Collabora’s LibreOffice development experts are supporting students for GSoC 2020

Collabora developers are mentoring students during this year’s Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code is an amazing, international program encouraging the participation of university students in open source software development. It enables students to independently gain practical experience on concrete projects and matches them with experienced developers. This year a record number of almost 1200 students is taking part in the sponsored projects. Collabora is always delighted to support GSoC projects: some of our experienced developers are mentoring the students: guiding them in the code, encouraging them, and supporting the growth of their skills.

Collabora developers at GSoC 2020

Also for this year’s GSoC several students are being mentored by Collabora Productivity team members. Tomaž Vajngerl, Muhammet Kara, Miklos Vajna, Mike Kaganski, and Michael Meeks are assisting the work on several projects around LibreOffice. And our companies involvement is not just limited to that. Andrej Shadura, a developer from our parent company Collabora, is in charge of various projects around the Debian operating system. Collabora’s support of these Google Summer of Code reflects our commitment to open source software and is also a matter of personal attachment. Several of today’s Collaborans like Elie Tournier and Rohan Garg have successfully participated in the GSoC program in the past. So have the current mentors Muhammet Kara, Miklos Vajna, and Pranam Lashkari from Collabora Productivity team.

A success story – development camps in Turkey

The successful application of no less than six LibreOffice office projects for this year’s Summer of Code would not be fully told without mentioning some previous happenings in winter. Collabora Productivity had sponsored the LibreOffice Developer Bootcamp in Ankara and the LibreOffice Development Workshop at the Anadolu University in Eskişehir (Turkey) during the Free Software Wintercamp 2020. These ambitious development courses by Muhammet Kara spawned no less than three of the six successfully submitted LibreOffice projects of GSoC 2020. Find out more about the great outcome of these development camps within our community news blog post.

LibreOffice projects mentored by Collabora Productivity

The student Ahmad Ganzouri has successfully submitted two projects. Supported by the mentors Tomaž Vajngerl, Miklos Vajna, and Michael Meeks, he will work on a project adding blurry shadows to objects in LibreOffice and on a second one that aims to move the current gallery data in favour to easier to handle ZIP files. Yusuf Keten, another participant of the LibreOffice Developers Bootcamp in Ankara, will be working on additions to better integrate extensions. Keten’s project is being mentored by Collabora’s Muhammet Kara.

Also Collabora’s parent company developers are mentoring

Another interesting GSoC project is bringing a CiviCRM integration to LibreOffice and Collabora Office. “Styles Inspector“, also mentored by Tomaž Vajngerl, is another project aimed at LibreOffice. We all look forward to the results of the students work. And for sure we will try to cover some of that here. Another wonderful story is that of Collabora Productivity developer Pranam Lashkari. He was a GSoC student during the last two years while graduating and this year he is already a mentor for two projects within the Boost C++ libraries. Collabora developer Andrej Shadura is mentoring no less than three projects focusing on Android SDK Tools for the Debian operating system. Find out more about these and other noteworthy projects in the Collabora news blog.

About Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code is a program awarding a three months stipend to students who successfully complete a free and open-source software coding project during the summer. The annual program started in 2005. This year, 199 organizations and 1199 student projects are taking part. Within the last 15 years more than 15.000 students from over 100 countries had been accepted. Developers from free and open source projects serve as mentors. Between 80 – 90% of the accepted projects get completed successfully.

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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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French service company Arawa implementing Collabora Online for the University of Lille

A Customer Case Study showing how students & staffs are allowed to collaborate on common online office documents at the University of Lille, France.

Arawa, a French services company specialized in Open Source and collaborative software, has successfully delivered a Collabora Online implementation to streamline collaborative efforts and support a new generation of student services, deployed at the University of Lille, in the north of France.

Seamlessly integrated with Nextcloud, the on-premise file share and collaboration platform, the University of Lille implemented another service aiming at easing collaboration projects between students and also between staff members: they now provide potentially more than 70 000 people with Collabora Online to help them work on a common framework of online office tools.

“The University is really aiming at facilitating open standards across the whole campus. Students especially came from different IT cultures and used so many different office tools and software products, that it made sense and became crucial to put a common solution at their disposal. And following our benchmark, Collabora Online fits in perfectly with Nextcloud.”
Cédric Foll, IT Director at University of Lille

Université de Lille

Reducing the number of tools used internally had also become an important challenge. The large number of tools mainly used by students did not really help secure a Research environment, and all the confidential information that is produced in such an environment.

“The project is aligned with our ambitions for the University of Lille”, said Pierre Boulet, VP of digital transformation. “In this case, Collabora Online is helping to support a huge student community.  It will also increase the University’s attractiveness to candidates and provide extra resources to make student life easier.”
Pierre Boulet, VP of digital transformation at University of Lille

The digital transformation of the University of Lille is really about the wider picture. It will help the University team enhance the overall student experience, and in the meanwhile, it will reinforce the image of the University as one in an on-going process of improvements.

“This project is a great example of how Collabora fulfills requirements of a powerful online office suite, ideally suited within Nextcloud. Data security was a key requirement here. They needed a solution which could be hosted on premises, and where they have a total control of the data.”
Philippe Hemmel, CEO of Arawa

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“Arawa is an excellent partner”, said Michael Meeks, General Manager, Collabora Productivity, “We love to work as part of their their expert and dedicated service for their customers, and congratulate them on this implementation of Collabora Online.”
Michael Meeks, General Manager, Collabora Productivity

About Université de Lille

The University of Lille is a multidisciplinary, research-intensive university whose researchers collaborate with many partners throughout Europe and the world. With 67,000 students (including 7,300 international students), 6,300 staff members, 66 research units, and diplomas in all fields of study, the University of Lille is a major player in the region in training, research, innovation, and its commitment to social issues.

About Arawa

Arawa is a French IT services company, distributing and implementing Open-Source software solutions. These solutions offer collaborative capabilities to edit, store and share on-premises contents, with a high-level of security and control of the data. Thanks to a combination of deep functional and technical expertise, Arawa’s consultants deliver personalized and tailor-made solutions around a suite of open-source products: Nextcloud, LibreOffice, Collabora Online, OnlyOffice et Nayego.
Visit Arawa or follow @Arawa_fr on Twitter.

About Collabora

Collabora Productivity is the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the cloud, providing Collabora Online and a range of other 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 benefits of Open Source to the commercial world, specializing in mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries. For more information, visit Collabora Office or follow @CollaboraOffice on Twitter

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