martedì 11 agosto 2015

Ubuntu Document Viewer update - 10th August 2015

During the last few weeks, Roman Shchekin and I did some further progress with the integration of LibreOfficeKit APIs into the Ubuntu DocViewer.

The target is to have a first prototype of the tiled rendering viewer ready in a couple of weeks.

We've successfully implemented the cache buffer, so that the viewer gains the ability to "preload" the content that an user will want to see, granting more smoothness.


We're also finalizing the current work on zooming, which includes two modes:
  • Automatic: when the window gets resized, the content will automatically fit the width of the window itself
  • Manual: the user is able to set a custom zoom factor (between 50% and 400%) through the zoom selector in the bottom panel.

Here's a video showing these improvements:

Presentation support

Moreover, we're also improving the support for specific documents type (i.e. presentations).
This is a still (more than) early WIP, but IMHO it looks already impressive.

Sadly, the method used for getting the list of slides in a presentation doesn't work for detecting page breaks in a text document. IIRC the support for this will come with LibreOffice 5.1: an idea we had, in order to workaround this, was to use LibreOfficeKit APIs to convert the document into a PDF, and then load it through our Poppler plugin, but we're still evaluating whether it's worth or not.

Going mobile

At the moment our current focus is the desktop, since we don't have yet a LibreOffice 5.0 build running on a Ubuntu smartphone. Björn Michaelsen is helping us with this so that we will be able to distribute LibreOffice though a Click package.
This should happen at a certain point this month: as soon as it is ready, we'll certainly release further informations on how to test DocViewer on a mobile device.

Clarifying some recent news

You may have heard about LibreOffice 5.0 being "the cornerstone of the mobile clients on Android and Ubuntu Touch".
I want to clarify the meaning of this line, saying that there's no known plan to port the standard (full) LibreOffice on Ubuntu Touch. That statement refers to the fact that there's (or will be) a LibreOffice Viewer for both Ubuntu Touch and Android, both based on the same LibreOfficeKit APIs.

We may decide at a certain point to expand the features of Ubuntu DocViewer, adding the ability of editing an existent document (or creating a new one), but this is a long-term task which we're currently not considering.

A further note

Since a couple of weeks, the trunk branch of Document Viewer has entered in maintainance mode. That basically means that there won't be any update for the application until the work on the LibreOffice viewer is completed. Only exception are critical bugs, which may receive a faster fix if that will be considered convenient.

All the development is focused on the LibreOffice implementation now. If you're curious and want to try the ongoing work, or would like to contribute, you can give it a try. All the informations you'll need are included in the README file. The main "reboot" branch does not include yet some of the features currently in progress (e.g. zoom): you may also want to have a look at the reboot-tagged branches.

In conclusion, kudos to the LibreOffice guys: the APIs they offer with LibreOffice 5.0 are really impressive and powerful, and it's pretty nice to see a new LO client getting better so fast!

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