Quark Inc. is readying major upgrades to bolster its publishing software for bigger enterprise customers.
In what could prove a decisive moment for professional Mac publishers waiting to adopt Mac OS X, sources said, Version 6.0 of QuarkXPress will be the first release of the Denver companys flagship page layout package to comply with the new OS Carbon APIs.
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 Mac applications, such as Adobe Systems Inc.s Photoshop suite (as well as Adobes competing InDesign page-layout package) and the Microsoft Corp.s Office suite have already made the move Apple Computers Unix-based OS. Besides a Windows version, XPress 5 still runs only under earlier versions of the Mac OS or within Mac OS Xs Classic environment, which is based on Mac OS 9.
“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.”
Sources predicted that Mac and Windows versions of XPress 6.0 will debut in early 2003, perhaps in time for Januarys Macworld Expo/San Francisco. In addition to Carbon support, the upgrade will feature PostScript 3 support and a new XML engine to replace the companys current Avenue.quark XML-conversion application.
Quarks Turpin declined to specify a version number, features or a date for the release.
The next version of XPress will be incompatible with earlier versions of plug-ins created by third-party developers, but Turpin said Quark is working with third-party developers of XPress extensions on compatible new versions.
Jim Hodges, systems manager at commercial printer The Great Lakes Companies, said 90 percent of the work his office of 25 workstations does is on QuarkXPress. Much of the rest involves software that has already moved to Mac OS X. He hopes that 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.
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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, such as a photo, they import into a published work.
A Workflow Engine and a SOAP 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.
“Whats happening with Quark DMS is it is becoming a platform for enterprise publishing … which includes internal corporate publishing, marketing, advertising… [and] Web publishing,” Turpin said.
Turpin would not say when the DMS upgrade would be available.
The Quark Dynamic Document Server, a new application that formerly had been referred to as the Quark Active Publishing Server and due late this year, brings the power of QuarkXPress to the server, Turpin said. It allows a publisher to create document templates, then provide employees or partners access to some aspects of the template while locking down other features. “You gain greater control over the representation of your documents, but you get more flexibility in creating them,” Turpin said.
At the same time, Quark is consolidating its development, moving much of its German development to India, although officials said they will keep some developers in Quarks Denver headquarters.
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