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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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