Quark gets the Word out with XML Author

Quark XPress

Quark goes XML with Word add-on. Image: lantzilla

Quark debuts new features in XML Author 4.0 for dynamic publishing

By ECM Plus staff

ECM Plus +++ DTP behemoth Quark has just released XML Author 4.0 for MS Word, an add-in for the word processor software that enables people to create structured XML content in the widely-used WP package.

According to Quark, XML Author 4.0 now brings new usability features, enhanced DITA mapping features, and an optional module for publishing to the DITA Open Toolkit. XML Author 4.0 also boasts support for MS Office 2010.

“We continue to see tremendous uptake of XML authoring as organisations realise the significant improvements that structured content and dynamic publishing make to the accuracy, relevance, and immediacy of information delivery,” said Michael Boses, Director of XML Products for Quark. “Quark XML Author 4.0 further minimises the complexities of XML so that organisations can take advantage of XML for all types of documents across all departments.”

“Today’s consumers are incredibly savvy and many are basing buying decisions on user guides and other product specific information they find online. This means they are essentially treating a company’s technical documentation as marketing material,” said Stephanie Pieruccini, research analyst for InfoTrends. “It’s important that companies understand this trend and begin to create technical documentation for the Web and mobile devices that is not only accurate, but design-rich and compelling. One way to achieve both, and take advantage of this trend, is to start by implementing a dynamic publishing solution like those that Quark offers which combine XML authoring with cross-media publishing.”

uark XML Author 4.0 continues to close the gap between word processing and complex XML schemas for non-technical Word users. New usability features provide users more ways to easily create complex XML within Word that would otherwise require complex coding.

The new version offers: Quick Start Templates are custom starter documents that provide guidance to users, reducing and even eliminating the need for training. Guidance can come in the form of custom instructions, examples, placeholders, and other features. Display of guidance text can easily be toggled on and off.
• Intelligent Styles replace XML elements with improved Word Styles and can be accessed with a single keystroke. Intelligent Styles understand where the user is in the document and appear only when appropriate. This eliminates the need for authors to scroll through long lists of irrelevant styles to find what they want.

It also offers: Semantic Tables allow user-defined tags to be displayed as a table, which provides pinpoint information discovery and governance. Semantic tables are particularly useful for financial services, government agencies, and other organisations with a strong reliance on tabular information such as financial statements and comparative reports.

V4.0 of XML Author also has: Conditional Previews – a feature of the optional DITA Publishing Module – provide instant feedback on how documents will appear based on different audiences and different target outputs such as print, Web, or mobile devices.

DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is an XML-based standard for authoring and sharing information. It defines a common structure which promotes the consistent creation, sharing, and reuse of content and is quickly becoming the de facto standard for creating business and technical documents. Quark XML Author enables the creation of DITA in Word, which removes the technical complexities that are usually associated with DITA and allows non-technical users to create content without relying on technical experts. New and enhanced support for DITA in version 4.0:

XML Authorn V4.0 also now features: Improved DITA map editing provides editing through a simple “table of contents” approach that is intuitive for users. The ability to find and link topics stored in SharePoint through the Word Task Pane allows users to easily reuse DITA topics in a map without leaving Word.

As an optional extra, DITA Publishing Module provides out-of-the box Microsoft Word integration with the DITA Open Toolkit, letting technical publishers single-source their content to all Open Toolkit output types without leaving Word and reducing technical complexities and dependency on IT.

“Quark is committed to helping Word users meet the imperative to easily create intelligent XML content,” said PG Bartlett, Senior Vice President of Product Management for Quark, “and in so doing establish the foundation for the end-to-end dynamic publishing solutions that can help their organisations meet their most pressing publishing challenges.”

XML Author will be available from 24th June 2011.

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