Edvard, I'd like to discuss the details of your issue here:
But when a few very minor things didn't turn out exactly to my liking, I spent a LOT of time tweaking a Class and after 4 or 5 hours it still wasn't coming out exactly rightThese are my questions:
1) What was it exactly that you were trying to do?
2) When you say tweaking, what were you tweaking. (the more specific the better. An xml file? A settings dialog?)
It's been quite a while since I used Lyx, pardon the rust.
What I was trying to do was spiff up a plain text resume.
Like you, I had gotten tired of styles dialogs and thought Lyx could help me by doing the magical formatting part and I would just tell it what and where.
A Class is not actually a style
like you know them from other WP software, it's like a collection of styles that will get applied to certain parts of your document based on what you tell it to do from within the document itself.
Almost everything about a Class can be defined in the 'Document -> Settings' dialog.
I don't know where they are in Windows, but the files that define Classes have the extension ".layout".
Do a search for them.
Copy one to your Documents folder and use it by selecting 'Document Class -> Local Layout' in the dialog and point it to your local copy.
Where I ran into trouble was defining what parts of my resume would inherit what style element; kinda like trying to get HTML to look nice.
Is it a Header or Body text? Which Header size? That kind of stuff, but in Latex terms.
So then I'd get the elements straightened out and it was hanging 2 sentences on a third page or something so I thought I'd make all the fonts smaller.
Uh-oh, my address got smooshed; better define that part differently...
I can't remember everything, but that's the gist.
I don't think I'd have more than 10 styles I'd use. It can't be that hard to create 10 styles from scratch, could it? Let's say it takes me 40 hours. that's ok. I'm fine with that. What I don't want to do is after 40 hours, find out that it's really going to take me 100 more hours to figure this out, and then I just go back to Indesign. i suppose I should just start playing with it. I just can't see too many things that need to be tweaked. Font, font size, font styles (italic, bold), line spacing (top, bottom), indentation, bullet lists, numbered lists. This is all basic stuff. Then I'd add some page decorations, like borders, page breaks, horizontal lines. Is lyx going to fight me in trying to do these things?
No, Lyx will not fight you per se
, it simply does things automatically according to the set of rules defined in the Class.
Sometimes those rules do something unexpected (especially when you don't know them well), and sometimes you'd like to break a rule here or there, which is where you get into fights.
Here's where I try to cut it short and say RTFM (Read The Free Manual).
As in, go through the Help menu; the Tutorial, Users Guide, Customization, etc.
Read ALL of it; it's very thorough and informative.
Really, it'll help A LOT.
Well, here's my first problem with Lyx:
No print preview of any kind.
I'd like to be able to preview what my document is going to look like without having to print to pdf, which takes a while. I'd like to be able to make some changes, check the changes, fine tune the changes, check it again, etc. I know, I know, "Lyx doesn't want you worrying about that." Whatever. I need to see a preview! It's 2011.
That's why I said start with an example document that was small.
That way it won't take so long to generate a document for you to preview.
If your Windows Lyx has DVI preview, use that; it's faster than PDF, and is just as accurate.
In my opinon, the biggest reason Lyx doesn't have a "live" preview is that the formatted & typeset product is SO good that a 'live' approximation just won't do it justice and is actually likely to mislead you as to final appearances.
Really. It's that good
I mean, even MS Word prints out differently then how you see it on the screen.
Which is why we keep coming back to the same point; you do the writing, let Lyx do the formatting.
That is it's destiny
I think I'm sticking with indesign. I got a little excited yesterday.