Infigo Software has entered an OEM partnership with Enfocus, with the goal of allowing customers of Infigo’s Catfish e-commerce platform to add PDF quality control for print ready files.

Enfocus PitStop software analyses artwork automatically for errors, flags items to be addressed and can also auto-correct for output that requires PDF. The OEM partnership with Enfocus means that Infigo Catfish customers can license the Enfocus preflight and correction functionality as an add-on option in Catfish that Infigo will support as part of a workflow.

“We’ve been focused on creating new and exciting automation partnerships because we recognize that automation is key for businesses to future-proof their operations,” said Douglas Gibson, Managing Director, Infigo. “This latest integration with the brilliant Enfocus PitStop software streamlines artwork management and preflighting, creating genuine cost and process efficiencies.”

The newly integrated software aims to allow customers to submit error-free, print-ready files automatically through the cloud-based Catfish e-commerce platform. By integrating Enfocus PitStop with Catfish, Infigo explains it’s possible to automate every aspect of artwork management into a workflow, from design and proofing to preflighting, printing and archiving, reducing the risk for human error. Users can update artwork within Infigo’s design tool, MegaEdit, once it’s been verified by Enfocus PitStop, so there’s no need to go back to a designer to update the PDF.    

“We’re delighted to welcome Infigo Software as an OEM Partner,” said Angelo Manno, Global OEM and Strategic Accounts Manager at Enfocus. “PitStop is the ideal PDF preflight and correction solution for businesses in a vast array of verticals, and this is true for Infigo's Catfish e-commerce solution too, so it was a natural fit to bring these two powerful solutions together.”
Onyx Graphics Inc. released ONYX 12.2 software, the latest version of the company’s wide format print workflow and RIP products. The company explains ONYX 12.2 features improved RIP and data transfer processing speeds, new multi-roll functionality, job scaling and rotation, and cut workflow enhancements.

ONYX 12.2 software is available for the full ONYX software product line including ONYX Thrive workflow software; and ONYX ProductionHouse, ONYX PosterShop and ONYX RIPCenter RIP software.

The company explains the new multi-roll user interface delivers an interactive workflow showing a live view of loaded media with automated roll selection between jobs in the RIP-queue. ONYX 12.2 also features a new user-interface showing device specific information based on bi-directional data including, easily visible ink levels, printer status and media information.

The new software version also includes enhanced media and page-size handling to streamline printer configurations and job setup. Cutting workflow updates include the ability to handle multiple cut-path prefixes and duplication of cutter device settings enabling greater automation. ONYX 12.2 also allows for job scaling and rotation directly from the file-open dialogue before sending jobs to the RIP-queue.
The software provides full support for the Konica Minolta Autoscan Spectrophotometer FD-9 colour device, with fully automated chart reading to improve print workflow and productivity. The new software version’s faster RIP and data transfer speeds are based on optimized colour calculations across all applications.
Canon and EFI have launched the new imagePRESS Server H300 from Canon, powered by EFI Fiery technology, and designed specifically for the imagePRESS C850 and C750 digital presses for commercial printing and in-plant production, as well as the imagePRESS C65 digital press aimed at creative design production operations.

The imagePRESS Server H300 is based on the new Fiery NX Pro hardware platform and Fiery FS200 Pro system software. The new Fiery QuickTouch software on the H300 server’s LCD colour touchscreen display, according to the companies, offers faster views of job status information and easier device management. The touchscreen display gives operators access to intuitive system installation, backup and restore functions, plus system diagnostics information.

The NX Pro server can be housed in the new, optional EFI Fiery NX Station LS, which holds a 20 percent smaller footprint than previous Fiery workstations. It also features an adjustable-height work space, proximity sensor, and sliding server shelf for maintenance.

The imagePRESS Server H300 is designed to provide image quality, colour management and image-processing performance. Its Fiery DFE technology can process the new Ghent PDF Output Suite version 5.0.

Users can also leverage the latest version of EFI’s JDF-certified Fiery technology, which can connect users' imagePRESS operations into plant-wide workflows. It provides integration to EFI MIS/ERP and web-to-print products, Canon’s PRISMA software suite of workflow for production print, and other prepress workflow solutions – including Kodak Prinergy, Heidelberg Prinect and Agfa Apogee.

This server supports the Adobe PDF Print Engine rendering platform and a variety of variable-data formats and standards, including PDF/VT 2 and PPML 3.0, giving users added flexibility to create higher-value, personalized documents.
After making its debut at drupa 2016, Enfocus has released a new PDF approval technology for its Switch automation software. Based on PitStop, Enfocus’ other technology for the preflight, correction and editing of PDF files, the PDF Review Module allows users to review and approve or reject native PDF files. The tool has been pilot tested by 50 customers and 40 partners since Drupa, some using it in full production.

“The project actually started as something completely different,” said Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop product family, “We had a completely different product idea initially, but when we discussed our plans with customers to obtain their feedback, it became apparent that there was another need.

Customers were looking for a very simple prepress-based PDF review and approval solution. One that could be used by a wide range of customers, from the average man-in-the-street, up to a prepress professional, without cumbersome job setup requirements or the need for training. That is how the PDF Review Module was born.”

The goal of the solution, explains Enfocus, is to replace manual email soft proofing and to overcome the problems and inadequacies with that process. Bailes-Collins explained, “We found when talking to customers, even those who have sophisticated portal solutions within their workflows, that email proofs were still a part of their daily production process. They use their portals for customers with whom they do regular business with, but for ad hoc jobs, or customers who they do one or two jobs a year for, they instead send email proofs.”

The PDF Review Module is provided as an app for Switch and as an external web server application. The app is installed in Switch and can be added to any Switch flow. The Web server can be installed either locally or externally in a customer’s DMZ, in a data centre or on a cloud server.

The PDF Review Module sends an email to a single customer, which can be designed in HTML and branded, and which will include a link. When the link is clicked, the customer’s default browser opens and the high resolution PDF file is loaded. Crucial for the customer is that nothing else needs to be downloaded or installed, nor is a user name or password required. The interface is dynamic supporting different designs for tablet and desktop viewing.

With PDF Review Module, users have the ability to look at the individual colour separations, check for ink coverage, add annotations, a densitometer tool is available, as is a wireframe view. Document information can be seen, and when an object in the PDF is selected, then they can see the attributes of that object just as they can in the PitStop Pro Inspector.

The approval options for the PDF Review Module are also completely customizable. They are based on the Switch flow. The number of approval options and the approval terminology and language used can vary from Switch flow to Switch flow.

The PDF Review Module requires the Switch Core Engine 13 update 1 and above. For maximum automation and efficiency it is recommended to include the Switch Metadata Module to the Switch configuration.

The PDF Review module is currently available in 17 languages, including: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Swedish and Russian, other languages will follow.

The PDF Review Module includes 5 concurrent clients and costs $3,600 for the license plus mandatory first year maintenance of $720. Additional client packs are also available.
QuarkXPress 2017 is the newest release of Quark’s fully-integrated design and layout software for print and digital production.

With this new software, users can now edit images in QuarkXPress with features such as non-destructive image editing, transparency blend modes, new shape tools, item format painters and enhancements to multicolour gradients.

Users will also find new typography features such as text stroking and shading, column spanning and splitting and smart quotes. And when it’s time to output, users can take advantage of unlimited free iOS single apps creation, responsive HTML publications and adaptive layout conversion for digital and print.

Quark has also implemented the following user-requested features into QuarkXPress 2017, including:
  • Merge text boxes;
  • Proportional leading;
  • The most recent fonts;
  • Line between columns;
  • Enhanced word import;
  • Non-breaking text attribute;
  • Cursor key increments/decrements;
  • UI enhancements on Mac and Windows;
  • Enhancements to convert to native images.
QuarkXPress 2017 supports the three most recent operating systems from both MacOS (10.10, 10.11 and 10.12) and Windows (7, 8.1 and 10).
Agfa Graphics has released the next generation of its StoreFront, version 4.0, which now features what Agfa describes as responsive stores for optimal ease of use, a ‘save for quote’ functionality for pricing information, and new packaging algorithms for cost-effective shipping.

The new StoreFront version is optimized to be viewed on smaller screens and large desktop monitors, as store pages automatically adapt to any device. “StoreFront’s responsive design minimizes scrolling and zooming, and maximizes the print buyer’s comfort,” said Andy Grant, Global Head of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Even in the B2B market that StoreFront focuses on we’re seeing a marked increase in the number of visitors accessing private stores using a phone or tablet.”

Another addition to StoreFront 4.0 is the ‘save for quote’ functionality. It allows resellers and agencies to get instant pricing information for an entire product bundle, including shipping costs. “Let’s say a print buyer needs a quote for priority shipping a large quantity of posters for a concert, or several different products for a promotional campaign – StoreFront swiftly displays the total cost for the entire project,” said Grant. “White label shipping is a growing market in which such a feature allow printers to compete more efficiently.”

In StoreFront 4.0, the shipping module is completely reworked with new packaging algorithms for the grouping of order items and for calculating the optimal number of boxes needed for shipping. Also a new packaging type has been introduced for posters, banners and similar types of signage. These products can now be combined on a single packaging roll.

“StoreFront 4.0 is designed to be versatile and relies on industry standard file formats like PDF and JDF,” said Grant. “Because support for open standards and easy integration remain key for Agfa Graphics.”
Electronics For Imaging (EFI) has introduced two new digital front ends (DFEs), the embedded Fiery E-24B DFE and external Fiery E-44B DFE. The new DFEs are based on the latest Fiery FS200 Pro platform and were launched to drive Ricoh’s print engines, the Ricoh Pro C5200s and C5210s.

The DFEs can process graphically complex files with EFI’s Fiery SmartRIP technology and streamline production with the Fiery Command WorkStation interface. Optional add-ons such as Fiery Impose and Fiery JobMaster or the premium edition of the Fiery Graphic Arts Package allow users to access visual preview and advanced make-ready capabilities or troubleshoot digital designs before printing, respectively.

“With Fiery E-44B DFE, users also get the advantage of EFI’s innovative, proprietary Dynamic HD Text and Graphics feature for accurate, high-quality reproduction of ultra-thin lines and fine details in text,” Vice President of Fiery marketing at EFI John Henze says.

Both DFEs are now available from Ricoh and authorized Ricoh resellers.
In March, Roland released the ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software for its Texart dye-sublimation transfer printers. ErgoSoft has developed the RIP specifically for the Texart XT-640 and RT-640 to support high-fidelity digital textile printing of sports and fashion apparel, soft signs such as polyester banners and flags, curtains and other interior décor, as well as promotional goods and personalized gifts.

ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2, according to Roland, includes more than 40 new features and enhancements. A new dithering method increases rasterization speed and improves dot placement accuracy resulting in what the company describes as 40 percent faster RIP times and smoother gradients. Roland explains a new PDF engine displays colour-accurate previews of PDF files. The RIP also includes up to eight simultaneous RIP Servers to reduce processing time when working with high-capacity data or multiple print jobs. A new Printer Pool feature allows the same file to be sent easily to multiple devices and a Hot Folder feature is aimed at batch printing of images with the same specific print settings.

Image Add-Ons functions support new effects like barcodes, rulers and drill holes. Multiple effects can also be applied to a single set of data. Specific editing functions support file formats that are commonly used for textile printing. The Step & Repeat feature is for repeating textile patterns from a single image is now available for PDF and EPS file formats. The Color Replacement feature for creating multiple colour variations is also now available for TIFF and PSD file formats. Variable Data Printing for producing personalized goods and apparel is now included as standard.

Roland  has also launched Roland PrintStudio by Caldera, its new RIP and print management software for the latest MacOS.

According to Valery de March, OEM business director at Caldera, Roland users will be able to “take advantage of extensive colour management features, create an unlimited number of presets and use automated functionalities and hot folders, as well as advanced tiling and nesting tools.”


-    ICC profiles creation,
-    Adobe PDF Print Engine,
-    Template-driven tiling options,
-    Optimized contour nesting,
-    Roland Color & Metallic System Libraries with hundreds of spot colours,
-    Supports low-cost colour spectrophotometers,
-    Supports RAL, HKS and Pantone® colour swatches,
-    Access to the online Roland Profile Center and its library of media profiles,
-    A blur and bleed function that removes the risk of white lines at cutting edges,
-    Application guide tool that automatically assigns a number to each tile while generating a summary PDF.

Roland PrintStudio by Caldera can be ordered through authorized Roland dealers.
In March, SmartSoft, introduced new enhancements to its PressWise software which provides web-to-print, MIS and workflow tools. This includes what the company describes as a major update to Purchase Order to better accommodate outsourcing. Users can now purchase non-inventory items, including services and finishing tasks. Outsourced Products POs can be automatically created upon order injection, PO line items associated to specific jobs, and POs emailed directly from within PressWise.

Imposition enhancements include new support for Work & Tumble as a work mode on quotes. The system now includes full support for Grippers throughout the system for each press device, from quoting and ordering to batching and auto-impositioning. PressWise has automated the process to apply for, receive, and install/utilize SSL certificates for custom domains, allowing admins to obtain an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. This optional feature is free of charge.

Inventory/stock purchases can now have minimum stock order amounts by substrate with the additional option of specifying a quantity per carton. Single Sign On (SSO) options are now available. User Interface Enhancements offer in-line editing in many areas with enhanced grids to make viewing, searching, and filtering information easier than ever before. Recently added reports include a Customer Aging Report, Customer Statements, Customer Activity, and more.
SA International (SAi), which develops software for wide-format printing and CAD/CAM for CNC machining, at the ISA Sign Expo (April 19-22 in Las Vegas) will launch its new MyFlexi mobile app. It will be released in conjunction with its SAi FlexiSIGN version 11 and FlexiPRINT version 12 software.

The MyFlexi app is available for IOS iPhones and iPads and Android mobile phones and tablets. SAi explains it provides tools to improve throughput and minimize overall job production time – from set-up to completion. It includes remote access to the Web-based FlexiQuote tool to remotely create customer quotes.

The Web version of FlexiQuote comes pre-loaded with a database of standard media and costs to configure pricing, while factoring in materials, labour, commissions, discounts and taxes. SAi explains the FlexiQuote wizard can give a customer quote within 30 seconds.

MyFlexi also features the MyFlexi QR and Barcode Tester to test the QR codes generated in Flexi’s QR Code Creator. MyFlexi builds on the company’s first app, SAi Cloud.
Agfa released Asanti 3.0, described as an automated production hub and workflow tool for sign and display printers, pointing to version 3.0’s new graphical user interfaces, added automation and more integration possibilities with equipment and Management Information Systems, as well as software like PrintSphere and StoreFront.

Asanti 3.0 now includes IntelliTune, which, according Agfa, automatically analyzes and improves image quality. The company explains this can include optimizing skin tones or by eliminating noise, staircasing and blurriness. Other new Asanti 3.0 features include QuickProof proofing support; an improved digital alternative for see-through graphics on clear material; and improved automation through updated parameter presets and smart image repetition.

Version 3.0 of Asanti graphical user interface (GUI) includes improved job layout and positioning visualization, as well as a new interface for tiling large jobs. Asanti’s production dashboard displays information like print jobs, the number of prints, status data of multiple engines, ink levels, elapsed time. “It is all HTML5-based and works perfectly for those in close contact with clients and financial connections,” said Erik Peeters, Marketing Manager Workflow Solutions, Agfa Graphics.

New to Asanti Color Management is a mode that allows printers to use a wizard for managing colours and shortening throughput time. The software also features new white printing options, as well as an ability to overrule spot colours with alternatives colour mapping to reproduce them.
In April 2017, Enfocus plans to launch PitStop version 2017 to help mark the 20th anniversary since the PDF-preflight software was first released. Signaling the company’s initial move to an annual PitStop release cycle, version 2017 includes what Enfocus labels as PDF Geomapper technology, which provides new ways for objects to be selected or ignored.

PDF Geomapper, for example, can be used for configuring preflight checks to check only the objects needed to render or print a PDF file. Any additional hidden or unneeded elements can be ignored or removed, which Enfocus describes as a way to reduce the complexity of files and false error messages.

Initial implementations of PDF Geomapper, specifically to help reduce the amount of false error messages, were first highlighted at the Drupa 2016 in June. Described as a first in Preflight by Enfocus, these checks could be restricted to within an irregular shape such as a cutline or structural design information. Expanding the PDF Geomapper technology, Enfocus now allows decisions to be made based not just on a single object, but also by taking into account other objects, underlying or overlapping the original.

“The new PDF Geomapper technology opens up an exciting new world of possibilities for preflight checking and correction,” stated Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager at Enfocus. “For example, a text segment can be preflighted based on its legibility, by checking the colour of any objects underneath it.”

The newest versions of PitStop Pro and PitStop Server include the addition of 40 Devicelink profiles based on standard ICC profiles, to help users with CMYK-CMYK colour conversions. These profiles have been made available with the support of Enfocus’ sister company X-Rite, leveraging its position as a Danaher company.

Enfocus explains the PitStop ICC profiles are  particularly useful for customers in packaging, labels and large format, in that the check for Ink Coverage has been improved to work with selected inks and ignore named separations such as ‘white’ or ‘varnish’. This results in a more accurate check, explains the company, as only the actual printing inks will be used.

PitStop Pro also includes a new Inspector interface for analyzing and editing page and transparency groups directly within the PDF file. There are also new Action Lists for customer requested functionality, such as automatically generating round cornered rectangles (for dielines) and new ways of modifying page sizes and objects within a PDF file.

A new PDF Report function is available for validating the presence and configuration of layers within a PDF file, and new checks and fixes are available within the Preflight Profile Editor.

The Adobe transparency flattener within PitStop Server has been updated to the latest version, and Mac OSX Sierra and Windows 10 anniversary update are now supported.

In February, Kodak unveiled Prinergy Cloud, an analytics-enabled cloud platform that offers print service providers (PSPs), what the company describes as industry-first solutions to minimize cost and risk while driving business growth.

Prinergy Cloud leverages production data and turns it into dashboard reports of actionable information allowing informed decision making in real-time. Customers can seamlessly integrate all Prinergy Cloud services with existing on-premise Kodak workflow software, and lower operating costs by reducing hardware and administrative overheads.

Prinergy Cloud is hosted on the Microsoft Azure platform, which Kodak describes as a fast, reliable and secure cloud delivery. Kodak customers can benefit from the 24/7 cloud service monitoring, providing security and availability.

Developed in partnership with Yellowfin, Prinergy Cloud’s Decision Analytics offers PSPs, according to Kodak, the print industry’s first analytics enabled workflow. This  new capability delivers intuitive dashboards that provide visibility into production costs and system performance by continuously collecting data from operations.

All new Prinergy Cloud services are Decision Analytics-enabled. This includes the System Performance Service for print production reporting, and File Archive and Backup for protection against data loss and automated archiving for higher levels of efficiency and security.

QuarkXPress 2016 comes out swinging to regain its role as powerful software for the printing industry by focusing on new tools for layout, file conversion and digital publishing.

You have to admire the persistence of Quark. I’ve seen major players in the graphic arts software cosmos come and go through the years, many falling from seemingly impervious heights. Remember Aldus – maker of Pagemaker and Freehand? Remember when QuarkXPress ruled the roost in the early days of professional digital page layout? While Pagemaker enjoyed a devoted following in creative circles back in the day, QuarkXPress had the edge with publishing and prepress professionals – especially with version 3.32 which had a tenacious following well into the 21st century!

Then Adobe turned the tables by acquiring Aldus and initiating development of a new secret weapon in the page layout wars. InDesign came along at just the right time – Quark was struggling to get their Mac OS X version to market while creative pros wanted to benefit from the latest Mac hardware and operating systems. For them, InDesign looked like the logical choice. Quark eventually brought their next-gen XPress to market, but it was too little, too late. InDesign had captured the creative imagination, and coupled with Creative Suite Adobe seemed to floor rival Quark.

But it wouldn’t be a very good yarn if Quark just faded away into desktop obscurity. The punch-drunk slugger eventually went Mac OS X in 2003 and has doggedly progressed ever since, carving a niche in the publishing marketplace by adding features requested by users and focusing on ePublishing and App development through their App Studio. Then things changed with Adobe’s move to their subscription-based Creative Cloud – suddenly QuarkXPress was punching above its weight with perpetual licensing!

With seemingly renewed purpose, Quark hit the gym and produced a significant upgrade in QuarkXPress 2016. Aside from a bevy of user-requested improvements and features in this new release, Quark has actually managed land a few sucker punches.

File conversion powerhouse
For eons digital artists and prepress pros have lusted after the Rosetta Stone of graphic file conversion – an application that could import a non-native file and render it editable. QXP 2016 can lay claim to being the first page layout application to bring this robust capability to the masses. Accessible under Styles or contextual menu, the Convert to Native Objects tool can magically turn the contents of placed text, raster or vector images to native and editable XPress objects.

File formats supported for conversion include Adobe Illustrator, PDF, EPS and Windows/Enhanced Meta file. For a newly introduced feature, I found the conversion process surprisingly easy and seamless. Users can import a supported file into a picture content box as usual, but then choose to convert the entire image, or just a cropped section. This is a boon to designers and production artists who routinely deal with customer-supplied charts and graphs they wouldn’t normally be able to edit.

While the feature works very well in most circumstances, it’s important to remember that importing a text laden PDF file, then converting it to native XPress format won’t necessarily provide nice, neat text boxes full of reflow-able content. Much as when opening a PDF file in Adobe Illustrator, text may be broken up into line-by-line elements, or even words, letters and punctuation isolated in text boxes. Also, as with any native QXP object the user will need to have the appropriate fonts active in order to correctly display converted files. However, users are giving the option of choosing replacement fonts before conversion.

Other conversion options include the ability to retain the source picture box which will keep the link to the original file as well as the option to ignore soft image masks and transparent blend modes – neither of which are supported in this version of QuarkXPress.

In addition to converting imported objects, users can also Convert to Native Object while pasting any supported format file contained in the clipboard. For example, you can copy formatted text from MS Word and convert the content by right-clicking on the destination page and choosing Paste as Native Object from the contextual menu.

When converting a file containing raster or vector objects in addition to text, QXP 2016 embeds the object on the page while maintaining the original object format. That means your vector graphics will stay vector within QXP 2016. However, the graphic will not be available as an external image file like other imported QXP support files.

Also, users have limited export options when saving these embedded objects out to a file – either PNG or JPEG. That means vector objects will convert to raster when exporting from QXP 2016. Most users will find this isn’t a big detriment to their workflows, as the convenience of converting these files into native editable QXP objects far outweighs the limited export options. And there are workarounds if needed.

Digital publishing uppercut
Few designers can live exclusively on print these days. Increasingly clients demand digital publishing options along with their collateral designed for print. While Quark has provided a variety of digital publishing capabilities in prior versions of QXP, QuarkXPress 2016 has rolled their App Studio and eBook production tools into their new harmonized Digital Layout workspace. When creating a Digital Layout, users choose from a variety of predefined pixel dimensions for popular devices ranging from Kindle and iPad to a selection of popular mobile phone screen sizes.

Users can also define unique dimensions for content that might appear on a Web page, which harkens potentially the most significant new digital publishing feature in this release – the capability to export a project as an HTML5 package. HTML5 is the latest version of the markup language used to power the web and was famously championed by Steve Jobs when he refused to support Adobe FLASH technology on the first iPad – instead suggesting HTML5 would be the future framework for digital content.

Turns out Steve was right! Since Job’s endorsement HTML5 has evolved to become the leading technology used for online publishing due to its ability to provide application programming interfaces for complex web functions while natively streamlining the delivery of graphical and multimedia content. Increasingly HTML5 is being used to produce cross-platform mobile applications as well.

QXP 2016 also enables designers to convert print projects to digital layouts which can then be supplemented with interactive elements such as video or slideshow galleries while maintaining the aesthetic of the print layout. Additionally, many QXP 2016 text and typographic features survive the jump to HTML5 including run-around text, support for justification and hyphenation as well as embedded OpenType and TrueType fonts. Users are also able to launch a preview of their HTML5 layouts from the QXP 2016 desktop.

So does Quark’s HTML5 export feature make every print designer a savvy web coder and online creator? Hardly. Creators of static print will need to study the digital layout paradigm before building compelling eBooks, mobile apps or web content.

On first inspection, the QXP HTML5 tool palette offers a beguiling collection of media and interactive content options to the designer such as 360º image, audio, video, zoom, scroll zones and animations. Not all of these interactive elements and enhancements, however, will be effective in every digital publishing channel – standard ePub, fixed-layout ePub, Kindle, Kindle Fire and iOS all have varying capabilities and limitations that will determine what HTML5 can do. This translates to more homework for the newly minted HTML5 producer before undertaking a digital publication for their client.

Ringside requests
Not every new QuarkXPress 2016 feature came from the coach in their corner. As I alluded earlier, many of the new features are enhancements requested by die-hard QuarkXPress users.

In a nod to technical writers and textbook publishers, QXP 2016 now supports the insertion of cross-references for Endnotes, Footnotes and Numbered Item. Additionally, the Footnotes feature introduced in QXP 2015 has been enhanced with improved formatting options. Also, HTML5 export supports bullets and numbering as well as ‘pop-up’ footnotes when creating a digital publication for fixed-layout ePub format.

A long overdue eye-dropper style colour picker tool has been added to the Colours Palette, enabling users to sample any colour from an image or imported object. And another welcome colour capability added to QXP 2016 is a powerful Colour Blends Palette. This tool does precisely what you’d expect, enabling users to build complex multi-colour blends within QXP 2016 in a range of styles including linear and radial. Users can even set different levels of transparency for each colour in the blend!

For typography fans OpenType stylistic sets are now supported in QXP 2016 to take advantage of any fancy ligatures, fractions or swashes you may have hiding in your font. QXP 2016 includes a number of UI enhancements geared towards productivity, most notably for the Windows version, which has lagged behind the Mac look and feel. And thanks to their Xenon Graphics Engine QXP 2016 continues the tradition of delivering the best onscreen display experience of any page layout application. They had me at 8,000 percent zoom!

Knockout punch?
At one point in time Adobe seemed to have the graphics world boxed into a corner with their software suite. Creatives depended almost exclusively on Illustrator and Photoshop to bring their ideas to life, while using InDesign to aggregate the graphic content into printable pages.

Today’s creative pros have many more software options at their disposal with applications such as Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo and Pixelmator making inroads into what was once Adobe’s exclusive domain. And like Quark, these contenders have avoided the subscription model in order to appeal to the software libertarians out there.

As the printed page vies for relevancy in the digital ring, developers of graphics software take two distinct approaches to iterative improvements… either empower your application to create content for diverse delivery channels, or rely on other specialized applications to collaboratively re-purpose content. Quark has chosen to empower with XPress 2016.

Is QuarkXPress 2016 perfect? While the Convert to/Paste As Native Object feature is a remarkable bit of engineering, improving the flow of text into boxes would be nice perk. Also direct InDesign import/conversion is still not an option, though possible through a third-party application from Markzware. And having the capability to produce HTML5 digital publications doesn’t make a printer into an ePub designer – though having the tools sure gives them the option to grow.

Having said that, QuarkXPress fans choosing to upgrade to QXP 2016 can actually step into the ring with some confidence, knowing this heavy hitter could be a contender. And others struggling to justify a monthly stipend for page layout finally have an option in their corner!
callas software of Berlin, Germany, released an update for its pdfChip product, which converts HTML into what the company describes as good, standards-compliant PDF documents. The pdfChip 1.2 update focuses on ease-of-use and implements improvements for barcode and SVG workflows.

One of the challenges in developing pdfChip templates, explains callas, is figuring out the right HTML to get the effect in PDF that you want. The company continues to explain this is especially difficult, because an HTML template using JavaScript will not open correctly in a standard browser such as Chrome. With pdfChip 1.2 comes a Chrome plug-in that emulates the pdfChip specific JavaScript objects and functions. This makes it possible to use the Chrome JavaScript debugger for templates.

pdfChip contains a built-in barcode library that supports 119 barcode types, which have special features and parameters that previously could not be used in pdfChip. From pdfChip 1.2 on, these specific parameters can also be used in templates. It is also now possible to use many more colouring schemes for barcodes, opening up a greater range of creative barcode uses.

pdfChip templates can be created with a range of text editors or with a tool specifically targeted towards Web design. For those people who feel more comfortable with design tools, such as Adobe InDesign, callas released the pdfChip template generation export filter for Adobe InDesign with the pdfChip 1.2 release. This export filter converts an InDesign document into a correct pdfChip template, correctly taking over the positions of all elements on the page, the colour and styles of page elements and more. This allows users to reduce the time required to build a correct pdfChip template.

Creating a template that correctly loads fonts and images can be difficult, explains Callas, because of the asynchronous way pdfChip (and the WebKit engine within) handle those page resources. In pdfChip 1.2, there is a new way to handle this problem.

pdfChip is capable of outputting more than one PDF document. When generating business cards, for example, each business card could be saved in a single PDF file. It is now also possible to cross-link between those files, which means each generated PDF file can contain links to one or more of the other generated PDF files.

Most of the time, continues callas, pdfChip templates will be a mix of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and where necessary enhanced with things, such as MathML or SVG. Sometimes, more simple needs could be handled by a single SVG file however. pdfChip 1.2 allows specifying a single SVG file which will be converted into a PDF seamlessly.

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