Written on: 07/04/2012 by miclyn212 (1 review written)
I like Page Plus. Over the last 20 years I have updated to the various versions, including X5 which I found quite user friendly and intuitive. I have used it impressive array of features quite extensively. There was one function, however that I really wanted, and that was to convert a Book to e-pub and .mobi. So I thought X6 was about to fulfill my expectations. Sadly it has let me down. Yes a single Page Plus text document will convert to an acceptable e-pub and .mobi. But not a book. After assembling all my Page plus prepared chapters into a book file, I found there was no facility to convert the book file into any of the e-reader formats.
Serif technical help was quick enough to respond to my ticket via their web page but had no acceptable solution. The suggestions that I should bring all the chapters into one page plus document or save the book as a PDF then convert, apart from being a lash up and not what the advertising spin promised, were utterly useless
First I made attempts to bring all the page plus chapters into one big page plus document. Although I had used this feature in X 5 to combine documents, as soon as I attempted to save a project in X6 that had another page plus document added, the programme crashed.
I tried their suggestion of converting to PDF, then to e-pub. Totally unsatisfactory. The sentences were published like lists, the graphics were missing and the toc contained 5 pages of completely superfluous entries that bore no relation to the paragraph styles used in the original document, actual reproducing some entries multiple times. Discussions in the e-pub forums have repeatedly confirmed that PDF’s do not make for good e-publishing results. It is known in the industry.
I have encountered another idiosyncrasy of the e-publishing experience. With X6 .jpg graphics do not retain the size that they are formatted to in the text, and are published in the e-pub in a size not compatible with viewing in e-readers, basically too large to fit it all on the screen. In effect the e-pub dialog has to be set to interpret graphics as .png This does work.
Even taking into consideration that e-publishing is in its infancy and other developers are having teething problems, Serifs development has a long way to go and promises much more than it can deliver on the e-publishing front.
Then there is the not so small matter that thumbnails of files are displayed erratically if at all, and only the PPX6 logo is displayed. I have found this to be most frustrating! Searching for a particular file by name takes a lot longer than searching for a pictorial thumbnail. I have been advised that this is a known issue and is being worked on. I hope the solution will be introduced as a patch soon. This was not an issue in PPX5 so the code is known!
Apart from theses obvious flaws I am also left wondering if some of the other changes had a rationale such as moving the page resizing controls from the top tool bar to the bottom right, but having the pop up selection of tools for this action appear at the top left as a context only bar.
I’m getting used to it, but I wonder if it was necessary to move the text styles from a drop down off the top tool bar to a dialog in the studio, and to move the graphics such as silhouettes and logos to the right to a fly-out called ‘Assets’, where instead of just dragging an ‘asset’ from the dialog to the page I have an additional step of first selecting it to an intermediate panel and then dragging it onto the page.
Like a lot of software developers Serif have for years had the bad habit of putting out buggy or incomplete applications and only putting it right in the next version, which in itself contains other bugs and omissions. But X6 takes this to a new level! It’s advertising claims are simply un sustained in the major area of e-publishing function. This is a great shame as potentially Serif had a great product.
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