Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Clashing Giants of Page Layout

Two well-known page layout programs, InDesign and QuarkXpress are on a neck-to-neck race in winning the admiration of page layout artists around the globe, and in winning the admiration of this compositor from Datagrafix, Inc.

Competition between QuarkXpress and InDesign during the 1990s was mostly dominated by Xpress. And it should since it was able to introduce nice features of layout automation (from third parties like KyTek: Autopage extension developer) that speeds up workflow. But that was during the 1990s and the first quarter of 2000. Now, InDesign is dominating the page layout scene.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not against QuarkXpress. In fact, I’m an avid fan of this software since it’s the very first page-layout program that I’ve been able to use during my earliest publishing stint. InDesign 1.0 is a far cry from QuarkXpress at that time. Quarks’ laid-back attitude though marked its losing streak after the first quarter.

QuarkXpress is not a perfect page layout program. As the publishing industry’s needs changes, so should the applications that it employs. Adobe InDesign developers clairvoyantly knew that. So they enhanced InDesign in the Creative Suite (CS) version. The Suite not only re-introduced InDesign, it also demonstrated how efficiently InDesign integrates with Photoshop and Illustrator. Something that QuarkXpress lacks. (I seem to find the on-screen colors of images in QuarkXpress different in Photoshop, but that’s another story). The Suite improved the figure of InDesign in the market, alarming the laid-back QuarkXpress giant. In defense (thank God they’re not sleeping), Quark released QuarkXpress 7 which is good and has helped them once again leap into the scene.

Still, Adobe has one advantage over Quark. Adobe listens to its customers and with that, it releases InDesign CS3. (Please read Michael Murphy’s article: http://www.creativepro.com/story/review/25413.html?cprose=totw) Interestingly, this new version has the Cross-media Export feature that helps in some way produce an XHTML version of a page layout. In Michael Murphy’s article in creativepro.com, it is likely that InDesign is striving hard to create a Print-to-Web page layout program. I can’t wait to have a feel of the new InDesign CS3 and considering that I live in the Philippines, maybe it will be quite some time before it will be released here as of this writing.