Quark Inc. is readying big upgrades to bolster its publishing software for bigger enterprise customers.
Version 6.0 of the Denver-based companys flagship XPress page layout software will provide native support for Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X operating system. Quark is also readying a major upgrade of its DMS (Digital Media System) that will include new and enhanced modules for enterprise-class workflow, officials said.
Other professional Macintosh applications, such as Adobe Systems Inc.s Photoshop and Microsoft Corp.s Office suite, have made the move to Mac OS X.
"Clearly the publishing industry is largely working on the Mac OS, and Mac OS X is the future of the Mac," Quark spokesman Glen Turpin said. "Were absolutely committed to release QuarkXPress for Mac OS X."
QuarkXPress 6.0 will be incompatible with existing plug-ins created by third-party developers. Turpin said Quark is working with third-party developers of XPress extensions on compatible versions.
Turpin said that the version number of the XPress upgrade that adds the OS X support had not been decided, nor had the date of the rollout. Sources predicted that Mac and Windows versions of XPress 6.0 will debut in time for the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco in January.
Jim Hodges, systems manager at commercial printer The Great Lakes Companies Inc., said 90 percent of the work his office of 25 workstations does is on QuarkXPress. Much of the rest involves software that has moved to Mac OS X. Hodges said he hopes XPress 6.0 will let him print and draw screens faster.
"The only thing Im waiting for is Quark" to move to Mac OS X, said Hodges, in Cleveland.
XPress is not the only Quark software getting an upgrade. A forthcoming version of DMS will add many new modules to take it from being a content management tool that spans many industries to being one specifically for publishing markets.
For example, a new Editorial Client will facilitate the production of advertisements in newspapers. Another module will let publishing professionals see what rights they have for particular pieces of media they import into a published work.
A Workflow Engine and a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) Integration Framework in the DMS upgrade will enable IT departments to create digital workflows to move data between Quarks own production systems and third-party applications that a business may have installed. This could be helpful when reconciling advertising and billing systems.
Turpin would not say when the DMS upgrade would be available.
Quark DDS (Dynamic Document Server), a new application that had been called Quark Active Publishing Server and due late this year, brings QuarkXPress power to servers. It lets publishers create document templates and give employees or partners access to aspects of templates while locking down others.