Update: features in new build of OpenOffice.org

Subject: Update: features in new build of OpenOffice.org
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2002 17:18:38 -0700

For those on the list who are interested in OpenOffice.org, developer's build 643 has just been announced.No word on when the next official version will be out, but I'd suspect it would be less than a month.

I'm downloading as I type, so I haven't tried the new build yet, but the feature list looks interesting. For tech-writers, the new build includes several juicy features, including:

- new import/export features to DocBook and XHTML: If this checks out, then writers may have the GUI for XML that we've been waiting for.

- native PDF export capabilities: I'm not sure what this means, since you could print to PDF before - and produce very clean PDF. It may just mean that you can save as PDF. However, if it means that you can set bookmarks and links, then it is a major increase in functionality for those on non-Windows platforms. For those on Windows, it could mean that you no longer need to buy Adobe Acrobat.

- macro recorder: This was one of two areas in which MS Word had an edge on OpenOffice (the other was a grammar checker,which nobody should use anyway). There's less need for macros in OpenOffice, since you don't need workarounds for basic actions such as autonumbering, but it's still very welcome, all the same.

All builds of OpenOffice.org are free for the download at www.openoffice.org. You can download versions for Linux, Solaris and Windows.

I'll post more as I explore.

(In passing, I note that the official release of this build will be the second new version since 1.0 was released in May 2001, which makes it a good sample of what open source development methods can do - and proof that there can be incentives for excellence when there's no money involved :-) )

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

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