manage is the table of contents (perhaps not 
even with automatic numbering), and the footnotes. On the other hand, 
when it comes to styles, Pages seems to know about captions and 
bibliography, too.

>    - what about equations?

Equations what? That doesn't seem to be something Pages is designed for.

On the other hand that leaves room for third-party programmers to write 
an equation editor, possibly based on TeX or MathML, allowing the 
composition of equations to be included in Pages documents as 
structured information (and not as PDF images), such that the notions 
of a baseline, of a character size, etc. are kept. But probably that's 
getting overoptimistic!

Not having Quark XPress I never tried Blue Sky's MathSetter XTension, 
based on TeX, but possibly this is the kind of stuff it was doing.

>    - is there a copy-fitting option? If so, what aspects of the layout 
> does it tweak?
>    - when making a .pdf is there an option to make a ``tagged .pdf'' 
> which can be reflowed for use on devices with small screens?
> Just looking at the screengrabs it seems to let people make some 
> fairly common typographic mistakes (lines too long, leading too tight, 
> excessive word spacing).

In any case, instead of all these "seems", "looks like", "probably", 
"possibly" I just used, now I'm waiting a couple more days to see 
whether an announcement comes in of an iWork discount for current 
Keynote users (apparently there is already an educational discount at 
the French Educational Apple Store, from 79 € to 58.60 €), and then 
will place an order for iWork'05. We'll see. Even if Pages turns out to 
not being really usable at a technical publishing tool, at least it 
might bring back some nostalgia of good old MacWrite II days!

Bruno Voisin
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