Quark delves into publishing workflow

Publishing software company Quark has introduced new software poised to help tame increasingly unwieldy publishing production routines.

The newly released Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution sets out to confront a growing problem experienced by organizations that publish a lot of material ' that of keeping track of the material as it is used across different media.

"While we've traditionally focused on graphic design and page layout, we are now looking at expanding the business to provide an infrastructure that automates the publishing process," said Ray Schiavone, Quark CEO.

Today, organizations may find themselves republishing the same information across print, Web, e-mail, Portable Document Format (PDF) files and files for mobile phones and other handheld devices.

This plethora of outlets can scramble the publishing processes, Schiavone said. In many cases, once an organization publishes information in one format, such as print, it needs to be reformatted for the other channels, such as the Web. Design publication tools such as Quark's QuarkXPress and Adobe's InDesign have been ill-suited to reformat designed material for the Web, so the process of moving printed material to the Web tends to be a time-consuming and sometimes still manual process.

Complications may also arise when a change needs to be made to the source material, Schiavone said. Depending on the procedures in place, production personnel may have to make the same change to the material twice, in, for instance, the printed and online versions, because no definitive copy of the material exists.

Quark's approach to cleaning up this mess is to establish a central repository for all the unformatted material, and then to deploy routing and template-design tools to prepare the material for each media.

"We want to take all the cut and paste out of the process," Schiavone said. The software includes a rules engine to route material to different personnel in the production chain. The package also includes what the company calls transformation engines, which shape the material for various formats.

A writer may compose the material in Microsoft Word, which will have a plug-in that will route the material for approval process. Once the material is approved, the software can then flow it into design templates for various media. The design staff then can review and tweak the prepared product.

With this approach, a definitive copy of the material exists, so any changes that need to be made only have to be made once, and material does not need to be reformatted after it is published in one form. The material could also be customized. A military recruiting office could print a brochure with a prospective candidate's name on it, Schiavone said.

Schiavone said the Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution works with QuarkXPress and it will also require a database where the material can be held ' the product will work with all major databases and content management systems. The material itself, along with associated formatting, will be saved in Extensible Markup Language-based files.

Quark announced the release of the Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution earlier this month, at the AIIM [Association for Information and Image Management] International Exposition and Conference in Boston.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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