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 plu­g­insinclud­ing 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.

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

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20 Responses

  1. Danny Spits says:

    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

  2. Gonzalo says:

    Hey! It’s the new Quark! Cheers!
    Bad bad bad

  3. Jeff Z. says:

    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.

  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.

  5. Tony says:

    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!

  6. Jake says:

    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.

  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.

  8. Sherm says:

    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.

  9. Peter says:

    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

  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.

  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.

  12. Jake says:

    Found the full ver­sion of InBooklets still avail­able here:
    http://​www​.xchangeuk​.com/

  13. 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. Mike Thomas says:

    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. Lee says:

    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. Yogi says:

    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. Greg says:

    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. Jim Oblak says:

    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. 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 3.5x2? 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.