Source and Summit Editor: thoughts!
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,265
    Hi everyone, long time no see.

    I have spent 2020 working on typography, which has long interested me, and now I have time. Hooray!

    So that meant getting back into GABC, Gregorio, etc. and making some booklets that I've long wanted to make. They're imperfect, the reasons for which I'll get to in a minute.

    I had to set the Kyrie from the absolution at the catafalque, and lo and behold, Source and Summit has totally revamped Illuminare Score Editor. It mostly works really well. Being able to produce a PNG file directly is convenient; I prefer PDFs, but I am not quite skilled enough to manipulate them in Scribus to get them to fit on half-letter or A5 paper. PNGs work better, and the ability to set the size more precisely is super helpful. Now, I haven't figured it out, but it works well enough, e.g. if I set it for 4.7 inches, then drag the downloaded image into Scribus, I can set the frame to the desired width, adjust the image to the frame, and then free scale it as needed. So, if I'm working on A5 paper, with margins of 14.1 mm, that gives me about 4.7 in, and I just adjust the file, making it narrower, when I drag it. I don't know why Scribus makes it larger.

    EB Garamond is a nice typeface, because it's based on actual designs inherited from Claude Garamond and Robert Granjon; the designer scanned and adjusted the image of the original metal pieces. Because it's a Renaissance design that transitions into the early Baroque, I use it for my projects: booklets, anything where I'd otherwise use TNR, etc. So I'm delighted that the chant text can be in the same typeface as the text of the rest of the booklet.

    However, as a word of caution for those of you who make the most of typefaces: it's incomplete, with missing characters (like accented small capitals in the OpenType version of the regular font) or has weird kerning issues; just today I learned that the apostrophe in "qu'à," a necessary combination in French, is kerned so that the apostrophe clashes with the accent. It also is missing what I consider really basic Unicode support… Alas, it seems abandoned, but it's still better than pretty much every version of Garamond out there in terms of the pure design. Plus, Granjon was well-known as a Catholic printer, which is quite cool.

    It's also nice that you can adjust the size of the text (again, which matches the rest of the booklet, or not), the staff, etc. Now, the crop tool is great, but overzealous, and I can't seem to get things like iij. to show up correctly when they're at the end of a line with a double bar, e.g. in a Kyrie.

    Anyways, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I'm not sure if I will go back and reset everything now, which would take quite a while, or continue to use the versions from Gregobase otherwise, as at least some things fit quite nicely, but the thought is tempting, because making the type match would be nice too…
    Thanked by 1sdtalley3
  • I guess I'm confused. I used it today and it looks the same as it has looked for at least a year which is approximately when I first discovered it. Is there something under the hood that I'm missing? You are accessing it here, correct?
  • I bet he’s referring to this one, but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.
  • 'm glad I asked— I hadn't seen that. It does look spiffy. Thanks!
  • If you are a perfectionist, you need to get your head wrapped around TeX. Find someone to help you get it up and running on your own computer. Then you can use TeX to run Gregorio yourself, and if you don't like the results, you can tinker with the nuts and bolts, write new commands, rig things up any way you want.

    Though, it is what they call a "steep learning curve".

    I have a project of ~750 pages, and because it is all fonts the resolution is perfect and the file size is only 2MB.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,265
    "Steep learning curve" is an understatement.
  • Go to the TeX Users Group website. They have everything needed to get TeX up and running. There are also many books out there to help you get started with TeX.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,265
    Yeah, I've looked at this a thousand times, and everyone says "There are tons of users," "There are books," and so on and so forth. Well, where am I going to buy those books, and with what money?

    I'm doing it, because I really don't want to wait on these bugs getting fixed, but it's not really helpful in any way that TeX is without question the single most bloated piece of software out there. It's also more complicated to add what one needs, so one has to suffer through downloading everything, including unnecessary documentation. Just put it on the Internet, for pity's sake.

    XCode is also pretty bloated; I've got a Mac, and it runs at eleven gigabytes. That's ridiculous, and all of the people are are really into TeX just shrug their shoulders, acting as if storage space is just something that we can all easily and cheaply fix.

    "Well, it's free and open-source, this is what you get." Maybe, maybe not. TeX is also not immune to criticism, as so many of its fanboys (who are truly insufferable) claim, and there are things which it can't do as well as graphical desktop publishing software, e.g. actually publish books, even though it does produce equations nicely. So I think you can understand why not running TeX myself is something which I would greatly prefer.

    We'll see if it's worth it.
  • Well, the books on LaTeX are available on Amazon for not too much money, and there are free tutorials online (you just have to search for them.)
  • LaTeX really isn't as bad as it comes across at first; the main problem is all the old documentation out there that doesn't take the newest features into account (which have simplified things greatly). I don't think anything else can typeset Gregorian chant on a large scale with the same quality.

    The Learn LaTeX site is a good introduction, through still under construction; Overleaf also has a tutorial. For a beginner I would recommend using KOMA-Script rather than the standard classes.

    Many people get their feet wet with LaTeX by proxy using Pandoc (which makes it very easy e.g. to convert a Word document into LaTeX).

    If you're using a Mac and running short on disc space, use Homebrew to install either BasicTeX or MacTeX without the bundled GUI applications.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • I enjoyed using the "Legacy" editor.
    Is there somewhere I can learn about how more of the features of their new "Alpha" editor?