New CODE release brings improved user experience and compatibility
Cambridge, United Kingdom, September 24, 2020 – Collabora Productivity is excited to announce a new, major release of our product CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition) 6.4.0 This release adds a new easier to use interface option with a notebook bar as well as excellent display of Microsoft file format documents. This release not only brings a fresh look, enhanced usability, improved interoperability, and extra functionality. It also marks a harmonization of our version numbering. CODE jumps from 4.2 to 6.4, to align with our other Collabora Office products: for the desktop and mobile devices. This release gives a showcase of our development on the next version of our supported product Collabora Online. CODE and Collabora Online offer privacy as well as the only truly open-source solution for working with and collaborating on rich documents in the cloud.
Attractive and easy to use NotebookBar option in Collabora Online
CODE 6.4 comes with a cool and modern NotebookBar providing another easy to use and pretty access to all rich features. The easily identifiable buttons allow users to quickly select functions and the thematic organization of the tabs is intuitive. Users are encouraged to test the NotebookBar when using CODE and share their experience! Users will of course recognize much of the NotebookBar from the desktop version.
Version 6.4 – A huge leap in user-friendliness… and numbering
The new CODE with the NotebookBar marks a big step forward in usability. The version number also makes a big leap with a jump from 4.2 to 6.4. The previous numbering of CODE and Collabora Online reflected the release cycles of our online products, first released in 2016. To simplify things we make the numbering similar to Collabora Office for the desktop. This more accurately reflects the level of development, since much of the technology is shared by both products. Our mobile apps Collabora Office for Android, ChromeOS and iOS will also catch up in numbering soon.
Saving space and other NotebookBar details
When the user needs to save space, a single click on the active tab will collapse the NotebookBar. All the tabs are still there to use.
On the top left of the NotebookBar, either in collapsed or full state, there is the hamburger menu with some important tools for e.g. collaboration and language.
How to keep the classic mode
The new NotebookBar is set as the default interface in this new release, however we have no plans to remove the classic menu and toolbar UX – some users and deployments clearly prefer it. To change this back you can select ‘classic’ for the user_interface key in loolwsd.xml, and some integrations will provide their own admin UI for this, to configure it for the whole server.
The new look of Writer, Impress and Calc
In CODE 6.4 the new NotebookBar adapts to the users needs. With each type of document all available features are nicely sorted into clear tabs. The following images are taken from Writer, Impress and Calc.
Quick access, flexible interface option
Our developers worked effortless to provide the user interface that is both feature rich, and also flexible and small… if the user needs that. The following images present some possibilities with text, presentations and data.
New Spreadsheet rendering: freeze rows and columns
Spreadsheet rendering has been re-written from scratch in CODE 6.4! It continues to improve rapidly, please be patient as we work on performance tuning here. One big new feature is that users can now freeze rows and columns with the button on the tab Sheet or the entry in the menu View. Then, when the users scrolls/moves down in the spreadsheet, the chosen rows and columns will stay visible on top and the left. This is similar to the feature that is available in the desktop version of Collabora Office under View > Freeze Rows.
Collaborating with annotations to PDF files
Collabora’s products already have many powerful features supporting the increasing use of PDF documents. CODE 6.4 allows users to collaborate around PDF documents by including a new feature to add annotations to PDF documents.
Various Collabora Online integrations let users open PDF files with Collabora Online, for example with a command in the file’s detail menu (More or simply …). After that, a comment can simply be added with Insert > Comment.
Interoperability improvements & consistent rendering
Collabora Online’s interoperability with Microsoft’s OOXML file formats, is as excellent as in our desktop product, since all share a large part of the underlying LibreOffice code base. This 6.4 release again adds dozens of improvements in Microsoft OOXML rendering for presentations, smart art, charts and more from the whole community. Some examples are given below:
Text can be set semi-transparent
A new feature in CODE 6.4 is the use of semi-transparent text, that can be set on the tab Font Effects. Therefore now semi-transparent text from OOXML files is shown.
Improved import of SmartArt
With the release of CODE 6.4 the import of SmartArt in MS Office documents has been further improved.
Gradient backgrounds in slides
The pitfalls of interoperability nowadays lie in small details. For example, colour gradients in the background of slides used to be lost with the import of Microsoft PPTX files. With version 6.4, this is now fixed.
CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and to host them themselves in a secure and private environment. For tech-enthusiasts, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE will be improved continuously and our next supported and maintained Collabora Online product will be built from it.
Thanks to the community!
Collabora has invested significantly in bringing a host of new features and functionality to this latest release, and accounts for the overwhelming volume of contributions. However we want to acknowledge all of our friends and colleagues who helped to contribute not only to this, but also to the underlying LibreOffice technology, you can checkout LibreOffice community credits. We cannot thank everyone involved enough for their passionate work. All of our code is Open Source, and our contributions to LibreOffice can be expected in the LibreOffice 7.1 release, although we have our own branding and theme. Would you like to be part of the story ? Participate today!