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AbiWord Weekly News (2/23/2000)

Well, we continue to have lots of activity, both on the list and on the development front.


Thanks to some intrepid work by the AbiSource development team, and with even more thanks to the original authors at Mozilla, AbiWord now has Tinderbox up and running. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, Tinderbox continously recompiles the code on various platforms, and then logs the results on the web. This allows developer to tell when they have broken the tree - not that that ever happens. For more information, see Shaw's post.

1. Development News

Since the last edition of this newsletter, we have had 14 new patches go into the tree, and have added 2 new names to the list in CREDITS.TXT. Congratulations to Eutanazy and Andy.

This week, the AbiWord code base, led by Paul and Shaw, underwent a major transition. Previously, AbiWord has used non-standard language codes such as EnUS or SvSE. We have now moved to IETF style language codes, such as en-US or sv-SE. This was a major change, impacting dozens of files and hundreds of lines of code. Lots of kudos to Paul and Shaw, who not only got this task done, but did it with a minimum of inconvenience to everyone else (The tree was only closed for about an hour.)

Other significant patches included the PostScript printing patch, submitted by new contributor Andy Richardson, which allows printing of images on pages other than page one. Thomas Fletcher added many UI improvements for the QNX port, including dialogs for Paragraph, About and Date/Time, and fixed several others. He also made several more minor changes. Caolan McNamara added a fix to import some Word for Macintosh documents and Sam Tobin-Hochstadt finished his current work with CSS in the HTML exporter. We are now fully in compliance with XHTML in our exporter. Gnome Drag-n-Drop has also been implemented by Joaquin Abela.

On the i18n and l10n fronts, we continue to make significant progress. Eutanazy Sercxemulo added a Polish translation, bringing the total count to 15. (I forgot Czech last issue.) The Finnish translation has also been updated, courtesy of Jarmo Karvonen.

2. On The List

This week has not seen the high traffic volume that we had last week, with 'only' 119 messages posted on abiword-dev. However, the list has seen several interesting discussions.

  1. Spell Checking - While none of us seem particularly in love with ispell, our current spell checker, most posters seem unwilling to abandon it yet. However, we may progress toward a more modular style.
  2. Page Numbering - There was some discussion as to the proper way to hack page numbers into .abw files, only highlighting how we need to have better UI field support.
  3. Builds on Debian/PPC - There was extensive discussion of how to get both a Debian and a PPC version of AbiWord to compile, providing a resource for all of you out there with similar problems.
  4. Further Mac discussion - The Mac port looks more promising every week, and it seems like actual functioning may be just around the corner.
  5. Options dialog - There has been considerable discussion of the options dialog, and what should and should not go into it.

3. AbiWord DTD

For all of you who complained that AbiWord didn't have a DTD, or Document Type Definition for its XML file format, you can now breathe easier. Sam Tobin-Hochstadt has written one, currently available on his website and on the AbiSource website. This allows you to validate AbiWord documents to see if he wrote the DTD correctly. :-) However, it is not clear yet what the long-term plans for the DTD are.

4. Project of the Week

As you can see from Tinderbox, the BeOS tree does not currently build on the Mac. This week's POW is to fix that. Our fearless leaders do not have a speedy machine to test this on, and are hoping that someone out there will be able to help them add another platform to our list of those currently supported.

5. Other News

This week's cool patch award goes to Andy Richardson, for the PostScript printing patch. This is that patch this week that contributed most to making AbiWord 'Just Work.'

Sam TH

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