Collabora Office for iOS and Android

Collabora brings smooth editing to Android and iOS

Cambridge, February 27th, 2020, 12:00 CET – Today we are releasing Collabora Office for Android and iOS which will allow you to edit documents directly on your phone or tablet, guaranteeing your privacy and putting you in full control of your data and documents. This release fully integrates the iOS and Android apps into our Collabora Office product family. They are now a supported part of our business suite and come with every Collabora Office Enterprise subscription. Take a look: it’s a great app: feature rich, providing smooth editing, a polished user experience and lots of design goodness.

Rich editing for mobile devices – developed with your privacy in mind!

Collabora Office for Android and iOS
From opening … to viewing … to a rich editing experience

Collabora Office for Android (minimal version 5.0) and iOS is fully open source and brings you slick and useful editing features, like rich copy and paste, that the competition fails to deliver.
The app does not depend on external storage or services, so can be used offline. There is no longer a reason to hand over your data to somebody else to get rich mobile editing. Thus you can regain control over your documents and edit them without compromising your privacy!

One-handed touch tools for all sorts of editing

 

Collabora Office allows tables to be changed easily and in many ways. Handles in the document, as well as an attractive palette of tools, helps you perfect your table layout.
In our new mobile app, you will find the features where you expect them to be, giving you access to powerful functionality.

Slides and sheets at your fingertips

Choose layout and animations for presentations. A unique feature allows slide masters to be edited as well as applied.

Collabora Office for iOS and Android comes with a refined touch of usability. Sort the slides in your presentations using the convenient slide sorter. Scroll through the different sheets of your spreadsheet with the touch of a fingertip. Mobile document editing has never been easier and more fun.

Experience the polished user interface & design

Lay out of presentation in Collabora Office for iOS and Android
Full control over layout of presentations
Rotating an image in a presentation
Rotate images with your fingertips
Text highlighting in a presentation
Highlight text with the tool at the palette

Copy & paste rich text objects on mobile

Our mobile solution stands out from all its competitors because of the smooth way in which it facilitates editing on mobile devices. Collabora Office allows you to actually copy and paste rich document content on your iOS or Android device. Try it out!

Attractive icons and an attractive layout

Sheet editing options in context menu
Collabora Office for iOS and Android text document
Editing your text file
Collabora Office for iOS and Android presentation
Editing the content of a presentation

Native platform document storage

Collabora Office gives you back control over your documents. This includes the freedom to decide where to store the documents you edit from your mobile device. Our app allows you to easily integrate with privacy respecting, open source storage services such as Nextcloud, ownCloud or Seafile as well as proprietary file services such as OneDrive, Dropbox etc. Naturally you can also store and edit documents locally on your device without an external storage space. We think it’s good to notice that all the features in Collabora Office are available for all users, independent if it’s for private or for business use.

Yet more polish

Smooth inertial scrolling has been added for this release, with significant work on performance and stability. We’ve added the ability to export to various different file formats, to provide a great collaboration and interoperability experience with the users of other apps. Many usability wins too numerous to mention have been implemented. We have bundled spell-checking for English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and German for now – while we investigate shrinking the installation size to fit more. (Note selecting spell checking language currently is only on tablets.)

Two apps – one philosophy

Creating new document in iOS
Opening documents in the Android app

Last year, we paved the road so that the development of our mobile apps would be more consistent. In particular, the completely new development of the iOS app blazed the train. Both apps now share a substantially common codebase with our flagship product Collabora Online.

After our successful implementation on iOS, we re-used the same approach for our Android app. This replaced the existing LibreOffice Viewer code which had seen only very little activity for a long time, creating a fully functional and productive mobile office solution.

Welcome to the Collabora Office family

With today’s release, the apps for Android and iOS have officially become a part of our Collabora Office for Enterprise product. The family is now complete. These mobile apps complement Collabora Online and our existing desktop versions for Linux, MacOS and Windows. What does this mean for you? We can provide SLAs for our customers, as well as a close product management relationship to help steer our future development. Each improvement or issue addressed for one solution (online, mobile, desktop) can enhance all the others. Last but not least, it means the consistent and sustainable development of the mobile software.

For use on F-Droid, please read the information on this page.

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Collabora invested huge effort and resources to bring into being a fully functional open source office suite for mobile devices. This success is built on the support of many individuals, the great LibreOffice community. Fundamentally this could not have been achieved without the support of SUSE, CloudOn, Smoose, Adfinis SyGroup and The Document Foundations’ generous historic donors. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their passionate work. Please check our previous articles about the beta releases of the Android and iOS app, where we credit several of the people involved and where you can read more about their valuable contributions. All of our code is contributed to LibreOffice, and can be expected in LibreOffice 7, although we have our own theme. Would you like to be part of the story ? get involved today.


About Collabora Productivity

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

New: Collabora Office for Android

Great new interface and editing – in beta

We are excited to announce a complete new version of Collabora Office for Android, available now in Google Play, with the following main improvements:

  • A great looking interface, easy to use with just one hand on your phone
  • Editing of complex office documents, not just viewing
  • Now re-uses the same technology as Collabora Online.

In common with other Collabora Productivity products, this new Android release enables people to edit their documents without compromising on privacy. There is no longer a reason to hand over your data to get rich mobile editing.
The new release marks the end of a period of rewriting important parts of the application. We now share much of the code and user experience from Collabora Online’s collaborative editor as well as Collabora Office 6.2 for displaying the documents.

(Please don’t miss the announcement of the release of February 2020!)

 

(minimal version Android 5.0)

What it looks like

Text file and image details – Collabora Office for Android
Typing in a text document – Collabora Office for Android
Inserting and editing tables – Collabora Office for Android

More great interface details

Text file with spreadsheet embedded – Collabora Office for Android
Image handling in text document – Collabora Office for Android

A new front end, re-using Collabora Online

The technology under the hood has changed almost completely, with only the LibreOffice core for rendering the documents remained. We removed the previous Fennec tiled renderer, and moved to re-use a our Collabora Online web view. This means our Android app can share the same features as our flagship product Collabora Online. The recently released Collabora Office for iOS uses the same approach. As a result, features and improvements and fixes made foor one solution (online, mobile, desktop) often enhance all the others. The Javascript and CSS base makes contributing to and developing and debugging the app much simpler for people to get involved with.

 

Shape editing – Collabora Office for Andoid

 

Spreadsheet in Collabora Office for Android

 

Rich documents in Collabora Office for Android

 

Getting involved

Once you have got Collabora Office (Google Play), your feedback is much appreciated. Report any problems you find to the bug tracker, and attach any documents related to the issue so developers can investigate. You can also checkout the Online code and build it yourself.

Rich history and community growth

The road to the current version of the Android app was a long one, one with many companions and some detours. The first version that brought LibreOffice to the Android platform was released in 2011 after an intensive process of cross-compiling and a number of bug fixes. This version was rather a proof of concept and by no means suitable for productive work.

Two years later, in 2013, the application had developed into a document viewer rendering entire pages and including basic user interface to handle pages. During the years 2014 to 2015, the rendering was changed to split the pages into „tiles“, the same way as other applications like Mozilla Firefox were doing. We have extracted the Mozilla’s compositing from their code and reused it in our Android app – still only a viewer. Later in this period, editing was added as an experimental feature.
Between 2016 and 2018 further features and functions were implemented thanks to community involvement, however the vision of a full editor was not realized.

In 2019 we decided to do a complete rewrite of everything above the LibreOffice rendering core. Inspiration for this was the development of the new Collabora Office for iOS app, which Collabora is driving forward together with our Swiss partner Adfinis SyGroup. The current, newly developed Android app benefits greatly from the Collabora Online code base and work for the iOS version and includes also features implemented this year during the GSoC, mentored by our engineers.

Thanks to everyone that contributed

This new Office app for Android obviously came by a huge investment from Collabora. As with all open source projects, it has also been made possible by the open source community as a whole, by many organizations and the personal dedication of many individuals that contributed. Specifically, for this Android app we want to mention the initial Android port funded by SUSE. The initial app used the tiled rendering funded by CloudOn, and was driven by Smoose, IceWarp and many customers of Collabora Productivity. The Document Foundation’s donors also funded the initial basic editing functionality.

Without ever doing justice to the entire crowd of supporters, we would like to thank a few people whose performance in this development has been outstanding. At this point, we would like to mention the pioneering work of our fellow two collaborators Tor Lillqvist and Michael Meeks and on the initial version of the App that among others included a first loader developed by Iain Billiet, during his GSoC ‘12 program and other components by Matúš Kukan.

Tomaž Vajngerl contributed to the already mentioned tiled rendering to the app in 2014/2105. Miklos Vajna’s efforts made editing possible at that stage. Christian Lohmaier, Ximeng Zu, and Mert Tumer have made important and substantial contributions by adding more features to the toolbar in the last few years.

Tor Lillquist was also responsible for the development of the Collabora Office for iOS app, which had a significant influence on the version for Android, and was made possible thanks to the great personal commitment of Nicolas Christener of Adfinis SyGroup. Thank you to Kaishu Sahu for his large amount of features programmed during the GSoC this summer, while our team member Jan Holesovsky has been the main developer of the current release.

Would you like to be part of the story ? get involved today.

About Collabora Productivity:

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

LibreOffice for Android: prototype editor preview

Contents

  1. Suite improvements
  2. Under the hood
  3. Reaching out
  4. Joining in

A continuous effort

Since January, Collabora’s engineers have been working on the next generation of LibreOffice for Android: a fully functional mobile office suite, running natively, ready to edit rich documents. Thanks to Document Foundation sponsorship, we’ve spent the last three months working intensively towards this vision. Today we’re delighted to present a new prototype with spreadsheet, slideshow, and text editing built-in.

Writer: formatting text
Writer: formatting text
Calc: selecting cells
Calc: selecting cells

Suite improvements

Like LibreOffice Desktop, LibreOffice for Android has separate components for different types of task. On Android, we include Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress.

All components of the the prototype benefit from the following features:

  • Text editing with on-screen keyboard
  • Simple text formatting with bold, italic, underline and strikethrough
  • Text selection by touching and holding part of a section of text (aka ‘long push’)
  • Easy resizing of shapes and images by tapping them to select, then dragging one of eight directional handles and releasing
  • High quality rendering of a wide range of filetypes, including Open Document Format, OOXML, and MS Office file formats (both binary and rich text format)
  • One tap access to the on-screen keyboard for quickly switching between viewing and editing mode
  • Smooth scrolling between pages

In addition to these, each component has its own distinct features.

Writer

  • Document saving support, updating the originally opened file by default
  • Support for movable embedded images, drawings, and shapes

https://youtu.be/3mkN8i85vrU

Calc

  • Touch-triggered selections of table and spreadsheet cells flows across columns, rows, and pages with the drag of a finger.
  • The “parts” sidebar switches between spreadsheets within the document

https://youtu.be/fWGMW1V8WYA

Draw

https://youtu.be/U7TbP9CSS90

Impress

  • The “parts” sidebar shows a scrollable overview of all slides
  • User interface interaction and overlays are now far more accurate

https://youtu.be/xdphYds9fYU

Under the hood

Powerful internals

The editor consists of two parts: LibreOffice core compiled for the Android platform, and a Java component that is responsible for the user interface. They interact with each other via LibreOfficeKit — a thin C++ library that allows any application to access LibreOffice’s powerful internals via a consistent interface.

All three parts (LibreOffice core, LibreOfficeKit, and the Android interface) have been extended to enable them to handle user-specified selections, cursor placement and movement, and commands like loading a document and applying formatting. The signals we’ve implemented make way for other LibreOffice-powered applications to support editing too.

Input and interface accuracy

  • Highlighted text selections can include table contents, allowing for formatting of contents of multiple document sections simultaneously. Previously selections used different internal identification systems and had to be selected separately.
  • All Impress interaction data has been ported to TWIPs — or ‘twentieth of an inch points’, from millimetre based measurements, resulting in much finer internal measurements, and improvements to display and selection for all versions of the application.

Impress: slide overview in sidebar
Impress: slide overview in sidebar
Impress: more accurate selection via TWIPs
Impress: more accurate selection via TWIPs

Performance

More efficient rendering of documents tiles: those relating to non-visible areas are deprioritised and rendered in the background without blocking the initial page view from loading. The result: faster loading of documents for the user and more efficient use of the mobile device’s resources.

Documentation

  • We’ve added extensive javadoc/doxygen comments to pre-existing and updated methods
  • We’ve included javadoc/doxygen comments for all new classes and methods

Performance: non-visible pages deprioritised
Performance: non-visible pages deprioritised
Writer: cross-page text selection
Writer: cross-page text selection

Reaching out

On the rare occasion that our engineers hands haven’t been busy under LibreOffice’s hood, they’ve been writing up their work in blogs and demonstrating it at conferences.

Joining in

This is the start of a journey that you can be part of — get involved with any number of ongoing LibreOffice activities, including LibreOffice for Android documentation, demonstration, and development.

  • Unstable daily builds can be found here
  • A user introduction is available on the Document Foundation Wiki
  • A developer introduction is also available
  • Report any problems you find to the bug tracker, and attach any documents related to the issue so developers can investigate

To complete this prototype preview we’d like to again thank The Document Foundation for making the work possible, and remind you that, as a charitable foundation, donations power their work. Support the foundation by donating via their website.