Thank you for a splendid 2019

Christmas and the end of the year are a time to reflect on the events of the past months. We have come a long way together and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers, partners and community for your great support! 2019 has been a big year with important new releases for mobile devices. We brought Collabora Office to iOS and released a complete rewrite of our Android app. Collabora Office, Collabora Online and CODE have seen significant growth in features and improvements in usability.

Our products now bring effective collaboration with maximum control for organizations. A truly Open Source product that gives users ontrol over their own data and privacy, with excellent Microsoft interoperability, on every platform. The team at Collabora keeps growing, and more people than ever before are benefiting from our products and code contributions. Of course, this all would not have been possible without our talented staff, our great partners and the engaged community of volunteers around LibreOffice.

You all have made 2019 a fantastic year. Here is a short summary of what we achieved together!

Collabora Online improvements

Collabora Online 4.0.0

In January, we celebrated the major release Collabora Online 4.0.0 including a completely fresh look. Collabora Online 4.0 Toolbar comparison from WriterIt featured a better, simplified and more appealing UI. It also marked the point where we started to bring more of the full functionality for important features available online such as custom headers and footers or rich table of contents management for text documents.

Screenshot of Collabora 4.0 bubble renaming document

Collabora 4.0 bubble toolbar

Collabora Online 4.0 also featured integration with Vereign. We partnered with the Swiss open source company to provide authentic documents bearing the qualified electronic signature of your hardened self-sovereign identity.

Screenshot of a dialog window requesting the user to scan a qrcode with vereign appScreenshot of Collabora Online 4.0: signing documents digitally with a logged session on Vereign app

Collabora Online 4.0.2 & 4.0.3

March brought two versions with notable fixes and updates. For example, when collaborating on a single document it really helps users to see the names being displayed over the caret of the people that are actively typing and moving through the document.

Collabora Online 4.0.4

This release in May added the feature to rename a file while editing.

Collabora Online 4.0.5

This release included packages for Debian 10.

Collabora Online 4.0.6

This version introduces new admin features and made integration easier via the reuse cookie option for WOPI implementations.

Collabora Online 4.0.7

In September, we added the opacity setting to configure tile Watermarks, as well as our regular set of interoperability improvements.

Collabora Online 4.0.8

In October version 4.0.8 provided different watermarks for each user for use with ownCloud’s ‘secure collaboration’ and Nextcloud’s ‘secure view‘.


Watermark view Collabora Online
Collabora Online can give each user it’s own watermark

Collabora Online 4.0.9


To improve security, and make them harder to ignore we added 45 degrees rotated user-watermarks for collaboration in these secure environments, as well as several fixes such as highlighting search results in read-only documents.

 

CODE 4.2.0 sets the bar for the next year

In December, we released a major refresh and upgrade of CODE, the Collabora Online Development Edition. CODE is perfect for home users that want to start to run their own online office suite and for tech-enthusiast. This CODE version is the base for the upcoming Collabora Online 4.2.0 release, due in early 2020. It has a fresh new look, with updated theming, and a refreshed toolbar, and we dare to say that it represents another huge step forward in features for online office productivity and collaboration!

One of the major improvements is the powerful sidebar. Changing properties of many elements and objects in office documents is now much while working in the browser, with close to the same feature richness that is available in Collabora Office on the desktop.

The sidebar and new dialogs support numerous advanced features.

Besides choosing a colour from a palette, you can also make use of the colour picker. The handling of links has also been improved.

Click to see some of the sidebar magic happen in Calc!

 

All the powerful functions of Conditional Formatting in Calc can now be controlled via the dialog.

 

Collabora Office 6.0.2 & 6.0.3 add new features

Un-float Table button in Writer
Un-float Table button in Writer

Collabora Office, our enterprise-grade, long term supported open-source office suite, sees major updates, new features and interoperability improvements every year. In January, Collabora Office 6.0.2 introduced the Unfloat Table button, making it easy to work with imported floating tables from Microsoft Word documents.

 

Another big ask from our customers was for redaction, so this year we created a built-in Redaction tool, and went on to extend that with fast and automatic marking of text.

Another really useful feature, particularly for web integration of spreadsheets is the Page per sheet PDF export we implemented for Calc, allowing users to see apparently non-paginated spreadsheet previews.

 

Collabora Office 6.2: The best in features, interoperability and support in open source

And right before the end of the year, we made another huge step. Not only concerning the release points, but also in features and interoperability. Version 6.2 came just in time for Christmas.

This includes many features from ourselves and the community, such as the enhanced printing dialog, and improved Help which make working with Collabora Office even more efficient and user-friendly.

Collabora Office new Print dialog

Collabora Office new online Help

Collabora Office on Apple iOS

In 2019 we delivered our first version for Apple’s tablets. In a huge joint effort together with Adfinis SyGroup, started in 2018, we brought Collabora Office to iOS (beta). It is now available through Apple’s app store for free.

Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.
Collabora Office on iOS for editing spreadsheets.

Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS
Creating presentations in Collabora Office iOS

Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.
Composing texts in Collabora Office iOS.

Making the app easier to use: The sidebar contains contextual features and makes good use of the wide screen of the iPad.

Working with tables in text documents.
Working with tables in text documents.

Including pictures in Writer documents
Including pictures in Writer documents

Selection of cells in a spreadsheet
Selection of cells in a spreadsheet

Collabora Office on Android

Shortly after the release of Collabora Office on iOS, we released a complete re-write of Collabora Office on Android. This is now based on the same technology as Collabora Online. More than just a viewer it allows the editing of documents with a new phone-friendly UI. The beta version is available from the Google Play Store.

Text file with spreadsheet embedded – Collabora Office for Android

Image handling in text document – Collabora Office for Android

Community & LibreOffice

We love to work alongside with, and contribute to the LibreOffice community. We were pleased to sponsor the LibreOffice Conference 2019 that took place in Almería, Spain.

One day before the conference we organized a special team building day for our staff, partners and customers and went snorkelling in Cabo de Gata. Big fun!

Conference Slides

2019 has also been a year full of traveling, conferences, … and of course slides. Here are just a few examples of talks held by Michael Meeks, Andras Timar and Jan Holešovský held this year. They and many others are available for download.

LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp in Ankara

As part of our community building investment we sponsored a LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp in Ankara. Here, Collabora Productivity Developer Muhammet Kara is teaching enthusiastic students of the Hacettepe University about C++ and developing LibreOffice. Pranam Lashkari has also been training students in India:

Summary

In summary, it has been a busy year here at Collabora Productivity. We can only present a small part of what we got up to with a few pictures and links in this overview. We have advanced our mission to make Open Source rock; giving users privacy and businesses control over their data, with our open products. Not only has our work produced excellent results, but we have also had a lot of fun. If you’d like to get involved its easy to partner with us, buy from us, or to get involved in the awesome LibreOffice community. We are full of energy and have lots of new ideas and plans in the pipeline for 2020. We would like to thank the whole team, particularly our great partners, and customers who make our work possible, and the community who make it fun, and we look forward to continuing the successful work with you in 2020!

Thank You!

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Collabora Office 6.2

Cambridge, December 20, 2019 – Today we release Collabora Office 6.2.0 providing businesses and professionals with the best features, interoperability, LTS and custom support in open source as well as respecting user privacy and company data security. Changes in Collabora Office 6.2 also support new and enhanced features in Collabora Online.

The Best of Features, Interoperability, and Support in Open Source

We’ve selected the following of the new possibilities and improvements, available in the new release of our office productivity suite.

Writer 6.2

  • Better language support and exchange with Word documents including support for bottom-top left-right text direction.
  • Extended support of the legacy type Microsoft form fields.

  • Table-size actions involving column/row size now behave more in line with expectations.
  • HTML export has an opt-in mode to write the ReqIF subset of XHTML.

Calc 6.2

 

Full-Sheet Previews option on the PDF Export Dialog

  • Copy & paste of spreadsheet data directly in text document tables.
  • Data Validation now supports custom formula.
  • Multivariate regression analysis is possible using the regression tool (DataStatisticsRegression).

  • Also, many more statistical measures are now available in the analysis output.

Impress/Draw 6.2

  • A whole series of improvements in animations.
  • In Draw the attributes to display and protect layers, are now compliant with ODF specifications.
  • Many layer improvements.
  • There is now a Table sub menu to menu Format.

Miscellaneous 6.2

  • The Help is improved, nice looking and completely available online, making finding information on many topics easy and fast.

Collabora Office new online Help

  • Redaction feature, with automated finding of targets, to remove sensitive content before sharing documents.

  • The new Print dialog makes handling all print tasks easier.

Collabora Office new Print dialog

  • Encryption improvements for OOXML-documents.
  • Signature Lines can be used in combination with (a signature) image and are now available in Calc too.

Integration, business

  • Improvements in COLEAT, for integration with business applications written in Microsoft Office Visual Basic.

 

  • File locking in mixed environments with Microsoft documents improved.
  • Better integration with SharePoint 2010 via ActiveX.

Series interoperability improvements

  • Microsoft OOXML charts.
  • There are many improvements in interoperability, of which quite some may look as minor, but that all together make a real difference.

User interface

  • There is a rich choice in toolbar layouts – a solution for every need and each preference via menu View > User Interface.

Collabora Office 6.2 - Rich choice in tool bars

  • Nice and clear new icon sets.

Mobile improvements 6.2

We only mention a few items here: better support for HiDPI displays, improved performance, enhanced Document signing with Verisign.
Most important are a huge amount of improvements that show in better integration on small devices, more powerful features online, better look and user-friendliness. We recommend our information on Android, Apple iOS and CODE 4.2.0 (showing what will be in Collabora Online).

About

Collabora Office 6.2 provides businesses and professionals with the best features, interoperability, LTS and L3 support. Based on upstream LibreOffice 6.2 source code, the project in which we are happy to cooperate and where all our code is contributed, and extended with improvements and backported stable features from newer releases, or features for our customers that are not yet available in the stable upstream branches.

Migrate with our demo of Collabora Office 6.2

You can try Collabora Office 6.2 yourself! Just head to the Collabora Office page and request your demo today, or just click the button below.

Try the Demo

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Enthusiast students building LibreOffice – Report from Bootcamp in Ankara

Developing in C++ is not easiest thing you can do in ICT. But if you have some C++ knowledge and skills, it brings you great possibilities. What to think of building LibreOffice and working somewhere in the million lines of code? In Ankara, at the Hacettepe University’s Beytepe Campus, 40 students joining the LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp, just arrived at that point.

Muhammet Kara, Collabora Productivity developer, who gives the courses, tells:

We have finished the 5th session/week of the Bootcamp. So far, we did the following. The first four weeks we did C++ basics, and covered topics such as syntax, operators, data types, arrays, pointers, exceptions.. You name it. On week 2, 3, and 4 the students had to do three home works /assignments. In week 5 we looked at LibreOffice development: how it is organized, who are involved, tooling, habits. And of course: what is good about contributing to LibreOffice. The next week the students should have a complete building environment. So we’ll start the real development: working on easy hacks. More on that in the next report!

Collabora is really glad about the enthusiasm for LibreOffice development and happy to sponsor the Ankara Bootcamp.

The training program attracted much interest from the students side. In the first weeks, which were mainly about the basics of C++, were attended by 120 to 140 students were attending the course. The weekly plans, published on Muhammet Kara’s blog, show the ambitious amount of content they have been introduced to.  The LibreOffice Development Bootcamp was also widely noticed beyond the sphere of the Hacettepe University. The tweets posted on the topic generated many hundreds of interactions and over ten thousand views in the social network.

In week five the specific work on LibreOffice moved more into focus. It was discussed why it makes sense to contribute to it. 40 students took part in this phase of the bootcamp, a great number if you consider that it is not a mandatory course and the demands on the participants were very challenging. The weekly sessions will be given until the end of the semester, January 2020. We will keep you updated here and report about the next weeks of the LibreOffice Developer Camp in Ankara.

 

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CODE 4.2.0 Released with fresh User Interface

Clean look, feature rich Side Bar, and much more

Cambridge, United Kingdom, December 16, 2019Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind bringing LibreOffice to the cloud, is excited to announce a new, major release of our product CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition) 4.2.0 This release includes a fresh look, mobile improvements, improved inter-operability, new dialogs and functionality as well as a raft of bug fixes and polish. The release gives you an insight into our soon-to-be released enterprise version Collabora Online 4.2.0. CODE and Collabora Online offer privacy as well as the only truly open-source solution for working with and collaborating on rich documents in the cloud.

CODE logo

What’s new?

This major update of Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) comes with a rich new user interface and is built onto of the stability and performance of our LTS version of LibreOffice: Collabora Office 6.2. It includes many improvements in functionality and user-friendliness. The most obvious new feature is the powerful sidebar on the right. Many settings for text and all kind of properties of objects in the documents can be easily updated here. The sidebar makes it much easier to change tables, colour settings and charts elements in the browser, with close to the same feature richness that is available in Collabora Office on the desktop. The status bar has been redesigned and our powerful function wizard is now available in Calc online. Copy and paste of rich text and content is added for online, and our responsive user interface adapts nicely to mobile phones and tablets.

Rich chart functions from the side bar

When charts are selected, the sidebar now gives access to a wide range of features. For example, you can easily choose chart types from bars, lines and points, pies and more, or whether the diagram should be displayed in 3D.

Other elements of charts can now also be adjusted from the sidebar. You can now determine how and where titles and legends are displayed. Furthermore, many of the visual elements of the diagram can be adjusted here. The sidebar also allows you to define the surface colour, transparency, line types and grid lines.

Click to see that in action:

Click to see the chart sidebar in action

Online function wizard: a powerful tool for formulas

Working with formulas is important and especially for the more complex types, having help with the tenth optional parameter is good. The new function wizard does that and it is new available in Calc from now on. The function wizard grants easy access to all elements of also the most complex formulas. It shows the structure and meaning of different parts of a formula, and more.

Conditions apply: Enhanced formatting options in Calc

Conditional formatting is a powerful feature in Calc. It is enables you to quickly visualize data in a spreadsheet by setting various useful rules on your sheet to adapt the cells formatting, colour, or even add icons when certain criteria are met. While a simplified set of conditional formats was previously available via an icon in the toolbar, you can now also make use of the full dialogs, to be found in the Format menu, to define and manage conditions fully.

Better display in Calc: smooth scaling of spreadsheets

The scaling of spreadsheets has been significantly improved in CODE 4.2.0. While in Calc you could previously only choose between two zoom factors of 100% and 200%, now fine adjustment is are possible to suit. Using the convenient (and redesigned) quick selector in the lower right corner, you can now choose your favourite zoom percentage between 33% and 200%.

More presentation functions in the sidebar

The new sidebar adds many useful functions to Impress. For shapes and outlines, the size, position, colours, transparency, wrapping and so on are easy to change.

The possibilities to alter the slide master and lay out, from the sidebar, are also completely new in CODE 4.2. You can now access extensive layout functionality for slides such selecting masters, layouts and even editing your own master pages. Needless to say, that character settings, fonts types, sizes, colours and spacing can also be easily adjusted from the sidebar.

Handier working with images

Working with images in all document types is easier, more convenient and more precise. The sidebar allows to adjust colour options, such as brightness, contrast or transparency or the red, blue and green portion of the image. Another handy feature is the adjustment of the layer settings of the images. Bring them to the foreground or arrange them in the background – all via the sidebar.

Rich copy and paste between docx and xlsx documents and more… in the browser

People that work online, often have many documents open simultaneously, and want to mash them together into bigger, better documents. So you’ll be glad to learn the CODE 4.2.0 introduces copying of rich formatted content along with images, charts, and other complex elements, between your online spreadsheets, documents and presentations.

New online colour picker

For certain elements there is not only the usual colour selector, offering a palette, but also the colour picker to chose any custom colours needed. Use it with text and background in presentations, lines in spreadsheets and presentations, text and background for floating frames in text documents.

Handling links in Writer has just become more pleasant

CODE 4.2.0 brings very nice enhancements when working with hyperlinks. Whenever the mouse cursor is located next to a link or on it, you will be kindly notified by a pop-up dialogue allowing the real target to be inspected and launched conveniently with a single click.

Beautiful new icons and a redesigned theme

The new design of the icons embellishes the upper toolbar. The new theme is tidier has more generous spacing, and is clearer in general. It should increase productivity and reduce friction. Buttons that are selected have a clearer and more distinct highlight too.

The status bar also benefits from our visual redesign. Not only does it look cleaner, it also improves quick access to the functions located there. The language of documents can now also be set via a popup.

Table editing in the side bar and table handles

In Writer it is now possible to manipulate tables extensively from the sidebar and we also added easy to use in-document selection handles, choose either or both. Previously the table dialog had to be used, which was far less convenient. These handles make adjusting row height and column width very user-friendly.

You want to insert rows or columns from here? Of course! Or delete some or all of them? a click! Furthermore, the sidebar also allows you to set the background colour of the cells or to fine-tune their height and width of rows and columns. It becomes even more interesting if you select several cells. Then you can also merge them from the sidebar or distribute them evenly.

 

Table of contents

In text documents, the full table of contents can now be configured with the new dialogs. So even online, you can customize your complex table of contents in a few clicks according to your wishes. For example edit the entries and change style, background or columns.

About CODE

CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users that want to start to run their own online office suite. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and host them themselves in their own controlled and private environment. For them and also for tech-enthusiast, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE gives the possibility to be the first to use new features. It will be improved continuously and our next enterprise Collabora Online product will be built from it. Note that we recommend our supported and maintained enterprise release: Collabora Online for business and production environments. CODE warns users that they might want support after 10 concurrent documents or 20 concurrent users. Find out how about the different ways to install CODE on our product page.

Get CODE 4.2.0!

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New: Collabora Office for Android

Great new interface and editing – in beta

We are excited to announce a complete new version of Collabora Office for Android, available now in Google Play, with the following main improvements:

  • A great looking interface, easy to use with just one hand on your phone
  • Editing of complex office documents, not just viewing
  • Now re-uses the same technology as Collabora Online.

In common with other Collabora Productivity products, this new Android release enables people to edit their documents without compromising on privacy. There is no longer a reason to hand over your data to get rich mobile editing.
The new release marks the end of a period of rewriting important parts of the application. We now share much of the code and user experience from Collabora Online’s collaborative editor as well as Collabora Office 6.2 for displaying the documents.

(Please don’t miss the announcement of the release of February 2020!)

 

(minimal version Android 5.0)

What it looks like

Text file and image details – Collabora Office for Android

Typing in a text document – Collabora Office for Android

Inserting and editing tables – Collabora Office for Android

More great interface details

Text file with spreadsheet embedded – Collabora Office for Android

Image handling in text document – Collabora Office for Android

A new front end, re-using Collabora Online

The technology under the hood has changed almost completely, with only the LibreOffice core for rendering the documents remained. We removed the previous Fennec tiled renderer, and moved to re-use a our Collabora Online web view. This means our Android app can share the same features as our flagship product Collabora Online. The recently released Collabora Office for iOS uses the same approach. As a result, features and improvements and fixes made foor one solution (online, mobile, desktop) often enhance all the others. The Javascript and CSS base makes contributing to and developing and debugging the app much simpler for people to get involved with.

 

Shape editing – Collabora Office for Andoid

 

Spreadsheet in Collabora Office for Android

 

Rich documents in Collabora Office for Android

 

Getting involved

Once you have got Collabora Office (Google Play), your feedback is much appreciated. Report any problems you find to the bug tracker, and attach any documents related to the issue so developers can investigate. You can also checkout the Online code and build it yourself.

Rich history and community growth

The road to the current version of the Android app was a long one, one with many companions and some detours. The first version that brought LibreOffice to the Android platform was released in 2011 after an intensive process of cross-compiling and a number of bug fixes. This version was rather a proof of concept and by no means suitable for productive work.

Two years later, in 2013, the application had developed into a document viewer rendering entire pages and including basic user interface to handle pages. During the years 2014 to 2015, the rendering was changed to split the pages into „tiles“, the same way as other applications like Mozilla Firefox were doing. We have extracted the Mozilla’s compositing from their code and reused it in our Android app – still only a viewer. Later in this period, editing was added as an experimental feature.
Between 2016 and 2018 further features and functions were implemented thanks to community involvement, however the vision of a full editor was not realized.

In 2019 we decided to do a complete rewrite of everything above the LibreOffice rendering core. Inspiration for this was the development of the new Collabora Office for iOS app, which Collabora is driving forward together with our Swiss partner Adfinis SyGroup. The current, newly developed Android app benefits greatly from the Collabora Online code base and work for the iOS version and includes also features implemented this year during the GSoC, mentored by our engineers.

Thanks to everyone that contributed

This new Office app for Android obviously came by a huge investment from Collabora.  As with all open source projects, it has also been made possible by the open source community as a whole, by many organizations and the personal dedication of many individuals that contributed. Specifically, for this Android app we want to mention the initial Android port funded by SUSE. The initial app used the tiled rendering funded by CloudOn, and was driven by Smoose, IceWarp and many customers of Collabora Productivity. The Document Foundation’s donors also funded the initial basic editing functionality.

Without ever doing justice to the entire crowd of supporters, we would like to thank a few people whose performance in this development has been outstanding. At this point, we would like to mention the pioneering work of our fellow two collaborators Tor Lillqvist and Michael Meeks and on the initial version of the App that among others included a first loader developed by Iain Billiet, during his GSoC ‘12 program and other components by Matúš Kukan.

Tomaž Vajngerl contributed to the already mentioned tiled rendering to the app in 2014/2105. Miklos Vajna’s efforts made editing possible at that stage. Christian Lohmaier, Ximeng Zu, and Mert Tumer have made important and substantial contributions by adding more features to the toolbar in the last few years.

Tor Lillquist was also responsible for the development of the Collabora Office for iOS app, which had a significant influence on the version for Android, and was made possible thanks to the great personal commitment of Nicolas Christener of Adfinis SyGroup. Thank you to Kaishu Sahu for his large amount of features programmed during the GSoC this summer, while our team member Jan Holesovsky has been the main developer of the current release.

Would you like to be part of the story ? get involved today.

About Collabora Productivity:

Collabora Productivity is the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the cloud, providing Collabora Online and a range of products and consulting to enterprise and government. Powered by the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers in the world, it is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice codebase and community. Collabora Office for Desktop and Collabora Online provide a business-hardened office suite with long-term, multi-platform support. Collabora Productivity is a division of Collabora, the global software consultancy dedicated to providing the benefits of Open Source to the commercial world, specializing in mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries. For more information, visit www.collaboraoffice.com or follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter.

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