GSoC 2008 Unified Create Interface

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Title/Summary Tailored user interface for common creative projects

Student Ryan Prior
Student Major Computer Engineering
Student Degree undergrad
Student Graduation 2006
Student Home Page
Student Blog


Scribus is an excellent application for desktop publishers, but many users are intimidated by the great flexibility and number of features that Scribus presents. I would like to create a set of alternate user interfaces tailored to creative print projects such as greeting cards, posters, and business cards so that novice users can get an introduction to Scribus and have fun creating their own print projects from scratch. Integrating with projects like Inkscape, the Creative Commons, and will allow for a novice-friendly print shop application that brings the best of open source and open content together!

Detailed Description

My name is Ryan Prior ( and I am a computer engineering student at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. My homepage is - it is a new one, but I intend to start blogging in earnest this summer when I have more time to fiddle with things that aren't C++ and discreet mathematics.

I have a fair amount of experience with C++ and Python, having programmed with C-like languages for years and having studied C++ in college classes and for my own enjoyment. I have a some experience with Scribus from fiddling around with it, but I have never done significant hacking on the code base. I have used Scribus and Inkscape to produce many posters, flyers, banners, and other print projects. I am experienced with programming on Linux and use Linux as my desktop, development, and server operating system. I also have a fair amount of experience programming on Windows, growing up and cutting my programming teeth with Microsoft products. I have no experience with programming on Mac OS X, though as a Unix user I am confident in my ability to read documentation and communicate with others in order to gain knowledge of Mac OS X as I need it.

I am an enthusiastic open source developer, and though I have not made my mark on any major open source projects, I enjoy downloading source code and tinkering with it. As a young college student, I have no experience in the commercial software industry. However, in high school I apprenticed in the UW-Madison Peptide Synthesis lab, which gave me valuable experience communicating with busy, technical, and highly intelligent people, reading dense documentation, mastering systems with many complexities and details, and being part of a large community with many aims and goals. I am comfortable communicating over Internet channels including IRC, mailing lists, web forums, change logs in controlled versioning systems, and issue tracking frameworks, and I pride myself in my competence as an effective communicator. I am a very friendly and open developer: I like to let others know what I am doing in order to keep them in the loop and enable their commentary, discussion, and guidance to lead me to greater success.

I would like to implement an interface for Scribus that allows people with little understanding of desktop publishing to complete creative projects such as greeting cards, posters, letterheads, and business cards.

  • A project type should be defined by which UI elements are needed to compete the design, which print sizes are likely to be used, and what sort of templates the user is likely to want to start from.
  • Projects should be able to be completed by somebody who is not very familiar with the GUI interfaces of creative applications, but should also contain advanced controls for more capable users.
  • The focus is on enabling creativity by simplifying interfaces and providing gentle guidance where possible. It should not be a cookie-cutter greeting card application like many from e-card companies, nor should it be as flexible as the full-fledged Scribus interface.
  • Ideally, interaction between Scribus, Inkscape, The GIMP, the Creative Commons, and should be implemented in order to bring the best features of each program to Scribus users generally, and users of these specialized project interfaces in particular.

That list is intentionally ambitious; as a beginning step of this project, I will collaborate with the Scribus developers to decide which points are most important in order to prioritize the list and schedule delivery dates for the enhancements. If it is determined that I will not be able to reasonably complete everything I have outlined, I will develop a road map usable by myself or other developers in order to carry the project forward and ultimately produce a really excellent new tool for Scribus users. I will have all day every day to work on this project, and there is little that I love more than sitting in front of a computer and writing code for something I'm excited about!