FlightCheck Express: Markzware is previewing its new preflighting software

FlightCheck Express: Markzware is previewing its new preflighting software

Technology preview of a new product


22. April 2021In Publishing, PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

At the beginning of April, Markzware invited a preview of a new product via social media. FlightCheck Express, software that will inherit FlightCheck Pro, was presented. The video was a technology preview and the product is not yet available. What does the software manufacturer show?

Markzware became famous for its FlightCheck Pro product. FlightCheck Pro can be used to check publishing documents for possible errors. Over 150 possible sources of error are checked and output as a report. In addition, the errors can also be addressed directly in some documents.

However, FlightCheck Pro can no longer run on new operating systems. No further development has been carried out for years. How should it go on? Markzware has been streamlining its products for a long time. Older products are either discarded or replaced by new developments. Some conversion solutions have already been replaced by new products. A product is in the starting blocks with which PDF files can be converted to IDML. (and thus to Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress and Affinity Publisher).

The current technology preview shows what preflighting could look like in the next few years. The product is not ready yet. However, the preview shows a product that is already well developed.

Here is the video with the preview:

FlightCheck Express will be able to check documents quickly and easily and reissue reports. The ability to display errors directly on the correct page is also impressive – even if the original software is not available!

Since this is only a preview, it is not yet possible to assess the finished product. As soon as more information is available, we will report it here. If you would like to be informed, subscribe to our newsletter.

Newsletter

Captchas: Are you human?

Are you human?

Captchas protect against spam robots and increase the security of your own website


1. April 2021In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw5 Minutes

Security is a big issue for websites. You can think of very different things, such as backups for emergencies, or security measures that should make access more difficult for hackers. This post is about captchas and how we have just improved them for our customers.

What is a captcha?

The word «Captcha» is an acronym and stands for «Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart ”. In German: “Fully automated Turing test to distinguish between computers and people”.

A captcha is a hurdle that is used to tell people and machines apart. The hurdle can be easily overcome by humans, but is recognized as difficult by bots. This is especially important because there are so many “bots” on the Internet trying to gain access to websites, record spam comments and the like. If you have now installed a captcha, a small test appears that is easy for humans, but difficult to bypass for automated processes.

A captcha makes it difficult, for example, to post spam or brute force attacks on websites.

Where are captchas used?

Captchas can be seen in different places on the website:

  • Log in
  • Registration
  • request password
  • To place an order
  • Complete Order
  • Create a comment
  • etc.

Not all of these options need to be offered. Often you can only find a captcha when logging in and maybe when creating a comment. A captcha should work where there is interaction between users and the website.

What do captchas look like?

There are very different captchas, visible and invisible. For example, older captchas look like this:

Distorted letters are more legible for humans, but a little harder for bots.

There are different types of captchas, for example:

  • Text captchas
  • Math captchas
  • Icon captchas
  • Photo captchas.

The captchas are being developed further and further because hackers do not stand idly by as the path is blocked. The ReCaptcha from Google, for example, is also popular, offering various images to choose from and the user has to click on the palm trees, the cars, the hills, crosswalks, motorcyclists or similar.

Do Captchas Make a Website 100% Safe?

No. There is no such thing as 100% security. However, captchas should be part of any security strategy because it increases the hurdles. Using captchas already locks out a lot of hackers. Think of it as a layer from a multi-layer security concept.

Captchas and WordPress

There are a lot of plugins for WordPress that offer captcha functionality. Some integrate the Google solution, others offer, for example, a small arithmetic problem that has to be solved. Which captchas work well on a website must always be tested.

For example, there are some captchas that have been customized for the WooCommerce online store, while others have no such customization. If there is no support for certain tasks, a captcha can lie across. While this applies to every extension, a captcha is about the direct interaction with the user of the website. Here it should work particularly easily and reliably.

Support may be necessary, for example, for:

  • WordPress login
  • Online shops with registrations, accounts, etc.
  • Newsletter registrations
  • Forum software
  • etc.

New Captcha solution for Kursiv customers

In our service package for WordPress customers, we are now also including a tried and tested captcha solution that has proven itself best. Various solutions have been in use so far, but each solution has its drawbacks. For example, Google ReCaptcha works great, but Google tracks websites. Certain math captchas with calculations didn’t work with an online store. These and other experiences led to the search for a new solution.

A plug-in was found that covers most requirements and is also very easy to use. The captcha works with icons and can be understood intuitively.

This solution is simpler than any previous solution, it is fast, there is no tracking and mostly works perfectly. This plug-in also has a honeypot function. A honeypot is called a diversionary maneuver. It is the wrong lead that bots often fall for.

The new solution was installed and tested on all of the websites we maintain. Kursiv offers one more service to make it easier for you to maintain your website.

Italic WordPress Support

Make two out of one - Kursiv separates between software solutions

Make two out of one - Kursiv separates between software solutions

FileMaker products are now all on fmstarter.com


24. March 2021In Filemaker, FilemakerBy Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

Everything is simplified

We have been maintaining two websites for many years, but only one shop. Our products for FileMaker developers were featured on fmstarter.com, but sold via kursiv-software.com. This division had grown over time, but the approach was suboptimal. We just simplified that.

  • kursiv-software.com
    This is the place for general software products. This is the same as before. Markzware products can be found here, as well as other Kursiv products.
  • fmstarter.com
    This website is focussed on FileMaker developers. We built a shop and set up a new newsletter. There will be a lot more going on here shortly. All of our commercial products for FileMaker developers are now only available through fmstarter.com.

What happens to my FileMaker purchases?

FileMaker products can no longer be purchased from kursiv-software.com. However, all previous purchases are valid and downloads from the orders work. In the next few weeks we will transfer all active orders to fmstarter.com. We inform every customer who is affected by this.

New developments and regular newsletters

The current pandemic has many consequences. One of them is the trend towards more digital tools. The separation of our websites into “General Software” and “Software for FileMaker Developers” is just a small step towards better online offers. This opens up new possibilities, which we will report on soon.

Newsletters are becoming more regular. This applies to both kursiv-software.com and the new newsletter on fmstarter.com. You can subscribe to the new FileMaker Newsletter here:


PDFMarkz in beta test

PDFMarkz in Betatest

The successor of the InDesign plug-in PDF2DTP is in the starting blocks


29. January 2021By Karsten Risseeuw3 Minutes

Just before the release

PDFMarkz is the next product to be released by Markzware. As the successor to the InDesign plug-in PDF2DTP, it will convert PDF documents into editable publishing documents. The manufacturer is following the new strategy of releasing products as standalone versions. So while PDF2DTP is still a plug-in for InDesign, PDFMarkz (like IDMarkz and QXPMarkz) is an independent software. The advantage is that there no longer has to be any other software installed in order for the software to run.

When the software will definitely be available has not yet been announced. However, current users of PDF2DTP have access to the beta version via the personal download link of their current valid license.

easy installation

PDFMarkz can be installed in no time. On the Mac, it’s just a drag and drop. After the first start, you have to enter the registration email and the serial number and then complete the registration with personal information.

Convert PDF documents

PDFMarkz reads PDF documents. It’s as easy as drag-and-drop.

Das Dokument wird analysiert und von allen Seiten erscheint eine Preview. Ausserdem gibt es Informationen über Bilder, Fonts, Farben, usw.

Export as an image or as IDML

If the document is available in PDFMarkz, it can be exported in many different formats. On the one hand there are image formats (TIFF, JPG, PNG), on the other hand there are IDML and PDF to choose from. The fastest way, however, is shown below.

Das IDML-Format lässt sich in XPress, InDesign und Affinity Publisher importieren. Für diese letzten drei Optionen gibt es deshalb einen Schnell-Modus: Von PDFMarkz kann das Dokument sofort in XPress, InDesign oder Publisher aufgemacht werden. Dabei wird das Dokument zuerst nach IDML konvertiert und anschliessend sofort in der Zielsoftware geöffnet.

Die Datei in Affinity Publisher aufgemacht.

The perfect universal tool

PDFMarkz is a universal tool for prepress. All kinds of documents can be transferred to publishing programs. Of course, these can be already existing PDF documents from which you no longer have any other templates. However, there is always the requirement to use documents from other programs (Word, websites) as the basis for new publishing documents. These documents can now be easily integrated via PDF.

Conversion often saves hours of work. The perfect thing about this solution is that you are not tied to a publishing platform. You can freely choose how to export the document and where to open it. Professional freedom looks like this.

As soon as the product is available, it will be listed on this website immediately.


Shipping pier near Altnau on Lake Constance (Switzerland)

How do you get pictures for your own website?

How do you get pictures for your own website?


6. January 2021In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw6 Minutes

Anyone who has a website knows the challenge: You always need images so that the message, the product and the presentation succeed. Communicate, emotionalize, explain and sell images. But where do you get these photos from?

The Kursiv picture agency existed from 1997 to 2018. For more than 20 years we have bought pictures worldwide and licensed them to many customers mainly in Switzerland. A standard requirement was the image search. In the good years we searched hundreds of thousands of images every day for customer inquiries. It was about the topic, the imagery sought, the available budget and much more.

Today anyone who has a website is faced with image searches. Almost overnight, images became relevant to anyone who runs a website. No text can do without a picture. But where do these images come from? Obtaining images is new territory for many people.

Image acquisition

Anyone who wants to keep a website alive needs new texts and new pictures on a regular basis. The keyword “regularly” shows that it would be good if you had something like an “image source” to which you can fall back.

The requirement is not new and the following methods have worked well:

  1. Take photos yourself
  2. Picture agencies
  3. Photographer.

Of course, if you want to take photos yourself, you have to have the necessary equipment and experience. For some, that’s a possibility. If it does not concern a private website, but the presentation of your own company, you need good quality and appealing and consistent imagery. This increases the requirements. Image agencies can offer something like this, but this is associated with financial costs. If you need unmistakable pictures or lots of pictures, a photographer is the cheapest option.

Know-how about images

There is a blog on the subject of stock photography on our own website kursiv.com. Many topics related to image acquisition are clarified here. The last post is about the question

In the article, various reference options are presented and weighed against each other. An important statement is that pictures are not available for free and that supposed “free pictures” also come with a price.

Planning the website

Once you have a website, that’s the starting signal for further development. Anyone who wants to have long-term success with a website needs some planning. It is always about the question of what would be interesting for the visitor to your own website. Which topics best reflect your own service? What questions do my customers have? What do visitors need to find when they land on the website?

Each subject includes both text and images. Thinking about it is especially important when you have no ideas. Planning makes it possible to call someone for advice, get ideas and then gradually get closer to your own goal.

Typical characteristics of good websites are:

  • Topicality
  • Relevance (for the purpose of the website)
  • Information.

The visuals play a big role in all of these things. Our world and our communication today are primarily visual. When choosing photos, it comes down to keywords such as:

  • theme
  • Imagery (its own, unmistakable visual identity)
  • Emotionality.

Imagery

There is no such thing as a single good imagery. The visual language should be adapted to your own website and topic. You can think generously. It’s not about the individual picture, but about the appearance of the website as a whole. Do the pictures match? Does it seem personal or more distant?

No two websites are the same. The requirements for insurance are different from those of a bakery. The website of a daily newspaper shines with reportage photos, while an automobile manufacturer skillfully emotionalizes the technology with outstanding photography.

How do you come up with a visual language? The first step is to become aware that your own visual language is part of communication. It is already now. It is always communicated. Communication is often better with good visual language. This has a direct effect on the acceptance of the website and plays a role in the customer’s trust in the service offered.

Get the right pictures

It doesn’t matter what type of image acquisition you use. The decisive factor is whether you are pursuing a good strategy that contributes to the success of your own company. You should not only consider the image price, but also, for example, the effort required to search for an image. The effort can be significantly higher than the price of the image itself. Legally correct usage rights should be guaranteed in any case.

Further articles on photography and image acquisition can be found here: kursiv.com . Are you looking for advice on the subject? Here is the> Contact .

Photo credits: Lake Constance near Altnau. © Karsten Risseeuw.


Markzware products adapted to Big Sur and Apple Silicon

In MacOS Big Sur Apple has included some landscapes as illustrations for the desktop.

Markzware products adapted to Big Sur and Apple Silicon


20. November 2020In PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw1 Minutes

Markzware adapts the latest products. IDMarkz and QXPMarkz now run on both Big Sur and Apple Silicon Macs.

Apple has announced some groundbreaking new technologies. The MacOS 11 Big Sur operating system is now supported by QXPMarkz and IDMarkz. Also supported are the new Apple Silicon machines, which are being shipped these days for the first time.

Both products are now Universal Binary, which means that they are compatible with both older systems and the new hardware line.

Other Markzware products are PDF2DTP and FlightCheck Pro. Here, it can be assumed that the adjustments will be made as soon as new versions are released. For PDF2DTP it is obvious that there will be a similar standalone product like QXPMarkz or IDMarkz. FlightCheck Pro is no longer under development and hopefully a new version will be released.

Markzware has been continuously developing products for well over 20 years now. Occasionally old products were discontinued to make room for new products. Reliable product development looks like this. You can be curious about the things that are in preparation.

IDMarkz and QXPMarkz run on MacOS 11 Big Sur.

If you have a current license for QXPMarkz or IDMarkz, you can download the latest version via your personal license URL


Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Your website will be faster


6. November 2020In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw4 Minutes

Every website needs regular maintenance. That’s why there is the WordPress support subscription from Kursiv. In this service we package many services that together ensure the operation of a WordPress-based website. This includes regular updates of all components, external backups, caching to increase performance, security optimization and much more. Now there is a new service: image optimization.

Why image optimization?

Modern websites use a lot of images. Generous images are emotional, communicate well and are a business card for the company. Good pictures are essential today. There is, however, a downside: very large pictures are “difficult”. Their file size slows down the website. In extreme cases, the website becomes slow, which has an immediate effect on acceptance by the viewer. Google also rates fast websites better than slow websites.

It’s like a letterbox – if the letter doesn’t fit in there, it has to be deposited as a package in front of the door. Not everyone is on the go with fast internet. This is comparable to the size of a letter box. The lighter and narrower the letter, the more mailboxes can be served.

Image optimization can help here. The image size can be reduced, for example, by increasing the compression or by removing unnecessary information (e.g. EXIF data in the files). This makes the images smaller and the website automatically becomes faster. It’s not that easy, because you need a balance between optimization and appearance. If the compression is too high, the file size will be reduced, but it will also reduce the image quality. Here you need good tools for the result to be successful.

Online optimization with ShortPixel

An image optimization can be achieved with the help of specialized tools before the images are uploaded. The alternative is an optimization directly in the website. This last option is significantly easier than the manual optimization before and also more consistent.

I’ve been looking for a good solution for a long time. With ShortPixel I have now found what I am looking for. The service is now part of the Kursiv support subscription for WordPress. The solution has been extensively tested and the results are outstanding. My photography website is an example ( karstenrisseeuw.ch ) that lives from high quality images. The page became extremely much faster, with the same image quality. Depending on the website and images, between 30% and 80% of the image sizes are saved. Other italic websites have also seen major improvements, including kursiv-software.com and fmstarter.com .

Update for all customers

The image optimization will now be implemented gradually for all customers in line with this experience. The implementation is harmless and one of several optimizations that are implemented anyway. There are only benefits associated with it. If you have special requirements, we will first contact you, for example if you sell high-resolution images (for example photographers or picture agencies).

The support subscription for WordPress now includes:

  1. Regular updates of all website components (5–7 times a week)
  2. Additional external backups
  3. Optimized caching
  4. Optimizing security
  5. Optimization of the images (new).

If you have any questions, we are> here available for you.


How do the Markzware licenses work?

How do the Markzware licenses work?

What is the difference between an annual license and a perpetual license?


2. November 2020In PublishingBy Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

Markzware products are reliable helpers in everyday publishing. But what about the licenses? Markzware distinguishes between an annual license and an unlimited license. What are the differences?

Markzware products are reliable. They have been continuously developed and adapted for decades. This is a great value. But it also requires continuous development and product maintenance. This is not for free. Unlike some other companies, Markzware does not try to lure customers into a subscription trap. The solution is as simple as it is ingenious and already exists for many products as a choice:

Perpetual license

A perpetual license is valid indefinitely, but there are no updates for new document formats. For example, if you order a QXPMarkz in 2020, you purchase the product with the QuarkXPress 2020 document format customisation, and if Quark makes customisations during the year, these customisations will be provided as updates free of charge. However, if a 2021 document format is released next year, it will not automatically be updated.

Annual license

The annual license is, as the name suggests, a license for a single year. Since the price for the product is probably already recovered after 1 or 2 conversions, this should not be a hindrance. But for updates you have great advantages: Regardless of when you purchased the annual license, you can download all updates and upgrades for 365 days. So you are always up to date, even if a new document format is released next year. If you want to renew your license, you buy another annual license and can convert for another year without worries, whatever comes along. However, if the license expires, access to the software is also terminated. Simple!

Markzware conversion solutions can be used where documents need to be converted from one software solution to another. This does not imply a constant exchange, but a one-time conversion.


FM Registrations 1.5 released

FM Registrations 1.5 released

The update is primarily aimed at simplifying the user interface


21. October 2020By Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

What’s new?

Kursiv launches a new version of FM Registrations. Version 1.5 of the tool for FileMaker developers is now available and creates license codes for your own FileMaker-based products.

The current update is primarily aimed at a better user interface and a simplification of the workflow. In addition, the manuals (English / German) have been rewritten and the introductory videos have been completely rewritten (English / German).

Date processing has also been improved. A definite end date for a license is now saved as a number so that processing on a date also works with different file locations and system settings.

Create licenses for your FileMaker-based products

FM Registrations can be used to generate activation codes for your FileMaker solutions. This enables you to sell standard products that you have created with FileMaker worldwide. FM Registrations is a FileMaker development and can be used to generate and manage licenses. The codes can be used as access codes, but are also used to configure your solution.

FM Registrations consists of two parts: A code generator, which is used to create customer addresses, create software profiles and generate unique activation codes, and a sample file that shows how to decrypt the license codes.

FM Registrations makes it possible to sell your own FileMaker applications and to provide each customer with an activation code. Such a code can

  • Unlock
  • Allow configurations
  • Unlock functions
  • Define the number of users
  • Determine the end date of a license or subscription period
  • etc.

FM Registrations is a marketing tool that enables flexible pricing. For example, you can create prices based on the number of users or configure different versions of the same file using an activation code.

FM Registrations encrypts and decrypts all information. The implementation is up to you. The possibilities are endless.

Detailed descriptions

A more detailed description of this update, as well as new manuals and all introductory videos can be found on the website fmstarter.com .

FM Registrations is sold with free updates for one year. The last version can then be downloaded directly from your own account at kursiv-software.com.

similar products


How to evaluate workflows

How to evaluate workflows

Well-thought-out workflows are more important than ever


12. October 2020In ConsultingBy Karsten Risseeuw7 Minutes

Starting signal and continued development

You can look at everyday working life from different angles. One perspective is that of the workflow. Workflows are the routes one takes to achieve a good result with the present challenges. Often workflows are created on the basis of experience. There was once a beginning for this, a starting signal so to speak. Ever since then, the work process needs to prove its worth. Does it? It probably does for a while, but does a workflow also prove itself over a longer period of time?

As an example: There are still companies that create important workflows based on Excel lists. Others, however, have suitable software systems in use. Those who switch from Excel to a database solution, for example, do this to optimize existing workflows. Although both solutions (Excel on the one hand and database solutions on the other) often work, there are big differences. If one relies on database solutions, this often results in considerable time savings and it can also be worked on in a team, for example.

How we work is not set in stone. It was determined at some point, based on the requirements and possibilities at the time. Since then, workflows have to prove themselves in ever new situations until the solution no longer meets the requirements or better methods and approaches become available.

Gaining some distance

Technology is nothing but a means. That is why technology should not be overrated. Work processes can only be illustrated with the help of technology. However, creating good workflows requires analysis and careful consideration. To do this, it is often helpful to take a few steps back and look at the everyday challenges from a distance.

From a distance, you can see processes better. Questions can be asked. Are there known obstacles? Where are the most likely to get stuck? Are there new requirements that are not included? What is done by hand? These and other questions serve to evaluate the existing processes. Concrete requirements simplify the considerations. However, regular evaluation can also be used as an indicator of the health of current systems.

An important question is, for example, where is the experience available? It may lie with the employees, but what happens when employees leave? If this leads to the loss of important expertise, this is a tangible risk for the company. How can such a risk be minimized? Suitable workflows can aim to make essential building blocks of experience available to the entire team – for example, through suitable database systems.

Evaluation is not about starting from current success, but rather to look for possible weaknesses. These can be seen as valuable feedback for the development of better workflows.

Change is the constant

Work processes are usually made possible by technical aids. However, they are not identical. If the technology changes, this can have a very positive influence on the workflows. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that existing workflows are occasionally evaluated. Suggestions can be obtained from colleagues, thanks to a coach or through reflection in the team.

I have been distributing software for over 25 years. It is exciting to see how hardware and software have developed and how completely new workflows have been created because of this.

10 years ago there were still many complex systems. Then came the smartphones with apps, often focused on a few tasks. That was a paradigm shift. It has changed the way we think about software or workflows. Modular approaches, Software As A Service (SAAS) and more and more cloud-based solutions were added.

Technically, many things have become more sophisticated. However, from the perspective of design, some things have been greatly simplified. Google came with a single search field for Internet searches. Apple reduced the complexity by an outstanding design. The English company Serif has so far released three software products for graphic designers that work together seamlessly (in the same interface). They called it StudioLink, a new approach to intuitive workflows.

The expandability of current solutions, through the integration of various web services, is demonstrated, for example, by the Apple subsidiary Claris with the product FileMaker Pro. What was once a database solution is now a development environment with a multitude of options. A single data format  runs on multiple platforms. In addition, there are now add-ons, completely new possibilities for FileMaker developers to integrate complex tools in a most simple way.

Markzware is currently renewing its product range. All the converting solutions were available in the last years only as Plug-In or XTension. Now they are gradually becoming stand-alone software products. To open documents from InDesign or XPress, these software solutions are no longer needed. All products from Markzware become independent software solutions and you can export to various formats.

Many things become easier. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Starting your own evaluation

Sometimes it helps to evaluate work processes together. Kursiv offers assistance for self-help. This can be consulting and evaluation of existing workflows, or project support, training or development of concrete solutions. You can find out more about this via the following link:

Further information: Kursiv Services