The day before the real start of the KOffice meeting in Berlin, most developers had already arrived. After checking in and having dinner, they started hacking away at the KDAB office. Read on to learn about how this went and the plans the developers have for KOffice 2 and the coming weekend!
After arriving and checking in, Till and several other KDAB people bought us dinner and then took us to their Berlin office. The hackers enjoyed seeing each other in real life (again), so they had fun and some beverages where consumed, but all this talking didn't keep the hackers from hacking.
Developers talked about the progress in several areas of KOffice. According to Thomas Zander, KOffice currently has almost all the features that version 1.6 had, and much more already. Boudewijn Rempt tempered this optimism a little, and discussed how some applications aren't ready yet for porting to the new infrastructure. Talking to Jan Hambrecht, the Karbon maintainer made clear how Qt 4 is helping development. Karbon is a vector graphics application, and the new graphical features introduced in Qt 4.3 can do most of the heavy lifting in Karbon.
Ariya Hidayat was made happy by Boudewijn, when Boud offered to let the KSpread developers meet in his house. They would be able to get together for 2 days to discuss some important architectural issues for KOffice 2. ODF support, memory usage and some other issues are just a bit too complex to solve through mail or IRC, and discussing them face-to-face is much more efficient.
What are the KOffice developers planning to work on, or what do they want to discuss with their fellow hackers? Inge Wallin explained his main goals for the Berlin meeting in an email sent a few days before the meeting started. The big target for the meeting is ODF. First, the KOffice hackers will go through the current ODF support and try to improve it. It is important to create a good infrastructure to support ODF throughout KOffice, so developers won't have a hard time getting their apps to use it. The second target for the meeting will be the integration of ODF in KDE. The plan is to create a library which will make it easy for any application in KDE to have basic read and write support for Open Document files. Writing such a "Phonon" or "Solid" for ODF won't be an easy task, so the KOffice developers invited Tobias König from Okular fame, as this application will be one of the users of this library. Also, although Aaron Seigo was unable to attend, he promised to be available through Skype or other real-time communication means, and the KOffice team of course has David Faure and Thomas Zander who are experienced library hackers.
But of course this is not all. Martin Pfeiffer and Alfredo Beaumont, both proud KFormula hackers, are thinking about the details of their ODF/MathML infrastructure. Though Martin got the flake plugin to initialize months ago, only last night did Alfredo manage to get it to render something. They are still very much working on the basics, as MathML, the open formula format, is a very big and complex piece of work, and fully supporting it is really hard. Still, they aim to surpass KFormula 1.6, which had the most elaborate MathML support in the Free Software world.
Jan Hambrecht is also thinking about ODF and Karbon. He is awaiting the results of the design talks planned for Saturday, as the ODF infrastructure they plan to discuss and build will enable him to get Karbon support to ODF quickly and properly. Writing it himself would take far too much time, but in good KDE tradition, he expects the common framework they will build together to do a lot of the hard work for him. After effective ODF support, he can start porting all current export and import plugins to the new structure, ensure there are no regressions compared to the 1.6 release, and add a few useful new features.
Anne-Marie Mahfouf, mainly a KDE-Edu developer, is listening with rapt attention to the discussion about ODF. She told me how she has been thinking about ODF as a unified solution for the several XML-based fileformats they use for data in the Educational applications. Aside from this and all other ideas she has about the development of educational and scientific applications for KDE, she is present at the meeting for testing, bug hunting and documentation. Thanks to Anne-Marie and Pete Murdoch, you can view the details of the ODF meeting online at the KOffice website.
We want to thank the sponsors, Klarälvdalens Datakonsult AB (KDAB), Trolltech and the KDE e.V. for their support. Trolltech is sponsoring the travel costs of the ODF Meeting through KDE e.V. and KDAB is not only giving us their office to use, but is also sponsoring our food. Without their support organizing this event would have been much more difficult. Of course, we're looking forward to the next two days!