The thing I like about Pages is the handling of “semantic styles” and
their relationship to “text formatting” – while OO.org has a “styles”
feature it’s pretty clunky and the details are all wrong. Pages has a
good model for how styles relate to the text formatting – to see it
you have to enable the styles drawer and look at the features in there
and how the styles work. The way they have done it also allows
templates to be applied/changed after document creation (i.e. is a
template just sort of a blank starting document, or is it a style
sheet). Also I think making styles the default/encouraged way to
write documents was the right decision.
They have the advantages of something like DocBook, without losing
WYSIWYG or introducing weird markup. Making new styles is simple
enough for users to do, and if you want to skip styles and just change
formatting by hand that works also.
Basically what happened here is that the interaction design was done
with styles and templates as the focus, rather than bolting them on as
a bullet-point feature afterward. Keynote has the same basic idea at
its core (you can make an outline, then change its template).
(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2005-03.html#9)