Archive for January 5, 2004

Monday, January 5, 2004

Happy New Year

Yes, I’m a few days late, and in fact there is much more to catch up on. But, so far, Nicholas Riley has the best new year post.

Adobe’s Graveyard

PageMaker finally is dead, and FrameMaker, though not dead, seems to be even closer than usual. The latest version isn’t very impressive and doesn’t run on Macs. Thankfully, FrameMaker, which has always been reliable, still works in Classic with the same old redraw bugs and ancient interface.

The reason I care about FrameMaker is not so much that I like it, as that I like what it can do. Though there are several alternatives on Windows, I know of no equivalent Mac programs. Number one on my list of FrameMaker likes is that it can create PDFs with clickable links, bookmarks, and other meta-data. Microsoft Word is probably the closest tool to FrameMaker on the Mac, but, unlike its Windows counterpart, it cannot create these rich PDFs. As a result, some of TidBITS’s new Take Control eBooks are created using Word on Windows; the rest have their PDF richness added by hand.

Panther improved Preview by leaps and bounds, which is especially fortunate given the state of Adobe Reader (see also MDJ 2003.12.31). But there is much more to be done. On the viewing side, Preview can’t handle PDF forms or select text in columns. On the creation side, Mac OS X makes it easy to create PDFs—but lowest common denominator ones. Save a Web page with Safari, and all the links die.

UI Habits

John Gruber discusses some old UI habits that give people trouble with Mac OS X. These examples don’t particularly affect me as habits. That is, I don’t accidentally click the desktop to activate the Finder, and I never used the Finder’s keyboard shortcut for creating aliases. However, they do point to some things about Mac OS X that could be improved.

I still think Mac OS X should combine the window-by-window and app-by-app layering policies to get the best of both worlds. Clicking on a window with a modifier key (not Option or Command; they already mean other things) held down should activate the app.

How many OS X users actually minimize windows to the Dock? Not many, I would guess.

I don’t think Apple needed to steal Command-H for hiding the current application, given that we already have the more expressive Option-click.

Using Put Away with items on the trash or desktop…those were the days.

That proxy icons (easily identified by their poofability) don’t behave like normal icons has long been a problem. However, as to the specific example of Script Editor, you can drag an application’s Dock icon onto Script Editor’s Dock icon if you hold down Command-Option. I do that all the time with Script Debugger.