Pages-new wine, crappy bottle

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
I have been "evaluating" Pages as it is claimed to be both an iApp and the successor to Appleworks. Never in my life have I encountered such a terrible application from Apple.



Pages gives almost no feedback as to what you have selected. It has terrible feel and forces your workflow. It is lacking the most basic features.



The only reason people even think it is decent is not because of the apps, but because of the templates. Well I just recreated one of them in Appleworks to show it isn't even that big a deal.



Financial newsletter



Apple should be ashamed. We waited this long for something that is so terrible it will probably improve MS Office sales.



Nick
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,451member
    Here's round two. I recreated the Real Estate flyer in Appleworks in about.. oh... three or four minutes.







    Flyer



    Come on Apple!



    Nick
  • Reply 2 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Any chance you could elaborate on what's wrong with Pages, instead of recreating templates?



    Thanks.
  • Reply 3 of 79
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,451member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Any chance you could elaborate on what's wrong with Pages, instead of recreating templates?



    Thanks.




    I believe I listed at least three.



    Nick
  • Reply 4 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Which is why I asked you to elaborate. I see the list.



    HOW does it restrict your workflow.



    WHAT basic functionality is missing.



    etc, etc, etc



    That would be useful. The list isn't really detailed enough to be so.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,451member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Which is why I asked you to elaborate. I see the list.



    HOW does it restrict your workflow.



    WHAT basic functionality is missing.



    etc, etc, etc



    That would be useful. The list isn't really detailed enough to be so.




    The easiest example would be how the inspector seems to hold attributes of both the document and items within it at the same time. Also there is no context to the inspector. If I have say a graphic object selected and open the inspector, it should go straight to the graphic tab. Instead it always opens up at table. I open a new inspector and go under layout. It has two tabs. One tab for layout of the document and another for layout of the section. When you look at the inspector in this instance you realize we are two tabs deep within it. That is TERRIBLE design. They make the top set of tabs look like buttons, but that doesn't excuse it.



    No font menu, no ability to see a font before placing it in a document, no grammar check, etc. The already infamous no word count and no ability to delete an added page, etc.



    But the biggest thing of all is how bad the inspector happens to deal with items. To mix document and object attributes under the same words and groups is terrible, thoughtless design.



    Nick
  • Reply 6 of 79
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    <shrug> I like Pages quite a lot, and it goes without saying that you reposting Apple templates, no matter what format you did them in, is copyright infringement.
  • Reply 7 of 79
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,451member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chucker

    <shrug> I like Pages quite a lot, and it goes without saying that you reposting Apple templates, no matter what format you did them in, is copyright infringement.



    I'm not reposting them. I am replicating them. It also is not for profit and for the purposes of educating the public about a valid point. All valid copyright uses.



    As for Pages, it is still ten steps backwards compared to any other iApp. I could not imagine iTunes treating both CD's and individual songs the same. I could not imagine iMovie not making it clear what clip you have clicked on, or using the same dialog or palette to control attributes for both movies and a particular clip at the same time being called good user interface design.



    Apple has made a word processing app in 2004 in which you cannot even preview a font before applying it. This would be like having an iTunes store in which you couldn't even preview the music before buying it. Apple would easily be called to the carpet in the latter case and they should in the former as well.



    This would especially be true if the previously had a version of the store that provided this functionality. Appleworks lets you see fonts in a menu. It lets you count your words It lets you drag and drop graphics and properly adjusts the word wrapping around them. It lets you resize, rotate, etc your photos. The reality is that Apple has screwed up and in doing so will likely drive more people to use Office since their own effective app in that area is now deemed dead and the replacement won't even let you properly work as you desire.



    Nick
  • Reply 8 of 79
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Apple has made a word processing app in 2004 in which you cannot even preview a font before applying it.



    My copy of Pages hasn't arrived yet, but since I can do this in TextEdit and basically every other Cocoa app via the font chooser thingy, this would seem like a step backwards. Are you sure you can't still do this in Pages?



    I do note from screenshots that it gives live previews of styles, which is nice.







    I might comment further when I have a chance to actually use the app. I will note that iTunes often uses the same controls for CDs, mp3s and, in some cases, track previews so if this is a golden rule of UI design, Apple's broken it before.
  • Reply 9 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    The easiest example would be how the inspector seems to hold attributes of both the document and items within it at the same time. Also there is no context to the inspector. If I have say a graphic object selected and open the inspector, it should go straight to the graphic tab. Instead it always opens up at table. I open a new inspector and go under layout. It has two tabs. One tab for layout of the document and another for layout of the section. When you look at the inspector in this instance you realize we are two tabs deep within it. That is TERRIBLE design. They make the top set of tabs look like buttons, but that doesn't excuse it.



    You haven't used Keynote, I take it. Or TextEdit.



    Quote:

    No font menu, no ability to see a font before placing it in a document



    No Apple app has a font menu, use the Font palette. I vastly prefer it, anyway. Offers much more functionality, including preview. The font menu is a dead idea, according to Apple. Considering how bulky and cumbersome they had gotten, I agree.



    Or does Pages not use the standard Font palette?



    Quote:

    , no grammar check, etc.



    You actually use that? Oy. I find it to be annoying and more often wrong than not in most apps. *shrug*



    Quote:

    The already infamous no word count and no ability to delete an added page, etc.



    Infamous? I can see how this is an important feature for a small market, but... infamous?



    Services are made for precisely this sort of thing. I give it a month before you see these needs filled in by other folks.



    As for the deleting, I was hoping to have a copy of it in my hands now, but I'm afraid I can only assume you're missing seeing it.



    Quote:

    But the biggest thing of all is how bad the inspector happens to deal with items. To mix document and object attributes under the same words and groups is terrible, thoughtless design.



    I'll have to use it to make an assessment for myself, but so far it doesn't sound like it's awful, just different than what you're used to, to be honest. I guess that could be considered a massive disruption to one's workflow.
  • Reply 10 of 79
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    I have to say I find the discussion fascinating because it demonstrates that there are, in fact, two worlds of Mac OS X. With some obvious exceptions like iTunes and the Finder, I use mainly Cocoa apps that have a lot of the features that trumptman has problems with. My sister on the other hand uses almost exclusively Carbon apps like Word, Final Draft, etc. Her computing experience is completely different from mine. Not only are the graphics different (Quickdraw vs. Quartz), but interface elements are different, as trumptman has learned. In some cases, it means learning a different way of doing things in each app. I tried to show her a bunch of OS X features when she got her iBook, but most weren't avilable in her main apps. She might as well be using OS 9 from what I could tell, because a lot of these Carbon apps still haven't really adopted the msot important advances of OS X.



    I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the way Pages uses these elements, it's consistent across Cocoa apps, and maybe one day, Carbon app developers will get with the program. The bad news is that if you don't like these things, OS X does not bode well for your tastes.



    The font panel (live update of the highlighted text, BTW, plus there is a preview pane you can pull down from the top of the panel, and type in anything you want there to see how it looks.), the color panel, inspectors, the text input conventions, etc. are all standard across Cocoa apps, most likely will be pushed as the standard to Carbon apps and represent where the UI is going.



    There are a lot of niceties to these things that I think maybe you have to explore a bit. You can set up your own font categories and styles, access recently used font styles, etc. You can preview the font in a slide-down panel in the font palette, set advanced typography and find special characters in the advanced (gear) menu.



    As far as the inspector, Apple's Keynote and Pages inspector is different in that it fdoes mix document and object attributes under one title bar. Other Cocoa apps' inspectors don't necessarily do this. It's up to the designer. Never bothered me in Keynote. Dont' know about Pages. There is word count according to other reports. It's somewhere in the inspector, I think. Other Cocoa apps like Create will bring you to the correct inspector tab when you double-click on an element in the layout. For example, double-clicking on a graphic in Create opens the inspector and goes to the Object tag. If you click on the blank area of the page, it opens the View tab.



    As far as deleting pages, I don't know of any word processors that work that way. They just fill in pages for the content. To delete a page, delete its content, and everything moves up. If it's DTP you're after, there are better, affordable alternatives.



    Not to be callous, but if you don't like some of these things about Pages, you're not going to like a lot of OS X from here on out.
  • Reply 11 of 79
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,451member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    You haven't used Keynote, I take it. Or TextEdit.





    Nope.



    Quote:

    No Apple app has a font menu, use the Font palette. I vastly prefer it, anyway. Offers much more functionality, including preview. The font menu is a dead idea, according to Apple. Considering how bulky and cumbersome they had gotten, I agree.



    It does. I indeed had glanced past the preview option. Perhaps I mentally block out options that lead to the palettes that make my 17 inch Apple LCD look unusable because they are so large.





    Quote:

    You actually use that? Oy. I find it to be annoying and more often wrong than not in most apps. *shrug*



    I found it nice because there are words that my students for example will type that are spelled correctly, but are say.. a homophone for that word and grammar is very nice for catching that. A their for they're for example.



    Quote:

    Infamous? I can see how this is an important feature for a small market, but... infamous?



    Services are made for precisely this sort of thing. I give it a month before you see these needs filled in by other folks.



    As for the deleting, I was hoping to have a copy of it in my hands now, but I'm afraid I can only assume you're missing seeing it.



    It is infamous because it has already been mentioned several dozen places on the web. So has a work around which is open inspector, select document and go to info where it will tell you the number of words in the whole document. There is no selection checking as far as I know and it only proves more what I mentioned about mixing document and part attributes within the inspector so badly.



    Quote:

    I'll have to use it to make an assessment for myself, but so far it doesn't sound like it's awful, just different than what you're used to, to be honest. I guess that could be considered a massive disruption to one's workflow.



    For something so new, it shouldn't act like older and worse programs. What was nice about Appleworks was that it was frame based. It was part of the thinking at the time that the program would provide different types of objects that you could drop into a document however you desire. With OpenDoc there was the thought of making this systemwide. Regardless of the history, it is a powerful way of working. Everything is just an object that you select. Pages feels like it takes Word and simply tries to do it one better. However the problem with Word is that it feels like a text editor with massive add-ons. There are no frames/parts and attempting to do anything that is outside of text feels like a huge burden.



    Apple has addressed this partially, and this is why people claim Pages feels like DTP-lite. But the real issue is that it still feels text based with more refined tools for attempting to deal with frame/part matters. However Appleworks was truly frame based. It would be akin to Apple having had a very good non-linear video editing program and creating something linear to address some dinosaur like the VideoToaster. Even if the effects were cool, intuitive and somewhat better it doesn't change the fact that linear sucks compared to nonlinear. A frame based approach is best and Pages feels very lacking in this regard.



    Nick
  • Reply 12 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Nope.



    Ahhhhh, this explains much.



    Quote:

    It does. I indeed had glanced past the preview option. Perhaps I mentally block out options that lead to the palettes that make my 17 inch Apple LCD look unusable because they are so large.



    No argument there. I use the Cmd-T (for Text... yeah, I know it's only vaguely mnemonic) shortcut for the font panel to keep it out of the way 99% of the time. It's useful, and much better IMO than the font menu ever was, but is too big to have on screen most of the time.



    Quote:

    I found it nice because there are words that my students for example will type that are spelled correctly, but are say.. a homophone for that word and grammar is very nice for catching that. A their for they're for example.



    Okay, fair enough. If you're correcting someone else, I can see how it might be useful as a rough pass.



    Quote:

    It is infamous because it has already been mentioned several dozen places on the web. So has a work around which is open inspector, select document and go to info where it will tell you the number of words in the whole document. There is no selection checking as far as I know and it only proves more what I mentioned about mixing document and part attributes within the inspector so badly.



    I'm definitely going to have to take a peek at the logical groupings now... this is getting intriguing.



    Quote:

    For something so new, it shouldn't act like older and worse programs. What was nice about Appleworks was that it was frame based. It was part of the thinking at the time that the program would provide different types of objects that you could drop into a document however you desire. With OpenDoc there was the thought of making this systemwide. Regardless of the history, it is a powerful way of working. Everything is just an object that you select. Pages feels like it takes Word and simply tries to do it one better. However the problem with Word is that it feels like a text editor with massive add-ons. There are no frames/parts and attempting to do anything that is outside of text feels like a huge burden.



    Apple has addressed this partially, and this is why people claim Pages feels like DTP-lite. But the real issue is that it still feels text based with more refined tools for attempting to deal with frame/part matters. However Appleworks was truly frame based. It would be akin to Apple having had a very good non-linear video editing program and creating something linear to address some dinosaur like the VideoToaster. Even if the effects were cool, intuitive and somewhat better it doesn't change the fact that linear sucks compared to nonlinear. A frame based approach is best and Pages feels very lacking in this regard.




    Now I'm really eager to try it, because this analysis flies in the face of the other reviews I've read to date. As a Keynote user, and someone who *loves* the *extremely* frame-based approach it uses, on hearing that Pages was very similar to Keynote, I had the feeling it was going to be a step above AppleWorks. I mean, AW had embedded objects, but they were limited to AW objects.



    Pages is actually based heavily on the Keynote code, and they share a large number of libraries, is my understanding. (Again, another reason I can't wait to get my hands on them.) Since Keynote is first and foremost as layout app, Pages seemed to me to be a layout app with rich text editing added, instead of a text editor with rudimentary layout tools slapped on, ala Word. So from that standpoint, your opinion that it is not particularly frame-based is surprising.



    Interesting - thanks for the comments, I'm now even more curious to get my hands on it.
  • Reply 13 of 79
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    well, i'm not really angry at pages, but that's because i only bought iwork for keynote, and pages was just along for the ride. kinda like idvd and imovie are useless to me until i get into video more, but i wanted iphoto and my wife wanted garageband. luckily, the font selector is resizable down to three semi-minor columns, which helps a little.



    plus, i just don't expect ANYthing from 1.0 apps. i may play with them a little, but i don't buy them. it's the version 2 and up apps i shell out cash for (see keynote), because i assume they have taken some of the feedback like this and integrated it into the app.



    you DID submit this feedback to apple, right?
  • Reply 14 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    luckily, the font selector is resizable down to three semi-minor columns, which helps a little.



    Oh yeah! Forgot to mention this. trumptman, try playing around with that panel, and you'll see that you can reduce it to a tiny little thing that still gives you the basic font-picking functionality, or expand it out to be a nicely featured font preview system. Your choice. I keep it small most of the time, but the added functionality just below the surface is very nice to have on hand when I need it.



    You can even have it so that it's just the three popups (font, style, size), but with a preview pane above it. Then use the Zoom button to toggle between that and the full window. Be sure to check the tools menu, bottom left (the gear). You'll find the Character palette, which is a full Unicode aware replacement for the KeyCaps utility from OS 9, on freaking steroids. You can also access the Color and Typography palettes from there.
  • Reply 15 of 79
    I just thought I should point out that Pages does have a wordcount and it's not particularly difficult to find: inspector / document / info



    It's so obvious that it could well be I'm totally missing what everyone else is complaining about, in which case, sorry.
  • Reply 16 of 79
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    What did I say about Services?



    http://www.grunenberg.com/wordservice.html



    trumptman, this is the new OpenDoc. Services allow many applications to offer up, well, services, that can be used on data selected elsewhere. This lets third parties step in and fill in needs in other applications.



    And in case it's lost in the product page:







    Count statistics on a per selection basis.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Pages is a great app. I love it; but it's a classic NeXT application where version 1's primary attribute is that it exists. The gestus of the application is there, but there's a fair bit of implementation to come. Hence 'building' the successor to AppleWorks, rather then 'delivering' it, as said in the last Stevenote.



    And it's a new class of application. So there. Not a 'word processor' or a 'DTP app' but something slightly different, and something that makes you create rather different documents ... let me explain.



    I've been playing with it today; I started to write a document in TextEdit which I normally start documents off in as it's easy to get your text down. Then I thought ... Pages. It was an internal document about a new product my company could make. Using a template, I swapped the graphics out and changed the titles and subheadings to my purposes. Took seconds. Then texty-text blah blah tap tap tap ... what I created was an extremely attractive internal marketing document that communicated rather then disappearing into the memoscape of modern business. It looked like marketing bumf that you get in the post. Saved as a PDF the impact it will make is 1000 times greater then an RTF would have been.



    Apple's aim with this app is to make productivity software for a mythical 21st Century enterprise that has creativity and communication at its heart; businesses looking for a competitive edge through use of IT. This is a Good Thing. And it's a great CONCEPT v1.0. Oh, and the Inspector is a wonderful tool.



    Yes, I have some beefs with the interface (you can't set default dictionary for example) but when I create documents on this my colleagues will think I'm a fucking genius. Which I like.
  • Reply 18 of 79
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    You can even have it so that it's just the three popups (font, style, size), but with a preview pane above it.



    oh, i didn't even know you could get the preview pane and just pull downs (i only had the three pull downs). it's not exactly intuitive, that's for sure (you have to make the preview pane by pulling down the divider handle, then contract the bottom edge of the palette until just three menus are showing with the preview pane.



    and lo and behold, they finally made the character palette dockable (or was it always and i'm just getting it confused with the font palette, which (still) isn't?) - handy when you want the full view, but don't want it covering your entire screen all the time.
  • Reply 19 of 79
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Well, I like Word anyways, for compatibility reasons. I have no complaints about the Mac version of Word.
  • Reply 20 of 79
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    My only complaint is that Pages can't open .dot files. i have to change them to .doc's. But after using Pages for the last week, I almost never, sorry, I never use word.
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