Version 5.0 of the Chili Publisher is more comprehensive than previous versions and peppered with exciting features. But does the fifth version of this tool mean it is really fit for the future in the highly competitive web-to-print market?
Here we’re interested in the features that make this editor stand out in comparison to competitor offerings, several of which are also aware of and provide the benefits of cross-media applications and preconfigurable templates.
Given annual growth of some 20%, the Belgian software developer, Chili Publish, decided to launch what is now the fifth version of its immensely successful editor, which is used by a large number of print companies – the Chili Publisher 5.0. It is another candidate that has the potential to impact the web-to-print market with its software/hardware solution.
I have previously reported on this online document editor in my blog – so now I want to provide you with a more detailed insight into the capabilities of the latest tool, which was announced back in March. Quite a lot has changed, compared to predecessor versions 4.0 (2013) and 4.5 (2015). So what were the old ones capable of and what can the new one do?
Both Obility’s e-business print solution and Agfa Apogee StoreFront, a cloud-based web-to-print system, for example, already incorporated the previous versions of the comprehensive web-to-print environment editor. The broad range of customizable and easy-to-use browser-based editing functions – both for Flash and HTML5 – enabled these companies to provide their customers with stores (to some extent in OEM versions) featuring a high-performance editor. In addition to the editor’s extensive range of functions, most business customers regarded the ability to action their brand guidelines directly in the editor as pivotal. Visualizing complex renderings with the support of Flash and HTML5 was already feasible in these earlier versions; it was also possible to export HTML and EPUB formats to produce various print products, e.g. mailshots or advertising banners.
And what about the new version? Its specification definitely makes for good reading: import option for various source formats, like InDesign, XML or PDF; full-blown HTML5 capability; an open and at the same time comprehensive API, which also facilitates embedding in existing websites with the aid iframes and the production of premium-quality PDFs, InDesign files, XML, HTML, digital signage and EPUB formats.
Chili’s online editing environment features several options for amending the minutest product details. Chili offers its editor-only solution for incorporation into print stores – and more generally into existing workflows – tailored to the user’s requirements in terms of range and scope of functions. And of course the various functions in the web browser can then be made available for editing purposes (user-specific and authorization-compliant) – the scalable architecture provides flexibility in terms of what can be integrated and in terms of publishing options; this also facilitates corporate design-capable customization.
Getting down to the detail: the new version provides views for 3D folding and 3D models in HTML, which facilitates the incorporation of dynamic images from external sources via websites or URL feeds as well as improved in-document text adaptation. So it also made sense to deliver a further enhancement of 3D rendering quality in the Chili Viewer – all these features are designed to ensure consistency with the customer’s brand and CI guidelines. As far as productivity is concerned, API support for the Google Drive Cloud is provided, in order to meet customer memory location requirements. That’s how this Belgian company is broadening its positioning in terms of integration into existing systems.
“Innovative, comprehensive and at the same time easy to integrate – this is what can be said about Version 5.0 of the Chili Publisher, which in combination with device-dependent GUI customization, represents a real advance.” – Bernd Zipper
However what’s even more interesting is what core functions Chili has added to its new tool: the new user interface, additional effects, which previously tended to be restricted to InDesign, as well as support for and editability of Asian languages. The new GUI enables the editor to be used on any device, by providing HTML5 canvas support. Non-desktop editing is therefore possible on any mobile device, with or without touchscreen, on a small or large display. So the company is going with the times and detaching itself from the compulsion to use desktops for creative and design work. In terms of effects, drop shadow and inner shadow functions as well as polish and emboss functions for frames and texts have been added to Publisher. Previously editable languages have now been joined by Chinese, Korean and Indonesian, which can now be incorporated and edited in documents. What’s also remarkable is that an enhanced copy fitting function for non-linked text frames has been actioned, as the company is likely to be targeting the packaging market in particular. This enhanced feature adjusts font size for passages of text that necessarily have to be translated into other languages (e.g. usage instructions and hazard warnings) to enable the products to be sold in other countries, to accommodate for the difference in space, while at the same time complying with corporate design guidelines. All this continues to keep Version 5.0 of the editor fit for the future and gives business customers further opportunities to expand.
My Take: the Chili Publisher 5.0 with its extensive range of editing functions enables users to perform most editing tasks that they will be faced with in the future. Brand-compliant customization and an editor restriction option for less experienced users delivers a large degree of usage flexibility. This tool is as comprehensive and complex as it is powerful. Not everybody needs a set of functions this extensive, but anybody, who is involved in web-to-print and online editing, should take a closer look at this tool.