Introduction: GSoC 2016 with Libreoffice

This is my first blog related to my Google Summer of Code project with Libreoffice. I would be working on the Template Manager of Libreoffice to solve the basic software design problems which were quite surfacing in it’s previous instance. I have been assigned two mentors for my project, Mr. Yousuf (Jay) Philips and Mr. Samuel Mehrbrodt, who will guide me and review my ideas. This blog mainly focuses on keeping all the proposed changes under one roof and will be followed by a series of related blog posts about the actual changes made in LibreOffice.

The Template Manager will undergo a major rework and installation of new features. Few insights to the changes and additions are given below:

  • UI concept:

    1. Redesigning the Template Manager

      • New User Interface for better UX
        • Remove the feels of a file manager
      • Fuzzy Search and Filter controls for easier accessibilty
      • Use of context menus instead of toolbox controls for non-browse focused entries
      • Removal of tabs (Drop 90’s design)
      • No regression on previous functionalities:
        • Non-browse focused functions (Edit, Set As Default, Delete, etc)
        • Browse focused functions (Move, Export, Import)
      • blog25

        Template Manager mock-up

    2. Making Impress A UX Princess

      • Scrap off the ‘Presentation Wizard‘ from Impress module
        • Exclude Libreoffice 5.2
      • Modal dialog for template selection
        • Minimal version of ‘Templates‘ dialog
      • ‘On’ by default with easy means of disabling
        • Impress > Tools > Libreoffice Impress > General > Start with wizard
  • Challenges:

    1. Improve Save as Template workflow

      • Current workflow fails to use Template Manager efficiently
      • Plan to create a new ‘Save as Template’ dialog
    2. Better integration of Template Manager with Start Center

      • Improved accessibility of templates in Start Center
      • Reduce back-end to minimal code
      • Better thumbnail previews
    3. Integration of online templates

      • Not decided yet ( Not mentioned in GSoC project proposal )
      • The current LO site does not provide with API
      • New website (not launched) has a JSON API
    4. CMIS Integration

      • Currently an experimental feature
      • Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Enable Experimental Features
      • Not sure about interoperability w.r.t. templates.


For other queries and discussions, please comment or ping me (IRC nick: Akki) on libreoffice-dev / libreoffice-design channel on Freenode.