GSoC 21 Projects mentored by Collabora for LibreOffice

Collabora mentors students on LibreOffice projects during this year’s Google Summer of Code

Summer is synonymous with the opportunity to participate in beautiful projects. Let’s look at the students who work in improving LibreOffice during the Google Summer of Code. This year, four of the approved GSoC projects for the LibreOffice community are mentored by Collabora developers. Find out about the improvements they are currently implementing!

Tests for the VCL graphic backends

The Visual Class Library (VCL) tests identifies if a graphic backend works correctly. This is especially important if the backend depends on the client hardware or drivers (like e.g. on Skia/Vulkan). This task’s main objective is adding more test cases to the pre-existing tests, and implementing a usable UI for users to test the graphic’s feasibility themselves. This project can be considered as of medium difficulty and requires C++ knowledge. It has been taken over by Akshit Kushwaha who is being mentored by Collaborans Tomaž Vajngerl and Luboš Luňák.

Creating a powerful Text Style deck

Text Style deck mock-up by the LibreOffice design team

The current styles deck sidebar is going to see a redesign. The paragraph and character styles will be merged into a single Text Style deck, as illustrated in the mock-up to the left. Furthermore, Anshu Khare, who has picked-up this project, does also want to rework the filter workflow. Anshu Khare is being mentored by Collaborans Tomaž Vajngerl and Mike Kaganski and Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice design team.

Making SVM format independent of the VCL Metafile

The SVM file is a 1-to-1 pullout of the content of the VCL Metafile. We mentioned the VCL already before. It is a complex code area and since the SVM should not change, stay consistent, modernizing and updating VCL is very hard. Now after this task, there will be a test for the SVM format. And there will also be new classes, making it easier to update/improve VCL. This project can be considered of medium difficulty. It is being taken over by Panos Korovesis who is being mentored by Tomaž Vajngerl and Miklos Vajna.

100 paper cuts

100 Paper Cuts is a versatile and multifaceted project in which Bayram Çiçek will be implementing enhancement requests and solving some issues on the UX side of LibreOffice. This requires knowledge in C++ and the ability to read other peoples code. Due to its nature, the difficulty of this project can vary. Bayram Çiçek is being mentored by Collaboran Muhammet Kara and Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice design team.

More Projects – Boost.Gil 2D convolution and correlation

Apart from those for the LibreOffice project, Collaboran developers participate in other Google Summer of Code projects. For the Boost C++ Libraries organization, a 2D convolution and correlation algorithm aligned with existing 1D convolution and correlation is to be implemented. Prathamesh Tagore will improve the existing prototype and make it ready for release. He is being mentored by Collaboran Pranam Lashkari, who was himself a successful GSoC scholarship holder a few years ago.

We wish all participants an equally successful and insightful summer and would like to thank all mentors for devoting the time necessary for the success of these projects. At Collabora, we believe that the sharing of knowledge is an essential part of open source and also a driver of progress and innovation.

Searching for a mentor? Join us GitHub!

Google Summer of Code is an excellent opportunity to learn to work in many open-source projects. But where to find mentors during the rest of the year? We suggest you to take a look at the code of Collabora Online on GitHub and join the growing community there, with easy hacks to get started and regular round-ups. Community Mentor Muhammet Kara and the rest of our team of open-source developers are there and willing to share their vast experience.

Join the Collabora Online community

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Visual and usability wins to try out in the speedier new CODE 6.4.10

Collabora Online 6.4.10 introduces important improvements, in the areas of usability, visual presentation and performance. These can make your work faster and smoother and reduce server load too. CODE and Collabora Online have a unique WYSIWYG experience, unmatched by others, which now also adds visual anchors for precise positioning of images and objects in Writer, PPTX interoperability improvements and more pleasant scrolling of PDF files. Try it and share your experience!

A milestone in performance for online collaboration

The performance of Collabora Online is continually improving, particularly for larger groups working on documents, while we also grow our feature set in parallel. This version of CODE comes with a set of significant performance wins. Of a long list, let us mention the following.

  • With a heavily loaded document store – auto-saving of the document could in some circumstances block document editing while autosave was underway. Dealing with the document store on save is now done asynchronously, ie. in the background for a smoother experience.
  • The squiggly red-line used to highlight of misspelled words was consuming lots of rendering time which has now been fixed.
  • Memory handling of messages was less optimal than it could be.
  • The JavaScript in the browser client has a large number of improvements.
  • JavaScript image encoding is optimized and no longer touches large amounts of memory.
  • The document is no longer re-rendered in the browser for every websocket message from the server: instead batching message processing to improve responsiveness and avoid lagginess.
  • JavaScript and grid line rendering performance in Calc have also been improved.

Some 6.4.10 enhancements in the server back end and improvements for profiling & debugging.

  • A new built-in end-to-end profiler helps to find performance bottlenecks.
  • The ability to enable trace logging for a specific document on a busy server allows problems with individual documents to be diagnosed without having an adverse impact on whole server performance.

Of course, we could explain many technical details around Unix Socket buffers, image caching, sharing string memory and so forth. But we suggest that people who understand that, may want to engage with the cool_dev community and get involved with the fun!

code 6.4.10 is out

We’re pleased to bring all these improvements to our users, and we are already working on new wins for future releases. Nevertheless, we think this new version of CODE is a milestone on the way to the slickest editing experience for all! We grateful to community members who have helped to report and improve things in this area.

Consistent and beautiful interface that makes working more fun

CODE 6.4.10 comes with many improvements that enhance usability and makes the application visual more attractive. We would like to highlight the following examples:

Find & replace un code 6.4.10
Click to enlarge: The Find & Replace button is now available in the Home tab of Writer in CODE 6.4.10
  • Dialog showing copy & paste shortcuts, and warning information around pasting content, are now consistent and in a clear style.
  • Multiple improvements in the NotebookBar. Thanks to Andreas Kainz for all of the help here.
    • The NotebookBar has its spacing optimized, and is a few pixels smaller
    • Usability of the NotebookBar has been improved by promoting some items to big buttons
    • In Writer, the Find & Replace button added to the Home tab
    • Some obsolete buttons have been removed (e.g. the Thesaurus from the NotebookBar in Calc)
    • The box to change the document name has been reworked and is now easier to work with
  • The dialog Help > About and Help > Keyboard shortcuts are improved: users will no longer close them accidentally. In addition, it is now possible to copy the content.
  • The search toolbar at the bottom now gives clearer feedback when a search text is not found. Earlier that was hard to notice.
  • Spreadsheet tabs are more distinct with added contrast and multiple cosmetic fixes.
  • The spreadsheet tabs’ context menu only shows the options that are relevant when eg. there is only one sheet.

    • Various close buttons and other icons have improved positioning.
    • The settings in the CSV Import dialog are better positioned and easier to use, and horizontal scrolling through columns is enabled.
  • After inserting a shape or a table, the NotebookBar will switch to the Draw tab or Table tab
Click to enlarge: Many usability improvements in help menus of CODE 6.4.10

You can find more details on UI improvements in our release notes.

Interoperability improved with headers and footers in PPTX presentations

Headers and footers in PPTX presentations can now be edited online, further improving the WYSIWYG experience and also interoperability with other applications. The functionality can be accessed via the Header & Footer button at the Insert tab. The header function in Impress is reserved for the notes and handouts. Footers can be used on slides. In the dialog the Footer and Header text is defined. Other adjustments, such as font, colour and position, can be done via the master slide. These are features that users are familiar with from desktop applications as Collabora Office, which had a new major release recently.

Object and image anchors in text documents

An image or shape in Writer now can show its anchor point when selected. This makes it easier to position objects: the anchor point is clear and the anchor can be dragged with the mouse. Of course an image or shape can be anchored “as character” and be the anchor itself. The anchoring options can be altered via the context menu. Collabora Online offers users a unique WYSIWYG experience, working with either Microsoft DOCX or OpenDocument ODT, with a depth of functionality and detail that is unmatched.

Smooth & slick PDF scrolling

When opening PDF documents in online, it is now easy to scroll through them smoothly. In contrast to their previous rendering as one page at a time, now it is possible to read PDFs like Writer documents: continuously.

CODE 6.4.10: It is now possible to scroll smoothly through PDF files instead of browsing them page per page.

 

Get CODE 6.4.10

 

Enjoy and get involved

With CODE, you always run the latest features in online collaboration and interoperability. We hope you like this new release as much as we do! It’s easy to get involved: do share your experiences – we love to hear your feedback. Finally, why not check-out the developer resources on GitHub and get involved.

About CODE

CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and to host them themselves in a secure and private environment. For tech-enthusiasts, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE will be improved continuously and our next supported and maintained Collabora Online product will be built from it. All of our code is Open Source, and a vibrant community in participating in growing Collabora Online. Would you like to be part of the story? Join the community!

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