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A Software Wish

By - December 24, 2003

As long as I’m skipping down memory lane and all, I wanted to leave one tech/site related request – late though it is – for Santa this Christmas Eve. Or maybe I should say, for Ben and Mena over at Six Apart (the folks who brought us the software that makes this site, and many others, possible). I wish for Quark Xpress for the Web. I know this has been something of a pipe dream for many (and I’m not really tight into the discussion on this topic, so perhaps it’s on its way), but now that I’ve mastered a few of the basics of Moveable Type, I really wish I could play with the software the way I did when desktop publishing was young, back in the late 1980s, when Quark and others made history. One of my first gigs was as a paginator for MacWeek, which claimed to be the first desktop-published four-color national weekly magazine in history. It was just really really cool to be a beta tester of software (Quark version .9) that you knew was going to change publishing forever. As great as MT is, it’s still too hard to tweak the sites, to make them look better and perform better from a reader’s point of view. I know making this stuff is extra hard. But I’d sure love to beta test the GUI version of MT, were it ever to come down the chimney….

And Happy Holidays to you all. Thanks for reading these past couple of months, and giving me so much to chew on. I look forward to 2004.

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5 thoughts on “A Software Wish

  1. Mike says:

    You should try typepad from them then… Its the power of MT with a bit more GUI type stuff for the design. Trial it… i liked it but went back to just MT when I got my own server.

  2. For the first time ever, I find myself disagreeing with you, John. I, too was in at the start of DTP – I wrote the book, literally (Into Print, BBC Books – now long out of print, of course). At that time visionaries like the greatly lamented Nicholas Saunders were trumpeting the “democratisation of print”. It was Quark’s fault, as much as anybody’s, that this didn’t happen. They provided a massively sophisticated tool with huge learning curve, that effectively disempowered amateur publishers. The old caste system of ‘professionals’ who knew their ligatures from their dipthongs and ‘amateurs’ who merely had good ideas worth reading about, was simply reinforced. By contrast, look at the evolution of MT towards TypePad. A complete technophobe can be up and running in Type Pad in a matter of minutes; what’s more, their thoughts will be googled, blogrolled and generally disseminated as thoroughly as anybody else’s. Quark used hard-to-learn technology as a barrier; many web services place it invisibly in the service of the user. Let’s push things further in that democratic direction; not backwards towards technocracy.

  3. I do hear you on how hard Quark is to master. But it’s nothing compard to HTML. With Quark, I can pick colors from a wheel, see font changes immediately, see how things layout in relationship to each other and move them around in real time. If TypePad can do that, then we’re already there!
    Hopefully we can take the best of what TypePad brings, and mix in teh magic of DTP’s graphical user interfaces….

  4. If you want to recreate a little bit of the feel of a page based editor for your MT writings, you may want to try a combination of Brad Choate

  5. Gandalf says:


    Thank you very much for suggessting me an idea !