Quark used much of its time in the spotlight at yesterday’s Seybold Seminars keynote address to highlight the features of
Quark Active Publishing Server, a new solution coming later this year that combines QuarkXpress features with the ability to edit content via the Web. That’s not all, though. The company also showed off new features coming in the long-awaited QuarkXpress 5, and some of the functionality of Quark DMS Media Portal, the company’s recently unveiled content management solution.
An XTension module to QuarkXpress itself, Media Portal enables designers to make content available to other users over the Web. The software enables designers to categorize the content, and using shopping-cart like “media baskets,” which users of Web browsers can then specify the content they want to download. Media Portal maintains access privileges, provides searchable indices, and other functionality.
Quark director of product management Jürgen Kurz indicated that QuarkXpress 5 will “ship when it’s ready,” just like all of their products, but later narrowed his estimate to 6 to 9 months. Kurz emphasized that Quark’s product development philosophy is to support open standards like scaled vector graphics (SVG) and extensible markup language (XML).
Quark president and CEO Fred Ebrahimi also made an appearance on stage. Responding to the oft-repeated complaints of customers that have been dissatisfied with Quark’s licensing arrangements, technical support, and the stability of major products, Ebrahimi offered an apology, and says his company is trying to do things different now.
“We’ve become a more open company,” said Ebrahimi, referring both to the company’s technology directives and towards its dealing with customers. “We really love publishing.”
The company may love publishing and its customers, but Ebrahimi isn’t subtle when he talks about the competition. Ebrahimi offered a biting criticism of Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen’s Seybold keynote address, which occurred on Tuesday. Chizen emphasized Adobe’s philosophy of delivering content “anytime, anywhere, on any device,” by demonstrating content generated once then repurposed for print, the Web, PDAs, and a cell phone.
“I don’t give a damn about showing a movie on a cell phone,” said Ebrahimi pointedly. Ebrahimi called the display “a stupid idea.”
In a question and answer session with media following the keynote address, Ebrahimi was decidedly ambivalent about QuarkXpress 5 for Mac OS X. He confirmed that Mac OS X support for QuarkXpress 5 would be implemented “a few months” after the initial product’s release, but refused to provide any specific details.
Ebrahimi said that Quark’s experience with new operating systems suggested to them that they don’t want to be the first ones on a new platform, perhaps offering an opportunity for Adobe and other competitors to pave the way.