ALAP’s InDesign Plug-Ins Discontinued, PowerXChange Offers Consolation Prize

ALAP’s InDesign Plug-Ins Discontinued, PowerXChange Offers Consolation Prize

2006
Mar
07

InBooklet, InEffects, and other ALAP plug-ins for InDesign discontinued; replaced with “similarly featured” QuarkXPress xtensions. by Samuel John Klein and Pariah S. Burke Once, not long ago, there was a little software company with an interesting name: A Lowly Apprentice Production, Inc., or ALAP. ALAP didn’t make software that stood on its own. Rather, it [...]

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InBooklet, InEffects, and other ALAP plug-ins for InDesign discontinued; replaced with “similarly featured” QuarkXPress xtensions.

by Samuel John Klein and Pariah S. Burke

Once, not long ago, there was a little software company with an interesting name: A Lowly Apprentice Production, Inc., or ALAP.

ALAP didn’t make software that stood on its own. Rather, it made modules that delivered extra power to users of QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. You knew what they were: If you were a Quarkster, you thought of ALAP’s QuarkXPress xtensions XPert Tools, XPert Print, and XPert Scale; if you were an InDesignista, you thought of some of the best plug-ins for that application, plug-ins like InTools, InBooklet, and InTips, a collaboration with former Mr. QuarkXPress himself, David Blatner.

ALAP produced good software. Adobe fans were particularly fond of InBooklet, a plug-in that brought imposition, or the process of arranging pages in printer’s spreads, into InDesign. Adobe liked InBooklet enough that it included a feature-limited, but still highly useful, version, InBooklet SE, with InDesign CS2 and the PageMaker Plug-In Pack for InDesign CS before it. ALAPs InEffects was another popular plug-in among users of both InDesign CS and CS2.

In December, Quark bought ALAP. At that time, Quark declined comment on what was to become of ALAP’s Adobe-centric offerings, causing trepidation among InDesignistas everywhere.

Now the other shoe has dropped…

Just hours ago, the latest edition of the PowerXChange‘s enewsletter announced that Quark has ceased distribution of ALAP’s entire line of InDesign plugins–including InBooklet. Although Quark could not be reached for comment, we at Quark VS InDesign.com consider the source credible because the owner of the the PowerXChange is Cyndie Shaffstall, the director of Quark’s QuarkAlliance program and the liaison between Quark and XPress xtensions developers.

The sole concession to the Adobe side of the fence is Imposer Pro, a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat, whose lifecyle has not been officially terminated.

The announcement itself offers a surreal, wry punchline to the whole episode, as you can see in the March 2006 Extensions Bulletin:

All is not lost for InDesign users. ThePowerXChange is offering a competitive price on similarly featured ALAP QuarkXPress XTensions. (We’ve found that most customers own both applications, so we’re hoping to take the bite out of the discontinuation by offering the feature in another application.)

The announcement has prompted a strong reaction from the InDesign community, ranging from sarcasm to frustration. At the very least, it’s left most InDesign users scratching their heads; Adobe fans are sad to lose ALAP as a resource, but the idea of QuarkXPress + “similarly featured” ALAP XTensions=InDesign & ALAP availablilty seems naive at best, and Old-Quarkian arrogance at worst.

Make no mistake, tools that deliver competive productivity at a good price are definitely their own reward, and the PowerXChange has been a consistently popular and effective value added reseller of xtensions and other products for the QuarkXPress market for years. But, telling InDesign users that everything is all right, that the future of their workflows is secure, because QuarkXPress xtensions will take over the functions of their InDesign plug-ins is arrogant. More importantly, it misses the point of why designers choose InDesign over QuarkXPress, and why InDesign users keep a copy of QuarkXPress around.

As of today, sales of ALAP’s InDesign plug-ins have officially ceased at the PowerXChange, the Adobe Store, and other outlets. InBooklet SE is currently bundled with InDesign CS2, both in standalone InDesign boxes and the Creative Suite. An Adobe spokesperson was not available for comment regarding whether new copies of these products will continue to ship with InBooklet SE.

UPDATE 10 March 2006

An Adobe spokesperson confirmed that InBooklet SE will continue to ship bundled with InDesign CS2 and Creative Suite 2.

InDesign, Quark, QuarkXPress, ALAP, InBooklet, Imposer, Imposer Pro, InEffects, plug-in, xtension, Quark 7, XPress 7, InTools

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20 Responses Discussing “ALAP’s InDesign Plug-Ins Discontinued, PowerXChange Offers Consolation Prize”
  1. Well this was to be expected
    Now what will happen with the people inolved in producing the InDesign© plugins, will they be sacked?
    In that case le’s hoe they’ll join forces and start their own company
    Or that Adobe will incorporate the functionality in ID5

    #1
    08 Mar 2006
    00:23 PT
  2. Hey! It’s the new Quark! Cheers!
    Bad bad bad

    #2
    08 Mar 2006
    07:57 PT
  3. Like others have mentioned, this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.

    It’s obvious here that Quark doesn’t understand the “switcher” demographic at all. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but people switch because of the program, not plug-ins. Do any of you plan to switch back to Quark just because of these new XTensions?

    They would have been better off just leaving it that these plug-ins would be made available as QuarkXPress XTensions. The “taking the bite out” rationalization is transparent, antagonistic, and unnecessary.

    The people who are going to be hurt most by this are service bureaus who have no choice but to support both programs and rely on these InDesign plug-ins in their workflows.

    #3
    08 Mar 2006
    12:16 PT
  4. When Quark bought ALAP, I knew without a doubt this would happen (I think I even predicted it in print somewhere). I would bet that Adobe predicted the same thing.

    So, here’s my next prediction: I bet, the minute the ALAP purchase announcement was made, all the InDesign plug-in developers called Adobe and said: “We can make your next InBooklet.” Adobe’s engineers simultaneously set about reviving their incomplete efforts to do imposition internally.

    By the first of this year, I bet Adobe had a firm plan. While they could finish the job in-house, I think they chose not to. I think they partnered with an independent plug-in maker to develop an imposition plug-in–which would then be sold outright to Adobe, not licensed. Licensing is becoming too risky for Adobe in markets like this. Someone–RogueSheep, WoodWing, or one of the others–is working on it right now. InD 5 / CS3 will ship with an integrated imposition engine. That’s my prediction.

    #4
    08 Mar 2006
    13:01 PT
  5. If anything, this can be seen as a positive for Adobe and its customers, as it will encourage innovation in replacing the booklet plug-in. I wouldn’t doubt Adobe’s choice of replacement to be far more useful than the ALAP plug-in. I guess we will have to see what happens with CS3 next year! Let us all be optimistic!

    #5
    09 Mar 2006
    10:24 PT
  6. So are there alternatives to InBooklet? I had the demo of 3.0.5 but didn’t get the full version in time. I’d be happy if Quark would just sell me a serial number at this point, but that would be helpful customer service and a nice thing to do which rules Quark out.

    #6
    13 Mar 2006
    11:21 PT
  7. Hi, Jake. Currently, there are no alternatives to InBooklet. ALAP had done such a solid job of it, that the other plug-in developers never tried to compete.

    #7
    16 Mar 2006
    14:06 PT
  8. WOW. Quark comtinues to dig its grave. I switched to ID several versions ago, never upgraded to Quark 6, never intend to EVER use Quark again.

    This sounds like an act of arrogant desperation! “If you don’t want to play my way, I’ll take my ball and go home.”

    Good riddance, Quark. I hope others are seeing the light and turning away from the dark side.

    #8
    16 Mar 2006
    14:50 PT
  9. Sherm,

    I had to laugh so hard… Your logic is amusing:
    If Quark would continue to sell InBooklet, how would that promote Quark? Rather it would promote InDesign, thus digging the Quark grave, right?

    Side question: How would you have done, if you were Quark? Would you support InDesign? Isn’t business about making money??

    Regards
    Peter

    #9
    16 Mar 2006
    16:02 PT
  10. I was looking forward to InEffects 2 for Indesign. They were working on ‘reflections’ (as seen in most typical product shots)…. I wish that would surface, but I fear Quark may have instructed them to destroy all source code for Indesign plugins.

    I left Quark at version 4 – and will never go back…

    I can understand Quark not wanting to promote plugins for Indesign – but they should consider what happened to Sega in the games industry.. By refusing to license their software titles for the Sony Playstation, look what happened to them when everyone bought Playstations and knocked Sega off their perch! Interestingly, Sega now license their software products to other platforms – but what share of the hardware market do they have now?

    Quark – do yourself a favour and make money from the Indesign plugins anyway! You are only losing potential income from dropping them – as many Indesign users have no intention of switching to Quark anyway, so you may as well take their money for the plugins!

    J.

    #10
    19 Mar 2006
    15:13 PT
  11. It does seem rather odd that Quark would discontinue the popular plugins ALAP produced for InDesign. I only recently acquired Quark Xpress 6.5 Passport because I wanted to compare–I know a few Quarksters–and had planned on buying InBooklet, which I had downloaded a few months ago and hadn’t purchased–when I went online to do so, I was 2 days late! I guess the bottom line is that Quark will be glad to sell me an imposition program for Acrobat for $319, but doesn’t want to get a lowly apprentice’s $99 for InBooklet. How sad! On the other hand, I’m surprised that Adobe hasn’t come up with something… InBooklet was , I must say, far superior to the old PageMaker “Booklet Builder”–and I suppose I’ll stick with InBooklet SE till something better comes along. I can think of a couple other examples of this kind of behavior–the demise of MacTools comes to mind.

    #11
    21 Mar 2006
    03:00 PT
  12. Found the full version of InBooklets still available here:
    http://www.xchangeuk.com/

    #12
    22 Mar 2006
    09:15 PT
  13. Former ALAP Plug-Ins Now Quark-Only

    QuarkvsInDesign is full of good (back) design news. Or bad news, in this case. Once, not long ago, there was a little software company with an interesting name: A Lowly Apprentice Production, Inc., or ALAP. ALAP didn’t make software that…

    01 Apr 2006
    22:01 PT
    #13
  14. I agree that promoting plug-ins for Indesign would not benefit Quark’s goal of reestablishing dominance in the desktop software market . However if they truly cared about the design, and layout markets then they would not resort to such things. It only hurts the community. Adobe shares its PDF technology, and Quark uses it, and tries to even tout that they create better PDFs. Photoshop, Illustrator native files are also used with the help of Adobe. What would happen should Adobe take the same kind of stand? They didn’t share the technology with Quark.

    Of coarse they wouldn’t they want to promote good business, and allow all facets of the company to grow. Quark could make some money from the sale of the ALAP plug ins to Indesign users. They have chosen not to. So the almighty dollar isn’t the motivating factor here. It apparently is the reason I stated earlier “Quark’s goal of reestablishing dominance in the desktop software market”. So much money waisted by this move, they have to know that Adobe will just create there own features that are native to the program, and not plug-ins, making Indesign an even better product out of the box.

    #14
    28 Apr 2006
    11:37 PT
  15. People , do some research, It’s not the fact that Quark doesn’t want to carry these on, it’s adobe… After talking with insiders at adobe and via press contacts talking with Quark it seems Quark has applied to adobe to be developers to enable these plug-Ins to carry on and others in future. But adobe initially agreed and then later rejected the application. adobe or should we say Microsoft V2….

    #15
    25 May 2006
    10:52 PT
  16. On this topic, I’m a registered user of InTools (great package!) and I’m looking for the version 1.1.1 updater for InDesign CS. If anyone knows a site still offering it for download , I’d appreciate the information. Thanks!

    —Lee

    #16
    23 Jun 2006
    21:31 PT
  17. Hi I was wondering if anybody knows where i can get a copy of alap’s imposition pro for indesign for the mac. I really need this software, Thanks

    #17
    12 Sep 2006
    02:48 PT
  18. For anyone needing alap products for InDesign, please take a a look at XChange UK. Here is a list of the products still in inventory:

    Imposer Pro for InDesign (M/W)
    InTools (M/W)
    InEffects (W)

    Quantities are definitely limited and there is not a return policy for discontinued items, nor any technical support available. However, if you know the product and just need an additional license, this may certainly help.

    The installers for these products are still posted for others that just need a *fresh* copy.

    Hope this helps.

    Greg

    #18
    15 Sep 2006
    10:08 PT
  19. While links to the files have been removed from the normal web site, InBooklet still seems to be available for download from http://ftp.xchangeuk.com

    Just navigate with a FTP client.

    #19
    13 Apr 2007
    08:46 PT
  20. I have to say I’m really disappointed that Adobe didn’t hit the ground running with their new release of CS3.

    Heck, even MS PUBLISHER can impose a file however you want it. Want a 10up business card from the original 3.5×2? No problem. Why are we having to multi-paste our OWN spreads in a thousand dollar “creative suite”?

    Adobe could have done the right thing. – but didn’t. Let’s be serious. InDesign should have been able to do everything Alap Imposer Pro did from Version 1. Period.

    So what happened? Why did they let Quark win this “If we can beat you, we’ll take away your toys” last ditch effort?

    That said… this crippled version of inBooklet is frustrating. I hate that there is no way to save the imposed file as an editable InDesign file. I really miss being able to do 8up spreads and save my stripper HOURS of work.

    Boo, Adobe. Boo. Fix it. Make it better. Reward your dedicated customers. Update us with the goods. Let us be able to say “InDesign is the most imposing software there is.”

    As for Quark? If you just concentrated on making a better product I could have held a little respect for you. This playground crap just makes me hate you now more than ever.

    #20
    12 Sep 2007
    08:40 PT

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