Forwarding Address: OS X

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

At long last, Quark has posted a teaser page about XPress 6, the Carbonized, coming-sometime version of their page layout app. Sigh.

I used to be a graphic designer. I lived in Quark XPress. Thousands of hours, thousands of pages. I still remember the keyboard shortcut for "decrease tracking by 1/200th of an em," though I would rather not. It's not my bread and butter anymore, but I've been following the app's creep toward OS X, and like most have been boggled by the slow pace. In many cases this is the only thing binding design pros to OS 9. They want to migrate to OS X, but they can't.

As of this moment the page says almost nothing about the new version, only noting "enhanced undo functionality, full-resolution previews, and an intriguing way to manage complex projects." Strikingly uninformative -- and the screen shot promises little new other than Aqua trim on XPress's well-worn, spartan interface. Of course, we shouldn't judge print apps by web time. The task of publishing a magazine is substantially the same now as it was ten years ago, and most large publishing workgroups are slow to upgrade because of myriad software dependencies (I wonder how far they're gotten with updating QPS?). The important thing is that they get this thing out the frickin' door.

Though Quark is widely criticized in the industry for an unresponsive attitude toward customers, I really would like them to survive, because I believe that an Adobe monopoly -- which is what we are heading for -- would ultimately be bad for the industry. Discuss