Collabora developers mentor successful GSoC Projects

Autumn is just around the corner. For many participants in the GSoC 2020, a busy and instructive summer full of hacking on open source projects came to an end a few weeks ago. Commits have been contributed and final reports have been written. This year experienced Collabora Productivity developers were again mentors for various projects of the Google Summer of Code for the LibreOffice project. Here are some examples of projects our team helped to succeed!

Analysing Writer documents with the “Style Inspector”

The “Style Inspector” is a great new tool. You can access it through a new icon (an eye combined with a pencil) in the Sidebar (also via “Sidebar Settings”). The Style Inspector displays in full detail (and hierarchical) all styles and also direct formatting applied to a cursor position in a Writer document. So you can analyse, identify problems and clean them up. Sometimes formatting in documents is messy and people mix styles with direct formatting. The Style Inspector allows you to see that.
The feature is available for testing in pre-released development versions of LibreOffice. Shivan Kumar Singh picked up the proposal from the LibreOffice Design Team. He was mentored by Collaborans TomažVajngerl and MikeKaganski with Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice Design Team. Take a look into Singh’s final report! It is an inspiring a guide on how to approach a big project like LibreOffice.

Improving the way to find and add extensions

There are many useful extensions to LibreOffice and users should be able to find them easily! Like in app stores like Gnome Software or the Play Store. That is basic idea behind “Tight Integrations” and the proposal from the LibreOffice design team. Yusuf Keten made this his GSOC project a success and added the possibility to search and sort the through extensions without having to leave LibreOffice. You start this new way to search with a clear yellow star with a download arrow, that is in the templates dialog, at the icons in the view options, or from the galleries pane in the side bar.
If you are curios about this handy extensions feature you can already test and find it in the latest LibreOffice pre-releases. Yusuf was mentored ba Collabora’s Muhammet Kara and Heiko Tietze from the LibreOffice design team. Find all the details of Yusuf’s work in his final report.

I learned a lot of things during the GSoC. Although GSoC is finished, I will continue to contribute to LibreOffice. I am very happy to be part of the LibreOffice community.(Yusuf Keten)

Access the Tight Integrations manager through the icon in Gallery
Browse, search and sort through Templates, Galleries & Icons in the new extension dialog.

Changing the contour – shadows are becoming blurry

New blurry shadow option

Did you know, that in LibreOffice the shadows are just a copy of the object? There are already a lot of settings to change their appearance, like its colour, its angle, the transparency and distance behind the object. Mentored by Collaboran’s TomažVajngerl and Miklos Vajna, Ahmad Ganzouri added another option. The “Blurry Shadows” make use of the already implemented BitmapFilterStackBlur and make the shape of the shadow look very realistic. Find the details around the development in Ahmad’s final report. We have seen the Blurry Shadow option in the master branch and expect it to be available to all users in Version 7.1 of LibreOffice. The option can be easily accessed via the “Area” dialog in “Objects & Shapes” or directly via the corresponding Sidebar module.

The blur setting can be defined Area dialog.

Searching for a mentor? Join us GitHub!

Google Summers of Code are an excellent opportunity to learn working in many open source projects. But where to find mentors during the rest of the year? We recently moved the code of Collabora Online to GitHub. You will find a growing community there, with easy hacks to get started. Community Mentor Muhammet Kara and the rest of our team of open source developers are there and willing to share their vast experience.

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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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Winners of the open source classic award at DINAcon!

On 19th October 2018, at Welle7 Workspace in Bern, Switzerland, we attended DINAcon – the conference on digital sustainability. Our General Manager, Michael Meeks, had a talk about “How best to migrate to LibreOffice”, where he explained the best ways to move to a supported Open Source and Open Standards solution. Also, he talked about Collabora’s latest work with our partners, and our new tool to migrate existing legacy Visual Basic line of business apps.

If you missed his talk then check out the slides above for the complete presentation:

Download the slides from the presentation “How best to migrate to LibreOffice”!

DINAcon Awards!

Great news from Bern – we won the open source classic award at DINAcon! 🙂

For this award were running a lot of amazing open source products, including Collabora Online and Collabora Office. We are honored to receive this award – it is a big motivation for the whole team! Thanks a lot everyone for your support.

Hacknight

The conference ended with the hacknight and of course that we couldn’t miss it. It was the perfect time to work on LibreOffice bugs. 🙂

Digital Economy Award

Another nomination! Collabora Office & Collabora Online are nominated for the Digital Economy Award 2018 and our partners, Adfinis SyGroup, presented about our products in front of the jury of the Swiss Digital Economy Award. (Thank you, Nicolas. 🙂 )

The winners will be announced at the Digital Economy Award Night, on November 21, in the Hallenstadion in Zurich. Until then, fingers crossed. 🙂

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“Real Time, Secure Collaboration” presentation at ownCloud Conference 2018

From September 18 until September 21, ownCloud held their annual conference oCCon2018 in Nürnberg, Germany. Participants joined the four days of the conference, hacking, learning and trying out new ideas on the ownCloud platform.

During the ownCloud conference, Collabora Productivity’s General Manager Michael Meeks gave a talk about how Collabora Online integrates into ownCloud. Collabora Online is a powerful LibreOffice-based online office that supports all major document, spreadsheet, and presentation file formats, which is easy to deploy in ownCloud, as a simple extension. Key features are collaborative editing and excellent office file format support.

Slides

Check out the slides above for the complete presentation:

Download the slides from the presentation “Real Time & Secure Collaboration”!

 

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Meet us at DINAcon!

It’s time for DINAcon!

Tomorrow – on 19th October 2018, at Welle7 Workspace in Bern, Switzerland, starts DINAcon – the conference on digital sustainability. The conference brings many open source enthusiasts including Katherine Maher, Wikimedia CEO, Simon Phipps, President of the Open Source Initiative, and our General Manager – Michael Meeks. His talk will be in the afternoon (14.30-15:30) and will be about “How best to migrate to LibreOffice”. If you are interested to hear about the best ways to move to a supported Open Source and Open Standards solution – then don’t miss his talk. Also, you will hear how LibreOffice can be used both on the PC and also in combination with other Open Source file-sharing products to provide a browser-based solution on desktop and mobile. Furthermore, you will hear about Collabora’s latest work with our partners, and our new tool to migrate existing legacy Visual Basic line of business apps.

DINAcon Awards

DINAcon Awards honor the courage and innovative strength of companies, authorities, communities, developers and individuals. A jury of experts and entrepreneurs are responsible for the nomination and selection of the winners of the DINAcon Awards 2018 and we are delighted to be one of the nominated projects. The award ceremony will take place on Friday (tomorrow), 19th October 2018 as part of the DINAcon 2018 in Bern, Switzerland.

Join us!

Do you have any questions, feedback or you just want to say hi? Let’s meet in Bern – drop us an email at hello@collaboraoffice.com and we would be very happy to meet you there.

There is still time to register until Friday:

Register!

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