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AbiWord Weekly News (3/29/2000)

Abi the Ant (and your regular editor) return from spring break . . .

1. Development News

Since the last edition of the AbiWord Weekly News, Bonsai records 15 new patches added to the tree. This week, CREDITS added another name to the continually-increasing list. Congratulations to Matt.

This week, the most significant patch came from Martin Sevior to make underline behave properly in a large number of different cases. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but lack of consistency will haunt any software project.

Thomas Fletcher made a number of improvements to the QNX port, including status bar handing, tool bar scrolling and other significant usability improvements.

Joaquin Abela added a patch to get the GNOME and GTK ports to share more code in the Word Count dialog. More functionality with less code is always a good thing, and is what XP development is all about. Joaquin also patched the LaTeX exporter to correct a number of bugs identified by Pierre Abbat. Pierre Abbat's extensive export detection work ZAPPED the POW from March 8th.

Matt Kraai, in his AbiWord development debut, squashed several bugs related to imports in all different formats.

Finally, Aaron Lehmann removed the remaining XLib calls from the Unix port, replacing them with more portable GDK calls. AbiWord is now portable in ways that I don't even want to think about. (Think Cygwin + Wine + ...)

Additionally, Jamie Montgomerie began the very difficult task of binary MS Word format export. The round-trip philosophy strikes again.

2. On The List

After something of a slow week last week, discussion on the abiword-dev list has picked up again, with 114 messages posted since this newsletter's last edition. Significant topics included:

  1. User Interface Design - Several issues on this front were brought up, mostly related to the Word Count dialog. Everything from dots in menus to justification was discussed.
  2. Modal Dialogs - The continuing problem of modality in dialogs was brought up again this week, also in the context of the Word Count dialog box. The consensus seems to be that modeless dialogs are good, but we don't yet have a good way to implement them.
  3. Unicode - A discussion of Insert Symbol gave rise to a discussion on our implementation of international text encoding.
  4. Porting AbiWord - The discussion continues of the feasibility of porting AbiWord to a very small windowing system, framebuffer, etc. This was aided by Aaron's GDK patch.
  5. Binary Word Export - James Montgomerie stirred up discussion on this point by providing a patch to ZAP the first part of the Word export POW.
  6. Visual C++ - This week saw more discussion on the different compiler possibilities for the Windows port.
  7. AbiWord v. WordPad - Paul posted an extensive rebuttal to the claim that AbiWord is just WordPad warmed over, additionally giving us all a glimpse of what we have accomplished.

3. Project of the Week

Lots of problems with our current focus model have been discussed recently, and they are the topic for this week's POW. This week's job is fix some of those problems, by allowing different windows to cleanly switch focus. Not much coding, but lots of digging around to find the appropriate places, will be required for this POW. Sadly, when this is finished, we will no longer be the only word processor with a cursor that blinks only on the top half. Oh well. :-)

4. Bugzilla Status

Currently, Bugzilla lists 199 bugs outstanding with 28 of those still in the SUBMIT state. Last week, we closed 4 bugs, and 3 new bugs were opened. We continue to progress to 'zarro boogs.'

5. Other News

This week's cool patch award goes to James Montgomerie for his beginnings of the binary Word format exporter. Anyone who doubts this achievement should have a look at Justin's listing of the spec for that format. (Warning - large)

This week's cool post award goes to Kevin Vajk for putting out an excellent edition of the AbiWord Weekly News while I, your regular editor, was away. Thanks Kevin.

Sam TH

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