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Abiword 2.8.0

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Abiword 2.8.0  Change Log

Improved Collaboration support

  • AbiWord's collaborative capabilities are greatly improved in this release. For example, it gained the ability to distinguish the text written by different authors using various text highlight colors while collaborating. Figure 1 shows a document being edited by three different authors at the same time. The collaboration support has been tightly integrated with the new online web service called http://abicollab.net/, which lets you store documents online, allows easy document sharing with your friends, and performs format conversions on the fly.

Annotation / Comment support

  • AbiWord 2.8.0 gained support for annotations, or "comments". You can annotate any piece of text with a remark that will show up when you hover over it with your mouse. A list of all remarks will be displayed in the footer area on every page if desired. An annotation example is shown in figure 2 below.

Smart Quote support

  • Proper Smart Quote support has been added in this latest release. While older AbiWord releases claimed to have it on board (there was a preference to enable Smart Quotes), it was never (properly) implemented. Figure 3 shows that AbiWord finally supports this often requested feature.

Multi-Page View

  • Also new in 2.8.0 is the ability to view multiple pages side by side. This is convenient for users who have large widescreen monitors, or for quickly getting an overview of the document. Figure 4 shows various pages of a document shown side by side.

True Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) support

  • The GTK port of AbiWord has gained proper SVG support in the 2.8.0 release. While previous AbiWord releases had the ability to import SVG images, their quality was low. This has been fixed, and SVG images will now look better on screen and in print. Figure 5 shows a document containing a high quality SVG image, which will not lose any image quality when printed.
  • It's worth noting that importing WMF images from Microsoft Word documents will also result in high quality images now, as they too won't be rasterised anymore.

Improved OpenDocument Format (.odt) support

  • The AbiWord development team considers support for the Open Document Format (ODF) important for a number of reasons, including long term durability and our interoperability with other products on the market. These days many governments, companies and individual users are moving to ODF. Thanks to an ongoing grant from NLnet Foundation, AbiWord is on its way to become one the best ODF implementations on the word processor market. This release incorporates many improvements to the ODF import/export filters, such as documents with page anchored images and frames that are now properly imported, as well as documents with a relative width to columns and tables. Coupled with a large number of other improvements makes that AbiWord's support for ODF is better than ever.

Improved Office Open XML (.docx) support

  • As with OpenDocument Format support, we consider interoperability with the Office Open XML (.docx) format popularized by Microsoft Word to be very important. The Office Open XML import filter in AbiWord 2.8 has seen great improvements as the result of funding through the Google Summer of Code program. The import filter now supports all common complex document features such as lists, tables, headers, footers and images.

New printing framework

  • The printing system in the GTK port of AbiWord has been completely rewritten. The most notable change is the support for GTK Print in favor of the deprecated gnome-print. Furthermore the quality of the Postscript and PDF output has been increased significantly, which was made possible by porting our rendering code to use cairo.
  • ... and more changes all over the map!

Including:

  • Many improvements to the document import and export filters, most notably the OpenDocument (.odt), Office Open XML (.docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf) and LaTeX (.tex) filters.
  • A new S5 exporter has been added.
  • The GNOME Office Chart plugin has been updated to be able to embed entire Gnumeric spreadsheet documents (GTK version only). This requires Gnumeric 1.9.x to work.

Note to Developers and Distributors
Some specific changes might be of interest to software developers and distributors:

  • For people scripting AbiWord to print from the command line, a change in the command line options was made. A typical way to print a file directly from the command line would now be:

abiword --to=ps --to-name=fd://1 file.abw | lpr

  • A totally revamped build system has been put in place, making it more standards compliant and allowing cross-compilation of the Windows version on Linux/Unix systems. The plugins are included in the abiword source tarball now as well.
  • The GTK port had its rendering code ported to use cairo for all its output (the Windows and OS X ports will follow later).
  • Make the Mac OSX port compile again (we won't consider it a supported port until we move it to the new cairo-based renderer).
  • Removed a ton of deprecated GTK functions.
  • Make the code compile almost completely warning free.
  • Move from Glade to GTK Builder to construct our dialogs in the GTK port.
  • For people embedding AbiWord using the provided GTK AbiWidget, the Web view was reworked to make text flow in a way to use all available space allocated to the widget. This in contrast to view modes such as the "Print Preview" and "Normal" mode, which are more paper-oriented.
  • For people packaging pyabiword, make sure to compile libabiword using the --enable-dynamic flag, otherwise plugins will fail to load.

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