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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by gwpriester View Post
    +1
    Another +1 for Affinity publisher. Xara is Swiss army, but Affinity is the tool for this job.
    Bill Wood
    Charity Web Design
    XARA Pro+. WD17, Designer 17. Premium packages.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    So then Ben, I wish you well with Affinity.
    You originally specified "File size is important then" with "all the graphic files need to be externally linked".

    Your 737 MAX file with only text is 132kB and its PDF is 415.42kB for all of two and a half pages.
    Affinity offers little in the way of embedding external content.
    The switching back and forth with Affinity is on a page-by-page basis.
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by bwood View Post
    Another +1 for Affinity publisher. Xara is Swiss army, but Affinity is the tool for this job.
    Bill, going back to the OP's initial ask, I would have to disagree.
    It would be fine for a book's production but not for the preceding note taking. It doesn't readily handle external images either.

    How can you easily manage 100,000 notes without some retrieval system? Remember too that both Affinity and Xara are using proprietary file structures.

    Anyhow the OP seems to have set his path to Affinity.

    Acorn
    Acorn - installed Xara software: Cloud+/Pro+ and most others back through time (to CC's Artworks). Contact for technical remediation/consultancy for your web designs.
    When we provide assistance, your responses are valuable as they benefit the community. TG Nuggets you might like. Report faults: Xara Cloud+/Pro+/Magix Legacy; Xara KB & Chat

  3. #23

    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    ... It (Affinity Publisher) doesn't readily handle external images either. ...
    Images can be linked versus embedded. It's kinda the default when placing images, at least once the Prefer Linked policy is set. Unless you mean something else.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by mwenz View Post
    Images can be linked versus embedded. It's kinda the default when placing images, at least once the Prefer Linked policy is set. Unless you mean something else.
    Mike, linked is what I wanted to discover was possible. Thank you.

    Acorn
    Acorn - installed Xara software: Cloud+/Pro+ and most others back through time (to CC's Artworks). Contact for technical remediation/consultancy for your web designs.
    When we provide assistance, your responses are valuable as they benefit the community. TG Nuggets you might like. Report faults: Xara Cloud+/Pro+/Magix Legacy; Xara KB & Chat

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    Bill, going back to the OP's initial ask, I would have to disagree.
    It would be fine for a book's production but not for the preceding note taking. It doesn't readily handle external images either.

    How can you easily manage 100,000 notes without some retrieval system? Remember too that both Affinity and Xara are using proprietary file structures.

    Anyhow the OP seems to have set his path to Affinity.

    Acorn
    Point taken Acorn. I joined the party late. Many thanks for the heads up on obsidian. Love it. Beats sticky notes and notepad.
    Bill Wood
    Charity Web Design
    XARA Pro+. WD17, Designer 17. Premium packages.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    Both Affinity and Xara use proprietary file structures so if the product breaks or disappears so does your archive or book. On the other hand, MarkDown is plain ASCII that is parity with plain text. It is human-readble and there are many applications that will handle .md files. External image linking is trivial and goes where you put it. Your only loss is in-line vector creation.
    Thanks
    Thanks Acorn for all the work in the analysis of my note taking and book publishing issues. I have only now come back to the Xara Forum after having to focus on trying the Affinity Suite for 7 days before the trial period ran out plus additional days in researching note taking issues.

    Decided on Microsoft Access database plus links
    It was actually only today that I made up my mind to go with a variation of what you recommended, Acorn. I plan on continuing to use my Microsoft Access database which will have basically an abstract text version of what the note is about, then each record will have several hyperlink fields to link to either external Internet or internal data on my computer. So this way I can link to pretty much anything, CAD files, pdf, docx, png, svg, indd, afpub created by a variety of programs. The plan is to purchase a licence for Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo as my new program for creating most of the more complex documents that have a mixture of text, illustrations, images including my book.

    Zara Designer Pro+ vs Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo
    Both Zara Designer Pro+ and Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo are very interesting programs, interestingly both from the UK, both with very small file sizes, both Swiss Army knife type programs. I'm sick of the expensive American bloatware, so my prediction is more good things are going to come from Europe in the next years. The Xara files are even more highly compressed than Affinity. It appears however that Sarif has put a lot more time and money into their Affinity suite than Xara has with Xara Designer Pro+ in the last years. In my case I want the book writing features of Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo.

    Microsoft Access database
    I actually have been using an electronic Zettelkasten type note taking system for about 32 years already, I developed it myself using the Microsoft Access database when that first came out and presently holds about 50,000 individual notes. It's plain text but of course buried in a binary file. I back these up to a different filenames periodically in case of database corruption. The advantage of the Microsoft Access database is that I can add features as I like. I also developed my corporate accounting system using it and is more flexible than commercial accounting programs. My Microsoft Access note taking system is actually several different files each focusing on a different theme, book notes, general notes, Internet links, diary because they are arranged in different ways. I can search for keywords in about 1/10 of a second and this creates a list all the records line by line that have a certain keyword in them. That's great and I would hate to give up on that. While graphics could be linked into the database, it's not easily editable graphics and not multiple graphics in a document format I'm looking for. Having no inline graphics is a real disadvantage in my work and really limits the usefulness of the notes. As I said in an earlier message, I've been wrestling with documents that support graphics properly now for 34 years. I looked into Obsidian and also the other 100 note taking programs and also Schrivener for book writing. It's the same old problem, no good quality editable inline graphics. I hear you, Acorn, that text will be around for a longer time than specialty file formats. But I simply don't want to create an all text document with linked external graphics, they need to be part of the same document, in the same way that I would hand write the notes and drawings in pencil. So the solution is to link to an actual proper document like Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo document which has a mixture of text, illustration, and images.

    Windows 7 and XP Mode
    Using Windows 7 is key to accessing archived information which often means running programs that will not run in the newer operating system. Windows 7 in this regard is a joy to use with it's highly integrated XP Mode. I keep using it because what is the alternative for running older software and accessing older files that might have important information. This has to do with archival which you mentioned earlier. Windows 10 or 11 doesn't come with an integrated XP Mode, it does have the Hyper V virtual machine, but will Microsoft sell me Windows XP and Windows 7 operating systems along with the activation keys to go with that? No. And a lot of older programs won't work in compatibility mode. If Microsoft was truly interested in keeping computers safe they would be selling a version of Windows 11 that had XP and Windows 7 Mode also built in with Internet access disabled. I never connect XP Mode to the Internet so there is little chance of a virus or hacker creeping in through that operating system. Because of this dilemma, I completely rebuilt my Toshiba Qosmio X500, which has 2 HDD and an 18.6 inch true high definition screen, just months ago with an identical replacement motherboard from the US and a graphics card from China and so would like to continue using it. And so it would also be great if Xara and Serif allowed us to also download the previous versions that ran under Windows 7 along with the newer Windows 11 versions with a purchase so we can straddle the new and old hardware.

    File size comparison for different programs
    Below are the results of tests on minimum file sizes for different documents. Smallest Microsoft Word docx files are 12 K, Adobe Indesign 144 K, Affinity Publisher 10 K, and Xara Publisher Pro+ 4 K with the preview stripped out (simulating if unchecking preview image worked). So Adobe Indesign documents are not typically going to be used in any corporate or home office for small items because of their large file sizes. The advantage of both Xara and Affinity programs is that the file sizes are small enough they can be used in place of Microsoft Word which we all know handles complex graphics so poorly. Affinity Publisher is a pretty good program because in my opinion it could be used for any kind of written documents, notes, research documents, letters, booklets, brochures, and books.

    Microsoft Word 2016, 12 K

    Xara Designer Pro+, 4 K with jpeg thumbnail/preview stripped out of file
    Xara Designer Pro+, 11 K with jpeg thumbnail/preview

    Affinity Publisher, 10 K, no thumbnail on save
    Affinity Designer, 9K, no thumbnail on save
    Affinity Photo, 8K no thumbnail on save, 22x20 mm image

    Adobe Indesign, 144 K, compression, no ICC, no pdf editing
    Adobe Illustrator, 273 K, compression, no ICC, no pdf editing
    Adobe Photoshop, 685 K, 22x20 mm image, CMYK, 8 bit

    Searching for text in documents
    There is no point in making notes unless you can find them. One of the main reasons for going with Microsoft Access database as an index for my documents is that it is difficult to search inside multiple documents on the hard drive. In Windows you can use the findstr command to search inside documents that contain text without opening them. But Microsoft Word 2016, Xara Publisher Pro+, and Affinity Publisher files are all compressed file formats and so here is no text to search. Another method is to use the Windows Explorer preview to see what is inside the files, but while Microsoft Word, Wordpad, and Notepad all have proper multiple page previewers, both Xara Publisher Pro+ and Affinity Publisher only show a thumbnail preview which can't really be read. Ideally the Microsoft Access database would have an afpub previewer built into the note boxes instead of plain text, then I could have what I really want. Microsoft Word fully supports Windows Explorer tags but so far this doesn't seem to be the case for Xara Publisher Pro+ and Affinity Publisher. It appears that note taking programs are mostly designed around having all the notes in a single file just like I have in the Microsoft Access database, this way a search can be done quickly on the entire collection of notes which is pretty great.

    Paper based Zettelkasten vs Digital notes
    The original Zettelkasten system used a unique file name for each card, and there were index cards dividing major sections of the notes. So my Microsoft Access database you could say is those index cards. My plan is for the documents to be on average a lot longer than the traditional Zettelkasten type notes, might be up to 500 pages long in the case of pdf books, so searching will be two steps, search database, search document. My database does use linked subForms so I can list multiple excerpts from long documents in separate records. A search on the Internet reveals that many people are starting to combine their notes into long documents, this is in a way not the way of the original Zettelkasten system of one file card for one thought but it is much easier to work on and find fewer longer documents. In my work, writing out one single sentence quotation or thought per note is not ideal as I want the complete document to provide background for that thought. So my database with subForms I think is the best of both worlds. Longer notes means less database index entries and this saves time.

    File naming system
    So the ideal file naming system for notes would be to have a unique filename for each note entry so that they could be moved to a temporary directory for writing a book and them moved back later. I plan on using the Camel Mode file naming system in the future with no spaces, for example 2024Mar20XaraAffinityForum.txt.

    Conclusion
    Zara Designer Pro+ and Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo both are in an ideal spot to take major market share from Microsoft Word, Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and CorelDraw and become dominant. At this point Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo is the leader. Time to say goodbye to Microsoft Word with it's poor illustration support. Time to say goodbye to Adobe because of huge file sizes and expensive subscriptions. Time to say goodbye to CorelDraw because they have no desktop publishing program, Ventura Publisher was dropped years ago. Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo could be used for any kind of written documents, notes, research documents, letters, booklets, brochures, and books. What could make it even better is a proper Windows Explorer preview and tagging.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Xara, the software company, is spelled with an X

    Zara, spelled with a Z , make clothes and are a totally different company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zara

    they are not interchangeable, and yes it does matter when posting online

    -------------------------------
    Nothing lasts forever...

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Ben, thank you for the detailed insights into your logic.

    I wish you well with Serif's Affinity suite. Having reasonable understood your objective, I would never have chosen Serif or Xara as a repository.

    Your MSA database is an abstract and keyword indexer that leads to a two-step search for a phrase in an actual document.
    It does provide a form of digital asset management (DAM) that allows you to link in external assets. By external, I include local filestore as well as Internet.

    I would actually develop your Zettelkasten system slightly. Change the date to yyyymmdd. This immediately affords a date order in MS Windows. The ddd abbreviated Month forces an alphanumeric sort that jumbles the months.
    CamelCase is good but I would go a step further and include some keywords into the filename. MS W7 accommodates 260 bytes for the full path length. W10 NTFS can be as much as 32,767 bytes.
    yyyymmdd-ThisIsAnExceedinglylongFileName-Keyword1-Keyword2-Keyword3.txt

    Using this approach, I can use 'Everything' to quickly locate a filename through fragments of words: 'his ord2 word3' catches the above filename and highlight the found fragments in no time: I have 3M files stored locally and I can type in 202403 as fast as I can and I get 604 hits.
    Using Obsidian, which comes with its own Search engine, the retrieval is more sedate (way faster than MS Windows), but here, you are searching all content and filenames.
    Saving a Search as a Bookmark returns results extremely fast.

    Archival storage under W7 is your main problem. At some time your W7 machines will die and your archive and legacy programs will disappear.

    I took your
    https://www.benwiens.com/transportation2.html page and quickly converted it to MarkDown for use in Obsidian.
    I renamed it 20230305-UrbanTravelIssues.md.
    I added in the keywords as Tags.
    I added in all the associated images as adjunct files.
    ===
    I searched for a range of terms and all worked perfectly.
    I opened up the Links window and picking any of the images, I could fire it up into its native editor, alter and save it and it immediately updated the principal document.

    So provided you have a text editor and a image editor, you could even throw away Obsidian & MSA and still future-proof your active and legacy documentation.

    Acorn


    Acorn - installed Xara software: Cloud+/Pro+ and most others back through time (to CC's Artworks). Contact for technical remediation/consultancy for your web designs.
    When we provide assistance, your responses are valuable as they benefit the community. TG Nuggets you might like. Report faults: Xara Cloud+/Pro+/Magix Legacy; Xara KB & Chat

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Quote Originally Posted by Acorn View Post
    So provided you have a text editor and a image editor, you could even throw away Obsidian & MSA and still future-proof your active and legacy documentation.
    Simplest idea is to just use the image editor
    Many image editors can create text, vector, and raster image combinations. For example Adobe Indesign/Illustrator/Photoshop, Affinity Publisher/Designer/Photo, CorelDraw, and Xara Designer Pro+ all can do these 3 things really well. If an editor suite exists that can do all these three things, why not choose this editor suite because that way all the work can be done in a single editor suite? This was my original idea till I found out that Affinity files are compressed and text cannot easily be searched for in them directly like with plain text, there was no proper preview, and tags might not be visible in Windows Explorer. That's the reason for using the Microsoft Access index for now. But regarding the big picture, hopefully Sarif will create the equivalent of the Adobe Bridge for the Affinity Suite which could do batch decompression and searching for text plus hopefully have a true file previewer, and utilize the file tags. Adobe Bridge is really a type of Zettelkasten indexing system.

    Future proofing
    Your idea of future proofing is to have as much information in plain text and as little as possible in image format because text is more standardized and imaged formats are not. My idea is to have as much information in image format and as little as possible in text because pictures are worth a thousand words. Ideally I want the images and text to be all mixed up together. It's the modern way. In the old days the pictures and charts were at the end of the book but now they are alongside the text which is easier to read but this is only possible with the new desktop publishing programs. How do I make notes on which new computer to buy, I create a research report for that. Myself and people in companies are not just using these programs for taking notes like in a classroom or for the grocery list or quick ideas but many of the notes also are converted over time into reports for others to read and should be formatted properly with equation, tables, charts, illustrations, pictures, and should be able to be outputted in Adobe Acrobat format as a single file or printed. Adobe really figured this out at the beginning with the Creative Suite, that the future of all kinds of document creation should be with a suite of high end programs that all work together seamlessly. Sarif is smart and has just recently bought big time into this important concept as well with a suite of high end Affinity programs. How do you print out a report with a Word document and Adobe Illustrator illustrations? You don't, it doesn't work. How about Obsidian text and Affinity Designer illustration? It's not workable. It has to be a suite of programs. This is the future. Is this new concept future proofed? Not entirely, it's all about the converters and always has been. It keeps companies like Markzware in business.

    The main problem
    The main problem for my work is that programmers that work on retail type programs focus more on text than illustrations or images. Maybe most programmers actually hate graphics, this seems to be the case at Microsoft. What is called plain text still has to be encoded in some binary format just like illustrations though. The modern ASCII format dates back to 1961 but before than it was IBMs EBCDIC, and since around 1992 Unicode has become more popular. The only reason we can somehow live with these different text formats is that converters are common and most people stick with a single current standard. Next in line are the raster images, many have been around for a long time and converters are also common. If vector illustrations were considered equally important to text then illustration formats would be more standardized and converters more robust. Many years ago when computer aided drawing started being used in large companies, the US Military insisted that a single computer aided design drawing file format be used in the US, that this would be essential in time of war when work would be farmed out to various companies, the compromise was the dxf exchange format.

    Which came first, CAD or word processing?
    Computer aided design came before word processing. In early 1962, Itek began actively marketing the EDM computer aided design system and General Motors was rasterizing paper drawings already in 1957. It was years later in 1969 that IBM introduced their Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter and Magcard based word processing system. In the corporate world, more money is spend on individual drawing programs than with desktop word processing and desktop publishing programs.

    Breaking the bonds of plain text
    My project to find the ideal system for all types of documents is not only for myself. I'm a futurist. Our world presently lives in the unfortunate grip of the text based documents. It makes our whole world inefficient and drab. Microsoft Word handles complex text formatting, illustrations, and pictures so badly that people just leave out that. Unfortunately, Word has become the standard word processor in the world. Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop are way too expensive for most people and companies and the file sizes are huge for no apparent reason. CorelDraw is a a nice drawing program but where can you use these, they disbanded Ventura Publisher years ago so these drawings have no home in a document. Xara Designer Pro+ almost is there as a universal document format but it's not for books or complex illustrations or image editing and so could get run over. Inkscape uses the open source svg file format which can also handle a mixture of text, vector, and raster images but has never been made into a full featured program suite. But the Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo suite can be used for almost any kind of document, from plain to very complex, it's main limitation now is automation plug ins which is being worked on. So my hope is that this Affinity program suite becomes wildly popular and this new file format turns into a standard just like docx or plain text and pushes out most of the other document file formats. It's a cruel way but that is free enterprise. In the end Microsoft allows others to use the docx format and Adobe allows others to use the pdf format, and Xara published their document specifications, so I'm hoping this or a licensing system will happen with Affinity. Both Microsoft and Adobe are still strong in spite of this but it's always a risk.

    Conclusion
    The big picture is that the Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo suite is marketed mostly for desktop publishing but is perfect for almost any type of document creation including notes, research reports, letters, illustrations, images, user manuals, and books. It's file size is small and suitable for the smallest of notes. If Affinity creates an Affinity Bridge, then this suite will be totally suitable for managing large collections of files.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Xara Designer Pro+ questions about desktop publishing and note taking features

    Ben, thank you for the history. I have survived most of it myself.

    You seem to have thrown away the synergy of hyperlinking across multiple documents.
    With Affinity, you will need to 'publish' every document and then work out what its link path will be.
    Both Xara and Serif (noting your typo) handle internal links adequately but external ones require a collection area (c.f., the Internet).
    With Obsidian (and MarkDown) the connectivity is down to the folder location (even across Vaults).

    Using images and PDFs squander their information value. Most file formats wither. .txt (a.k.a., .md), UTF-8 et al, ASCII & extended and system flavours of EBCDIC all have simple (Regex) convertors, which I have had to use all of my career(s). Anything proprietary and you are out of the picture.

    You were rather emphatic that your images were in an external file store.
    In Obsidian, I can quickly link to any image with ![[...]]. If it is a mix of text, vector and graphic then I can link to its .XAR (or other file extension with [File](file:///I:\TG\2023.xar), edit that and export it as an image back to the required location.

    Why stop at pictures?
    With Boxy SVG, which I use, I can add in images, vectors, text and animate them.
    The SVG format payload is quite light too and readily embedded into a MarkDown file.

    Acorn
    Acorn - installed Xara software: Cloud+/Pro+ and most others back through time (to CC's Artworks). Contact for technical remediation/consultancy for your web designs.
    When we provide assistance, your responses are valuable as they benefit the community. TG Nuggets you might like. Report faults: Xara Cloud+/Pro+/Magix Legacy; Xara KB & Chat

 

 

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