JANUARY 05, 2004
PageMaker to InDesign
An overview of Adobe's transition and a first look at InDesign CS PageMaker Edition
by David Nagel
Adobe today announced that it was halting development of PageMaker, the page-layout application the company acquired when it merged with Aldus Corp. about a decade ago. Adobe says it will continue to support users of PageMaker, but the focus of development has shifted over to InDesign, where the company is introducing a new add-on bundle to ease the transition to InDesign for PageMaker users. We'll take a first look today at the tools Adobe is providing for PageMaker users in the form of the InDesign CS PageMaker Edition and PageMaker Plug-in Pack.
Out with the old
PageMaker, now nearly two decades old, is the application that can be largely credited for bringing publishing into the digital age, along with Adobe's PostScript technologies and Apple's Macintosh systems and PostScript-based LaserWriter printers. Launched in 1985 by Aldus, PageMaker was the first application designed specifically for desktop publishing and was arguably responsible for the initial adoption of the Macintosh platform by the publishing industry. (Though PageMaker was also later released for Windows, it would be several years before the infrastructure would be in place to accommodate Windows-based desktop publishing systems. The market is now about evenly split between Macintosh and Windows systems.)[an error occurred while processing this directive]While many publishing professionals--myself included--got their start on PageMaker, the application's predominance was challenged and then usurped by Quark Inc.'s QuarkXPress publishing software, which was introduced in 1987. In the intervening years, PageMaker declined in market share and was relegated to the "business" and "home" markets, though to this day it's used in professional magazine production alongside other page layout applications. The software's decline and imminent demise seemed certain, but Adobe surprised everybody in 2001 when it released PageMaker 7, which included PDF creation capabilities, data merge functionality, integration features for users of other Adobe software products and other enhancements. But version 7.0, wile extending the viability of the application, was not a "comeback" release.
Meanwhile, Adobe had developed and launched InDesign back in 1999, a new competitor in the publishing field that boasted a new approach to page layout with a more design-oriented workflow, which has developed further over the few years of its existence, including advanced typographical features, support for image transparency and further integration with other Adobe applications. InDesign was initially adopted by creative agencies and later by newspaper publishers vis a vis InCopy, a publishing solution integrating InDesign technologies. It has also been making inroads into magazine publishing and has overcome its initial weakness on the service bureau side, with native InDesign files now accepted at about 6,000 shops, according to Adobe. And, of course, it has been accepted by third-party developers
With the rise of InDesign and the decline of PageMaker, it seemed to virtually anyone who cared to consider the matter that InDesign was bound to replace PageMaker, sooner rather than later. But PageMaker users were not all anxious to switch. Some, of course, have taken advantage of Adobe's crossgrade promotions from PageMaker to InDesign, but many wanted all of the functionality of PageMaker to be incorporated into InDesign before making the transition.
In with the new
For this reason, to coincide with the announcement of PageMaker's discontinuation, Adobe has now announced a new suite of tools to bring PageMaker functionality to InDesign. When I spoke with Adobe about this move, company representatives told me that they wanted to offer all of PageMaker's important functions in InDesign in order to provide a smooth migration. This functionality comes in the form of Adobe InDesign CS PageMaker Edition, set to ship this quarter.
InDesign CS PageMaker Edition includes the InDesign CS application, the PageMaker Plug-in Pack and additional tools, including professionally designed templates and training materials from Total Training.
The PageMaker Plug-in Pack itself includes a wide range of functionality carried over from PageMaker, not limited exclusively to plugins. This includes workflow functionality, such as the ability to open both PageMaker 6/7 files and QuarkXPress 3/4 documents and the ability to switch keyboard shortcuts to match the PageMaker default shortcuts. (InDesign has had the ability to open PageMaker files in the past, but this is the first time the application has been able to convert documents and templates from PageMaker prior to version 6.5.) The publication converter also includes the ability to fix damaged PageMaker files.
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