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AbiWord 0.7.11 released, preparation continues for feature freeze.

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