[From Archive 5.5, February 1992]
DTP on the Archimedes - DTP for all
A new book from Bruce Goatly has just been published by Sigma Press, price £12.95.
Until now, the only tutorial book I have found which covers DTP on the Archimedes is Stephen Ibbs' "First Impression" (Reviewed by Robert Chrismas in Archive 5.1 p17). First Impression is, of course, a specific guide to the use of Computer Concept's Impression software. (A review of Stephen's follow-up, "Good Impression" appears on page 47.)
Goatly's "DTP for all" is aimed at someone starting from scratch, thinking that the Archimedes is a good machine, and then asking "how do I get good DTP results on it?". The book has sections covering all leading Archimedes WP/DTP software (yes, 1WP, Acorn DTP, Ovation and EasiWriter are all covered as well as Impression), and is split into twelve sections:
- 1 What is DTP?
- 2 Equipping Yourself
- 3 DTP with Word Processors
- 4 Edit and Draw: Budget DTP
- 5 DTP Software for Education
- 6 Essentials of DTP
- 7 Text Handling
- 8 Graphics in DTP
- 9 Rudiments of Design
- 10 DTP in Practice
- 11 Preparing the Camera Copy
- 12 Duplication and Finishing
What is DTP?
Many people thinking of buying a book on DTP would think they already know what DTP is. However, in this first chapter, Goatly explains very concisely some of the technical "pitfalls" that many of us trip over. He describes how outline font technology works from screen to printout, and the full set of terminology used in the printing trade - points, picas, setting, leading, baseline, ems, ens, standard paper sizes, full tone and half tone illustrations, etc.
The initial section is entitled "The RISC-OS Advantage" and describes all the features we know and love. However, I was disappointed that Goatly didn't draw more of a comparison with the Mac's System 6/7 and Windows 3 on a PC because many believe that RISC-OS as an application support platform is greatly superior to both of these. Would any reader like to volunteer to draw up a comparison table for publication?
However, the remaining 80% of the chapter gives very useful advice including presenting a number of "pros and cons" tables for all the Archimedes WP / DTP packages on the market. Sensible advice is given on what hardware will be needed and then a set of hints and tips is given on how to get started - explaining how all the Font Manager configuration parameters work.
DTP with word processors
Text based packages covered here are First Word Plus, PD3 and EasiWriter. Goatly's "get you going" approach will be useful to new users of these packages and also to those considering such a purchase. The bulk of the chapter is devoted to EasiWriter which Goatly admits can achieve documents "with the outward appearance of DTP", while still being predominantly text based rather than graphic-based.
Edit and Draw: Budget DTP
I found this a very interesting chapter because I did not realise that so much could be done when importing text into Draw. (I really must read the User Guide some time!) Goatly exploits the full extent of Draw's capabilities to show how multi column layouts including graphics can be achieved. There are also some tips on how to avoid pitfalls when using Draw for DTP - the most common trap being italicised characters having their overhangs cropped off by the "frame" which Draw constructs around them.
DTP software for education
Two educational packages are covered - PenDown and Desktop Folio. I am glad that educational packages have been covered in a book on "DTP for all" because, in the Archimedes marketplace, the majority of users are still in education.
Essentials of DTP
Using Impression and Ovation as models, Goatly explains all the terminology and concepts behind frame-based DTP on the Archimedes. The comparison between the way Ovation and Impression operate would be useful to anyone wondering which product would suit them best.
Throughout the rest of the book, Ovation and Impression snapshots are jointly used to illustrate Goatly's material.
A really excellent chapter which explains everything you ever needed to know about laying out and manipulating text for use with a DTP package. The use of special effects with FontFX, FontDraw, Poster and others is also covered.
Graphics in DTP
After an initial discussion of where you can get graphical material and software from, a large part of the chapter discusses scanning techniques and how to incorporate and manipulate pixel-based and object-based graphic files within a DTP document.
Rudiments of design
Most of the "golden" rules in document design are given here. I found especially useful the section describing the many different ways paragraphs on a page could be adjusted to fit the space available.
DTP in practice
This chapter is over 40 pages - I think the longest in the book - and rightly so. Several complex example documents are illustrated, which Goatly then explains, so that the reader can see how they were constructed.
Preparing the camera copy
This covers the various different ways of getting DTP documents printed out, comparing pros and cons of each method. Goatly goes through the detail of how to get adequate DTP output on a dot matrix printer (if you wait long enough), and then spends the majority of the chapter discuss ing page printers and PostScript.
Duplication and finishing
This final chapter covers different ways of mass-producing your work, giving a tick list of advantages / disadvantages for each method. Goatly also explains, in some detail, how pages are laid out for folding and stitching.
Bruce Goatly has done a magnificent job with this book which represents very good value for money at £12.95. Construction of the book is a significant achievement in itself, because it was entirely done using an Archimedes and Impression, and camera ready printout was done on a Computer Concepts LaserDirect/LBP8 printer.
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