It may have been easy to overlook
very modest presence at Macworld Expo in San Francisco this past January, but the company put on a much more prominent display at this week’s Seybold Seminars show in Boston, in a booth full of shiny new PowerBook G4 systems. Softmagic is showing off Project-M, a magazine publishing suite consisting of cocoa-based applications running on Mac OS X.
Like other software developers who have been early adopters of OS X, Seoul, South Korea-based Softmagic was originally a NEXTStep developer, said Lewis J. Oh, Softmagic director of tech sales. The company has worked with several prominent periodical publishers throughout Korea, Japan and China.
The company’s debut product for the North American market is Project-M, which has been designed to provide magazine publishers with a complete Mac OS X solution from page layout to authoring to output. The system heavily utilizes open industry standards — PDF, TCP/IP, Unicode, SQL and XML, for example. The suite is comprised of five individual applications: MediaPlan, SendStory, eDesk, M, and BookAssembler.
is a template generation app. Designed to support multiple publications, the software enables users to define the basic sectional structure of the publication, including basic layout design, typographical information, definition of users, workgroups, and corresponding access privileges, deadline control, and other elements.
is a page dummying application. The app is used to create a digital flat plan for the publication, and includes imposition functions, production monitoring, and more. BookAssembler can interface with third party ad booking systems. Leveraging PDF support, you can import PDF files from other applications. BookAssembler also provides bi-directional communication with M, Softmagic’s page layout application.
is an XML-based text editor that works with a content management server, SendStoryServer. Document type definitions (DTDs) can be automatically tagged to keep basic elements in each article the same — title layout, subheads, and body content, for example. The software sports multilingual support, so users can localize content in different languages, with DTD info remaining consistent from language to language. The SendStory client software also functions with iDisk, which has been integrated into Mac OS X — so a freelancer or a columnist on the road can just log into his or her iDisk to upload their articles, rather than needing to dial in directly to the company’s network.
provides extensive copy editing functionality — articles are checked in and out, routed, approved, scheduled, and archived. The software also provides version control and an extensive audit trail that shows users which changes were made by whom. Final content can then be routed either to a Web template for use with HTML editors like Dreamweaver and GoLive, or to a DesignModel.
is SoftMagic’s answer to QuarkXpress, PageMaker or InDesign. The software works with documents called DesignModels, which contain all the design-related elements of a document combined with embedded XML tags. For SoftMagic, separating content from design is crucial — the design itself exists as a template, with the content essentially “poured” into the appropriate template. XML-generated copy will automatically be paginated based on pre-defined rules. The software sports extensive integration into other Softmagic applications, like eDesk and BookAssembler.
Project-M is still in testing, and Softmagic hopes to have the entire suite available this summer. Both M and SendStory will be offered as independent products, as well — M will retail for US$699, while SendStory will cost $99. Beta versions of both applications are available for download from Softmagic’s Web site now.