Developers address publishers' needs for cross-platform workflow tools.
Integration, not segregation, is being practiced in an increasingly multi-platform print production world. Your editorial crew, for example, may prefer to work on PC-based word-processing programs, while your creative staff members hold on tight to their beloved Macintosh workstations.
Fortunately, there are a number of hardware and software solutions to facilitate communication between multiple platforms. Without them, the publishing world might be up the proverbial creek.
Quite a predicament
It's a bullish market for print buyers interested in analyzing operating systems. UNIX continues to be a popular solution for driving networks and Internet sites.
Even Linux, the UNIX-offspring OS developed in the early 1990s by Finnish gent Linus Torvalds, is starting to pique the curiosity of many, particularly software developers and hardware investors. Intel was recently reported to have taken an interest in investing in Torvalds' "grassroots software." Still, while operating systems and platforms appear to come in many flavors these days, the two most familiar to those in print publishing are the operating systems from Microsoft (Windows 95/98 and Windows NT) and Apple Computer's MacOS.
At a February MagazineTech seminar, several industry representatives spoke about the current state of publishing, including Chris Gulker, Apple Computer's director of strategic relations: "Certainly, Apple appreciates that it's a cross-platform world out there. We do some things really, really well. Designers, creative people and many production people really like what Macs can do.
"There are other parts of the enterprise where—perhaps in job-flow tracking or invoicing—they feel … Windows is better," Gulker adds. "And so we wind up in a world that is cross platform."
In cross-platform publishing, "there are two things that you can run into," notes Steve Yellen, Windows product manager, DataViz, Trumbull, CT. "One is as simple as moving a file from one platform to another. And there are a couple of solutions to this very physical problem. You've got a file; you just need to get it from one machine to the other. You can do it via a network, … or you can move it, typically, via media."