Quark luminaries, Jurgen Kurz and Brett Mueller took centre stage at Seybold yesterday to explain the company's vision of publishing, and walk showgoers through QuarkXPress 5.0.

Kurz is vice president of product management at Quark. He told an audience of professional publishers that the company is focused on profitability - a message he stressed when he spoke with Macworld UK in July. "Now is the time to re-use content," Kurz said.

Kurz told Seybold: "XPress 5.0 will give you better tools for print and familiar tools for Web."

Business as usual Mueller, senior product manager for desktop products told Seybold that, following the World Trade Centre bombing it was time to return to "business as usual", and confirmed the main targets for XPress 5.0 to be productivity and efficiency.

Quark has broken with tradition already this month with the release of a US beta version of XPress 5.0. It's the first time the company has released a beta of the application.

Quark's communications co-ordinator for Europe, Paola Chopard, has suggested that plans exist for international updates: "An international beta passport version will follow soon," she told Macworld.

XPress 5.0 has already undergone months of rigorous beta testing, mainly at large publishing houses and print bureaus. At Total Publishing, Kurz told Macworld: "When we released XPress 4.0, it hadn't been tested enough. We don't want to repeat that mistake."

New features in XPress 5.0 include support for Layers, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and the capacity to automatically prepare images for the Web. The application also offers Table-creation tools, as well as a familiar XPress interface to redevelop content into Web pages. The Web authoring features also support Style Sheets. Mueller said: "The final version will also export text and graphics to a Flash file."

Other improvements include a Collect for Output command that will collect colour profiles, screen and printer fonts as well as images. The Save As command also gives users the chance to assign colour profiles to a document.

In a jibe at Adobe, MacCentral reports Kurz telling his Seybold audience: "We're increasing the number of standards supported by XPress, and are not tied to any specific standards. This is our strength over Adobe."

Quark sources have already confirmed that XPress 5.5 – a Mac OS X-native version – is in development. This will support Multiple Undos - a feature long desired by XPress users.

Also at Seybold, Quark demonstrated Quark Active Publishing Server (a database-driven, Web-managed content server system) and Quark Digital Media System, its asset management system for workgroups.