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AbiWord Weekly News (8/17/2000)

This issue covers the past two weeks.

Development News

Over the last two weeks, we saw a push to get version 0.7.11, but which did not make it to completion. However, notable progress was made in other areas. We saw 56 patches go into the tree in the last two weeks, by 15 different developers. Congratulations to David, who joins the ever-growing credits list.

The most significant work of the last two weeks has been on the list code, which continues to undergo major improvements. For example, led by Thomas and Martin, a significant overhaul of the numbering architechture is underway, to make it much more flexible. Additionally, the UI of the lists dialog was further hashed-out on the list, and then promptly implemented in code.

Another significant improvement over the past weeks was the completion of the Zoom dialog by Bruce, who added the missing zoom-page-width and zoom-whole-page functions. For this work on completing features for 1.0, Bruce won last week's Patch Prize from Sourcegear.

Another significant feature added was the PalmDoc format exporter, added by new contributor David Nay. Now you never have to be without your key AbiWord documents, even when you're without your computer.

BeOS development also made significant progress, as Christopher used his new commit access to add a number of improvements, including improved About, Break and Find dialogs, crash handling and localization work.

Finally, Karl and Harald continuted translation work, Sam fixed a number of pesky build problems, and the Columns dialog was ported to Unix, GNOME and QNX.

On The List

The last two weeks saw plenty of traffic on abiword-dev, with 348 messages posted. Significant topics included:

  1. File Format Compatibility - The question was raised as to wether we were planning on developing a compatible file format with the recently-formed OpenOffice.org. This sparked some disscussion, and caused Sam to post a message advocating collaboration on the OpenOffice mailing list, which has been well recieved, although no efforts thus far have been seen by Sun.
  2. Toolbars vs Menus - Tim LaDuca suggested that AbiWord work to make it possible to use toolbars exclusively, and do away with menus. This met with criticism, but also with comments by people who felt exactly opposite. Eventually, people decided to work for maximum flexibility (some of which is already available).
  3. 0.7.11 - There were some questions on the list about the currently stalled push for 0.7.11. Hopefully we will be able to get this release back on track soon.
  4. PostScript Generation - There was a question as to wether it would be worthwhile to make the Unix PostScript code cross-platoform. This was answered mostly in the affirmative, with standard OS-provided PS generators taking heavy criticism.
  5. Crash Handling - Tim LaDuca was impressed by the ability of AbiWord to save your document when crashing. This generated several strands of conversation, ranging from the intricacies of signal handling to the behavior of MS Word.
  6. List Dialog - Thomas posted a long analysis of the List dialog, and ways to improve it. This led to significant discussion, but most people ended up agreeing with him. Since then, most of his ideas have been implemented, as Martin especially set a blistering development pace.

Bugzilla Status

Currently, Bugzilla lists 220 bugs outstanding, with 22 of those still in SUBMIT state. Last week, we closed 2 bug, and 12 new bugs were opened.

Other News

The cool post award for last week goes to Thomas Fletcher, for his List dialog analysis. The award for this week goes to Tim LaDuca, for his insightful usability analysis.

Sam TH

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