In a meeting with Macworld, Mark Lemmons, Quark's vice president of strategic development, admitted that UK users probably won't see the next version of QuarkXPress till spring next year. However, he predicted that this would make the product more stable than if it shipped in the fourth quarter of 2000 with the US version.

If Quark can release the UK version of its page-layout and now-Web program before other Passport-based foreign language versions, it will, promised Lemmons.

"XPress 4.0 shipped in the US and UK simultaneously," said Lemmons, " and that meant that UK users suffered the initial bugs as badly as their US counterparts. By waiting for the UK-specific version, non-US XPress users should benefit from US experiences."

"We have learned from the mistakes made with version 4.0. We won't ship version 5.0 until we've tested every part of it," he added.

Lemmons, in London to speak at the Digital Solutions show, promised that Quark would not make the same mistakes with XPress 5.0 that it did with version 4.0.

Media independence "While not denigrating the worth of XPress 4.0, it is true that we misjudged what people want from a major upgrade," said Lemmons. "XPress 5.0 will not be just a list of 70 new features. It will mark a new stage in the product's development, effectively becoming version 1.0 of a media-independent publishing system."

"We believe that designers are designers, publishers are publishers, and editors are editors. XPress 5.0 will enable these experts to publish their work in whatever media – print, Web or PDF," added Lemmons.

Quark claims that XPress 5.0 users will be able to create a document once and "publish it anywhere - no matter which delivery medium you choose: print, electronic, or the Web".

New features Version 5.0 can create PDF files directly, without using any other applications. Users will also be able to create Web pages, complete with rollovers, image maps and hyperlinks, according to Quark. Building on its avenue.quark XTension, Quark claims that the new version will enable users to extract the content of their XPress documents and store it in XML.

XPress 5.0 will feature layers for the first time, as well as creating, importing and exporting tables.