Atari DTP - The Overlooked Alternative

   From ST REPORT No 648
   =====================


                        The Overlooked Alternative
                        ==========================


                   To the high cost of Mac and PC DTP:  
         Atari ST or Mega hardware running Calamus or PageStream.


 With contributions from:
 Nathan Potechin, Fred Murray, and Nevin Shalit.

     "Atari? For desktop publishing?  Give  me  a  break!    Do  yourself a
 favor, and  go out  and get a real computer!"  Someone actually said those
 exact words to me not more than a month ago, and for those of  us who have
 used the ST/Mega platform during the last five years -- for everyday tasks
 like word processing, spreadsheet and database calculations, telecommunic-
 ations, CAD and Desktop publishing (DTP) -- them's fightin' words!

     Many people  are not aware that Atari's ST and Mega computers have the
 horsepower under the hood to handle  top-notch DTP  applications, and that
 these applications do exist.  There are numerous reports of people running
 service bureaus who, after being impressed with the quality of a document,
 are astounded when they find out it was created on an Atari system.  

     The two  top packages,  ISD's Calamus and SoftLogik's PageStream, have
 no problem holding their own in comparisons with the best packages for the
 Mac and  PC.   The cost-effectiveness  of the  Atari platform?  Many Atari
 retailers will be happy  to sell  you a  complete DTP  system --  4MB RAM,
 monitor, hard  drive, either Calamus or PageStream, and 8PPM laser printer
 -- for substantially less than $4,000.00.

     When the October 1990 issue of BYTE Magazine featured a  comparison of
 DTP  packages  for  their  lead  article,  they neglected to include Atari
 packages in their comparison.  Well, if BYTE won't do it, we'll  take care
 of it  for them.   This article is the result, and it outlines how Calamus
 and PageStream handle the tasks covered  in BYTE.   There  is also  a com-
 panion comparison table of Atari, Mac, and PC packages.

     In order to make room for PageStream and Calamus in the tables, I used
 only three of the seven packages from BYTE  -- PageMaker  4.0 (Mac), Quark
 XPress 2.12 (Mac), and Ventura Publisher 3.0 (DOS).  While it's clear that
 PageStream and Calamus do not have every feature in the list, keep in mind
 that the  Mac and  DOS packages  also fall short by about the same degree.
 Also note that major upgrades to  both Calamus  and PageStream  are in the
 pipeline, and should be available sometime within the next six months.

                  Installation and Hardware Requirements
                  --------------------------------------

     Both Calamus  and PageStream  require a  minimum of 1MB of RAM to run,
 and are happiest with 4MB.  Calamus requires  a monochrome  monitor (Note:
 A Colour version of Calamus for the TT is in it's final stages *Ed), while
 PageStream uses  either monochrome  or color.   Both packages also support
 the Moniterm Viking 19" monitor available for the Atari system.

     Both packages are installed similarly -- copy the program files to the
 hard disk,  and edit the system paths so the program can find fonts, prin-
 ter drivers,  documents, etc.   Neither  program is  copy-protected in any
 way, nor do they require write-enabled master disks.

                            Preliminary Layout
                            ------------------

     Like most  of the  other page-layout  packages, Calamus uses the frame
 method for placing items on the page.  PageStream, on  the other  hand, is
 similar  to  PageMaker,  where  both  graphics  and text "objects" such as
 headlines can be placed anywhere on the page.  PageStream also uses frames
 called "columns"  for the body text of a document.  Once a column has been
 placed, it can be manipulated in a similar manner to other objects  on the
 page.

     PageStream and  Calamus both  use clipboards to store design elements.
 PageStream has the normal  cut/copy/paste clipboard  for text  and graphic
 elements, plus  a special clipboard for cropping bit-image pictures before
 they are pasted into the document.   Somewhat  more convenient  is the ap-
 proach used  by Calamus,  which has  five different clipboards for frames,
 each of  which is  large enough  to provide  a preview  of the clipboard's
 contents.

                               Master Pages
                               ------------

     PageStream uses  the same  method as  PageMaker and Quark XPress, with
 one right and one left  master  page  available  per  document.   Calamus'
 approach is more like Ventura Publisher.  Any frame in the document can be
 grouped and treated as a  header/footer  for  the  document,  and  thus be
 repeated  on  every  page  of  the  document.  The contents of headers and
 footers can be changed in the middle of the document, and the changes will
 only affect  those pages  after the change was made.  Separate headers and
 footers can be defined for right- and left-hand pages.  Once these header-
 /footer frames  have been  created, the page can be stored in a disk file,
 allowing a collection of "master pages" to be built.

     Neither PageStream  nor  Calamus  support  on-screen  thumbnail views,
 although these can be printed to paper if desired.

                             Rulers and Guides
                             -----------------

     PageStream and  Calamus both  allow use  of rulers and guidelines, and
 multiple measuring systems.  Elements can be snapped to guides,  grids, or
 guides and grids at the same time.

                          Typography Capabilities
                          -----------------------

     The only  limit on  the number  of fonts  in either  ST program is the
 amount of memory in  the machine.   More  memory allows  more fonts  to be
 loaded and  used.   Point-size increments  are 0.1  point for Calamus, and
 0.01 point for PageStream.

                       Leading, Tracking and Kerning
                       -----------------------------

     PageStream has defaults built  in for  leading and  tracking.   If the
 default  values  don't  work  right,  they  can be changed, either for the
 entire document or selected blocks of text.   Leading can  either be fixed
 or variable,  depending on  the size of the letters in each line.  Kerning
 is handled by editable kerning tables, as well as manual overrides.

     Calamus also  uses the  default with  override method  for leading and
 tracking, and also supports fixed or variable leading.  Kerning in Calamus
 is a  function of  the font  itself, and  the only  kerning control within
 Calamus is  a manual  override.  Full control of kerning requires the com-
 panion Calamus Font Editor, which installs as a desk accessory  and allows
 the user  to modify  the "outline"  around each character, and thus change
 the kerning value.  If the font designer has done their work well, this is
 seldom required.  Leading and tracking values in both Calamus and PageStr-
 eam can be included  as part  of a  style tag  or macro,  allowing as many
 levels of tracking as are deemed necessary

                               Style Sheets
                               ------------

     Ventura Publisher  they're not,  but each package does allow paragraph
 tagging and the creation of the equivalent of  style sheets.   The current
 version of  PageStream does not allow collections of tags to be loaded and
 saved from disk, but this promised for the  next version,  due out  by the
 end of the year.

     Calamus' "style  sheets" are  actually two separate items: page-layout
 information, and tags created as macro  lists that  define any combination
 of typography,  paragraph style, and text strings.  Layout files and macro
 lists can be stored in disk files, and either one retrieved as needed.

                        Hyphenation & Justification
                        ---------------------------

     H&J is one area where the current versions  of Calamus  and PageStream
 do not  measure up  to the other packages.  Neither Calamus nor PageStream
 allow alteration  of the  default H&J  algorithms.   PageStream does offer
 three justification options that allow some fine-tuning in the document.

                               Text Editing
                               ------------

     As with  most DTP packages, Calamus and PageStream can't hold a candle
 to specialized text editors and word processors for power and ease of use.
 They're not  entirely helpless  either.   Both have approximately the same
 level of capability as the  Macintosh  products,  with  cut,  copy, paste,
 search, and  replace of  both text  and style  attributes.  Calamus adds a
 separate text editor similar to Pagemaker's Story Editor.

                                 Graphics
                                 --------

     Different hardware platforms tend to generate  different file formats,
 and the ST is no exception.  Calamus and PageStream support a wide variety
 of formats for  graphic  importation  that  are  generated  by ST-specific
 graphics software.   "Foreign"  file formats  are generally limited to GEM
 metafiles and  .IMG bitmaps,  although PageStream  also imports PostScript
 and EPS images.

     For internally-generated  graphics, Calamus  has the  basics -- lines,
 boxes, circles, and other  pre-defined  shapes  --  with  border  and fill
 control.    PageStream  truly  goes  above and beyond most other packages,
 providing object-oriented  drawing tools  that may  negate the  need for a
 separate object-graphics  program.   Both packages allow grouping of elem-
 ents on a page.

     As far as text  flow around  graphics, Calamus  does not automatically
 flow around irregular objects, but PageStream does.

                             Bells & Whistles
                             ----------------

     Drop  caps  are  done  manually  in both packages.  PageStream handles
 "step and repeat" with a "duplicate"  feature that  defines the  number of
 times an object is duplicated, as well as the x and y offsets.

     Calamus supports rotation of selected text to any angle in tenths of a
 degree.  PageStream allows the rotation  of  ANY  object  (text  column or
 graphic image) to any angle in whole degrees.

                         Long Documents and Books
                         ------------------------

     With  its  automatic  footnote  and  index generation, Calamus is more
 suited to  handling long  documents than  PageStream.   Calamus allows the
 text in  a document  to be exported with its style and formatting informa-
 tion embedded in the file, allowing relatively easy  updates, and  has the
 ability to  name graphic  frames, allowing  them to remain empty until the
 final graphic image has been supplied, or reserving the space for a photo-
 graph.

                         Printing and Typesetting
                         ------------------------

     There's a big difference in Calamus' and PageStream's printing capabi-
 lities: PageStream can output in PostScript, and supports 4-color separat-
 ions.   Calamus does  not, although both PostScript and color capabilities
 are on their way in the next upgrade.

     For everyday 300DPI output,  this is  not an  issue, but  the need for
 high resolution  typesetting means  that Calamus users will need to find a
 service bureau that has an ST with Calamus hooked up directly to an image-
 setter,  bypassing  the  PostScript  RIP.    PageStream users can create a
 PostScript disk file and  either modem  or carry  the file  to the nearest
 PostScript service bureau.

                            Do They Measure Up?
                            -------------------

     Whether or  not Calamus  and PageStream  will serve  your needs as DTP
 packages is something that only you can determine.  The point of  all this
 is that  there is  a third  option in  DTP hardware  and software that can
 provide  a  competitive,  cost-effective   alternative  to   Mac  and  DOS
 solutions.   Even if  initial purchase  cost is not an issue, find a local
 Atari dealer or user group and explore Calamus  and PageStream  before you
 make a  final decision.   You'll  probably be  pleasantly surprised at the
 abilities of these packages, and amazed at their cost!


     Aldus Corp.                             ISD Marketing, Inc.
     (PageMaker 4.0)                         (Calamus 1.09N)
     411 First Avenue South                  P.O. Box 3070
     Seattle, WA  98104                      Markham Industrial Park
     (206)622-5500                           Markham, Ontario
                                             Canada L3R 6G4
                                             (416)479-1880


     Quark, Inc.                             SoftLogik Publishing Corp.
     (Quark XPress 2.12)                     (PageStream 1.82)
     300 South Jackson Street                P.O. Box 290071
     Suite 100                               St. Louis, MO 63219
     Denver, CO  80209                       (314)894-0431
     (303)934-2211

                         Ventura Publishing Co.
                         (Ventura Publisher 3.0)
                         15175 Innovation Dr.
                         San Diego, CA  92128




 ATARI DESKTOP PUBLISHING COMPARISON
 ===================================


                         Calamus Page    Page    Quark   Ventura
                         1.09N   Stream  Maker   XPress  Publisher
                         (Atari) 1.82    4.0     2.12    3.0
                                 (Atari) (Mac)   (Mac)   (PC)
 + = yes  - = no  M = manual

 Price                   $299    $199    $795    $795    $795
         Font Editor     $99

 Configuration           1MB     1MB     1MB     2MB     640K
                         RAM     RAM     RAM     RAM     RAM
                         Mono Monitor                    DOS 2.1

 Page layout
 ------------------------
 Configurable ruler 
      lines              +       +       +       +       +
 Show cursor position on 
      ruler              +       +       +       +       +
 Report cursor 
      coordinates        +       -       -       +       -
 Guidelines              +       +       +       +       -
 Grid overlay            +       +       -       -       +
 Configurable grid       +       +       -       -       +
 Master pages            -       +       +       +       -
 Multiple master pages   -       -       -       -       -
 Turn master page on/off -       +       +       -       -
 Pasteboard              -       -       +       -       -
 Tool palette            +       +       +       +       +
 Style catalog on screen +       -       +       -       +
 File catalog on screen  -       -       -       -       +

 Typography
 ------------------------
 Max. font size          999.9   1310    650     500     254
 Smallest increment
      (points)           0.1     0.01    0.1     0.25    0.5
 Kerning precision (ems) 0.1pt   0.1     0.01    0.1     0.01
 Edit kerning tables     -       +       -       +       -
 Tracking control 
      (levels)           M       M       5       Unlim.  2
 Edit tracking graphs    -       -       -       +       -
 Leading increment 
 (points)                0.1     0.1     0.1     0.001   0.01
 Subscripts              +       +       +       +       +
 Superscripts            +       +       +       +       +
 Shift baseline          0.1pt   0.1pt   +       0.01pt  0.01pt
 Column balancing        -       -       -       -       +
 Vertical justification  -       -       -       -       +
 Widow/orphan control    M       M       +       +       +

 Text editing
 ------------------------
 Search & replace text   +       +       +       +       -
 Search & replace fonts  +       +       +       -       -
 Spelling checker        -       +       +       +       -
 ASCII markup language   -       -       -       -       -
 Automatic text flow     +       +       +       +       +

 Views
 ------------------------
 50%                     +       +       +       +       +
 200%                    +       +       +       +       +
 400%                    +       -       +       -       -
 800%                    -       -       -       -       -
 User specified          +       +       -       -       -
 Edit facing pages       -       +       +       +       +
 Thumbnails              -       -       -       -       -

 Printing
 ------------------------
 Scale                   +       +       +       +       -
 Tiling                  M       +       +       +       -
 Print crop marks        -       +       +       +       +
 Spot color overlays     +       +       +       +       +
 Print to PS/EPS file    -       PS      +       +       +

 Precise control
 ------------------------
 Manually enter 
      coordinates of 
      frames/objects     -       +       -       +       +
 Move objects 
      incrementally
      with cursor keys   -       -       -       +       -
 Numeric entry for 
      tab stops          -       -       +       +       +
 Align objects           -       M       M       -       -

 Document control
 ------------------------
 Two-way link to 
      text file          -       -       -       +       +
 Revision tracking       -       -       -       -       -
 Change bars             -       -       -       -       -
 Multiple files open     -       +       -       -       -

 Document specifications
 ------------------------
 Maximum pages           9999    254     999     100     Unlimited
 Max. page size          27.5x27.5       18x18   17x22   48x48   18x24
 Double-sided            +       +       +       +       -
 Mix portrait and 
      landscape pages    -       -       -       -       -
 Reorder pages           +       +       -       +       -

 Long documents
 ------------------------
 Automatic index 
      generation         +       -       +       -       +
 Automatic TOC 
      generation         -       -       +       -       +
 Cross-references
      automatically
      updated            +       -       -       -       +
 Index of figures        -       -       -       -       +

 Network support
 ------------------------
 Simultaneous users      -       -       +       -       +
 Lock files              -       -       +       -       +
 Read only               -       -       +       -       +
 Lock elements           +       +       -       -       -

 Tabling                 -       -       +       -       +
 ------------------------
 Equation editing        -       -       -       -       +
 ------------------------

 File Formats
 ------------------------
 Microsoft Word          -       -       +       +       +
 XyWrite                 -       -       +       -       +
 WordPerfect             +       +       +       +       +
 MacWrite                -       -       +       +       -
 Write Now               -       -       +       +       -
 EPS                     -       +       +       +       +
 TIFF                    -       -       +       +       +
 PICT                    -       -       +       +       +
 Sun Raster              -       -       +       +       +
 HPGL                    -       -       -       -       +
 WMF                     -       -       -       -       +
 PCX                     -       -       -       -       +
 GEM                     +       +       +       -       +
 MacDraw                 -       -       +       +       -
 MacPaint                -       -       +       +       +
 RTF                     -       -       +       -       -
 DCA                     -       -       -       -       +
 DBF                     -       -       -       -       -
 SYLK                    -       -       -       -       -

 Graphics manipulation
 ------------------------
 Flow text around 
      graphics           +       +       +       +       +
 Run around irregular 
      shape              -       +       +       +       -
 Text repel              +       +       -       +       +
 Anchor graphics to 
      text               -       -       +       -       +
 Anchor graphics to 
      position on page   +       +       +       +       +
 Suppress display of 
      graphics           +       -       +       -       +
 Automatically scale
      graphic to 
      fit frame          +       +       +       -       +
 Manually scale graphic  +       +       +       +       +
 Cropping                +       +       +       +       +
 Contrast control        -       -       +       +       -
 Halftone screening      +       +       +       +       +
 Custom screening        +       +       +       +       +
 Customized screening
      angle              -       +       +       +       +
 Dithering controls      -       -       -       +       -
 Negative                +       +       +       +       -

 Drawing
 ------------------------
 Rectangles              +       +       +       -       +
 Circles                 +       +       +       -       +
 Polygons                +       +       -       -       -
 Constrained lines       +       +       +       +       +
 Other shapes            +       +       -       -       -
 Free-form drawing       -       +       -       -       -

 Special effects
 ------------------------
 Rotate text 
      (Degree increments)0.1     1       90      -       90
 Rotate graphics 
      (Degree increments)-       1       -       -       -
 Flip graphics           -       -       -       -       -
 Pour text into shapes   -       -       M       -       -
 Shapes for 
      graphical frames   -       -       +       +       -
 Step and repeat         -       -       +       +       -
 Repeat frame 
      across pages       +       -       -       -       +
 Gravity                 -       -       +       -       -
 Condense/expand text    -       +       +       -       -

 Color
 ------------------------
 Spot colors             +       +       +       +       +
 Process                 -       +       +       +       -
 Pantone                 -       -       +       +       -

 Charting functions      -       -       -       -       -
 ------------------------

Stephen Frye
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