OT: How I hate Adobe, let me count the ways (was Re: [OS X TeX] OT: log from Acrobat 7.0)

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Tue Jul 25 05:41:16 EDT 2006

On Jul 24, 2006, at 4:50 PM, Jens Noeckel wrote:

> Regarding William's earlier email: I didn't completely understand  
> the list of tasks you listed in the previous message, but I have a  
> feeling that it's not as bad in Illustrator.

If you don't understand the tasks, how can you be qualified to judge?  
I know that sounds nasty, but I'm really tired of people telling me  
how bloody wonderful Illustrator is and then _not_ being able to  
address the (in)efficiencies of even the most basic usage, to wit:

> Maybe for those who need to use Illustrator, the following link  
> with keyboard shortcuts could be helpful:
> http://www.nobledesktop.com/shortcuts-illustratorcs2-mac.html
> (look for the zoom shortcuts, e.g.)

Nope. There aren't equivalent efficiencies available. e.g.,

    * zoom out to selection

This is a single command in Macromedia FreeHand (Command-zero using  
the FH8 shortcuts which're similar enough to Altsys Virtuoso that  
they're hard-wired into my organic system). It not only zooms out to  
precisely the zoom level it encompasses the currently selected  
object, it also re-sets the window coordinates to be centered on it.  
In Illustrator one instead needs to tap <Command>- (or +) a variable  
number of times depending on the current zoom and what's selected,  
you also have to manually scroll until what you're working on is  
within the window bounds, and even then, it's probably not perfectly  

Even something simple like:

    - set document width

Is a much more labour-intensive process in AI than in FH. In FH, the  
document inspector is persistent and remains on-screen, so no need to  
conjure forth a modal dialog (at least it's no longer a finger- 
twisting mashing of four keys --- in CS2 it's ``only'' 3), click in  
the correct text box, key in the number and then click OK or press  
enter. Four steps instead of 3 and that's just one example.

Far more egregious is the matter of selecting an object which isn't  
at the top of a stack, in FreeHand one can <Control>-click through  
each object of the stack --- one action per object and one doesn't  
have to move the mouse. In Illustrator one has to use a contextual  
menu item (which is in a sub-menu!) or dig through the Layers palette.

I've been having this conversation for years....

> I find I can be very fast and productive with Illustrator (after it  
> has started up under Rosetta..............). Finally: Illustrator  
> is still my first choice for SVG export. It's extremely important  
> in my opinion that you can get complete control over almost  
> anything in Illustrator using Javascript. That's Javascript, NOT  
> Applescript, mark you! To me, that's still worth paying for.

I didn't say Illustrator wasn't worth paying for (if you're doing  
graphic design you really have little choice but to own the full  
Creative Suite and Quark XPress at a minimum --- depending on your  
specific field you'll then need either certain XTensions or plug-ins  
or specialty software such as Deneba Canvas) but that it's sub- 
optimal in terms of its interface and production capabilities.

I tell you what, if you're interested (let me know off-list) I'll  
send you a sample graphic and if you think you can create a set of  
JavaScripts which will make processing it in AI anywhere near as  
efficient as in FH we'll negotiate what you think is fair payment- 
wise. I don't think it'll be easy given things like....

There is _no_ equivalent in it to FreeHand's Graphics-Find-and- 
Replace, so checking line weights to comply w/ a given printer's pre- 
press settings is an endless clicking and checking as opposed to a  
single setting of a palette and a click and a setting of all minimal  


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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