InDesign vs. Quark Debate Headlines Annual Software Picks
by Kevin Slimp, February 2005
Over the past three or four years, Adobe and Quark have been duking it out in a battle for supremacy in the page layout wars. Most experts declared Adobeís InDesign the winner after the release of InDesign CS, but Quark responded with a significant upgrade in QuarkXPress 6.5 a few months ago. Quark made a strong showing, highlighted by the ability to edit photos within the application. Though the race has tightened, InDesign still holds an edge over Xpress. It will be interesting to see how this showdown develops over the next few months.
My pick: Adobe InDesign CS
The question comes to me at least once a week. Newspaper designers want to know if they can use InDesign for both pagination and ad layout. Yes, they can. InDesign is an excellent ad layout application. If you ask my opinion on the best application for newspaper ad design, however, my money is still on MultiAd Creator 7. The latest update, 7.01, includes the ability to interface directly with AdBuilder.com, allowing the user to search for images from within Creator. I saw this in action during its development and was blown away by the possibilities.
My pick: MultiAd Creator 7
Dreamweaver, by Macromedia, still leads the pack when it comes to website design. Adobeís inclusion of GoLive in its Creative Suite Premium package has offered some serious competition over the past year. Overall, my preference remains with the industry standard, Dreamweaver.
My pick: Macromedia Dreamweaver
Fonts seem to give every design department headaches. My favorite font manager is Extensis Suitcase X1. For managing fonts over a network, Extensis Suitcase Server gets my nod. The inclusion of FontBook with OS X is helpful, but users often need a more powerful font management tool. My choice, for both Mac and PC users, is Suitcase.
My pick: Extensis Suitcase
There are a lot of good word processors out there. Iíve reviewed several that are compatible with Microsoft Word files, without the pinch on the bank account. Overall, however, my favorite word processor, especially for InDesign users, is Adobe InCopy. By linking with InDesign pages, the InCopy user can see how their text is flowing on the final document. A big plus.
My pick: Adobe InCopy
There are a lot of antivirus utilities out there. For the past several years, Symantec has offered the best. Symantecís Norton Internet Security 2005 provides essential protection from viruses, hackers, and privacy threats. PC Users will appreciate Norton AntiSpam, included with this suite of utilities (not available in Mac version).
My pick: Norton Internet Security
Spam Utility (Mac)
SpamSieve actually gets better over time as you train it with more messages. SpamSieve doesnít delete any messagesóit only marks them in your e-mail clientóso youíll never lose any mail. SpamSieve works with any number of mail accounts, of whatever types are supported by your e-mail software.
My pick: SpamSieve
Photo (Asset) Management
Iíve had the opportunity to test several asset management applications over the years. My favorite continues to be Extensis Portfolio, now in version 7. If your goal is to keep track of the graphic files youíve collected over time, Portfolio is an excellent solution at an affordable price. For a network based solution, Portfolio Server is an excellent option.
My pick: Extensis Portfolio
Most Macs and PCs now come with the ability to burn CDs built in. However, there are times the user is looking for more functionality when burning a disk. Iíve found that Roxio makes the best programs on both platforms for creating CDs and DVDs. On the Mac side, Roxio Toast leads the pack. For PC users, Roxio Easy Media Creator is much easier to use and provides more satisfying results than the other Windows-based utilities Iíve tried.
My picks: Roxio Toast & Roxio Easy Media Creator
Mac Disk Utilities
When you install OS X, you already have a wonderful disk utility, Disk First Aid. When I need a disk utility, thatís the first place I turn. The second place is DiskWarrior, by Alsoft. All disk utilities do different things. Iíve found DiskWarrior to be an excellent tool when Disk First Aid wonít do the trick. Frankly, you canít have too many disk utilities. Iíd also keep Micromatís TechTool Pro available.
My pick: DiskWarrior
Plug-Ins & XTensions
A Lowly Apprentice Production has gotten so good at creating plug-ins and XTensions for pagination applications that weíre starting to see some of their products included in other vendorsí software. Whether itís InEffects, for creating special effects in InDesign, or Imposer Pro, for page imposition in QuarkXPress, ALAP makes the work of the professional designer a lot easier.
My pick: A Lowly Apprentice Production
Since thereís really no competition for Adobe Acrobat Professional, I created a category for it. I havenít visited a newspaper in some time that didnít have at least one copy of Adobe Acrobat installed. With the advent of Acrobat Professional 6.0 last year, PDF technology took a giant step forward. With the recently released version 7.0, Adobe continues to supply cutting edge software to the design professional.
My pick: Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0
So Much Software
So little space. There just isnít room in one column to compare specialty software like newspaper workflow systems, raster image processors, photo collections and other categories of software. Over the next few months, weíll take a look at a few of these overlooked classifications of software.
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