Quark today introduced software that it hopes will help XTensions developers build software for QuarkXPress more easily than before.

The software - QuarkXPress Markup Language (QXML) - is an XML schema of the World Wide Web Consortium's Document Object Model (DOM) specification.

The software makes developers lives easier because it fully describes the XPress file format in XML and lets XPress 6.5 XTensions be developed using industry standards on and for a wide variety of platforms and languages, including Java, .Net and many scripting languages, including AppleScript.

To make development even easier, QXML presents a QuarkXPress project as an XML tree, and any modifications to the XML files change the project - in real time.

Forced by the hand of change

Quark’s vice president of product development Juergen Kurz said: "For many years, valuable content has been locked in proprietary file formats, while the move towards multi-channel publishing has dictated that it can no longer be used just for print.

"With an industry-standard methodology for describing the QuarkXPress file format, our customers have greater security because their QuarkXPress content can be easily integrated into today’s complex multi-channel publishing environments," he explained.

DOM is a standard offering a language-neutral interface for applications and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure, and styling of documents.

Everything changes

With QXML developers can dynamically access and update the content, structure, and style of a project using a DOM interface. Enabled XTensions can use a project’s complete content, including all formatting, style sheets, hyphenation, and justification specifications.

"While C and C++ are powerful development languages, developers now use a wide variety of development languages. Porting software from other applications and platforms to and from C and C++ can be a lengthy and cost-prohibitive task," explained QuarkXPress product manager Tim Banister.

"The creation of QXML radically changes the landscape for XTensions development and lets a brand-new group of developers create custom XTensions software for QuarkXPress.

"Quark is absolutely committed to open standards, and this demonstrates the strength of that commitment."

The initial version of QXML allows developers to read data from a project. In the next version, developers will be able to both read from and write to projects. The software is available now for certified XTensions developers.