Quark has reaffirmed its commitment to QuarkXPress 5.0 for Mac OS X.

"The most important thing I have to convey about QuarkXPress and Mac OS X is that we are firmly committed, but it's a non-trivial task to accomplish," said Glen Turpin, communications manager of Quark.

However, the "groundwork's been laid", and work "has been progressing for months", Turpin added. "We are firmly committed to Mac OS X and to our customers on the Mac platform. The work has already begun," he affirmed.

Rebuild He also claimed: "Fundamental changes in the operating system have required us to rebuild some features from the ground up, and since a program as fully-featured as QuarkXPress has thousands of inter-dependencies, it's a painstaking and laborious process."

Quark's decision to refrain from Carbonizing XPress 5.0 was "purely a matter of timing", Turpin said. He explained: "Quark did not receive the final Mac OS X software developer's kit until after QuarkXPress 5.0 was engineering complete." The release of Mac OS X 10.1 opened the floodgates for developers.

QuarkXPress has become the de facto standard for publishing in the print industry. The company hopes to build on this success with version 5.0, introducing a host of new features to support Web publishing.

Build quality Last year, Brett Mueller, Quark's senior product manager for desktop products, explained the importance to Quark of making version 5 a stable build. He said: "When we shipped XPress 4 there were still a number of outstanding faults." This is why the company has insisted on shipping the product only when it was ready.

Turpin explained: "For Quark, engineering complete is a point after which we make no functional changes before release. From that point onward, our efforts are concentrated on identifying and fixing software defects."

Beta testing's been a major undertaking for the company. Turpin claimed: "With hundreds of features and 18 operating systems as test environments across twelve language versions, we end up testing every feature in 216 environments. Stop for a moment and think about the scale of that effort. It's massive.

"We have more than two and a half million customers whose businesses rely on QuarkXPress. We take testing very seriously."