ALAP's InDesign Plug-Ins Discontinued, PowerXChange Offers Consolation Prize
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 naïve 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.