Entries tagged [apachecon]

Sunday Nov 11, 2012

Apache OpenOffice track at ApacheCon: Day 3

To complete our coverage of ApacheCon Europe 2012, here's a brief overview of some sessions and activities from Day 3. Slides, audio and/or video of all sessions will soon be posted on the ApacheCon Europe site.

See the reports of Day 1 and Day 2 for further information.

Microsoft interoperability and cross-project cooperation

The day opened with the presentation by Matthias Stuermer about a User initiative for improving OOXML integration in LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice: the German cities of Munich, Freiburg im Breisgau and Jena, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the Swiss Federal IT Steering Unit (FITSU) and the canton of Waadt agreed to provide 140,000 EUR to improve the OOXML filters in LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice. Improvements are expected in the formatting of borders, images, tables and bulleted lists in .docx documents, correct display of comments in .docx and .xlsx documents and the possibility of embedding fonts.

To ensure that the code could be useful to both projects, the consortium demanded that the source code be available under the Apache 2 license, the new Apache OpenOffice license, which guarantees that the code can be reused by other projects. The license is a necessary but not sufficient condition to allow a smooth integration: the talk was followed by a short discussion on how to make sure that Apache OpenOffice can really use the code. The Apache OpenOffice project welcomes contributions that are meant to benefit more than one project, and if you are considering such a contribution please e-mail our development mailing list to know how to manage it properly.

In a related talk, Weike Liang explained his work on improving the .docx export filter in Apache OpenOffice, where he showed new developments based on code that is already present in Apache OpenOffice but is disabled since its quality does not yet match the high expectations users have of the Apache OpenOffice export filters.

Other highlights of the day include: an introduction to the OpenOffice build system by Andre Fischer (with a live build going on during the talk!), Scripting Apache OpenOffice by Rony Flatscher of the University of Vienna (showing several interesting "nutshell scripts" to demonstrate how to programmatically work with Writer, Calc and Impress) and Jian Lee's talk on how he improved the table formatting in Writer, and especially stability and performance of the table-splitting algorithm.

Apache OpenOffice and the Apache community

A conference is much more than sessions. It is an occasion for people to meet, for ideas to sparkle and for contacts to be created. This was the first ApacheCon for the Apache OpenOffice community, only two weeks since it had become a top-level project, and it showed that Apache OpenOffice and the Apache community at large can be mutually beneficial.

For example: imacat, an Apache OpenOffice PMC member, organized a session about Women and Gender Diversity at Apache; our developers had technical discussions with the Apache POI and the Apache ODF Toolkit (incubating) developers to study possible synergies. And it was very nice, while dropping by to watch some presentations from other tracks, to see that most ApacheCon presenters had prepared their slides with Apache OpenOffice using the presentation template contributed by OpenOffice committer Shenfeng Liu and friends. See you at the next ApacheCon!

Thursday Nov 08, 2012

Apache OpenOffice track at ApacheCon: Day 2

Here are a few selected topics from Day 2 of the Apache OpenOffice track at ApacheCon Europe.

For full coverage, see the reports from Day 1 and Day 3.

OpenOffice in the cloud: online version

Judging by the number of questions made during the presentation and by the number of "new" faces in the audience, the star of Day 2 at the Apache OpenOffice track in ApacheCon Europe was Jian Hong Cheng and Fan Zheng's presentation about "Cloud Apache OpenOffice Based on HTML 5". The prototype implementation shown during the presentation relies on a "headless" instance of Apache OpenOffice that runs on a remote server, listens to the actions the user performs in the browser, and provides XML snippets in response, which are in turn rendered in the browser. Although the code is still at an early stage, this is an exciting development! Many Apache folks attending the session provided feedback and suggested technologies, so this looks like a project where Apache OpenOffice can benefit from input from the Apache community at large.

In related news, the presentation by Xiu Li Xu, Kejia Ye, qi hui, Shenfeng Liu, DaLi Liu focused on how to integrate OpenSocial with Apache OpenOffice to accelerate the content sharing and support the business in cloud. Two social extensions for Apache OpenOffice were demonstrated. These improvements will already be implemented in Apache OpenOffice 4.0, coming in early 2013.

Bashing Apache OpenOffice for a good cause

A series of talks today had a peculiarity in common: they were all highly critical of specific technical features of Apache OpenOffice. But they did it for a good cause: these parts have recently been improved, or will be soon, in the undergoing major effort towards a more maintainable code base, offering easier entry points to developers but preserving the current stability of the code:

  • Andre Fischer destroyed the current slide show functionality with a great talk on how we can achieve smoother, eye-pleasant animations in Apache OpenOffice Impress. As he put it, currently "Impress... doesn't", but a proper redesign will allow a better integration of video and audio and direct support for 3D effects. Andre concluded his presentation by showing an experiment of smooth video playing with on-the-fly 3D transformations.
  • Herbert Duerr pointed out the opportunities with platform integration: the issues we are now having with system integration require work on many areas, including 64-bit ports and multi-threading. And the Apache OpenOffice code is written at a level that makes some basic system integrations difficult, but support for specific features such as some "gestures" in Mac OS X is coming in 4.0.
  • Pedro Giffuni showed how outdated dependencies were making the early Apache OpenOffice code unnecessarily complex and easy to break. The "IP clearance" period, one of the first actions taken during incubation, allowed to get rid of useless dependencies and to replace some outdated code, while preserving the previous functonality and stability and making ports (like the FreeBSD port) easier.
  • Dwayne Bailey, one of the main Pootle developers, and Juergen Schmidt made a comprehensive analysis of what can be improved in Pootle and in the Apache OpenOffice localization process respectively. The new Pootle will include an easy-to-use AJAX interface and direct support for translation memories and suggestions. Dwayne will be looking into extending Pootle with functionality useful for a new, simplified localization process currently in early stages of development at Apache OpenOffice. It is worth noting that the Apache OpenOffice repositories already support more than 100 languages, but only 20 are released since the project policy is to release only complete translations. Version 4.0 is already scheduled to be released in at least 8 new languages and we welcome translation volunteers for other languages.
Andre demonstrating his work on real-time video rendering in Impress: impressive!
Herbert explaining support for mobile devices
Juergen showing the many languages we support in Pootle (the source code has even more); only a few dozens are at 100% and thus conform to the Apache OpenOffice release policy

Community activities

Several talks mentioned how Apache OpenOffice can better integrate with the Apache community at large: opportunities for cooperation are huge and we definitely look forward to exploiting them.

And those who still had energy after a full day of talks gathered just before dinner for a community panel. A lot of ideas came out of the group, including: creating a new entry point for Apache OpenOffice press requests, welcoming requests in different languages; getting Apache OpenOffice published in App Stores; packaging Apache OpenOffice for the most common (or all!) GNU/Linux distributions; setting goals for version 4.0, like doubling the number of supported languages.

You can see a 3D rendering of the group here (courtesy Andrew Rist): http://360.io/LWdsMb ; if you are curious to know who's who, in the flat version at http://360.io/LWdsMb/f you see (left to right): half Juergen, Oliver, Andrea, Mechtilde, Herbert, Caroline, imacat, Christoph, Michael, Svante, Dwayne, Pedro, Andre, Rony, empty, Svante again (!), Armin, half Juergen.

Apache OpenOffice track at ApacheCon: Day 1

The OpenOffice official debut at ApacheCon was definitely successful, with the big Apache community providing a warm welcome to the Apache OpenOffice folks. All presentations are being recorded (audio and slides) and they will gradually be made available on the ApacheCon site, but we are picking a few topics from Day 1 of the OpenOffice track for those who couldn't attend the conference.

For full coverage, see the reports from Day 2 and Day 3.

Status and future of Apache OpenOffice and its ecosystem

What's coming in Apache OpenOffice 4.0? And when? And, in general, what does the future of the product and the project look like? What happened during the latest 16 months and what is the current status? You can get the answers from Andrea's presentation below, "OpenOffice at Apache"; it is divided into two parts, the first one taken from a "personal" perspective, the second one from a "broader" one.

Two presentations described in detail specific significant technical improvements coming to OpenOffice in 2013:

  • Andre Fischer presented the ongoing accessibility work, that will already be integrated in OpenOffice 4.0. Enhanced support for IAccessible2 will make Apache OpenOffice a world-class application as far as accessibility is concerned. It will also include support for the main screen readers on Windows: JAWS and ZoomText and will simplify government adoption of Apache OpenOffice by complying with Section 508 and similar regulations.
  • Armin LeGrand presented his impressive work (ongoing for 2.5 years, with an estimated 6 months remaining) on migrating the OpenOffice DrawingLayer, one of the central components in Apache OpenOffice, used for the internal rendering of graphic objects in all the applications, to a more modern code. The huge development can be followed in branch aw080 and it already differs in more than 340,000 lines of code from the current code. Improvements will have positive effects on stability, speed, precision and enable more fancy features in the future.

The presentations about Apache OpenOffice were complemented by a review of the status and possible future ideas for two fundamental components of the Apache OpenOffice ecosystem: the Extensions and Templates websites. The presentation, by Roberto Galoppini (who could not attend due to food poisoning, unfortunately, and was replaced by Andrea Pescetti) can be found on Roberto's blog. As you can read there, Roberto looks forward to feedback and suggestions from the community.

ODF sessions

Besides Apache OpenOffice as a product and as a project, another important topic in the Apache OpenOffice track is the ODF format. An interesting panel discussion about the current status of ODF and future improvements was moderated by Svante Schubert and Oliver-Rainer Wittman. Among the new features coming in future ODF versions, we discussed in detail the new change tracking, with an introduction by Oliver-Rainer Wittman, an analysis of options and challenges by Svante Schubert and a demo of an extension for an improved change-tracking by Peter Rakyta from MultiRacio Ltd.

Community and fun

The ApacheCon offered opportunities for some social activities too. Old project volunteers could meet the recent community members in person for the first time. Community activities ranged from a constructive session about building and maturing the community (moderated by imacat and Andrew Rist, with outcomes to appear on the dev mailing list soon) to moments of crazy geeky fun with imacat's presentations (made with... Calc!) on how to render music videos in Calc!

 A presentation made with Calc!
 Gangnam Style, as stop-motion in Apache OpenOffice Calc
You can also see imacat's presentation on Slideshare or download it as a large Apache OpenOffice Calc file.

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