May 20, 2005

Quark Will Boost Workflow, Variable Data Printing in Version 7

Source: Publish
Written By Robyn Weisman

Quark Inc. has not specified when it plans to release Version 7 of its venerable QuarkXPress desktop publishing program, but company officials revealed several new features of the upcoming iteration at this week’s AIIM On Demand conference.

Quark executives also are taking on the widespread notion that Adobe Systems Inc. has won the long-running desktop publishing war with its Creative Suite 2.

Hans Hartman, desktop product marketing manager at Quark, said that the new Job Jacket specifications container in Version 7 follows the metaphor of an old-style job ticket.

A Quark Job Jacket “is like the folder that would stay with a graphic-design job as it’s passed around from one person to another. It includes everything—printing instructions, contact names, costs of the job, resources, color management settings, number of pages—in a JDF [job definition file],” Hartman said.

According to Hartman, a Job Jacket can automate a host of areas within a given job’s scope, such as the type of printer used, the print-output specifications and the color specifications, reducing potential errors. Users then can make sure a project adheres to the Job Jacket’s parameters throughout its development, not just at the final flight-checking stage.

Meanwhile, Quark’s embrace of XML-based PPML (personalized print markup language) in Version 7 will allow users to customize content on the fly and print effectively, allowing them to create on-demand content more efficiently than in the past, Hartman said.

“PPML is an emerging standard that is promoted by PODi [Print On Demand Initiative]. We are an executive member of this standards body, which we joined because we think going forward, there will be widespread adoption of it,” said Hartman.

“PPML keeps repetitive objects cached on the printer, where they can later be merged with the rest of the content. It serves as a template data source, allowing for different iterations of [a document's] pages. If you are creating a customized real estate brochure for 1,500 people, you can now create a single XPress file instead of having to create 1,500 different pages because the XML data [from the PPML file] is merged into the document,” said Hartman.

Response to Quark’s latest announcement was muted, at best.

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