|DTP vacuum to be filled|
by Darcy DiNucci
San Jose, CA: While Quark has put plans to port its Macintosh page-layout leader XPress on the back burner, small developers are rushing in to fill the page-layout gap on the NeXT.
Pages Corporation, Right Brain Software, and Archetype are each developing full-featured page-layout programs that should be shipping by early next year. Right Brain and Pages will show early versions of their products at the Seybold Computer Publishing Conference here this month. At press time, it was not known whether Archetype would be ready to show its product at Seybold.
Other new products expected at the show include a presentation software package from Lighthouse Design of Chevy Chase, Maryland; an illustration package from Altsys of Plano, Texas; and a film recorder from Cube Technologies of Houston.
"The hope for NeXT is to attract all those crazies with neat ideas who want to leverage the platform and do things more effectively than they could some place else and who would get crushed in another marketplace," said Jonathan Seybold, publisher of Seybold Publications (see our Seybold interview, page 16).
"It doesn't take us the kind of capital investment that it takes large companies that are management-loaded," said Steve Sarich of Cube, which also has a photo retouching program under development.
Of the page-layout programs, Right Brain's product, code-named Eclipse, takes the most traditional approach. "Our goal was to take every feature and make it 10 to 20 percent better than it's been done before," said Glenn Reid, president of the Palo Alto, California, company. Reid said the program includes improvements in the usability of standard features such as selecting objects. It also will offer new features, such as the capability to shear objects.
"We're making it as blazingly fast as we possibly can. It will be 50 to 100 times faster than Illustrator in placing Encapsulated PostScript files," Reid said.
Archetype's product will be built in user-extensible modules that take advantage of the NeXT's object-oriented programming environment, according to sources. The company, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, currently publishes an advertising page-makeup program for Windows, but the NeXT program will be a full-featured layout program, sources said.
The Pages product will be offered in two modules: one for end users and one for designers. "We're trying to address the concerns of people who spend a lot of time tweaking documents because they're not sure they look right," said Bruce Webster, president of the San Diego company. Webster said the product can be thought of as "a font editor for designs," which in-house or independent designers can use to create design modules for use with the end-user program.
Media Logic of Pacific Palisades will show upgraded products at Seybold. TopDraw 2.0 includes a revised user interface and presentation tools for automatic wipes and dissolves in slide shows. Artisan 3.0 is a full-color image retouching application that the company expects to release by year's end.
One prominent no-show is Adobe Systems' Photoshop, a port of the company's Macintosh image processing program which is not expected for NeXT until late 1992.