Today, Quark releases its Passport edition of avenue.quark, which the company claims "will empower millions of QuarkXPress users to free their content for re-use everywhere".

Avenue.quark is Xtensions software that lets users describe and export their content in industry-standard XML format, facilitating the re-use of editorial assets in multiple media. Users can tag the content of their QuarkXPress documents, and then extract that content in XML format. A forthcoming XML Import component will let users import XML content into QuarkXPress documents.

The US-English edition of avenue.quark was released in April. Avenue.quark Passport is the international version of avenue.quark designed for users of QuarkXPress International English and XPress Passport.

XML explained XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a system for "labelling" information and controlling its structure. It makes information easier to control and deploy; and, because it's an open standard, anyone can use it.

XML lets you label information by placing bracketed <tags> on either side of that information. These labels make it easy for computers to process information. The labels make it easy for computers to automatically format particular kinds of text in a particular way. For example, it's easy to program a computer to search a number of XML files for every chunk of text tagged as a <bookTitle> and return the results in the form of a list.

Some Internet analysts believe that XML will eventually replace HTML as the language of the World Wide Web. Older Web browsers don't understand XML, so that day is probably some way off. For now, XML specifies the meaning and structure of content, and HTML provides its formatting.

Quark believes that, in the near future, users will be able to purchase a system that lets them maintain the "master version" of their content in XML format in a database, and then publish that content both to the Web and to print, automatically.

Media-independent publishing "Avenue.quark leverages the enormous quantity of content in QuarkXPress documents for re-use in multiple formats and delivery media. It allows publishers to separate valuable content from its formatting and delivery, thereby enabling media-independent publishing," said Brett Mueller, product manager for QuarkXPress and avenue.quark.

"Media-independent publishing is the nucleus of Quark's strategic vision, and avenue.quark is the first in a suite of tools that will allow publishers to deliver their content to multiple media as easily as to one."

One-time deployment Avenue.quark lets users create templates with formatted placeholders for XML content (see below). Publishers can create a one-time deployment of the content or retain a dynamic link between the XPress template and the XML content.

Quark is developing XTensions software for avenue.quark to check in content directly to Quark Digital Media System (QuarkDMS) and to troubleshoot document formatting and tagging rules. Quark plans to make these Xtensions modules freely available to all avenue.quark customers as they are released.

Quark is also working with Microsoft to develop a QuarkXTensions module for avenue.quark that will enable users of QuarkXPress 4.x to easily convert content into eBooks and other digital documents for Microsoft Reader format. The content will then be readable on multiple devices including laptops, PCs, Pocket PCs and purpose-built reading devices. Once completed, this XTensions module will be freely available for downloading from Quark's Web sites.

Pricing and availability Avenue.quark Passport edition is available for both Mac OS and Windows direct from Quark and through existing Quark software distribution channels. The list price is £149 (ex. VAT).