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AbiWord 0.7.11 released, preparation continues for feature freeze.

Sep 15, 2000, 11:59 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert Sievers)

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Those of you familiar with this project know that it has been about 3 months since AbiWord 0.7.10, and that means it is a new release is long overdue. We have been busy getting features in place in preparation for feature freeze which comes at AbiWord 0.9.0. It's been quite a ride since AbiWord 0.7.10. We have had many new contributors. For this release more so than previously, often times a lot of work went in 'under the hood'. This makes it hard to give everyone appropriate credit, since their work is not always prominently visible. For these people, virtue will have to be its own reward.

Here is the rundown of what is new in AbiWord 0.7.11:

  1. Column dialog. Bruce Pearson grabbed one of the few remaining dialogs that still needed to be created; the Columns dialog. Now you can adjust columns and column spacing from the dialog rather than messing around with the ruler controls.
  2. Zoom. Bruce Pearson (does that name sound familiar?) also finished off the zoom dialog so that now you can zoom to page size. This kind of touch-up dialog work really shows how much closer AbiWord is getting to version 1.0.
  3. Insert Picture. Michael Pritchett added an Insert Picture dialog. This dialog offers a small preview window so that you can see what you are trying to add. Michael did a thorough job making sure this dialog Just Works, and is another example of how the AbiWord development team is paying close attention to user's expectations.
  4. GoTo. The Goto dialog had suffered a rough beginning, first making its appearance in AbiWod 0.7.9, and then disappearing in 0.7.10. Thomas Briggs finished up the work required to make this dialog modeless and got it back into AbiWord to stay.
  5. Automatic exception handling. It?s always gratifying to see AbiWord get a useful feature that no other word processor has. Sam TH added support for automatic exception handling. This means that should AbiWord crash for some unknown reason, the document you are working on will be saved right then and there. Of course, everyone hopes Sam?s feature will never be used, but he will be held in high regard when it does. This feature is for UNIX systems only.
  6. Major BeOS progress. Christopher Plymire added so many updates to the BeOS build, there is no way I could list them all here. He added all missing dialogs relative to the Windows and Linux ports and fixed most of the major bugs. With all of Christopher?s work, plus some help from Ithamar Adema, AbiWord for BeOS is now ready for prime time.
  7. Better help. David Schmitter added a help menu that now directly references the main help files. Add to that edits to the help files themselves by Christophe Caron, Karl Ove Hufthammer and Ashleigh Gordon, and you have an integrated help system beginning to take shape. There are still some minor issues to work out, but getting everything in place was the first step.
  8. Alternate font handling. There are lots of features a good word processor has that most people only notice when they are missing. One of these is proper handling of alternate fonts such as symbols and dingbats. Bill Carpenter did a great job tracking down many of these problems, such as import of smart quotes from RTF and MSWord documents, and making sure the spell checker didn?t get caught on them.
  9. Bug fixes. There was a quite a bit of bug fixing going on behind the scenes. In many cases, these were issues we didn?t even realize were there until the fix came in! An all-inclusive list would be too long, but some of the highlights are #910: paragraph control now work more intuitively (Bruce Perason), #919: Change button in Spell dialog now works correctly (Thomas Briggs), #935: Cursor artifact removed (Big Ed), #944: keyboard shortcuts added for default styles. (Karl Hufthammer) Improved Find/Replace algorithm: (Allan Clark and Anders Melchiorsen), Dragging ruler marks now forces pages to autoscroll and printing accenterd characters on UNIX: (Aaron Lehman), Soft hyphen are now supported: (Martin Vermeer), Headers are now centered in HTML export (Joseph Kelsey), better handling of Ignored Words (Bill Carpenter). 10. Translations. Tim Allen reworked the Field and Goto dialogs so that the text within the dialog could also be translated. These and other additions led to the following translation updates: Catalan (Jesús Corrius), Danish (Birger Langkjer), Finnish (Jarmo Karvonen), German (Harald Fernengel), Indonesian (Tim Allen), Italian (Marco Innocentri), Norwegian Nynorsk translations (Karl Hufthammer), Norwegian BOK translations (Karl Kalleberg), Polish (Eutanazy Sercxemulo), Portuguese (Rob Silva), Spanish (Joaquin Cuenca Abela) and Swedish (Henrik Berg). Also, Owen Thomas added a Welch translation.
  10. Import/Export. Michael Pritchitt added support for BMP import. Most Windows users have these all over their system; now you can put them into your AbiWord documents. On a totally different front, David Nay added support for PalmDoc export. Now you can save AbiWord documents and read them on a Palm.
  11. GNOME. Work on getting AbiWord more GNOME-ified continues. Dom Lachowicz a GNOME print dialog and the column dialog. Joaquin Cuenca Abela also added capabilities to Show/Hide the status bar as well toolbars; the toolbars are much more configurable now due to his work both on the GUI and underlying preferences. Also, Peter Haight made AbiWord a little more robust relative to finding the default fonts.
  12. Ports. Thomas Fletcher still continues to make major headway on the Q/NX port. As of AbiWord 0.7.11, AbiWord for QNX is on par feature for feature with Windows and Linux. In other porting news, Hubert Figurer started a MacOS X port of AbiWord. This is a great port in and of itself, and yet it will help the MacOS port go forward as the MacOS X port requires less work that a rough MacOS port while still solving some of the eventual problems.

For those people who just can't get enough, here is a quick peek at what is coming. Martin Sevior has a well-functioning list implementation. They are currently being tested and the major kinks have been worked out. They have not been incorporated into the release builds yet until the final file format is nailed down. Expect to see lists in the next release. Also, Dom Lachowicz has been continuing work on MSWord export. AbiWord will soon be able to export to MSWord format for simple cases. Also, the Tabs dialog is being worked on, and should show up in the near future thanks to Martin Sevior and Bruce Pearson. Finally, Sam TH has starting working on page numbering edging that feature closer to completion and inclusion. Justin Bradford has been spending time deep in the guts of AbiWord getting it ready for vector image formats such as SVG. As always, more to come!

Robert Sievers, Open Source Evangelist

Abisource Homepage

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