False bold

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Revision as of 10:23, 16 June 2005 by Freedo (talk | contribs)
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False bold / italics

The Scribus devels seem to be vehemently opposed to false bold, suggesting that a proper bold font should be used rather than false bold. While I'm sure this is correct, it does lead to a couple of problems:

  • It's quite fiddly. There should really be a keyboard shortcut for automatic bolding / italicising IMO (ctrl-b or ctrl-shift-b) rather than having to manually select a different font. This gets really annoying with anything more than a small amount of text.
  • Sometimes there isn't a bold equivalent of the desired font.

My suggestion:

  • User selects text and presses ctrl-b (or clicks a bold button somewhere or whatever)
  • Scribus looks for bold counterpart of the font used. If found then everything's cool.
  • If not found, message appears explaining missing font problem and offering to do false bold but with dire warnings about problems that might be caused. Should include a 'don't show this again for this font' tickbox and a 'don't show this again for any font' tickbox. These would only stick for the current document, although it would be good to have an option to never warn again ever hidden in the preferences somewhere.

I know you guys really hate false bold, but how about offering it anyway for people who really want to live dangerously? This all applies to italics too.--Joeboy 00:57, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The reason we hate false bolds/italtics is we have seen too many times this causes problem in commercial printing. If we enable, it will be used. We have worked very hard to create a reliable, dependable DTP app which will print reliably. That said the next version will have an easier method for formatting text.

--Mrdocs 00:09, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree with mrdocs on this. My personal opinion is that the "dire warning" should probably be "here are some websites where you can buy this font". I would consider fake style support a major step backwards into MS Publisher country. It'd also risk giving the app a bad rep with printers, because people would use the false styles despite all the warnings then get inferior results at print or get their documents flagged by preflight software.

I'd argue that false styles are a very different issue to the usability of font selection, though. I agree that it would help to make it easier to style text. As you note, I understand there are plans to address the latter (IIRC bold/italic buttons and/or a font menu sorted by face with styles in submenus).

Surely your 'bad rep' would just be the same as the rep of Quark / Indesign etc, which do false bold don't they (or have I misunderstood)? Except your rep would be better because the dire warnings would put most people off.
Not sure about InDesign, I only have ID2 and haven't used it for a while. Quark (4, at least) doesn't create false styles, it has a style selector that picks an appropriate font name using the base face name and the desired style. Except for the "small" matter that it often gets it wrong and tries to use, for example, Gill Sans Italic when the font is called Gill Sans Oblique. The job then tends to explode when distilled. Just to make things more fun, it doesn't detect this when it exports an EPS, so one often has to go searching through included ads.... While this is a Quark bug, not a problem with the idea in general, it does higlight something important. Picking the right font in an "easy to use" style selector is hard. When the user asks for `bold' do they want us to use black, or refuse to enable bold, if all they have is the black face? etc. If you don't enable the bold button, users will complain that they have a "bold" face. If you do, they'll complain the "bold is too dark" or that the program shouldn't choose black if bold can't be used. etc.
Artificial styles are another even worse mess that should IMO be confined strictly to word processor country. I'm not stuck on the idea of 'pure' DTP by the way, for example I'd love to see more FrameMaker like capabilities. I just think DTP apps should focus on correctness.
In general I like my software to give me the power to do risky things if I really want to. It's always frustrating to know that an app could do what I want but the feature has been omitted 'for my own protection'. I accept that false bold should be discouraged, maybe even hidden in an out-of-the-way preference, but I still think it's a feature not a bug.
That seems reasonable, but again I'm not convinced its a good idea to put in a feature that the app then begs you not to use and tries to hide.
re "MS Publisher country": Sure, Publisher sucks enormous rocks through a hose, but I think Scribus can and should compete at the low-end as well as the high.
I'm not convinced that competing at the low end requires introducing bad or dangerous features. I think it's practical to compete at the low end without teaching people bad habits. I also know from extended and painful personal experience that people will use low-end products or features in totally unsuitable situations. For example, someone might create an ad for a newspaper thinking they can just use MS word and make a PDF, use Publisher, or whatever, then the newspaper has to clean up the resulting awful mess. As someone on the "clean up the mess" side, I don't think there's any such thing as "broken, ok for low end use".
It'd probably be better to carry this conversation to the mailing list for anything further. In a while I'll edit this page to be a bit more readable.

--Ringerc 11:57, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Sorry to harp on about this - give me the ability to do text formatting with keyboard shortcuts and I'll basically be happy, even if it only works when there's a bold font available. I think false bold would be useful sometimes but I could be wrong. I will shut up about this now.--Joeboy 13:10, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Instead of asking Scribus to include "false" bold/italics, why not try to use a font editor to create it? Look for example at what FontForge can do. --Nermander 13:50, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)

When it comes to the way of text styling, I would really prefer a two-step selection, with one menu for the font family and one for the style. This provides the possibility to list all available styles for a specific font. So you don't have to care about the question whether there should be an extra button for Extra Bold and so on, because everything is shown that is available. If a style that has once been selected is not there (e.g. if a document has been transfered to another computer), Scribus could fall back to the most similar style, along with a warning message. By the way, another advantage would be the consistence with Inkscape's way of dealing with it (the two-step selection). --Freedo 10:23, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)