FACING A POTENTIALLY STIFF CHALLENGE TO ITS flagship page-layout program, Quark (800/326-3946, http://www.quark.com ) has offered a preview of QuarkXPress 5 as well as several new page-layout programs aimed at specialized publishing segments, such as package and catalog design. The challenge, of course, comes from Adobe Systems, whose new InDesign software is targeted squarely at QuarkXPress (see the feature "Adobe Answers XPress," elsewhere in this issue).
Quark won't say when it expects to ship QuarkXPress 5, but the company has identified four broad functions that you can expect in the upgrade: a built-in table editor, document layers, HTML export, and PDF import.
The new table editor, in addition to letting you specify the appearance of rows and columns, will permit the import of text or graphics into cells. You'll also be able to apply blends to the table background.
The layers function will let you place text and graphic elements on separate layers that can be hidden, merged, and modified in other ways. For example, you'll be able to specify how different layers interact with each other when wrapping text; if you have text on one layer, a circular graphic on a second layer, and a rectangular image on a third, you'll be able to see how the text would look when wrapped around either graphic.
A new Articles palette will let you identify elements within a document that should be included in a Web page. You can then export those elements in HTML format, with the option of mapping the document's style sheet to specific HTML tags.
The PDF import option will let you drag and drop -a PDF file into QuarkXPress, where it will appear as a graphic object.
Quark also plans to release a set of stand-alone page-layout applications targeted at specialized design and publishing segments. One such product, code-named Wrapture, will be a page-layout and prototyping program aimed at package designers. In addition to providing specialized design features, Wrapture will include 3-D-modeling and -rendering functions that let you see how the package will look in its final form. Based on early demonstrations, it appears that the simulations will have a high degree of realism: you'll be able to prototype transparent-plastic package elements and place multiple packages on a virtual store shelf to see how they will look in a retail setting.
Quark is also developing a workflow-management and layout application, code-named Cypress, for catalog publishers. A forthcoming Web-site-production program, code-named Troika, will let you extract XML data from QuarkXPress documents and will also include tools for designing Web templates.STEPHEN BEALE
May 1999 page: 30