Add Publishing Tool to CorelDRAW Suite

April 29, 2009

Yesterday I gave you a recap of where Corel Corporation stands today. There was some good news and some bad news. Today I’m going to lay out the first of my marketing ideas for improving things. Since most of my exposure to Corel Corporation is with CorelDRAW, my marketing ideas will mostly focus on selling more copies of CorelDRAW.

When I look over the feature requests of users and I listen to the projects they are attempting to complete with CorelDRAW, it is obvious to me that a tool for publishing is needed in the suite. Those of you who know me can probably guess where I’m going with this already. Yes, Corel needs to revive development of Ventura and put it in the CorelDRAW Suite. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of doing this, including the financial impact.

Do you want automatic page numbering? Running headers and footers? Tables of contents and indexing? Database publishing? All of this and much more are available in Corel Ventura. The sad thing is that Corel’s management is blind to the technological powerhouse they already have in house.

The last version of Corel Ventura was released in 2002. While it supports native CorelDRAW files, it only supports through CorelDRAW 11. This requires users of newer versions to save backwards. There are many parts of Ventura made with “common engines” from CorelDRAW 11. This includes printing, publishing to PDF, fills and much more. From a learning curve standpoint, many parts of Ventura will feel immediately familiar to users of CorelDRAW.

In order for Ventura to be put in the box, a large amount of money would need to be spent to update all of those engines to match those in CorelDRAW. The most costly part of the development cycle would be bringing the capabilities of Unicode to Ventura so that it would support the variety of character sets and languages used. There is no doubt in my mind that Corel’s hesitation to even utter the word Ventura is because the cost to resume development would be very expensive. I do feel that a good marketing plan would sell enough copies of Ventura to turn a profit. But that isn’t even the focus of my argument today.

If CorelDRAW doesn’t have the tools needed to lay out a publication, where do users turn? I believe many of them turn to Adobe InDesign. It certainly is not an inexpensive product. So if users are willing to spend money on InDesign, why not give them an option to purchase a Corel product? Because of the high cost of buying InDesign as a standalone product, most users will probably buy the Adobe Creative Suite as it is a “better value”. This means they spend even more money with Corel’s competition. It also means they get a copy of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop in the suite. Since the Adobe tools are integrated with InDesign, the users are apt to spend more and more time in Adobe products and less time in CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT. While those users may buy one or two more upgrades to CorelDRAW, eventually I feel they will convert completely to the Adobe suite.

There were two occasions in the past where Corel did bundle Ventura with CorelDRAW. It was included at no extra charge with CorelDRAW 5 and a premium suite was offered for CorelDRAW 8. So let’s say that Corel did decide to put Ventura in the suite again. They could still offer a version without Ventura at a similar price to the current suite. A “premium” version of the suite could be offered with Ventura at a cost of maybe $150 more. Certainly the extra cost could be lower or higher. Would the user needing a publishing tool now pay extra for Corel’s solution or would they pay much more for the Adobe solution? I believe that if Corel provided a good solution for a good price that many users would spend their money with Corel.

Corel could also develop a new tool with a new name. Adobe did the same thing when they killed PageMaker. They developed a new tool, InDesign, and gave it the ability to bring in PageMaker files. This meant they didn’t have to deal with all of the legacy issues of PageMaker. It would make perfect sense for Corel to do the same thing.

While I and other “power users” think this idea has a lot of merit, I doubt Corel will even come to their senses and revive Ventura. Until this year I have used Ventura to produce all of the books and tutorials produced by Graphics Unleashed. While we still use Ventura for some projects, the majority of future publishing tasks will be done in InDesign. I once said that Ventura would have to be pried out of my cold dead hands. Well, my hands are pretty darned cold these days. I just can’t continue to use a product when the manufacturer won’t even publically admit that it exists.

What do you think? If Corel offered a premium suite including a revamped Ventura, would you buy it?

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5 Comments

  1. Rikk

    I would. My patience is finite, however. The window for Corel to make this move and prevent my migration to Indesign is rapidly closing. Ventura users have been very patient but we also have clients and work to do.

    Reply
  2. Peace

    I still use Ventura for much of my newspaper work. It’s Database publishing allows me to keep my classifieds in a database so they are always current, and when it comes time to layout a page, it takes seconds and I have a complete page. Adding a few display classifieds in a no brainer and the overflow automatically carries on to the next page. I’ve never seen anything like this in InDesign or in Quark. That one feature of Ventura alone could put copies of Ventura in every small newspaper office in North America. Even those running on Mac systems would find it easier and cheaper to go out and buy a dedicated PC just for that one feature. Once hooked on that, they would find more uses for it.

    Personally, I find that even in its ancient state, Ventura allows me to turn out newspaper and magazine pages far faster than the competition. But I do find myself using InDesign more and more for new projects simply because it brings in more file types without having to play around.

    Reply
  3. KT~Molarartist

    “…eventually I feel they will convert completely to the Adobe suite.”

    I currently use InDesign for documents over 8 or so pages. I’d say about 90% of my graphics are first created in CorelDRAW or CorelPHOTO-PAINT and then placed into InDesign.

    While Illustrator and Photoshop might be good programs for those who were never exposed to any Corel products, I’ve worked with them all and would find it incredibly frustrating to go over compeletely to the Adobe side. Fortunately for me, my work environment doesn’t care what I use as long as the product gets to the printer and/or the screen and the client is happy.

    “What do you think? If Corel offered a premium suite including a revamped Ventura, would you buy it?”

    Definitely yes. Nothing would please me more than to delete all Adobe CS2, 3, whatever off of my machines…but…

    As long as my printers prefer InDesign files, I will trudge thru it and do the best I can.

    Kim T.
    Lincoln, Nebraska

    Reply
  4. the 'dd'

    If Corel offered a premium suite including a revamped Ventura, would you buy it?

    YES.

    Previous post…

    I too am looking forward to your ideas as well as Jeff Harrison’s and a few others that are the movers & shakers in the Corel World from what I can gather after participating on the CorelDRAW forum for the last year. For my part, for now, all I can do is detail a bit of how I use it in my everyday computing life, and maybe it will inspire somebody to come up with some marketing ideas. I do have one overall guiding principal in marketing that I relate to well. And that is, that whatever is done, it has to make it easier, not harder, for a potential client to buy from you instead of the competition. That’s the job of selling… not to sell, but to make it easy for somebody to deal with you, so they will willingly and happily part with their hard earned money.

    Yeah, I’ve used WordPerfect, but more importantly the Open Office Suite. It’s a huge hit in that Office Suite market. Even though I’ve used MOSuite stuff (mostly Excel and a bit of WORD) and still do I absolutely would not put out any more money on it knowing what the OOSuite is capable of. I’ve even had the odd occasion to work with Publisher files people bring me. Not a big favourite of mine. I’ve also used PageMaker a bit. Again, I wasn’t thrilled to use it. Never used Ventura, and probably at this stage, unless someone contracted me to do a major DTP job on their book or whatever for print, wouldn’t need it except as a curiosity for ease of use and compatibility with existing Corel software. For instance I’ve never been enamoured with the image handling capabilities in WORD for small DTP jobs I’ve done… never really used their Publisher program to any great extent. And PageMaker was a bit of a hassle to work with as well when I was doing a Newsletter with it a few years ago. So anyway, I use CorelDRAW daily in my SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES work for everything I’ve found I can use it for from form filling to signage to old CD version conversion to web work to whatever you can imagine it could be used for. It’s become virtually an indispensable part of my everyday computer life just as much as spreadsheet use has along with some other specialized programs.

    Yes

    Reply
  5. Ken Graham

    Why hold us back with a separate tool?

    As long as I can remember Corel has multi-page capability. – okay I’m not going to install 1.1 to check.

    I don’t think Illustrator does yet – they need InDesign.

    Corel has merge – they must use Indesign.

    Corel has pagination – they use Indesign.

    Corel has barcodes – they use optional add ins.

    Corel has Bitstream Font Navigator – make it default to Opentype, then True Type, add a method of semi autodeleting the older duplicates. Checkboxes prefilled except for most recent of each font.

    They include nothing.

    Corel limited including database and word processor because they had these other programs – If they had added those features to Corel as one program in addition to more web design capability instead of buy and die others -they would be #1, well more likely they would have been caught in a bidding war between Microsoft, Adobe and Google, then the stock holders would have seen something amazing.

    Okay maybe 32 bit did not allow it or maybe it did – if not build for 64 bit – I’m waiting with 12 Gigs RAM.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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