Quark’ new release of its Content Automation Platform includes major productivity enhancements

Dave White.
Dave White.

Quark Software has announced significant new updates to its content automation platform. The new release, the second major update in 2017, adds major enhancements to content management and web-based content review, including the ability to assemble and manage PowerPoint slides at a component level. Quark’s content automation platform enables designers, business users and editorial teams to collaborate effectively throughout the multi-channel content life cycle – from creation and management to publishing and delivery. By creating and reusing content components – rather than traditional static documents and files – teams can share, search, track and reuse content easily and accurately, which translates into greater cost savings, more valuable content, and ultimately better content experiences.

“With the new updates to our content automation platform, we’re especially proud to announce the first release of component-based PowerPoint slide assembly. Keeping PowerPoint presentations up-to date through manual processes is unsustainable and unmanageable for most large organizations. One update to a single slide could require manual changes to tens or hundreds of copies of the original deck, including slides that are translated to multiple languages,” said Dave White, Chief Technology Officer at Quark Software. “Now, subject matter experts and business users working directly in PowerPoint can reuse entire slide decks, individual slides, or even components within slides such as multimedia, tables, and charts – all from within a centralized content hub. With one-click synchronization of slides, this effectively eliminates the need to copy, paste, recreate, or manually update content, which allows our clients to communicate in a more accurate, timely and compliant manner.”

Updates to Quark Content Automation Platform

The Quark Content Automation Platform consists of modules that enable the creation, management, publishing and delivery of multi-channel content. The modules affected in the newest release include Quark Publishing Platform, QuarkXPress Server, Quark Author Web Edition, and Quark XML Author.

Quark Publishing Platform

Quark Publishing Platform is the central content repository at the heart of Quark’s content automation solutions. New updates include:

Clipboard service: A powerful new web service allows any user to securely copy and paste data across multiple devices or machines, including features for converting clipboard data to different formats.

PowerPoint slide assembly: PowerPoint users can manage and reuse slides, or even reuse and dynamically update components within slides such as Excel tables, Excel charts, images, video, and audio. If a slide or component changes, any PowerPoint file that references that slide or component can be updated automatically.

Infrastructure upgrades: Access the latest features from third party software libraries, including recent versions of Lucene, ActiveMQ, Tika, Jackson, Waffle, ImageMagick, Saxon, Xalan, Xerces, and more.

Support for: Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 as well as Java SE updated to version 8, Spring Framework updated to 4.3.8, Highcharts updated to 5.0.10, and Apache Tomcat updated to 7.0.77.

QuarkXPress Server

QuarkXPress Server fuses the graphic capabilities of QuarkXPress with server-based automation. It is easy to program, integrate and scale, and can automate manual processes. New updates include:

Compatibility with QuarkXPress 2017: Directly access new productivity and design enhancements to QuarkXPress 2017, such as responsive HTML5 output and native image manipulation.

Automated item styles: Produce compelling infographics using the new automation features for styling boxes, frames, corners, drop shadows, and more.

Transaction-based font management: By configuration, now dynamically include licensed fonts as part of a rendering request.

Enhanced troubleshooting: Server administrators will appreciate accelerated server troubleshooting with a new feature to auto-collect the full rendering request payload in a configurable folder. This simplifies analysis and eliminates the requirement to directly access production servers.

Metrics and monitoring: Configure and capture real-time publishing metrics and server utilization statistics via API or log files. These enhancements streamline integration with third party monitoring applications which continually monitor the health and performance of servers using visually rich dashboards and alerts for critical parameters.

Windows Server 2016: Deploy to the latest Microsoft Server version to leverage innovations in security and efficiencies at the operating system layer.

Quark Author Web Edition

Quark Author is a web-based content creation software that enables business and IT leaders to streamline and automate high-value content across every channel. The intuitive online authoring experience means subject matter experts can rapidly create, preview, publish and reuse content. New updates include:

Comment replies: The collaborative review user interface (UI) now provides enhancements to support inline styling along with multi-paragraph comments and replies.

Dynamic tool tabs: When editing regions or tables, tabs dynamically appear to present useful toolbar commands that simplify the authoring experience and enhance productivity.

New block elements as components: In addition to sections, users can now manage region and table content as components, allowing business users to enable greater opportunities for content reuse and personalization.

Metadata management: Empower information for maximum downstream value with rich, contextual metadata features. Assign keywords, apply multi-value properties, and select values from taxonomies with the new, highly-configurable properties pane that enables authors to enrich content for further processing and discovery.

Quark XML Author

For authors who prefer a Microsoft Word-based authoring experience, Quark XML Author is an add-in to Microsoft Word that enables subject matter experts to create semantic and meta-data rich content that can be reused, repurposed, and published automatically to multiple media and device formats through Quark Publishing Platform. New updates include:

DITA enhancements: Enhanced navigation pane for DITA maps and improved map and topic editing features provide a significant leap forward in usability in response to our customers using this important OASIS standard.

Variable infrastructure: New referencing infrastructure enables the reuse of structure and content with configurable and controlled keydef/keyref support, allowing business users to make local changes to global procedural documents.

Performance improvements: Documents open faster and pasting content performance is similarly improved.

Infrastructure upgrade: By popular demand, Word 2016 users can now use the 64-bit version of Microsoft Word and leverage the architectural and performance benefits for longer documents.

Word Reviewer for XML Author: Enhance business productivity with multiple reviewers working in parallel; when reviewers are finished, merge all changes back into the single source document.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.