19 January 2006

[design] Hangin' With QuarkXPress 7

Thanks to the indispensable Pariah S. Burke, I have the QuarkXPress 7 public beta.

It's bigger than 100MB, and here am I still on dialup; if I were left to my own devices I'd be downloading it for the next two weeks. Once again, I owe him one.

Experiences so far are positive; I won't go into too much detail because I need something to write about for either QuarkVsInDesign.com or Designorati.com (or maybe both). But I will offer a few quick takes on what I've seen so far:
  • The program runs pretty smoothly. I, however, am not the most demanding QuarkXPress user. Short shameful confession; I have actually never used QXP in a professional mien. The only layout app I've used in a professional role is Adobe InDesign; 2.0, CS, CS2. If anyone has a freelance opportunity that requires QXP, feel free to contact me. I'd like to use it as such.
  • The program version (as illustrated) is QXP Passport. Passport is the version of QXP enabled for international publishing, meaning it includes multi-language dictionaries, hyphenation rules, et cetera. If you use one of your own old *.qxd files to test drive it, you will probably want to Save As a QXP7 version; if you save this file back out, you might not be able to open it again if your regular version of XPress isn't Passport. Another question asked by Quarksters and InDesignistas alike is if XPress now groks OpenType and Unicode, why does Quark have a Passport version (usually much more expensive) at all, when Adobe InDesign has always offered alternative language support for no extra price? That would appear to be a question for the ages. Nobody knows or understands, and Quark certainly isn't sayin'.
  • New program icon (see illo). It's pretty cool. I'll miss the water lily, however...I thought it had style. Am I the only one who thinks that that thing filling the counter of the shiny, chrome Q is a yellow traffic light? Yellow traffic signals mean caution, donnay?
  • Program interface – big thing for me, for reasons I won't go into here – has been polished up a bit. But it still looks like XPress 4. But they are needed improvments. Big improvements to the floating palettes; they can be grouped and palette arrangements can be saved. Palette menus that remind one of Adobe's 'flyout menus'.
  • Big question: QuarkXPress 7 better than InDesign CS2? Gut reaction right now: no. Weak showing when Quark needs to come on with a bang. Feature parity? Maybe. Won't get ex-Quarkers back from the clutches of Adobe, may or may not prevent Quark from losing more customers who are on the bubble. But for those who like this sort of thing, this should be just the sort of thing they'd like.

No comments: