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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lam, Bavaria-Germany
    Posts
    352

    Default My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    Dear Xara, I would like to share here my experiences with the set of a nearly 400 pages, A4 book with 1.600 black and white photos.

    In another thread I asked about the limitation of the .xar format and if there are any restrictions on memory management for this project.

    Rob from Xara replied and asked for sample files that I provided him with. The files are also available to other forum members.
    Rob hasn't spoken since. Only Acorn looked at the files and confirmed the slowness of Xara's long text processing.

    But from the begining:
    I had a request to set a book with about 1.000 pages and over 6.000 black and white photos and to deliver print-ready PDF's.

    With my publishing house we decided now instead of publishing one book to divide the whole into three books.
    It's looked better now. Book 1 approx. 400 pages and 1. 600 pictures.

    Since I canceled my Adobe subscription, only Xara or Quark Xpress 8 was suitable as a layout program.
    Since many images needed correction and adaptation to format and resolution, my goal was to set this book with XDP V16 and take advantage of the built-in image editing features. With Quark I would have had to use an external photo editor again and loosing endless time to got the right from the images.

    First I created my pages and layout grid.

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    Books always start with an odd page (page 1). I have created the pages so: Page 1 = single page, subsequent pages = double pages.
    I put the layout grid on an extra layer, so I can fade it in and out. Depending on use.

    The page numbering sets Xara as Repeating Group and it is easy to hide it where it is not needed.

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    Everything's gone well so far. Just the way I imagined it would be. The problems are coming now.

    1. problem text
    I inserted the whole text into Xara, it took about 10 minutes. Each change therefore lasted exactly as long until everything was rendered again. So impossible to work like that. Setting the book in one text stream does not work in Xara.

    I analyzed the text again and decided to set the book chapter by chapter. Since every chapter starts on a new page anyway, it could go like this.
    If contents are still to be inserted, however, new problems arise again. With a single text stream, the pages move on. In my case, I'm gonna have to fix everything manually. I pray that no new content will follow.

    The longest chapter has 65 pages. Waiting times of up to three minutes were not uncommon until the text was re-rendered.
    Since I have always worked with style sheets, the style sheets were quickly created in Xara and could be applied to the text. Here I would wish to provide each style sheet with a keyboard shortcut. The ways with the mouse were long and tiring.

    2. problem photos
    Xara cannot link photos but only embed them. Acorn's suggestion to link the images with a placeholder works theoretically, but is not practicable because the rendering takes several minutes.
    I embedded all the photos. Strangely enough, this does not affect the performance of Xara. But I always took care to optimize them to a resolution of 300 ppi when more than 10 photos were inserted. Xara offers the function Optimise all images. . . You only have to choose the right settings. Xara does not remember the last used setting in this dialog.

    So far I've managed to set the book. From 400 pages to 372 pages by clever choice of font and design. The images are all embedded and the . xar file has a size of 201.4 MB with 600 optimized photos. So far everything's fine.

    3. problem saving and opening performance
    The more pages you save or open with Xara, the longer Xara takes. In my case it took Xara almost 2 minutes to open the document for 360 pages. Xara opens other documents with several 1000 objects quickly. Even image-heavy documents are opened quickly. I think the text engine is also the reason for the slowness here.

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    4. problem PDF output for offset printing ECI grayscales
    Xara doesn't know color management. So no matter if I insert a CMYK or grayscale image into Xara, it will be converted to RGB. For PDF output means that you can't get a printable grayscale PDF because all images remain in RGB or are converted to CMYK when using PDF X-1. There is an ISOcoated_v2_grey1c_bas. icc color-profile which is based on the ECI V2 but cannot be used in Xara. You can't get around here without a foreign program.

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    I have been working in the graphic arts industry for over 33 years and have been doing final artwork for offset printing companies since 1989. Main programs for flawless print data are Acrobat Pro, PitStop but my favorite is Callas PDF.

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    Since I own this software it is easy to convert the PDF generated by Xara into the correct color format.

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    So much for my DTP experience typesetting a book with Xara.

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    My wishes to Xara are to really talk about DTP:
    1. performance of the text engine
    2. colour management
    3. real grayscale and CMYK for images (colour management)
    4. Mastersites
    5. real left-right side
    6. linking images
    7. more options when creating a table of contents – i.e. glyph fill for tabs, no links for print
    8. layout grid management
    9. more functions for text styles – keyboard shortcuts, paragraph settings, better Widow And Orphan settings
    10. List properties – more flexibility for user glyphs not only the clipboard thing
    11. tables – real tables with the option to split them and have on the new site the same heading (on/off), import from exel, opnenoffice, cvs
    12. Text repelling – not only on h + v side, better individual on each side t+b+h+v

    There are certainly many things I can think of, but these are the ones I missed the most in my work.

    For Xara to become a fully-fledged DTP program, a lot of development work is still needed.

    Despite everything, it is possible with Xara to set a book in high quality. You have to get involved and work out some workflows. Then You win.

    Thanks for reading!

    Servus Ernie

    edit: What I forgot:
    – Xara has a very good anchor technology I've never see in other Layot-Software, easy and effektive. The page-management is so simplier. And it is no Problem to embed i.e. a initial from an object.
    – my monitor was calibrated to ECI-RGB V2 (Eizo). Xara can't handle this and the b+w fotos looks strange. So I recalibrate my monitor to sRGB and the RGB-view in Xara is perfect and matches the result after icc-conversation in callas-PDF.
    Last edited by ernie-f; 21 November 2018 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    Thanks for the reporting, Ernie. A true labor of love...

    I think I'll stick to using an actual layout application. Aside from being a more assured work-flow, and the fact it is far faster to use a layout application, most/all of the issues you raise are non-existent.

    Thanks again. Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    SW England
    Posts
    8,521

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    ernie, kudos for persisting with this.

    A particular thanks for the detail highlighting all the difficulties you have encountered, endured and mainly overcome.

    It would be useful for Xara to incorporate your original documents as part of its testing strategy to demonstrate the application's limitation to its developers.

    Acorn
    Acorn - My currently active Xara software: occasionally serviced XDPX, purposely unserviced XDPX12 & XDPX11 (32/64-bit), unserviced XWD Premium 15 & 12, XPGD10, X3D7 and lots of 'permanently-owned' licences back through time (to CC's Artworks)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Placitas, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    35,631

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    I suggested to Xara creating a variation of Designer Pro specifically for book publishing. It is a huge market. They listened. Nothing came of it.

    The books I have designed are not as big or demanding as what you described. But what works best for me is to divide the book into sections of chapters and save each section or chapter as a separate Xara file. I export each section or chapter as a PDF file then use Acrobat to stitch all the PDFs into one. It make working easier than trying to manage 300 pages in a single document.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Gary W. Priester
    Mr. Moderator Emeritus Dude
    , Sir

    gwpriester.com | Custom-Stereograms.com | eyeTricks on Facebook






  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lam, Bavaria-Germany
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    Quote Originally Posted by mwenz View Post
    Thanks for the reporting, Ernie. A true labor of love...

    I think I'll stick to using an actual layout application. Aside from being a more assured work-flow, and the fact it is far faster to use a layout application, most/all of the issues you raise are non-existent.

    Thanks again. Mike
    Hi Mike, I tried the hole think to do with PagePlus X9. I got a license for PagePlus so I tried it too. No chance to handle the many linked pictures in PP. It crashed all the way when I got more than 350 images linked.

    And Quark XP 8 crashes too. There is no time saver in my software repertoire. Only one I can thing is InDesign. Maybe the new Quark can handle it but 829,- €, 399,- € if I'm able to update because the QXP 8 Version is an education thing, is more money I'm willing to pay. Xara XDP v16 has cost money too, sot it must now make money for me.

    I think I was pretty fast with my work in Xara. It has been faster if there wheren't the things I mentioned. In InDesign I wasn't faster with a project like this and I feel well in Indi in the use of the last 10 years.
    But I said „Goodbey” to Adobe's Creative Cloud.

    Servus Ernie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lam, Bavaria-Germany
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    Hi Acorn,

    there are no problems to got the original files from me.

    All I'd have to do is sign a declaration of weighing. As well as giving the guarantee that the data will not appear anywhere but will remain with Xara for research purposes only.

    Servus Ernie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Lam, Bavaria-Germany
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: My expieriences to set a book with XDP v16

    Gary thanks for Your sugestion to split the file. I thought about too but tried it to do in one file.

    It works for me, only the slowness if there are long text passages made the work sluggerish. But I haven't one crash in all the days I created the book. This was me first fear that Xara crashes after say, 50 pages. But nothing all went good. Only the thinks I mentoined ristrict Xara to a prof. DTP-Software. I hope the Affinity Publisher will be in the state to use it for the second book. I'll see. And I wish Xara is here and do the right thinks to improve Xara. The Drawing things we wait X-Years, so maybe the DTP things will be faster.

    Servus Ernie

 

 

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