It’s been a long time I have talked about the project that I started with GSoC 2015 some time back. We reached at pretty much exciting results by the end of the summer where we could see the integration working pretty well with LibreOffice. We finished and merged all the major work on the Libreoffice side alongwith just-made-it-work integration with gnome-documents. Things were still in the development stage for gnome-documents, and we needed good amount of effort to get it merged upstream.

Things moved pretty slow on the integration because from time to time during the integration I would realise that I had missed something in LO, and I need to fix it before I could move forward with the integration. I would then jump back to LO, fix it, and switch back to gnome-documents, and so on. But it was only till Dec 2015 that things were slow. I suspect this thing to be the turning point. Bastien, [Debarshi] (, and Cosimo held the string from gnome-documents side, and started working with my earlier WIP work/patches for gnome-documents. There were many issues that needed to be fixed for the proper ready-to-merge LO integration, and better user experience. But I was lucky now that I had the experts to take care of it.

As I expected, there were still some minor fixes to be done on LO side which they found out during the integration. Bastien would report LO related bugs; I would fix them in LO; David would help with the reviews, and build and ship the package for us. As I write this, I am glad and feeling proud that we are now there with most of the work already merged upstream in gnome-documents. With LO 5.1 release just few weeks away, gnome-documents seems to be all set to integrate LO with its next major release, 3.20.

Here is the screencast I made running gnome-documents master with LO 5.1.0 rc2 koji build on fedora. There are bug fixes that couldn’t make to LO 5.1, and some more that you will uncover as you use this. :) So, it might take little more time (one more release, maybe) while it settles down. Note that LibreOfficeKit API (to expose LO functionality) is still unstable, but the widget is quite usable in the view-only mode, and that is how we have integrated it in gnome-documents for now.

Screencast is here :

Earlier, gnome-documents was converting these non-supported formats into PDFs using unreliable command unoconv, which sometimes would not give good results especially with spreadsheets where it would scramble things up during the conversion. With the use of this new widget, now, you would see the documents as they exactly are, unless you do not have LibreOffice installed on your box in which case it would pop up an error asking you to install LibreOffice.

If you want to try it out yourself, you need to build atleast LibreOffice 5.1.0 rc2 and gnome-documents master branch. If you are on fedora, you can use this koji build to install LO 5.1.0 rc2 on your box, and you can use jhbuild to build gnome-documents from master. Running gnome-documents now should automatically make it to use LibreOffice in the background.

I would like to thank all the people, aforementioned, Bastien, Debarshi, and Cosimo to finish the GNOME integration with LibreOffice. On the LibreOffice side, Miklos and Michael with whom I started this GSoC project, and David Tardon who has helped us ship the LO package with much needed fixes in time.

While I am at it, I also want to announce about my new job at Collabora Productivity where I would be hacking on LibreOffice full-time. It would be an exciting and wonderful learning experience for me. I am greatly looking forward to it.

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23 January 2016