Wednesday, September 05, 2012

More Progress in Calligra Author

Last post I wrote about the decided new features that we will include in the next version of Calligra Author.  Here is a quick recapitulation:
  • Export to EPUB 2 format
  • Export to MOBI format
  • Word count in the status bar
  • Distraction free writing mode
  • Annotations (a.k.a. Notes)
All of these were selected by popular vote by the future users in this thread of the KDE forums.

So, I thought I'd go through the ones we have worked on in a little more detail this time.

Export to EPUB2

The EPUB2 filter is more or less done. We can in Calligra Words and Calligra Author choose the EPUB2 format in the export file dialog and get a perfectly validated ebook. Here are the features that we support:
  • Convert an ODT to EPUB 2.0.1 (duh!)
  • Handle all text features (more or less - drop caps aren't handled yet) including tables and even tables in tables.
  • Split the odt file into chapters. This is done somewhat heuristically now by splitting at the paragraphs that have a page break.
  • Handle paragraph and text styles and convert them to CSS.
  • Handle ODF style inheritance and default styles and convert that to CSS too. This is somewhat tricky since HTML and CSS doesn't support inheritance between styles.
  • Include images into the ebook.
  • Convert images in unsupported vector formats, namely WMF, EMF, and SVM and convert them to SVG.
  • Handle internal links and bookmarks.
  • Handle footnotes and endnotes. Footnotes are created at the bottom of each chapter and endnotes get their own chapter (i.e.xhtml file) inside the ebook.
I would say that's a pretty ok list of features, especially converting the images from unsupported formats to SVG.

What is not supported yet and we don't know how to handle yet is to add a cover image to the book. But we will figure it out before the release.

Export to MOBI format

Mojtaba Shahi is working on this presently and expects a working prototype this week. Naturally we are reusing most of the code from the EPUB filter for this.

The tricky part is that MOBI itself is an unsupported format which we have to reverse engineer. Lucklly enough we have other free software to look at like Calibre.

Word Count in Status Bar

Many people who asked us for this were not aware that you could already get some extensive real-time statistics from Calligra Words. There is a statistics docker that can show word count, character count, Flesch reading index, and many other numbers. What did not work so well was to have this laid out horizontally in the status bar.

Shreya Pandit has now created an adaptable statistics docker that lays out it's content depending on where it is.  Here you can see a screenshot at the current state of it.


Note that there are a few things that we still want to fix: The text is a bit small, the title "Statistics" should go, there is too much vertical space. But in general it works now.

There are some discussions in the Calligra community right now about making all of the contents of the current statusbar into dockers and then make the lower dock widget the new status bar instead. That would make the status bar totally configurable but we will of course provide good defaults.

Distraction Free Writing Mode

This is what I am working on right now together with Gopalakrishna Bhat. we have some technical challenges but we are pretty confident that we will be able to produce something that works for the next release. The perfect solution may have to wait until the next version after that, but we will see in the next two weeks.

I will be back with more about this in the next report.

Annotations

We have not started on this feature yet. Camilla Boemann, the Calligra Words maintainer, wants to do some refactorings in the deeper layers of Calligra and the timing was not right to work on this.

Naturally there are many other features being developed in Calligra at the same time, as well as bug fixing. So we have to be good Calligra citizens and wait for library work to be finished before we start on the user-visible layers.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. In the next update I hope to be able to report that the MOBI export is done and talk about some features there.

And if you want to discuss the features -- present or upcoming -- of Calligra Author, please do that in the forums: http://forum.kde.org/viewforum.php?f=249 for Calligra Author specific threads and http://forum.kde.org/viewforum.php?f=203 for more general Calligra threads.

3 Comments:

Blogger Asti said...

Hi,

I'm a writer and Linux-user and I'm very excited about this project. Do you still need people for testing or anything?
If so, where do I sign up? ;)

Cheers,
Alena

1:49 AM  
Blogger ingwa said...

@alena: Right now we need people for 2 things other than pure development: testing and writing documentation. Good places to discuss and volunteer would be the Calligra Author forums (http://forum.kde.org/viewforum.php?f=249) or the author development mailing list (https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/calligra-author). The former is more for user-oriented things and the latter more for development related things. Welcome!

1:51 AM  
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11:16 PM  

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