Now Available to Rent
The K4 publishing system from Vjoon -- which used to be named SoftCare -- is used by a lot of big name publishers whose titles include BusinessWeek, Cosmopolitan, GQ, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker -- among others.
K4 moves on from its predecessor's local-install requirements to be available as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), with the additional benefit of companies being able to rent (from an integration partner) any required hardware as well, allowing smaller businesses to expand cheaply and larger ones to flexibly work around project sizes.
K4 ties into Adobe's InDesign and InCopy, and offers a full task-based workflow for creating, managing, checking and producing pages. The hosted/server element can be used to maintain a unified version of documents with users working in various locations. Documents can also be split, say for print, CD and web publication, but retain the same links, so the right information is always present. To prevent screw-ups, alerts will be triggered, if say a Web-quality photo or image is placed in a print product, helping to prevent embarrassing publishing errors.
Offering a similar product to WoodWing, Vjoon allows users to know if an element has been changed, so they can update their version of a document with the click of a mouse. The production process can be monitored from start to end, and InDesign users get a full menu to help manage things from within their application.
Behind the scenes, K4 uses a multi-tier architecture with AJAX, Web services, open-source technologies and support for standard databases to help it fit into most organizations.
A starter package is available starting at €990 (US$ 1,371) per month. It consists of a database, three designer seats, two editor licenses and Adobe InDesign CS4 Limited Server. If K4 sounds a little much for your company, K2 is its smaller brother aimed at those with lower requirements.
[Editor's Note (10-Jul-2009): The SaaS option for K4 was not yet available in the USA at the time this article was published.]
Rather bravely, the company has a ticker of systems sold on its site and is up to 336 with 17,000+ seats, which isn't a bad indication of its success. It would be good to see some others take this approach.