Review: RagTime Solo

DTP is the one thing that the Mac has always done better (July 25th, 2002)

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Product Manufacturer: RagTime GmBH

Price: Free

The Good

  • Full featured, free.

The Bad

  • Bad implementation of many features, unintuitive interface, no OS X compatibility

RagTime 5 is a cross-platform tool for professional document processing. It combines layout features with drawing capabilities, has a word processor, two- and three-dimensional business graphics as well as a spreadsheet function.

DTP is the one thing that the Mac has always done better than Windows. RagTime intends to build on its successful DTP software, RagTime 5, with RagTime Solo. RagTime Solo is identical to RagTime 5 aside from one minor difference: it's free to non-commercial (home) users.

OS Xless It is almost sad that a program with this much potential lacks compatibility with OS X. Performance in Mac OS X's Classic mode isn't good enough to make it usable. This forces OS X users to flip back to OS 9 constantly greatly impacting RagTime's usefulness.

Tutorial woes RagTime Solo's feature implementation is riddled with problems. The illustrated tutorial behaves abnormally, constantly switching from full-screen to the regular window mode. The tutorial also fails to introduce the user to various critical features; don't expect to be making professional-quality documents unless you read the manual.

It's Ragtime RagTime does indeed have a 'full' set of features, but many of these are poorly implemented. The toolbar's icons are quite generic and they often don't belong where they are placed. For instance, when setting up an equation for a group of cells you select the cells and click the "Equation" button. That button is located in the toolbar instead of the spreadsheet palette where it should be. It would also be nice if item rotation was smoother. In short, there isn't a single RagTime feature that doesn't need to be polished.

Final word RagTime Solo has the potential to be an outstanding product in the future so keep an eye on it. In its present state it just isn't there yet. Still, at the price of $0 it is something worth downloading even if you just want to see what all the fuss is about... just don't plan on switching to it from your current software.

by Matthew Stoton


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