MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 149 of 179

148 MacDirectory CLOSER LOOK XPRESS 8 > QUARK TAKES ITS BIGGEST GAMBLE EVER — UPDATING THE INTERFACE The Background Quark 6.5, released more than three years ago, marked a radical new era for the company. Quark had three main problems: XPress hadn't modernized enough, tech support had a bad reputation, and Adobe was essentially giving away rival InDesign to design schools. Led by new management, Quark 6.5 shattered everyone's complacency with stunning new features. One of the best was building in so much image- editing power that many designers could use Quark instead of Photoshop for 80 to 90 percent of their work. Then, 18 months ago, Quark 7's workgroup features set a new standard for DTP workflow. Quark users could now work on each other's documents in real time, with changes appearing in real time. The ability for several people to work on a document simultaneously has substantially streamlined magazine and newspaper publishing workflow. Quark 7 also gave us color-based transparency and OpenType handling in implementations notably superior to Adobe's. Simultaneously Quark transformed technical support and stopped charging for it, making rival Adobe seem grudging by comparison. This is not your grandmother's Quark. Finally, Quark responded to Adobe's price challenges, although we note that at press time, neither company's pricing is particularly generous. Quark's special passport versions are gone. QuarkXPress 8, at $799, $299 upgrade, supports 38 languages, including East Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Korean). The Plus edition, $200 more, offers specific typographic controls that are needed only for those fluent in East Asian languages. Now we have the interface change The good news is that the interface changes work — maybe it's not too much to say that they work gloriously. Seasoned users can go to work at once with this slimmer but more fluent release. For while much has changed, the essentials are familiar. The famous formatting bar, which has been copied by PageMaker, InDesign and others in turn, has twice the functionality yet still retains its simplicity and intuitiveness. The main toolbar only displays half as many tools as 7.3, but they are more powerful. For example, you can quickly rotate and resize with the Item, Picture Content or even the Text Box tool. That's one less step than InDesign requires. Just hover over the box and choose either the rotate or resize handles that appear. This illustrates Quark's approach throughout: never add an Adobe feature without bettering it. Quark is now leading the feature wars, especially as regards workgroup and collaboration. Typographical refinements MacDirectory has long and strenuously criticized the inept 'fine typography' features in InDesign. These include 'optical kerning', which unmakes well- WORDS BY BILL TROOP

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