What is QXML?

Several people have asked, what QXML is.

QXML stands for QuarkXPress Markup Language and has been announced by Quark on Jan 12, 2005:

It was first privately introduced in QuarkXPress 6.5 (2004) and has been further extended in QuarkXPress 7 (2006). Though vital part of QuarkXPress (Desktop), it is currently solely accessible through QuarkXPress Server.

What does QXML solve?

Most document formats are proprietary, meaning it is hard to reuse their content. Also, nowadays we see a trend towards open standards and many programmers know “web-friendly” programming languages such as JavaScript.

QXML provides the structure, the content and its formatting of a QuarkXPress document as a DOM.

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a W3C standard that provides a language-neutral interface for applications and scripts to dynamically access and update content, structure and styling of documents.

So XTension developers can access a QuarkXPress document and manipulate it in real time using open standards.

It’s more powerful than a proprietary API and makes QuarkXPress document accessible to web technology, using open standards.

Where is QXML used?

QXML is mostly used in automation workflows, e.g. for database publishing or where documents are created based on rules. Quark’s Enterprise solutions make heavy use of QXML. QuarkXPress Server is manipulating existing documents, creating new documents, filling data into dynamic templates created by designers in QuarkXPress, all using QXML.

It’s currently solely available in QuarkXPress Server, as Quark believes that automation requires a robust engine like QuarkXPress Server, which offers multi-threading, load-balancing and other high performance features.

Development partners of Quark’s Enterprise solutions are also actively using QXML to create and manipulate QuarkXPress documents via QuarkXPress Server.

Internally Quark calls QXML “Modifier XML”, as it pretty much describes what it does: It modifies QuarkXPress documents.

What about the competition?

In April 2005 Adobe introduced INX in InDesign CS2, which was a simple, XML-based exchange format between InDesign versions.

In 2008 Adobe replaced INX with IDML (InDesign Markup Language), which seems to be the analogy in InDesign CS4 to what QXML is in QuarkXPress (Server).

More info

Please also see here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20050112005762/en/Quark-Commits-Open-Standards-Opening-QuarkXPress-File (English) and here: http://www.quarkvsindesign.com/quarkxpresss-file-format-goes-open-standard-with-xml

Sample QXML

X-Ray Magazine March/April 2005 listed some examples of QXML. I have uploaded screenshots of the pages here: