Breaking the Barrier: Improving Workflow with Quark

Oct 28, 2008

Publishing is a highly competitive industry. The software industry is no less so, and a few names dominate the publishing software industry. One of these—Quark—has made a move that enables more flexibility for publishers today. Quark, a provider of desktop publishing and publishing software, has extended the capabilities of Quark Publishing System 8 (QPS 8) to include support for both QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign.

This is the latest in a series of announcements by Quark. On September 24, 2008, the company simultaneously released Quark Publishing System 8, QuarkCopyDesk 8, and QuarkXPress Server 8. With this release, Quark’s enterprise solutions became fully compatible with QuarkXPress 8. It also set the stage for the news of what the company believes will be a publishing breakthrough. On October 27, at the Graph Expo in Chicago, Illinois, Quark announced the news of its new plug-in that allows users to work in both Adobe InDesign and Quark QPS to achieve their publishing goals.

This plug-in eliminates the barrier between workflows and allows publishers to broaden their layout horizons. According to Joshua Duhl, director of product marketing for Quark, "We are now saying it doesn't matter what lay out tool you have. You can use tools together to manage and ensure the workflow process." The plug-in integration process comes in two steps and takes only minutes. The plug-in in InDesign gives you the QPS menu as well as an extension for QPS that allows both workflow systems to be accessed concurrently. Publishers "want to be able to manage a hybrid workflow. We are allowing companies to work the way they want with the infrastructure that they have," says Duhl.

Designers using InDesign can now perform the same tasks they would generally do if using QPS from within QuarkXPress. From InDesign, they can search the QPS repository for assets based on metadata or full text, check-out articles or other assets, drag and drop them into InDesign layouts, check assets into (or back into) QPS from InDesign, and get notifications within InDesign of updated work or changes to assets, files, articles, or geometry layouts. A writer using Adobe InCopy can accomplish similar duties with the QPS extension. Duhl explains, "you can imagine scenarios in which a designer or copy editor is working in the respective tool and wants to do one or more of these function in some sequence. From QPS, we can allocate and track projects to different designers or copy editors using either InDesign and InCopy or QuarkXPress and QuarkCopyDesk from one workflow system." The ability to automate the routing of projects from both applications in one workflow increases workflow efficiency gives designers, copyeditors, and writers alike the room to develop their creative prowess.

How will this expanded offering impact the publishing world on a larger scale? Melissa Webster, program vice president, Content & Digital Media Technologies at IDC, explains "for customers that have both InDesign and Quark users, up until now they've had to live with totally separate workflow systems when they want to work at the component level, in a more collaborative work style." With component based workflow systems companies can evade the dangers of working with a file-based workflow system, such as passing files back and forth through email or negotiating with different program versions, and instead focus on achieving the best possible results.

With everything publishing professionals have to worry about during the publishing process, it should be extremely helpful to have a program that allows them the freedom to use different components and work with other employees in tandem. "Component-based workflows provide compelling productivity benefits for the design team, as they enable teams to work on projects in parallel," says Webster. "At the same time, companies want to leverage their designers' existing training and tooling. There hasn't been a component-based workflow alternative for mixed shops that use both InDesign and Quark, up to now." With the Quark QPS extension, publishers are no longer constricted by a workflow system that dictates which page-layout and design application they have to use. Instead, they can break free and decide their owning publishing path.