Using Collabora Online to accelerate document conversion

Nowadays we have different ways of converting our documents, using different tools that are available online. One option is JODConverter: (for Java OpenDocument Converter) a widely used tool that automates document conversions. Supported formats include OpenDocument, PDF, HTML, Microsoft Office formats (DOC/DOCX/RTF, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX) and many others. Usage can be as a Java library, a command line tool, or a web application. Traditionally the JODConverter uses a LibreOffice process for its conversion but newer versions of JODConverter can use Collabora Online directly.*

We built a dedicated page on our website explaining why you should consider switching to either the Collabora Online backend or more simply talk directly to Collabora Online itself.

What are the main benefits of using Collabora Online for document conversion?

  • Improved performance compared to startup-convert-shutdown approach;
  • The REST API is more reliable than starting LibreOffice in server mode and communicating via remote UNO;
  • More secure because the conversion happens in an isolated environment and this layered approach protects your infrastructure (from outer to inner layers):
    • It is easy to run it in a Virtual Machine / Docker Container;
    • Document data isolation into per-document chroots;
    • Seccomp-bpf: inside that chroot (almost) no system calls are allowed;
    • Extremely sparse filesystem inside the chroot: no shell etc.

For more details checkout our page that explains more about the benefits, performance, and how to try out JODConverter with its Collabora Online backend. If you have questions, feel free to send us an email.

Check it out!

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Meet us this weekend in Hamburg!

The LibreOffice community during the Hackfest at Betacowork in Brussels, Belgium.

When…

On 7th to 8th April – this weekend- we will be in Hamburg, Germany to attend LibreOffice Hackfest. It’s again the time to meet other contributors to the project to “hack” all together. At the Hackfest will be EasyHacks prepared for anyone wanting to do their first code contributons to the project and we will be around to help every interested newcomer.

Will you join us?

If you will be around and would like to have a chat with us drop us an email and we would be happy to see you there.

Check out the wiki page for more details.

See you soon! 🙂

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Recent Mac-specific fixes in LibreOffice

 

Over the past months, we have been able to make some resources available to look into the most urgent Mac-specific bugs in LibreOffice, thanks to people purchasing LibreOffice Vanilla on the Mac App Store.
 

We addressed all the high priority Mac regressions

A few bugs were related to use of various 3rd-party fonts on macOS. The system APIs used by LibreOffice to enumerate installed typefaces and their styles indicate the weight of the font as a floating-point number between -1.0 and 1.0, with zero being “regular” weight. That number needs to be converted to an integer (with just ten separate values) used in LibreOffice. The mapping is heuristic, and it turned out that tweaking the mapping just a little bit made it possible to distinguish between some weights of a typeface that had previously mapped to the same weight in LibreOffice.

Another issue was that for some other 3rd-party fonts, the system API claimed that the weight of the “Regular” style was non-zero and positive (0.23 to be exact), i.e., a bit on the bold side. LibreOffice trusted that, which lead to the bold style always being selected for those typefaces, even when asking for a non-bold, regular (medium) weight. The fix for this was to simply handle these special cases separately. If resources allow and more similar problematic fonts are identified, some more generic fix would be needed.

Another set of bugs were related to notifications for screen parameter changes (like when changing the size of the Dock, or attaching or detaching monitors). On some Macs, the system sent these notifications quite eagerly for no obvious reason. LibreOffice was asking to receive such notifications too early before it was prepared to handle them. This lead to a crash. The fix was to request notifications only once being prepared to receive them.

Also, the handler for this notification did not check whether anything had actually changed that LibreOffice would want to know but just went through all the motions of re-calculating layouts of GUI and sizes of text and whatnot, totally in vain. This took a considerable amount of time when you had a lot of document windows open and several of these notifications were received. The fix here was to add a check if anything actually had changed that would be of interest to LibreOffice, and if not, just don’t proceed to do any re-calculations of layouts etc.

Finally, there was a problem with inserting videos in Impress presentations. When doing that LibreOffice (for some reason) copies the video file first into a temporary copy. That copy was given a name without file name extension. The system APIs used to open and display the video did not like that and displaying even an initial grabbed frame from the video failed. The fix was simply to make sure the copy of the video file had the same file name extension as the original one.

We’ll be addressing more Mac issues as when as we sell more LibreOffice Vanilla. Why not get involved to ensure they’re well triaged and prioritized!

Read more details how Collabora started maintaining LibreOffice Vanilla in the Mac app store.

Download now!

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Post-FOSDEM

It was a great FOSDEM again, with a lot of presentations, speakers, and participants. We met a lot of people during those days and it was great to catch up with them. Most of the time our team was at LibreOffice booth in the K building at the main hall, or at Open Document Editors devroom.

Missed our talks?

If you missed our talks because the rooms were pretty full or because you couldn’t attend FOSDEM please have a look at the registrations and slides:

Re-structuring a giant, ancient code-base for new platforms

How LibreOffice is meeting the challenges of new platforms both hardware and software, adapting to new constraints & shining.


Calc: The challenges of scalable arithmetic

How we threaded the Calc core to get some great efficiency wins on the new deeply threaded Ryzen era.


EPUB export in LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice Writer was always capable of exporting your document in a portable way in the form of the PDF filter. Today many users read reflowable content in EPUB, which is the new PDF to some extent. This work is done by integrating the libepubgen Document Liberation library and by improving both the library and LibreOffice itself along the way. Come and see how it’s implemented, where are the still rough edges and how you can help.


Dialog tunneling in LibreOffice Online

LibreOffice on the desktop is very feature packed office suite. One of the complaints that power users make in Online is that it lacks many of them: they cannot add colored borders in their paragraphs, manage tracked changes/comments, correct the spelling and grammar in the document, etc. The question is how do we bring these functionalities to the cloud at your disposal in your browser tab?


On Saturday night it was community time, where we had a dinner with all the LibreOffice contributors at Betacowork, the same location where we had two days of LibreOffice Hackfest on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th of February.

See you again next year at FOSDEM!

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Univention Summit 2018

The Univention Summit will take place this week from 1st to 2nd February, at the international Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. Every year, IT professionals from value-added resellers, cloud service providers, and software developers meet Open Source users for networking opportunities and knowledge transfer. The programme includes dynamic keynote speeches, user and partner presentations, technical and strategic workshops, plus a relaxing evening get-together make the summit a perfect place for Open Source enthusiasts.

You’re coming and want to talk with us ?

We love to meet our partners, customers and users, and look forward to getting your feedback and answering your questions. Get in touch via bizdev@collaboraoffice.com

Further information on the Univention Summit 2018 can be found here: https://www.univention-summit.com/

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