QuarkXPress 7 to utilize open standards

Quark Inc. on Thursday said that it will utilize open standards in the upcoming QuarkXPress 7, a move the company said would further its commitment to collaboration and interoperability. QuarkXPress 7 will provide users with more design features, job-driven workflow capabilities and multi-channel publishing, according to the company.

Based on the JDF standard, Quark will use what it calls the Quark Job Jacket, which incorporates detailed workflow and prepress information directly into a QuarkXPress project. Specifically, the Quark Job Jacket will contain contact information, resources required, layout intent, rules, output specifications and other information. Using this information will prevent errors during the publication’s creation and output processes, according to the company.

In addition to rule-based preflight capabilities to ensure that files are output-ready at any point in the design process, QuarkXPress 7 will also ensure that all the elements needed for production (fonts, colors, images, etc.) are automatically embedded with the output file for PDF/X compliant output.

Quark will also add database publishing with the use of Personalized Print Markup Language (PPML). Using PPML all static content, multiple instances of same static content, synchronized content and master page elements will be recognized as reusable objects. Reusing content elements, users will now be able to create multiple document types, sizes and media for multiple print and Web layouts.

With the new version, Quark is offering new transparency features, giving users control over the opacity of the elements that make up any items or content in QuarkXPress like text, pictures, blends, boxes, frames, lines and tables.

According to the company, QuarkXPress 7 will offer greater control over transparency “than other applications by managing opacity levels for any color element of an object rather than on an object-by-object basis.” The transparency features will also enable the creation of dynamic, soft drop shadows, as well as the ability to mask pictures with soft edges using alpha channels -- this includes native Photoshop transparency in PSD or TIFF format.

New controls in QuarkXPress will enhance soft proofing, giving users a preview of how RGB prints to CMYK on-screen or how CMYK prints in grayscale.

QuarkXPress 7 will expand its access to special characters through Unicode support, OpenType support and interface improvements that will make it easier to insert special characters without looking up keyboard commands. Full support for characters and typographic features built into OpenType fonts, including special characters and fonts required by different languages, will also be offered.

Quark will also use an open file format by creating QuarkXPress Markup Language (QXML), a DOM schema for QuarkXPress projects. The structure of the QuarkXPress project is defined according to W3C DOM and XPath specifications. DOM makes all the content of a QuarkXPress project available as XML, which allows any application that understands the schema of a QuarkXPress project to access the QuarkXPress data and process it.

Pricing details on the new version were not released and it is not known when QuarkXPress 7 will be available.

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