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Quark releases QuarkXPress 8

Love it or hate it (with the burning fire of a million angry suns), Quark yesterday released QuarkXPress 8, which features new tools for developing for the web, workspace enhancements, and refinements to tools to finally bring it into the 20th century. Steve Sande mentioned back in May that it was coming, and now it's finally here.

Quark 8, the William Shatner of page layout software (old, bloated, sweaty, and desperate to stay relevant), allows you to create content for the web using HTML and Flash without writing any code. This has been a feature of Quark since QuarkImmedia and Quark Interactive Designer, but now appears to be fully rolled into QuarkXPress, to the abject horror of web designers everywhere.

Also, a new feature: A measurements palette. That's right, it's 2008, and they're adding a measurements palette. Also: east-Asian language support and hanging punctuation. Wow. Well done, Quark.

I've been using QuarkXPress since version 3, and having very briefly tried the new version, it's a little depressing to see them keep trying to reclaim their glory years. Small design shops, freelancers, and many printers have largely moved to InDesign for their page layout software. Yes, Quark 8 is light-years ahead of where they were, but still light-years behind where they need to be.

Quark makes its money on giant-scale installations at newspapers and magazines, so we'll see how quickly their enterprise customers adopt this new version. My guess: not very, as many printers I've dealt with overseas, especially in Asia, are still using QuarkXPress 6.

A 60-day trial is available, and is a whopping 517MB to download. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 and a G5 processor or higher. New licenses are $800, and upgrades are a scant $300. Discounts are available for education and non-profit customers, too.

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