The Talks and Slides by Collaboran’s at the LibreOffice Conference 2022
The LibreOffice Conference 2022 (LibOCon) took place from September 28 to October 1 in Milan. It was the first LibreOffice Conference since the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic that took place as an in-person event. Collabora was one of the sponsors, and a significant number of our developers contributed talks on various aspects of LibreOffice technology. Did you miss any of those? Don’t worry! All our talks are available for you on YouTube inside our LibOCon playlist. Please also feel free to download the slides we included in this blog post.
Keynotes and Advocating
Michael Meeks: Sponsor Keynote Collabora
Michael Meeks, Managing Director of Collabora Productivity, takes a look at the latest developments in LibreOffice from an organisational and ecosystem perspective. See details
Michael Meeks: The ongoing story of Online
Hear Michael Meeks tell the history of LibreOffice in the browser. From it’s pre-historic past as StarPortal, through gtk-broadway prototypes, to Collabora Online as we know it today. See details
Sarper Akdemir: Chasing an Interoperability Bug in Impress
During the Quality Assurance track, Sarper Akdemir explained how to fix an interoperability bug by showcasing the whole process of understanding, fixing, and implementing tests. See details
Tomaž Vajngerl: Sparklines and Chart Data Tables – New Features in Calc
Sparklines are mini charts, that are drawn into a cell. In his talk, senior software engineer Tomaž Vajngerl presented the features and the challenges during the development. See details
Miklos Vajna : Content Controls in Writer
While LibreOffice and Collabora Office were already capable of filling forms via form controls or form fields, they can now also fully represent content controls. In this talk by Senior Software Engineer Miklos Vajna, see how this work was implemented! See details
Collabora Productivity created Collabora Online, a powerful online office suite, which you can integrate into your own infrastructure. It prioritises your digital sovereignty and provides you with all the tools to keep your data secure, without compromising on features. Collabora provides a wide range of products, as well as consulting services for enterprises and governments. Powered by the largest team of certified LibreOffice engineers in the world, Collabora is a leading contributor to the LibreOffice Technology codebase and community. Collabora Office for Desktop and Collabora Online provide a business-hardened office suite with long-term support. Collabora’s multi-platform policy is completed with Collabora Office for iOS, Android, and Chrome OS. Collabora Productivity is a division of Collabora, the global software consultancy dedicated to providing the benefits Open Source to the commercial world, specializing in mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries. For more information, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Sparklines are miniature charts that are heavily simplified and typically fit into a line of text or a cell on a spreadsheet. Their first appearances date back to 18th century chivalric novels and the display of barometric signatures of the notorious 19th century Krakatoa eruption. Unlike classic charts, Sparklines are meant to be succinct and located right where they are discussed. Microsoft’s XLSX format has included these mini-charts for quite some time. With the major release of Collabora Office 22.05, Sparklines became available within the LibreOffice Technology ecosystem. Shortly afterwards, they were also implemented in Collabora Online 22.05 and LibreOffice 7.4.
Creating Sparklines in Collabora Online
If you open a .XLSX or .ODS spreadsheet including Sparklines inside Collabora Online, the miniature charts will be preserved. If you want to create a new Sparklines chart from scratch in Collabora Online, you should start by selecting the row or column of cells you would like to visualize. Right-click, and chose “Sparklines > Insert Sparklines…” from the context menu. The “Sparklines Properties” dialog will appear including the chosen input range. The button besides the “Output range” field allows you to choose the cell the Sparkline will be created in.
Formatting Sparklines in Collabora Online
If you would like to edit or customise the appearance of a group of mini charts, right-click on the Sparklines and chose “Edit Sparkline Group…”. This will summon the “Sparkline Properties” dialog and grant access to several different settings. You can for instance choose between three different types of Sparklines. Just like Office 365, Collabora Online allows you to create a miniature Line Chart, a Column Chart or a Stacked Chart (Win/Loss). You can also customise the visual appearance by adjusting the line width or choosing individual colours for special points in the graph (marker, high/low point, first/last point).
Test this in Collabora Online or CODE
The Sparkline feature has been introduced to Collabora Online with the major release 22.05. You can test the feature in our free demo. Tech enthusiasts may also like to test it inside an installation of CODE, the free Collabora Online Development Edition, intended for home users and Developers who would like to help to test the bleeding-edge features first. Find all the instructions here.
This New Major Release Brings Grammar Checking, Giant Spreadsheets and Performance Wins
Cambridge, August 4, 2022 – Collabora announces the availability of a new major release of Collabora Online 22.05. The latest major release targets three key areas: ease of use, performance, and interoperability. It demonstrates the company’s mission of being the technology leader in collaborative editing. Collabora Online provides businesses the most effective and secure document creation environment with dedicated support backed by deep experience.
Collabora Online is the collaboration suite that offers business and professionals the best features, interoperability, LTS, and custom support in open source, while respecting user privacy and corporate data security. We highlight some of the latest functionality added to Collabora Online below:
Starting with version 22.05 we have introduced the support for external grammar checkers. You can now benefit from the great style and grammar checker by LanguageTool in your browser. To make use of this feature, you have to enable this inside Collabora Online’s configuration file. Depending on whether you are using a free or a premium account, both the quality and amount of the suggestions may vary. We would like to express our gratitude to Nicolas Christener and his wonderful team at Adfinis for making this great feature a reality. And of course to the team for their great work creating, maintaining and improving LanguageTool. You can support their open-source work by buying their premium service. Find more details on how to benefit from this feature in our dedicated blogpost on LanguageTool in Collabora Online.
“Jumbo Spreadsheets” with 16k Columns in Calc
Collabora Online now supports up to 16384 columns in spreadsheets. This is a sixteenfold increase in the maximum number of columns compared to previous versions. Previously, and annoyingly, Calc would display an error message on opening large sheets that exceeded 1024 columns. Combined with up to one million rows per spreadsheet, Calc can now handle enormous amounts of data on the right hardware. Previous performance improvements in Calc paved the way for this feature, which also increases the interoperability with Excel spreadsheets from Microsoft. This work was funded by DEVxDAO as part of their mission to support open-source and transparent research and development of emerging technologies and frameworks.
Sparklines Now Available for Calc
Sparklines are mini-charts found in Microsoft’s XLSX format. The support for them premiered with the release of Collabora Office 22.05. Sparklines are always defined for one cell, but different ones can be grouped together. There are three different ways of displaying Sparklines: as lines, bar charts or stacked as win-loss charts. The Sparklines feature can be accessed through the right-click dialog. The source data for a Sparkline is defined in an associated data range.
WebP is a graphics format for lossy or lossless image compression. It can be used for both static and animated images, and is also supported by the vast majority of modern browsers. The current version of Collabora Online now allows for importing images in WebP format. The graphic format can also be used in all document types, i.e., in text documents, spreadsheets, presentations as well as Draw files.
Content Controls in Writer: Dropdown, Picture and Date Types
Writer now has content control: a new way to set properties on a piece of text, primarily for form filling purposes. This feature improves compatibility with the DOCX format around forms. There are now five types of inline Content Controls that can be imported and added to Collabora Online. Writer had already included form controls and fieldmarks, providing similar features. However, there are some differences in their behaviour – among other differences, Content Controls can contain rich text and a set of properties. However, unlike fieldmarks, they can’t span over different paragraphs. Here is a small summary of the capabilities of the new Content Controls.
Rich Text Content Controls simply show an indicator when you’re inside the content
Checkbox Content Controls contain a single character, but you can interact with them: clicking on the content control toggles the checked state of the checkbox
Dropdown Content Controls have a list of dropdown items. Each item is a display-text and value pair, allowing to differentiate between a human-readable string and a machine-readable value.
Picture Content Controls allow the author of a form to pre-format the image before the filler of the form inserts the actual image.
Date Content Controls were emulated with Writer fieldmarks in the past, which created trouble during export, since Word itself doesn’t have a date form-field.
We continue working in the conversion of various UI components in Collabora Online to “native” HTML widgets. This helps us to get better user experience, especially on touch and mobile devices. This time we have converted the formula bar which is used to edit data in cells inside a spreadsheet.
Previous “tunnelled” approaches had some disadvantages, such as a blurry look under some conditions and unexpected cursor position behaviour. Now the edit field is rendered by the browser, ensuring a crisp display of text under all circumstances and resolutions with improved caret positioning. It has now become much easier to type into the formula bar, especially on touch devices.
Bandwidth wins and improved performance with Deltas
Previous versions of Collabora Online have managed documents as a series of tiles, when a tile is invalidated by its contents changing, new tiles have been compressed and sent. Interestingly, this cost usually outweighed all other rendering and managing of document content. In this version, we adopt a simple time-based compression – whereby for actively changing tiles, we send the user a small set of changes since the last tile. Thus, if you type a ‘period’ we can generate a tiny compressed change for just those pixels. This gives up to a 75% bandwidth saving depending on your workload – as well as saving CPU time. We also have laid the foundation for switching to a far faster zstd compression library in the 22.05 lifetime to save yet more CPU cycles and serve more users from the same server hardware.
Accessibility Check Helps to Create Documents According to the PDF/UA Standard
The current version of Collabora Online includes a new Accessibility Checker. This helps to create documents according to the PDF/UA standard. Published as an International Standard in 2012 (ISO 14289), the PDF/UA format provides clear normative terms for achieving accessibility in the PDF format. The goal is to enable users to easily create documents that are friendly to the impaired, without expert assistance, and to make that easier to do. This is accomplished by making it easier to set standardized content annotations within the document so that they can be made available to the end user, including PDF readers via assistive technologies (AT).
The Accessibility Check is a useful step in our ongoing journey to improve accessibility, both in Collabora Online (Browser) and Collabora Office (Desktop). The Accessibility Check button can be found in the Review tab. The dialog shows a list of all issues found in the text document. Through a quick access button, it is possible to access the critical element. The issue is highlighted. See this article for more details on the already implemented checks.
Faster Rotation of Bitmap Graphics
The rotation of bitmap graphics has undergone a significant speed improvement. When rotating graphics via the button (the slightly off-set filled circle above a selected graphic), the movement is now much smoother and easier to position. This improvement makes manipulating bitmap graphics much more comfortable. Here’s how you can try it for yourself. Select a bitmap graphic by clicking on it. Move the cursor to the grey circle above the graphic. The cursor now changes into a palm. Now move the palm cursor to the right and left as you wish while holding down the left mouse button.
Dynamic Configuration of Multiple Hosts
Collabora Online uses a WOPI-like protocol to interact with hosts who want to integrate Collabora Online. The improved admin configurations allow for multiple WOPI hosts with multiple aliases. This means you can use a single Collabora Online server with different software integrations at the same time. It is also possible to manage these hosts dynamically without a server restart. This makes Collabora Online much easier to deploy and configure, particularly when scaling to integrate with large numbers of different services. All of this saves cost and reduces management complexity, making this feature especially interesting for hosting companies. We have summarized the technical background information on Multihost Configuration inside our SDK documentation.
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.
Collabora Online 22.05 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.