April 20
QuarkXPress Updater Cuts Some Lag Under OS 9
Quark calls on Adobe, Apple to do their part

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

See our Tech Tip archival section for more tips on improving Quark's performance under OS 9.

Earlier this week, Quark Inc. quietly released an updater to version 4.1 of QuarkXPress. Yesterday the company sent out its newsletter proclaiming that the new update fixed "the QuarkXPress contribution to the slowness problem when switching tools running under Mac OS 9 (and when running under Mac OS 8.6 with the Font Manager Update 1.0 installed)," as well as two other significant bugs.

However, the message from Quark was clear: "Please note that Quark's engineers, after carefully analyzing the problem, determined that the whole slowness problem is caused by three factors. QuarkXPress 4.1 and earlier (including Passport) contributes to the problem, as does Mac OS 9 and Adobe Type Manager (ATM) version 4.5.2."

The message in the newsletter goes on to state: "Obviously, the QuarkXPress 4.11 update can only fix the portion of the problem contributed by QuarkXPress. We await updaters from Apple and Adobe to address their programs' contributions to the problem."

We decided to find out what this means to the end user by putting the update to the test on the most extension-loaded, font-bloated machine we had available—an old Power Mac 7300/200 running Mac OS 9.0 and ATM Lite 4.5.2. The result? Well, the lag wasn't fixed entirely. In fact, in an actual print publishing environment, the lag would still be intolerable. However, here's what we found:

  • A document using several fonts and images took 35 seconds to draw on screen under 4.1; it took 30 seconds to draw under 4.11.
  • Selecting a text box for the first time took about 19 seconds under 4.1; it took seven seconds in the new version.
  • Scrolling down the page to reveal the folio line containing a font used nowhere else in the document took 23 seconds in 4.1; the same move took three seconds in 4.11.
  • Selecting a box with the selection tool and then switching to the text tool took 19 seconds under 4.1 (to the point when the cursor was revealed); in 4.11, this took six seconds. The lag when switching between tools seems to occur only on the first instance in 4.11.

It should be noted that on some systems no lag is felt whatsoever, even when running OS 9 and ATM 4.5.2.

Other problems Quark says the new version fixes, such as color output to some non-Postscript printers and "Save Document Position," were unable to be tested since we couldn't detect these problems.

If you continue to experience lag problems, please see our archival Tech Tip section for a few ideas to help cut back on the problem.

The 4.11 updater works only with QuarkXPress 4.1 or Passport 4.1. Those using earlier versions of Quark 4 need to download the 4.1 updater separately from Quark's Web site. It's a free update. Users can download the 4.11 update from http://www.quark.com/files/index.jsp, as well as the updater for QuarkXPress 4.0.x to 4.1. For more information, visit http://www.quark.com.

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