Since you’re a QuarkXPress user, you probably create your share of print documents. Today, however, most companies also want to use the World Wide Web as an additional advertising or information distribution medium. Using the Internet has become an integral part of our lives. Checking the weather or keeping informed with up-to-date news items can be accomplished with a few clicks of the mouse. Want new product information? Check the company’s web site. Lost your manual for that new digital camera? Download a PDF of the manual.
With faster connections now available to more people, not only can you publish your content, but you can add more graphics to your designs to make your pages more appealing. This article will help you to get started.
Ups and Downs of Online Publishing
Before you get too carried away with the possibilities of pumping up your pages, you need to know about the limitations of publishing on the Web (and multimedia in general):
- Few people want to read a lot of text onscreen.
- You can’t take a computer with you in the bathtub.
- Availability of electricity—much less a good connection to the Internet—is limited around the world.
- It’s difficult to protect the copyright of your work because it’s so easy to copy the digital files of anything published on the Web.
Nonetheless, people have been clamoring to build web pages for the past several years, and there’s no reason to think that this trend will stop. And because there are more than a million people around the world who already publish with QuarkXPress, the question has inevitably arisen: How can I get content out of XPress and onto other people’s screens?
Web Versus Multimedia
Most of what I’m talking about here revolves around publishing for the World Wide Web. However, anything you can put on the Web can be put on a CD-ROM or a kiosk or a disk. The differences are a range of primarily distribution (how many people will be able to access your work) and file size (larger files may be inappropriate for the Web, depending on your audience). So, when I talk about getting stuff online, don’t think I’m just talking about the Internet.
As you’ll soon see, QuarkXPress is not the world’s best web-page generator, although it’s greatly improved from version 5. So why did Quark put all that time and energy into adding so many web tools? For a simple reason: Too many customers were mocking up web page designs using QuarkXPress, Illustrator, and Photoshop, and then printing out the designs and telling web folks to re-create the whole thing using other tools. It’s a sadly common workflow, and it’s incredibly inefficient.
The web tools in QuarkXPress let you cut out a major step in the process because you can quickly build a mockup of a web page or web site using the XPress tools you already know how to use, and the web folks can use your work as a first draft. Sure, you can build a finished web page or a web site in XPress, but in most cases you’ll want to tweak your results in a more sophisticated program, such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Adobe GoLive.
HTML and PDF
There are two primary methods of putting interactive XPress pages onto the Web: creating HTML and creating PDF files. Each of these approaches has limitations and strengths, and you might find yourself using different methods for different situations. There’s one thing that both techniques have in common, though: Both require an approach to laying out pages and presenting material that’s radically different from print-based publication methods. You can’t just plop a for-print brochure into one of these formats and call it quits. Knowing what you can and cannot achieve with each method is essential to making the switch to online publishing.
There are more than a thousand Internet books on the market, so I’m just going to defer to them to cover many of the basics—how to get an Internet account, use a web browser, build a web page from scratch, place your web pages on a web server so that people can see them, optimize your graphics for the Web, and so on. For instance, Elizabeth Castro’s HTML, XHTML, and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, 6th Edition is a good reference for HTML codes. Instead, this article will focus on getting your XPress pages into an interactive, screen-ready form.