Thursday, February 4, 1999

InDesign takes shape for summer

By Daniel Drew Turner and Matthew Rothenberg

Adobe Systems Inc. is reportedly hoping to break new ground with InDesign, the next-generation desktop publishing application code-named K2.

According to sources, InDesign, which recently entered beta testing in preparation for a formal introduction at March's Seybold Seminars in Boston, features a highly modular architecture that will accommodate the initial release's DTP features as well as providing a framework for a forthcoming publishing workflow product.

Sources said InDesign, due to ship this summer for Macs and Windows 2000, will also mark a new era for San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe's Portable Document Format in prepress workflows. The new application will tap enhanced PDF capabilities aimed at professional publishers that will debut in Acrobat 4.0, scheduled to ship this spring.

The package reportedly will feature a core code base that occupies only about 2 Mbytes of disk space; the bulk of the software's functions will be provided by a variety of components and libraries developed by Adobe as well as third parties.

According to sources, the new architecture will greatly speed internal revisions to InDesign, simplify third-party plug-in development and ease customization of the program. InDesign will reportedly share no common code with PageMaker, Adobe's current DTP offering.

The software will reportedly share many interface features with Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator packages. It will offer basic Bezier and other drawing tools derived from Illustrator.

The Mac version of InDesign will make extensive use of Apple-events scripting, sources said. Besides wooing third-party developers of QuarkXTensions and Adobe plug-ins to create InDesign add-ons that replicate the capabilities of current XTensions, Adobe is reportedly telling prospective clients that the software's scripting features will allow them to perform any customizations they desire.

In another move aimed squarely at Quark's dominance of the market, InDesign will reportedly convert XPress documents on the fly. Sources said Adobe is predicting InDesign will be 99 percent accurate in its conversions.

Adobe declined to comment.

In other DTP news, Denver-based Quark Inc. Wednesday announced Quark Enterprise Systems Inc., a new Chicago-based affiliate named that Quark said will develop client-server and Web technologies aimed at catalog publishing. The new wing, which the company said currently employs 12 engineers, is derived from Coris Inc., the former R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. software subsidiary Quark purchased in February 1998.

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