Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iWork 09 Has New Localizations

Apple's latest upgrade of iWork finally has the full set of 18 OS X localizations. Previous versions only had 8. Aside from that, however, I was not able to find any improvements in language capabilities. In particular, longstanding bugs in input/editing of RTL scripts like Arabic and Hebew have not been fixed. The ability to use Windows Arabic fonts, introduced in TextEdit with OS X 10.5, is still absent in these apps. Options for vertical layout and ruby annotation which Japanese/Chinese language users want have not been added. And the strange Unicode input bugs described here remain.

The new iWork requires 10.5.6 or 10.4.11.


Bob said...

If those lack of features are true than it makes no point me upgrading.

Tom Gewecke said...

There is a free trial available for download for anyone who wants to test the new iWork to see if it meets their needs or not.

Smokey Ardisson said...

Since iWork ’09 is stil compatible with 10.4, they can’t use CoreText (which is what I presume TextEdit is using on 10.5 because of the Windows Arabic font support), at least not without a bunch of duplicated code. Here’s hoping for better luck in iWork ’10.

Tom Gewecke said...

Interesting point about CoreText. The shortcomings of Pages compared to TextEdit for RTL text have existed since 2005 I think.

Andrew Main said...

This is reminiscent of a similar situation in the classic Mac OS, where SimpleText -- the "basic" text editor -- had greater linguistic capabilities than AppleWorks. From v.4 (I believe) AppleWorks could work with Apple's CJ&K Language Kits, but not with the Hebrew, Arabic or Indic kits. That is, Appple's "flagship" word processor didn't work with Apple's own Language Kits. The latter worked only with SimpleText, which couldn't even do page numbers.

And I discovered another annoying bug: If I copied text from SimpleText into AppleWorks, the arrow keys wouldn't work on it: the right arrow sent the cursor to the left, and vice-versa. Clearly not only were the two apps not done by the same team, apparently they weren't even talking to each other.

I've worked with Pages a little, and been annoyed by not only its many sloppy bugs (hyphenates "path" as "pa-th"?) but also its inferiority in ease-of-use to TextEdit. For instance, in TextEdit if I double-click a word, then click on another word later on, the whole phrase is selected, including the whole of the final word (no matter where in that word I clicked): a clever trick that shows real intelligence in whoever programmed it. Pages, however, is no smarter than AppleWorks about this: to get the whole of the final word in the phrase, I must carefully click precisely on its last letter, or use shift-arrow to finish selecting it.

Also, before Pages v.3 (I think it was) if text in different scripts (e.g. Latin and Devanagari) -- or even Latin fonts of different sizes -- was mixed on a line, its line spacing would expand to accommodate the "taller" font: there was no way to specify exact line spacing, and the results were horrible. TextEdit could do it (as could MacWrite II back in 1990), but Pages couldn't. This was finally fixed, but it took a while.

Again, it appears the two apps are being done by different teams, who don't talk to each other -- where one might expect them to be based on the same text engine, etc., with TextEdit the "basic" version and Pages the enhanced, fancy version. A lot of programming seems to be done this way: start again from scratch, without referring to previous apps of the same type, and laboriously reinvent (or not) the wheel.