The long-awaited revision of QuarkXPress 5.0 is still under development, but is crawling closer to release.

At this time, QuarkXPress 5.0 is "feature complete and being tested by a small group of customers – but is not yet in the beta testing phase", Glen Turpin, Quark's communications manager told Macworld yesterday.

Turpin said the application will undergo the most extensive testing of any version of QuarkXPress to date. He revealed: "Quark is taking a staged approach to broadening the test group. There will be more private-workflow testing and testing with QuarkAlliance and ServicePlus customers before we release any software to the public that we would call 'beta'."

Layers New features in the application include the ability to use layers throughout the document. These layers work in a very similar way to other graphics and layout applications, so they can be set to print or not, or be visible or not. These layers can also be combined into one layer, once a document is completed.

QuarkXPress 5.0 promises a host of Web-friendly features. These include the ability to export Web pages, avenue.quark compatibility and the facility to create hyperlinks for PDF and the Web.

Used in conjunction with the avenue.quark Xtension, the application will be capable of exporting content directly as XML from within the Quark document. It will also be possible to import XML data directly into a document.

Colour control Colour-control features will be supplied by the Quark Color Management System (CMS) XTensions, and QuarkXPress 5.0 will offer scripting capabilities with the new AppleScript XTensions software.

The application has been previewed a few times in the public eye, at both Total Publishing and at DRUPA. It is thought that XPress 5.0 will be annoumced in the third quarter, 2001.