quark_logo_2009.jpg Has it really been two months since QuarkXPress 9 came out? You know what they say, one good desktop product deserves a server version. Or something like that. Nerdy cliches aside, Quark (news, site) is back in the news with the release of QuarkXPress Server 9.

When last we covered a release of QuarkXPress Server, the year was 2007 and the killer feature was... wait for it... XML. I can't believe it either. All jokes aside, the product designers at Quark must have done something right with the previous versions because they laid the foundation for this latest release.

Automated Publishing

As a leader in desktop publishing software, Quark understands that many graphic design houses depend on manual publishing processes to get creative campaigns off the ground. Not only are these processes more error-prone because of the pesky humans, but they can lead to some bored and sad graphic designers.

QuarkXPress Server 9 offers the ability to automate publishing to multiple channels: Flash, web, and print. Furthermore, said channels can be published in multiple formats: SWF (Flash), XML, PDF, PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3, PostScript, Personalized Print Markup Language (PPML), EPS, JPEG and PNG.

Imagine if your graphic designers could spend more time coming up with awesome designs instead of waiting for Flash to render.

What's New?

Not one to be left off the cloud-based bandwagon, Quark now offers a SaaS version of QuarkXPress Server 9. The old excuse of needing hardware and a support team is no longer valid. Shops that use QuarkXPress on the desktop can begin using the server product.

Administration of the server product is now web-based and according to Quark, "easy to use." Personally, I have seen too many non-intuitive admin screens to believe that, but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

File Management in QuarkXPress Server 9

The new web user interface does provide the following benefits:

  • Preferences configuration via the Administration Section -- server settings and renderer settings can be tweaked in one location
  • Status Monitor -- provides a real-time view of what each renderer is processing
  • Transaction Log -- see all recent requests to the server
  • Download Logs -- pull all the server logs in one place including one-click to send to Quark Enterprise Support
  • Document Pool Tab -- manage all the files in the document pool

Not all the updates are on the admin side. Here are the new "design-driven automation" features:

  • Bullets, numbers and outlines
  • Table spanning across multiple pages
  • Callouts
  • Conditional styles

If you are a Quark shop and you are looking for a cloud-based automation solution, make sure QuarkXPress Server 9 gets on the shortlist.