Quark unveiled eStage, a new product that uses the Web standard XML (extensible markup language), at Seybold Seminars this week.

eStage, one of the Seybold Seminars "Hot Picks", is a database-driven publishing system aimed at the direct marketing, retail and catalogue industries.

The software lets content builders access and stage content from multiple databases, and uses XML to exchange content with third-party applications. By keeping content and design separate, the content can be published in both print and Web formats.

Tim Gill, Quark’s chairman and chief technical officer, said: "To remain competitive, publishers need to work with content independent of its delivery format. And they need different layout for print, PDF, HTML. WebTV, hand-held devices and whatever else - with a different look in each medium. I’d hate to think you have to buy an authoring tool for each one of those formats."

According to Quark, industry standards such as XML are critical to a multiple-media publishing environment, as no single vendor or workflow can solve all the problems that exist.

As well as the XML-enabled eStage, Quark said that it was adding features to its existing products and developing new technologies to streamline the process of making content flexible.

The upcoming release of QuarkXPress 5.0, for example, will have HTML and XML tools for Web communications. As well as HTML export capabilities, QuarkXPress 5.0 will have support for XML thanks to the bundled avenue.quark software.

QuarkXPress 5.0 is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, while beta testing for eStage is expected to begin in the second quarter.