While the Internet is busy turning the publishing industry on its head, executives from Quark and Adobe Systems hawked new products here this week that they said are helping their traditional print customers face the online challenge.
"The Web is the most important thing that has happened to the written word in the past 550 years," since the invention of the printing press, said Tim Gill, chairman and chief technology officer with Quark, speaking at the Seybold publishing conference here.
The Web, combined with new information appliances like smart phones, handheld computers and TV set-top boxes, has created new avenues for delivering advertising, news, and other content. The challenge is to create tools that allow publishers to take content developed for one medium, and retool it for use on the Web and other media, he said.
Chuck Geschke, president, co-founder and chairman of Adobe, agreed with his rival. Adobe's goal is "to assist the migration of our print customers to this new world," he said.
Both executives pointed to XML (Extensible Markup Language) as a technology that will allow customers to write content for catalogs, magazines and newspapers that can more easily be reformatted for delivery in other formats.
Quark's answer to the problem is avenue.quark, an XML-based product announced here this week and designed to allow publishers to prepare content written in QuarkXpress for online delivery. A prerelease of avenue.quark is available here at the show, with version 1.0 of the product due to ship in the first half of next year, Gill said.
"This is the very first product we've done specifically for the Web, and we want you to know there will be more," he said.
Adobe, meanwhile, has integrated ImageReady 2 with the new version of AdobePhotoshop, version 5.5, a move that will make it easier for customers to design pages for both print and the Web, Geschke said.
He also demonstrated PDF Merchant, software announced earlier this week that is designed to let publishers sell content on the Internet without compromising its copyright. PDF Merchant offers a secure version of Adobe's popular file format, and allows companies to offer content online that is "tied" to a single user's machine and can't be redistributed, Geschke said.
PDF Merchant, along with complementary client software called Web Buy, which will be available as a free plug-in for Acrobat Reader, will be available in the first quarter next year, he said.
Jörg Rewer, a productions manager with Laudert Innovative Medietechnik, a prepress services firm in Vreden, Germany, who watched the presentations, said Adobe and Quark should be working more quickly to address the issue of the Web.
Rewer said his customers, who are mostly mail order catalog firms, have to rewrite the content they develop for print catalogs in HTML before it can be posted on the Web. "They are doing it manually and it takes much work, and they are searching for a tool to make that easier," he said.
In Europe, electronic commerce and the Internet have not developed as quickly in the U.S., where the need for such multimedia publishing tools is even more urgent, he said.
Denver-based Quark can be reached by telephone at +1-303-894-8888, or on the Web at http://www.quark.com. Adobe can be reached in its San Jose, California headquarters at +1-408-536-6000, in its Miami office at 305-341-6326 or at http://www.adobe.com/.