Issue: 11.6 (November/December 2013)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,229
Starting Page Number: 16
Article Number: 11603
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Dru is the most ambitious app I've ever seen created with Xojo. It's a combination page layout and vector illustration package, sort of a merging of Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. And it sells for a ridiculously low price on the Mac App Store.
Several things about it surprised me. The first is that all that power combined into one program might make for an unwieldy interface, but the design is actually quite elegant. Tools you don't need for the current task get out of your way and disappear and the tools you do need are available. I fumbled around a little at times, but generally found everything I needed.
The next surprise is just how deep this program is: its capabilities list is amazing. It's got a story editor (word processor) for long texts in page layout mode, it can edit bezier curves in vector graphics, rotate text, it can open PDFs, and it even supports forms! There are powerful features like automatic drop shadows and gradients, transparency, step and repeat, batch processing, master pages, convert fonts to outline, and capable import and export options.
As a professional graphic designer, I'm incredibly impressed. Ten years ago, this program would have rivaled something from Adobe. However, pros tend to be nitpicky and will be annoyed if even a single pro feature (like being able to kern text) is missing. Dru isn't going to replace InDesign any time soon. There are also a few bugs and oddities (some of my bookmarks mysteriously vanished) that means it's not quite ready for prime time, but it's still an impressive feat. If your documents needs fit within Dru's capabilities, it's definitely worth checking out, and the price is so reasonable there's little harm in adding to your war chest of apps.
Most of all I'm impressed as a programmer: the amount of work to create Dru must have been substantial. It's really an outstanding app that shows what a talented developer can do with a product like Xojo.
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