Collabora Online 21.11 Delivers New Features and Interoperability Improvements

Powerful Document Collaboration in a Secure, Private Cloud Environment

Cambridge, January 20, 2022 – Today we are pleased to announce the availability of a major new release of Collabora Online, which makes collaborative editing even more productive. This new release enhances personal and team productivity with design improvements, as well as smoother document interchange through improved interoperability, better performance and more.

Collabora Online is the collaboration suite that offers businesses and professionals the best features, interoperability, LTS, and custom support in open source, while respecting user privacy and corporate data security.

 

Addressing the Needs of Our Users

This new major version of Collabora Online is a further example of our ongoing development and commitment to ensuring it continues to address the evolving needs of our users in a rapidly changing world where choice, distributed working, privacy and data security have never been more important.

 

Quicker Functional Sidebar

The new Sidebar is “native” to your browser, thus much more responsive and always functional and easy to use

Collabora Online 21.11 introduces a new “native” sidebar. It is both a performance and usability improvement. It is now drawn directly on the screen by the browser by JavaScript, and no longer constructed on the server and then sent to your browser, making it far more responsive and natural looking. With its more snappy responding buttons and controls, it is a major improvement for all users!

The new sidebar at a glance:

  • Polished appearance
  • Better user experience
  • Faster responding buttons
  • Faster responding drop-down menus.
Collabora Online 21.11: Many elements, like dropdown menus, respond much faster in the new native Sidebar

 

View Documents More Easily

A number of new buttons in the NotebookBar improve the user experience when viewing documents. Zooming, full-screen view or switching the sidebar on and off are now accessible via clear buttons in the layout tab, and no longer only via the status bars or the burger menu. It makes these frequently used functions even easier to find.

 

Performance Improvements

Collabora Online 21.11 brings together many performance improvements that we have been working on through the 6.4.x lifecycle as well as some more advanced optimisations. These are rather hard to screenshot for your viewing pleasure for obvious reasons, but the next two images are a try at least.

There is a lot to tell on asynchronous save, accelerating of JavaScript, saving network traffic, improved multi-user editing and more. Specifically, in spreadsheets, we’ve made auto-spell checking and AutoFilter quicker. Take a look at this performance blog post for more background from a technical point of view.

 

Ongoing Work!

We continue to work to profile and optimise uses-cases that are important to our users, and the upcoming 21.11 micro-releases will exhibit more continuous improvement in this area – as well as ongoing improvements to our document pixel compression to make things even faster and lighter. It’s well worth staying up-to-date with the latest releases.

 

Right-to-left Support Available for All Document Types

Collabora Online 21.11 now supports right-to-left (RTL) text input within all modules. This makes it easier to create and edit documents in Persian or Arabic. The text direction can be set in the “Format” tab under the option “Page Style” (or “Slide Style” for presentations). The code in Collabora Online can detect several RTL language settings and will mirror the user interface accordingly.

 

Calc-Excel Compatible Formulae Improvements

Many functions in Calc have been improved both to extend interoperability with Excel, and to add new functionality. Support for sheet-local scoped names has been added to INDIRECT(), and both TEXT() and OFFSET() have been adapted to various corner cases to behave identically to the competition. TEXTJOIN() and CONCAT() now handle array & matrix arguments row-wise for improved compatibility. In addition, functions that use powerful regular expressions now correctly honour case-insensitivity flags.

 

Interoperability Boosted by Improved PPTX Import

Collabora Online 21.11 includes many interoperability improvements around the import of PPTX files, which we had already implemented in Collabora Office. Images within shapes – even those converted to greyscale or mirrored – are displayed online true to the original.

 

Better Shadow Effects

In earlier versions, shadows used to be rendered as solid copies of objects. The new Blur option now allows for a more realistic rendering of the shadows. The options of the feature can be accessed via the Shadows tab in the Area dialog or directly through updated “native” Sidebar. This feature was initially developed during a GSoC 2020 for the LibreOffice project mentored by Collaborans and then implemented with further refinements in Collabora Office 21.06 and is now also available online.

 

Glow and Soft Edge Effects for Shapes

Collabora Online 21.11 introduces further features allowing to manipulate shapes in a more granular way. Once a shape is selected, you can choose the radius of the Glow effect and its Soft Edges within the sidebar using the Effects parameter. Furthermore, you can select the colour and the degree of transparency of the effect. This function improves interoperability as it can be used for all shapes across Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw.

 

Consistent Use Of Language Identification

The basic model of language annotation that Collabora Online inherited from the LibreOffice core explicitly assigned languages to regions of text. This can easily lead to unexpected results when documents created in one local language (without specifying it further) are opened by another user with a different local language setting. Instead of a powerful, but potentially confusing multi-languages result, Writer now resets the language to the user’s UI locale if no document language had been defined. The current behaviour is more consistent.

 

Shadowed Tables For Use in ODS and PPTX Presentations

Shadow effects are a great way to add depth and appeal to elements. They are available for many objects, such as shapes, and include a range of feature enhancements and parameters, such as the blur effect and transparency. For tables within presentations, shadows are now also available in Collabora Online through the Table Properties dialog.

 

Miscellaneous Changes

In addition to the larger features, there are, of course, numerous smaller changes:

  • Internet Explorer 11 – dropped. This saves significant code complexity in some areas e.g. copy-paste, simplifies testing, and removes legacy javascript polyfills.
  • Auto-cleanup – on by default. We now, by default, are more aggressive towards processes that are idle and are consuming a large amount of CPU, after around five minutes of this behaviour they are killed, to disable that checkout the ‘cleanup’ section in coolwsd.xml.
  • cool conversion. We have migrated our legacy loleaflet and lool paths to browser and cool – which impacts a number of configuration files and binaries. Integrators should continue to use the URLs they receive from the hosting/discovery end-point. Those with reverse proxy and/or HA setups may need to update their proxy configuration with a simple search & replace, please refer to updated documentation of proxy settings. For more information, please read our upgrade notes.

 

Thanks to the Community

This release is a community effort and we fully appreciate and acknowledge their hard work that has made it possible!  A few weeks ago, we already celebrated the wonderful work of these people in this blog post.

 

 

About Collabora Online

Collabora Online 21.11 is our latest enterprise quality release. It’s suitable for large-scale deployment, and comes with SLA, enterprise support with signed security updates as well as interaction with product management, helping to direct our development priorities. Collabora Online integrates flawlessly into Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, and many of the major file sync & share, groupware and hosting solutions. It’s ideal for organisations that want to collaborate on documents, without losing control over them or compromising on privacy. With the ability to host it on your own hardware or to integrate it into a trusted environment, Collabora Online is the ideal online office suite for digital sovereignty. Enterprises interested in using Collabora Online can check out our home page for more information on partner integrations and online demos. Hosting and Cloud businesses that wish to add Collabora Online to their product portfolio can become a partner. For any questions or tailored solutions, do not hesitate to contact hello@collaboraoffice.com.

 

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