Monday, June 16, 2014

Dealing With Quark 10 vs InDesign

Many of my readers know that I gave up on Adobe's InDesign and moved back to Quark. That might have been a good decision as awhile back Adobe's Cloud went down and no one could access their work on any of their programs I believe on and off for several days. So much for the Cloud!

While Quark has fallen out of favor with many design professionals, brought on by their missteps when Apple went to OS X, they have managed to shoulder on. As a lesser entity offering what appears to me to be less than before. No one yet has given me an answer on whether you can export layouts as HTML as you could in even version 6.

I got 9.5 and had issues but finally I got past that and was able to use what I consider an old friend. Slim or no documentation, I found to my delight that the old commands still worked. Luckily I had kept at least one of the Quark QuickStart books. As to new features, unless I stumbled on them they were unknown to me. The new ribbon bar at the bottom held many things now and I would poke at them to see what they would do. Drop shadows were one of the things they finally made easy to create.

I probably would still be using 9.5 if when I upgraded (for once Apple gave us an upgrade for free) Quark had been ready for OS X.9 Mavericks. After that free upgrade Apple cost me a fortune in new or upgraded software.  I got Quark 10. A few weeks later there was a patch for 9.5 but the project was done and so I didn't go backwards.

Its been about a year now as my tech support has just expired. Just days before deciding whether I would renew my support and maybe get Quark 11 at a good price,  I again had to spend hours on the phone trying to get it to work. This time I asked for the highest supervisor on duty, he called me back hours later and again I spent more than an hour getting things rearranged yet again.

It was a tough decision to renew as during this year I have spent 20 - 30 hours on the phone with Quark doing everything imaginable to get it to work. And we do until I launch it the next time and want to use it again.

Everyone has been kind and patient where I have not always been kind and forgiving. I felt and still feel that their software is a work in progress, much like Microsoft who throws new versions out there and depends on the users to find the flaws for them. That HAS been documented.

I didn't renew. So far, knock on wood, it has launched each time I need to use it. Since I have been doing several paying projects that IS crucial. Before I click on the upgrade to Apple's new Yosemite though, I will think long and hard. Apple too has not been good about getting their primary vendors on board. I will most likely lose my PhotoShop 5.1, Illustrator 5 and InDesign 5.5 versions. I don't want to pay Adobe monthly or yearly for the privilege of using their products. I want my own version, on my hard drive that may or may not need to be upgraded now and then. I did it once and at 68 can do it again.

I think that more of us need to be more vocal about these stunts to keep the cash flow flowing. Do we all really need this? I know I don't. Again, it appears to be the tail that wags the dog. I still hear complaints about Office 2010 and beyond. The ribbon takes up half the screen and there are about 15 of them. Does anyone know what they mean? Better yet do you use them?

Quark put much of their commands on a ribbon on the bottom as well. You need to have the memory of a elephant to remember what each of them mean.

I'm using it but it is not what I thought I would get and seems to be an offering of less between the world of publishing and the Internet than ever before. Where I used Quark 6 to design a web page for a client and tweaked it in Dreamweaver, there seems to be no way today. Even the demo I saw of Quark 8 made a point of showing us how easy it was to keep a consistent layout between your printed brochure and page in the Internet. I don't think that feature exists today. If so, I haven't found it and what documentation Quark provides might as well be in Mandarin.

My advice? Check out those features before you buy.

P.S. After working on and struggling with creating both collated pages and a PDF I had a heated discussion with the printer about the PDF Quark created. It appears that "no one" uses Quark anymore and that everyone uses Adobe's InDesign. Well, if there is ANY plus to be said for Quark their tech support is top notch. With Adobe you might as well be looking for chicken teeth. I can't understand how Adobe got where they are today. If it wasn't for Illustrator and PhotoShop, both programs that Quark always worked well with, Adobe would be nothing.

1 comment:

  1. Quark, with all its quirks is still a solid professional package and 9.5 will last a long time. or me it has only produced clean work. Isn't that what we want?
    I quite my Adobe account when they tried to forca me into the Cloud. Thank god I got out in time.