Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 17:46 UTC, submitted by DigitalDame
Apple PCMag reviews iWork '06. "For word processing, the Apple iWork '06 Pages program is no match for Microsoft Word or ThinkFree Office 3.0. But it's capable, and its ability to create gorgeous documents easily is unequaled on the Mac." My take: I concur. iWork is the best tool for the job when you need to create a document you yourself will distribute physically; however, since iWork uses a closed file format only iWork users can read, distributing it electronically is fairly useless.
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iWork
by tonywob on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:11 UTC
tonywob
Member since:
2005-07-06

I can vouch for the last statement (iWork uses a closed file format), because I created a flyer for work which only I can modify and print. It's becoming a real pain, because I keep needing to bring my powerbook in just to print out or modify the document. Everyone else uses Windows computers.

There is an export to PDF option, or Word document, but they don't seem to turn out right, fonts are missing, wrong sizes, etc. The fonts used are extremely expensive if you want to purchase them for Windows, so we never bothered.

It's a great app for using and sharing between Macs with iWork installed, but I wouldn't use it to write documents you want to distribute.

Reply Score: 2

RE: iWork
by ra1n on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:44 UTC in reply to "iWork"
ra1n Member since:
2006-02-11

well it depends, pages has a fairly good doc filter imho.
Also don't forget that office and publisher use a proprietary format that only office and publisher users can read

Reply Score: 2

ODF needed
by Damien on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:25 UTC
Damien
Member since:
2005-07-07

iWorks *really* needs to standardize on ODF for the next edition, they're stabbing themselves in the back by not doing so. By taking the file format out of the equation they can sell on the software's merits itself, by making it the best software of its kind, rather than making sales purely on the "some guy sent me an iWrite file so I have to by it" spin.

Damien

Reply Score: 5

RE: ODF needed
by Kroc on Thu 13th Jul 2006 08:09 UTC in reply to "ODF needed"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

If anything Apple are turning away from standards and openness more than ever before. iTunes is continually locked down with every version (and often, every point version). The Intel Kernal is Missing, Presumed Dead and lastly, the chances of Pages supporting ODF is very low because Apple are getting a taste of lock-in and like it.

iPod sales will guaruntee new users to the platform, by regular people who don't understand lock-in.

Reply Score: 1

PDF
by GrapeGraphics on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:25 UTC
GrapeGraphics
Member since:
2005-07-07

Geez, you can export as a pdf, word doc, html, rtf and plain text.

I don't seem to have a problem with exporting (PDF looks fine on export but Word docs do)

Another alternative would be print and save the file as a pdf from the print dialog.

and as far as I'm concerned, PDF is the way to go for distribution... Word was NEVER a choice that I could live with.

Reply Score: 2

RE: PDF
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:29 UTC in reply to "PDF"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

and as far as I'm concerned, PDF is the way to go for distribution... Word was NEVER a choice that I could live with.

I distribute my documents in a way that I know others can edit them; in university, you usually collaborate. I know for sure peopel will be able to read/edit .doc files. I am not so sure about .pdf, let alone iWork files.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: PDF
by cilcoder on Thu 13th Jul 2006 02:13 UTC in reply to "RE: PDF"
cilcoder Member since:
2005-07-06

For editing neither iWork or PDF is acceptable. On the other hand, not everyone has office, and not everyone who does has the same version. Other software that imports .doc formats may not import them properly, much less exporting. When writing a document for others to edit, I think rtf is the best way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: PDF
by mouth on Thu 13th Jul 2006 04:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: PDF"
mouth Member since:
2005-07-06

When writing a document for others to edit, I think rtf is the best way.

I agree. Microsoft Word is terrible for editing across different versions. Sure the text is the same, but something needs to be done concerning the font leading and text reflow issues. I have found that this is mainly due to the fonts being used. If it wasn't for potential license issues, embedding the fonts in the Word files would be an excellent solution.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: PDF
by andreasl on Thu 13th Jul 2006 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: PDF"
andreasl Member since:
2006-07-13

When writing a document for others to edit, I think rtf is the best way.

RTF is a poorly documented format, and should not be used for collaboration if you wish to preserve formatting. Even microsofts own programs can't preserve the formatting on some RTF documents. If you wan't to use an open format, go for ODF, if you want to reach as many people as possible (and maintain editability) use .doc.

I personally prefer to work in LaTeX, but I wrote my bachelors thesis in business economics in OO.o using .doc to be able to collaborate with my partner. It worked great, even though we had a fairly advanced document (e.g. automatically generated index). In the end we converted it to pdf.

I haven't tried iWork, but I agree that using it's own file format is limiting factor for collaboration. It might be a great app, and it is sad that they chose the path of a closed file format.

However, one should remember that it takes a while to develop a program like pages, and that when they started ODF probably wasn't as known as it is now.

Reply Score: 1

Make you wonder
by watchingher on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:28 UTC
watchingher
Member since:
2006-06-06

>"since iWork uses a closed file format only iWork users can read, distributing it electronically is fairly useless."

Such statements make you wonder how all those iwork users can export their files in PDF, word, html and rtf file formats.

Otherwise Thom's take would be, "iWork is the best tool for the job when you need to create a document."

Thank goodness for opinion on "news" sites.

Edited 2006-07-12 18:40

Reply Score: 1

Thom is right
by DevL on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:43 UTC in reply to "Make you wonder"
DevL Member since:
2005-07-06

The major flaw with Pages is the fact that there is no good editable format to export to.

RTF is very limited, WORD is proprietary, only a few can edit PDFs and only iWork users can edit PAGES.

So, while "useless" may be a too strong word, it's a very understandable opinion and yes, news sites are full of them. If you can't get used to that you've got a big problem.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Thom is right
by denny on Wed 12th Jul 2006 21:45 UTC in reply to "Thom is right"
denny Member since:
2006-07-12

Hey DevL,

The point I was trying to make, which is not necessarily contrary, is that RTF and Word files are very editable at a certain level. A basic publication with standard 1 column text, bold, italics, etc. works fine as an export from and into Pages via .rtf or .doc.

So, Pages and Word users CAN collaborate very easily if the .rtf or .doc files they are working on do not involve fancy layout or formatting. At least that's been my experience.

Edited 2006-07-12 21:52

Reply Score: 1

MatzeLoCal
Member since:
2005-11-12

GrapeGraphics is quite right, you can export to many different formats and as in OS X everything can be "printed" as PDF, there is really no incompatibly with the "world"

Reply Score: 4

Thom has a Mac
by watchingher on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:35 UTC
watchingher
Member since:
2006-06-06

Lest anyone think otherwise... Thom has a Mac... so he knows that it can only be exported as PDF and native iWork... this despite the menu that allows you to also save as .doc, .html and .rtf file formats.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thom has a Mac
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:39 UTC in reply to "Thom has a Mac"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

this despite the menu that allows you to also save as .doc, .html and .rtf file formats.

As noted in the review and in another comment here, iWork's .doc filters aren't really good. Other than that, I prefer to write documents using the office suite's native file format. In case of iWork, which is the best choice for beauty, this is iWork's format. When I need compatibility, I will stick with .doc. As simple as that.

.pdf is completely out of the question, as barely anyone I know can edit .pdf files. HTML is way too daunting, .rtf too limited. EVERYBODY I know uses .doc. Why is it so hard to accept, Kelly, that when working with multiple individuals, choosing the format everybody will be able to edit is the most sane choice?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Thom has a Mac
by watchingher on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom has a Mac"
watchingher Member since:
2006-06-06

I export .doc and .rtf all the time from pages and rarely have had any problems.

Thom, perhaps you should stop taking corrections to your opinion on the news so personally.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Thom has a Mac
by alcibiades on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom has a Mac"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Isn't the argument about .doc that it is not one format?

One of my guys is a lead author and got ten .doc submissions from his collaborators. I could open 3 correctly in Word 2000. We could open a different 3 properly in OO. The rest were either impossible to open or garbled. I'm sure a different version of Word would have opened another different 3 and failed on a different lot. In the end I stripped out the text on the failed ones with Awk and reformatted. It was mostly tables that were the problem.

You're ok with .doc if everyone is on a recent version of Word, and if the material is not too heavily formatted, but it is not a bed of roses either. A lot to be said for rtf maybe?

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Thom has a Mac
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thom has a Mac"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

A lot to be said for rtf maybe?

In a sense, yes. However, in Word, you can simply check 'compatibility' mode. That way, you ensure it runs on Word 97 through 2003. I believe this mode disables any features any of these versions might not have; I'm not sure if it works that way though. I never had problems in any case, and I've received dozens, maybe even hundreds of .doc articles from people all over the Psychology as well as the Language faculty.

But yes, of course, .doc ain't no bed of roses. But in any case it is a better option for compatibility than iWork or PDF (edit: when peer review/editing is required).

Edited 2006-07-12 19:12

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Thom has a Mac
by eggs on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Thom has a Mac"
eggs Member since:
2006-01-23

I maintain a web based work flow management site for publishing company working on a large project that has over 800 contributors and right now the database has 13,700 word docs in it (and only the first of five volumes has been totally submitted). There has been one file that wouldn't open that I had to recover and we still have Word 2000 here, so there are 2 newer versions that the contributors may be using.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Thom has a Mac
by altair on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom has a Mac"
altair Member since:
2005-07-06

It is the most sane choice when you are collaborating on a document. For turning in documents to professors or just letting other people read them, I always print to pdf. In fact, many of the professors at my university would not even accept .doc files. With that in mind, the business world uses .doc way more than .pdf

Reply Score: 1

Its the filemaker issue
by alcibiades on Wed 12th Jul 2006 18:51 UTC
alcibiades
Member since:
2005-10-12

The filemaker issue arises due to the tension between what would be good for the application division, and what may be thought good for the computer division, if we notionally think of iWorks and Mac in that light.

The iWorks product line wants to port to Windows right away and sell as many copies as possible on the other 98% of the world's computers. The Mac division is always trying to make people buy Macs to run among other things iWorks, so they positively don't want it to run on anything else.

Something similar happens with file formats. If you are iWorks, you want to support as few file formats and as badly as you can get away with - to give people an incentive to standardize on you.

The one case where Apple broke out of this crazed circle was with Filemaker. Filemaker is a great success precisely because they started delivering it for Windows. AppleWorks to a lesser extent too.

I would quite like to recommend Pages, but as long as it involves telling people to buy first a new computer, then a new OS, and in many cases a new screen, none of which they need, all they need being simple DTP, then I will have to find them a more reasonable, which in this case means non-Apple, alternative. Its actually cheaper to buy the highest end page layout/DTP on the market than go this route.

How far would Filemaker have got if you had to buy another computer and screen and OS to run it? Not far!

As RD Laing said: if I could show you, I would make you see. If I could tell you, I would let you know.

But you can't.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Its the filemaker issue
by watchingher on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:05 UTC in reply to "Its the filemaker issue"
watchingher Member since:
2006-06-06

If one accepts the advantage of iwork (no s) over the competition then it can be said that you simply can't have those advantages lest you buy a Mac. In a sense, you're saying... if you want the better tool use a Mac. If you want the other one... use a Mac or a PC.

Contrary to your post, Apple has no apparent desire to support as few formats as possible with iWork. It's to Apple's benefit to support as many formats as possible.. or at least the most popular among them. And that's what iwork does.

Filemaker is both a success and a failure. Its a success in that it has many users. Its a failure for Apple in that in not pointing people to the Mac platform.

If you have a desire to recommend pages and the computer purchase requirement (a new screen is not required) is the element thats keeps you from doing so, you can take comfort in knowing that you're recommending the option that is less ideal in your opinion because of the OS you've suggested that they use.

Edited 2006-07-12 19:09

Reply Score: 1

Missing the point
by 47ronin on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:39 UTC
47ronin
Member since:
2006-04-03

iWork has never been advertised as a replacement word processor. It's Apple's homegrown version of Pagemaker and is more suited for fancy newsletters and graphical layouts. Those who criticize its text-export feature are trying to use this app (Pages) as some sort of universal text editor... no, it's an easy-to-use graphical layout app that happens to have some templates suited for typical word processing. It's expected that its documents may not translate well to MS Word. Microsoft's app is quite primitive in this matter whereas Pages is a very balanced combination of Word and Pagemaker. Steve Jobs pitched it as an easy way to make beautiful documents, and extolled its PDF export feature. If you want to share text, use TextEdit or an Office clone. Otherwise you're just making a big deal similar to "Why can't I open QuarkXpress layout files in MS Word?" or "Why doesn't Adobe InDesign's newsletters look the same in Open Office?"

Reply Score: 4

RE: Missing the point
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:45 UTC in reply to "Missing the point"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Otherwise you're just making a big deal similar to "Why can't I open QuarkXpress layout files in MS Word?" or "Why doesn't Adobe InDesign's newsletters look the same in Open Office?"

Exactly. That is what I said in the my take (use the best tool for the job).

Reply Score: 1

Formatting and Layout
by denny on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:52 UTC
denny
Member since:
2006-07-12

Seems to me that something not being discussed is how workflow might be easily created around the situation and ultimate goal. If the ultimate goal is a basic document then going back and forth via Pages export to .doc or .rtf should not be much of a problem. If a group is collaborating to produce a document that is a bit more complex with more formatting then the export to .doc or .rtf would work fine to a point and then a layout phase would begin in either Pages, Word, or whatever that would be carried out with the understanding that further review would be carried out via pdf or whatever.

At some point many projects move from a writing intensive phase to a layout phase in which the document is polished up for presentation. It's in this last phase that a decision would be made to move to a format that would allow for certain creative formatting within a format not easily shared, perhaps Pages, Publisher or Indesign... whatever. I would choose Pages for certain projects, Indesign for others. Someone else might prefer a different tool for that final stage.

With a little thought and planning in the workflow can easily incorporate a variety of tools that work well to a certain point.

Edited 2006-07-12 19:58

Reply Score: 1

RE: Formatting and Layout
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 12th Jul 2006 19:58 UTC in reply to "Formatting and Layout"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

i guess the point is that with a little thought and planning in the workflow can easily incorporate a variety of tools that work well to a certain point.

Yes, but remember that many people are simply not willing to plan like this. You see, I always volunteer for the layout/beautification phase of report/essay/etc. writing, because I like it (I'm a little obsessed with some things). I could indeed do that in Pages.

Were it not for the fact my university wants everything in .doc... And there's the compatibility problem again. So, why would I create something in Pages, only to export it to a non-native format, with all the formatting errors and miscalculations that come with it (i.e. in Pages' native format, text fits on one pages, but as soon as I export to .doc, it does not)?

Redundancy that can be eliminated by simply standardising on .doc from the get-go.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Formatting and Layout
by denny on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Formatting and Layout"
denny Member since:
2006-07-12

Yeah, I can relate Thom. I love layout and am also obsessed with such things!

Good point about the final product format. I was thinking in terms of the final product being print or pdf and .doc only a part of the creation process. If the final product is to be turned in as a .doc then yes, it would make sense to do standardize on that. Speaking for myself and past experiences, I know I'd choose differently based on the anticipated final product format.

Same thing could be said for using Keynote or Power Point. I certainly prefer Keynote and will use that if at all possible but there are venues that make it's use more difficult.

Reply Score: 1

iWork 07
by parrotjoe on Wed 12th Jul 2006 20:58 UTC
parrotjoe
Member since:
2005-07-06

It has been reported (not officially) that in January, iWork 07 will come out, will have a spreadsheet app and that Pages will be sort of divided into two - one part for traditional word processing and the other for page layout type stuff. I didn't see anything about increased importing formats - that would be nice. iWork would be pretty nifty if it had all that.

Reply Score: 1

Ahhh
by Finchwizard on Wed 12th Jul 2006 22:00 UTC
Finchwizard
Member since:
2006-02-01

So the problem is people can't read one proprietary format, so we save in another proprietary format.

I'm sure the next set of updates will include ODF support, MS Office on the other hand I'm still not sure whether they have got it in fully or not.

I know people who haven't got copies of MS Office too, at least PDFs can be readable by everyone, all you need is Adobe Reader.

If it doesn't need to be edited of course.

Reply Score: 1

Major cock-up in the review
by MikeGA on Wed 12th Jul 2006 22:25 UTC
MikeGA
Member since:
2005-07-22

I haven't even read the content of the review yet, just the first pros and cons section, and already I've found a major mistake.

They claim $90 to $99 for iWork. Well, seeing as it's listed on Apple's store for %79, I think they've probably screwed up!

Reply Score: 1

tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

The app suite, if you can call two applications together an app suite, is a Cocoa set of applications. Steve can always re-open Yellow Box for Windows but the point isn't to make Windows more attractive to potential Mac users/converts.

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

The question is whether the business strategy is a valid one. The strategy seems to be, write apps that people will want, and make them buy your OS and hardware so they can run them.

What the Filemaker case shows is that if you have a truly attractive app, you get better returns from it by selling it to anyone who wants to run it regardless of OS/hardware.

What other attempts to do this, which kept the app restricted, show, is that keeping it restricted only stops you selling the app. It doesn't in fact sell more of the associated hardware/software.

It is a fundamentally mistaken strategy. Your DTP app competes against other DTP apps. There are plenty around. No-one is going to be coerced into buying a Mac just to run Pages. They'll buy another DTP instead.

What Apple needs to do with iWork is try to build a business based on it. Make it available for Windows, use the revenues so gained to grow and develop it.

Make the OS and the Mac attractive enough that people will want to buy it on its merits.

It is quite different if you are simply filling a gap. You do need a low end DTP package, not to have one would be a key disadvantage of the OS. But what it does not need to be is exclusive. That adds no value to the OS, and it wrecks the potential of the app. One would have thought Cupertino, looking at Filemaker, would have seen this. But no...

Reply Score: 2

Closed formats
by sanders on Thu 13th Jul 2006 09:09 UTC
sanders
Member since:
2005-08-09

"however, since iWork uses a closed file format only iWork users can read, distributing it electronically is fairly useless."

Paraphrased:

"however, since Word uses a closed file format only Word users can read, distributing it electronically is fairly useless."

Just say no to closed formats.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Closed formats
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 13th Jul 2006 09:45 UTC in reply to "Closed formats"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

"however, since Word uses a closed file format only Word users can read, distributing it electronically is fairly useless."

With the only difference that about 1% of the computing world has Pages, whereas the other 99% has Word/Writer. So, again, which of the two makes more sense to use as a distributional format? ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Closed formats
by trezzer on Thu 13th Jul 2006 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Closed formats"
trezzer Member since:
2006-01-05

"With the only difference that about 1% of the computing world has Pages, whereas the other 99% has Word/Writer. So, again, which of the two makes more sense to use as a distributional format? ;) ."

Uhm, just because a huge number of people run Windows, it doesn't mean they have Word/Writer. Yes, it comes with some machines and business users are very likely to have it unless they're using a Lotus solution or similar, but home users is a different story. Microsoft Office is insanely expensive for what it does - even with a student's discount.

In any case it's always better to use a suitable format for actual distribution - an obvious choice that makes sure everything is as it should be across versions (including formatting) is PDF. While working you can easily use RTF or plain text.

At my university some professors had a bad habit of sending out .doc files, but explaining to them that having to buy a prohibitively expensive office suite to open it was out of the question, they made sure to distribute RTF and/or PDF instead. It's really just common courtesy.

And yeah, for formatting you either have to be sure that the recipient has the exact same version of Word in order for it to remain identical. But then again I wonder why you would ever have to hand someone a .doc file. In the real world you'd typically hand in a piece of paper and then the word processor is irrelevant.

Thanks to the capability of Pages, I was able to take .doc files from other group members and quickly do a proper formatting before printing it out - and in the process avoiding the typical pitfalls where people don't use styles etc. correctly.

Impressively enough most people are actually perfectly willing to work with documents in formats that aren't Microsoft's. And you don't really lose out because of it at all.

Reply Score: 2

Pages
by trezzer on Thu 13th Jul 2006 14:12 UTC
trezzer
Member since:
2006-01-05

I've written a full dissertation in Pages, and thanks to its powerful features I've had no problem at all with the specific layout that is required to meet academic standards. Just like Word you can apply styles, auto-switch between them based on context, you get word services using the OS-wide services menu (statistics, summary etc) and unlike Word it elegantly and easily handles a document this size - including an actually working and flexible TOC generator.

The only gripe I've had was opening a Pages document in Pages 2 - there was one minor thing that didn't look exactly like it should (an indentation), but it was easily fixable.

If you have some serious word processing to do (serious being large scale), I'd wholeheartedly recommend Pages over Word.

Reply Score: 2

Pages Word import
by henrikmk on Sat 15th Jul 2006 00:43 UTC
henrikmk
Member since:
2005-07-10

I was comparing OpenOffice.org and Pages on their Word import capability and Pages won hands down on some 100+ documents from Microsoft.com about the Truetype format. I wanted to convert some Word documents to PDF so I could read them regardless of platform.

OpenOffice.org could barely handle them, and did so, very slowly. Formatting was screwed up as well, tables were incorrect and many things went wrong that rendered the final document useless.

Pages on the other hand imported the document way faster than OO.o and it was very readable, still a few glitches, but far more useful. This is over 100 pages. It was *fast*. Exporting it to PDF was also very fast and then I had a useful once-Word-only document converted to something I could read everywhere.

This was actually only Pages version 1, so I don't know how much better it has gotten since then.

Reply Score: 1