Re: Don't take the extension too seriously

Thomas B. Passin (
Sat, 25 Sep 1999 13:11:32 -0400

I just tried this in Abiword 0.7.5 on Windows 98 and ABW failed to open a text file named "a.doc", even though I had selected a "*.txt" file type. However, Word itself and other programs will open such a file (I tested it on this file using Word 95).

It shouldn't be hard to get the correct behavior in Windows. The windows File-Open dialog just gives you a file path and name, so you can open it anyway you want. I think that if a file type is supposed to be text then it should be opened as one regardless of its internal structure (i.e., even if it is really a Word file). Of course automatic file format detection is nice, but it's hard to get reliable.

I noticed that if I select file type *.txt, then change directories, ABW's dialog goes back to file type *.abw. Some other programs remember the user-selected type when you change directories, and this is MUCH more convenient.

There has been some mail in the group lately about leaving out a lot of Word's complexity, and I am for that. But not too much!. I find I am making a lot a documents lately that have one or all of the following:
- tables (and I use borders in various ways on the tables)
- 2 columns
- graphics.

I do them in Word 97 because that is what they give us at work, and the table and column features are relatively easy to use. I would not use a word processor without these features, then run the results through a page layout program. This is too much work, and my documents change all the time so it is too cumbersome as well.

Of course, tables are hard to design and program, but --gotta have them! ---.

Things in Word I can do without ( I really WANT to do without!):
- Autoformat (don't change the format and numbering while I type!)
- Automatic hyperlinks - I want to paste the text, not get a special field that I can't change back to text.
- Automatic indenting a paragraph when I hit <TAB>.
- Grammar checking (I turned it off!).
- All those toobars (all gone too except for the "formatting" one sometimes).
- Inserting other files as OLE objects instead of themselves. True, you can get the OLE objects to update themselves, but this is really unusable because you never know if any version of the document has been updated or not, plus you can't necessarily give the file to someone else because they may not have the linked file.

I'm very happy with ABW so far - it works fast and clean and, for the features implemented so far, very well. What a great start!

Can you image the arguments within the Abisource team about what the feature set should be?? It boggles the mind. I really admire their accomplishment so far.

Tom Passin

----- Original Message -----
From: Shaw Terwilliger <>
To: Jacques Du Pasquier <>; liste abiword <>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 12:00 PM
Subject: Re: Don't take the extension too seriously

> Jacques Du Pasquier wrote:
> > Abiword will refuse to open a file foo.doc if it is a plain text file.
> > I would be better if it could see (or ask confirmation) that it is
> > plain text and not word, and open it.
> If you're using a Unix version of AbiWord, you can also use the File->Open
> dialog, and select the file in the list, but then force it to open it
> as Text by choosing that format from the file-type list. That selection
> will override the extension. I don't think this is possible with Windows
> (without the file contents detection you describe) because of the way its
> dialogs have a 1:1 correspondence between type and extension.
> --
> Shaw Terwilliger

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