A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2 part 1

The last developer milestone ( DEV300m60) of OpenOffice.org has just been released. The next version of OpenOffice.org 3.2 has more than 42 features and about 167 enhancements . The final version of openoffice is expected to be available at the end of November 2009.

Many known companies have contributed to this version like RedHat , RedFlag and IBM, making OpenOffice more stable and useful. I couldn’t stop myself from seeing new features and enjoying them. So we downloaded DEV300m60 version. After playing with it for many days we could say that OpenOffice developers have done very good work in it. Well done !
We will review in this post some interesting features : more secure , faster , easier and more international.

more secure

Detect if non-encrypted streams are in encrypted document:

OOo expects that an encrypted document does not contain any non-encrypted streams starting from ODF1.2 version. The exceptions are the streams that are part of the ODF format: „mimetype“, „META-INF/manifest.xml“ and signature streams that follow the pattern „META-INF/*signatures*“.

The manifest.xml is part of the document signature now:

In OpenOffice.org 3.2, the manifest.xml will be signed . This will introduce the limitation that macro signatures can’t be introduced after the document was signed, because this would need manipulation of the (then) signed manifest.xml.

ODF document integrity check:

The document integrity check proves now whether the ODF document conforms the ODF specification. It mainly affects the ODF1.2 documents. If an inconsistency is found, the document is treated as a broken one, the office suggests to repair the document in this case. The macros are disabled in repaired documents.

Faster

Many issues have been fixed in order to make OpenOffice.org faster. The happy news that OpenOffice.org 3.2 is now faster than before in many aspects. The startup now 30% faster in Windows. Many issues have been ironed out in Writer (6 issues) and Calc (10 issues) regarding loading and saving times.

Now I can see that OpenOffice is faster than before but still there are many things have to be done in speed side.

Easier

Default button in password dialog now is „OK“ :

Although it is a small change but it makes OpenOffice more usable . Now The OK button in the password dialog is the default button again .

Remove the password length limitation:

“ The current minimal password length limitation ( 5 characters ) is outdated and makes no sense any more. Thus the limitation is removed, although the password is not allowed to be empty. “

Import of password protected Microsoft Office XML documents:

This is a great feature. Many people asked me how we can open password protected docx/xlsx files. All document types are supported including: MS Word 2007 documents (*.docx, *.docm) – MS Word 2007 templates (*.dotx, *.dotm) – MS Excel 2007 documents (*.xlsx, *.xlsm) – MS Excel 2007 binary documents (*.xlsb) – MS Excel 2007 templates (*.xltx, *.xltm) – MS Powerpoint 2007 documents (*.pptx, *.pptm) – MS Powerpoint 2007 templates (*.potx, *.potm).

Encryption support for „Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP“ :

This new feature make saving password protected Microsoft Word document possible with Microsoft Office standard RC4 algorithm.

Keyboard shortcut configuration dialog now supports „ALT“ modifier:

Before OpenOffice.org 3.2, the dialog for configuring keyboard shortcuts never allowed to use the ALT-key. Now ALT as well as SHIFT-ALT, CTRL-ALT and SHIFT-CTRL-ALT modifiers can be used in the dialog.

Impress and Draw now support comments:

To support collaboration, it is now possible to add comments to a presentation or drawing

document (using menu insert/comment or with the new Comments toolbar).

This feature was previously called „Notes“ in writer and calc . It has been renamed to „Comments“ in all applications to avoid a clash with the speaker notes feature in impress. This is also a consistent naming with other office suites.

MediaWiki filter is no more installed as part of OOo installation:

The MediaWiki filter is not installed as part of OOo installation any more. Instead it will be installed as a part of Wiki Publisher extension, since the two implementations are used together and it allows to provide updates for the filter independently from OOo releases.

Default paper sizes:

This is also a cool feature. In my country the default PaperSize is A4 not letter. Many time I forgot to change the page size and it causes me thinking why my documents show different from others documents.

Now OpenOffice.org 3.2 take the default PaperSize from Language local configuration. The default PaperSize for all countries will be like this:

  • US (United States) -> Letter
  • CA (Canada) -> Letter
  • PR (Puerto Rico, United States Territory) -> Letter
  • PH (Philippines) -> Letter
  • VE (Venezuela) -> Letter
  • CL (Chile) -> Letter
  • Mexico (MX) -> Letter
  • Colombia (CO) -> Letter
  • All Others -> A4

Menu items display changed :

The display of menu items with checkmarks and item images changed slightly. Item images and checkmarks now are displayed in the same column. In case an item is both checkable and has an image, the image is displayed, but additionally the checked state is displayed in the same way checked toolbar buttons are displayed.

Option item „Icons in menus“ now listbox with three options:

The Tools/Options->OpenOffice.org/View page now has a listbox for the „Icons in menus“ option. This was a checkbox before and is now a listbox offering three options: 1) Automatic 2) Hide 3) Show.

Improved file locking:

Now if the file is used, you can open a copy from it or Open it in read mode only .

More integration with Windows 7 & KDE 4

The new version OpenOffice.org 3.2 will use the native file picker dialog in Windows 7 and KDE 4.

More international

Graphite Font Support :

I am impressed with this feature. It helps OpenOffice.org to be more Open to minority languages like Malayalam language and Tamil language. To get more information about minority languages see this page.

Graphite fonts are truetype fonts with extra tables which contain information for complex rendering such as context specific reordering, shaping and positioning. Unlike OpenType, the rendering engine does not need any prior knowledge of the script, the rendering rules are all contained in the font itself.  This makes it ideal for scripts and languages which are not directly supported in Uniscribe or ICU. Graphite also supports font features which allow variations in rendering to be selected according to linguistic or personal preference. To get free graphite fonts see here.

Support for PS-OpenType fonts :

Another cool thing in OpenOffice.org 3.2 is supporting PS-OpenType fonts. Postscript based OpenType fonts are now supported (for formatting, printing, PDF-export and display).

In Addition, UNX platforms is now supported.

New Locale support:

OpenOffice.org 3.2 adds locale data for Asturian_Spain [ast-ES] , Yiddish_Israel [yi-IL], Arabic (Oman) [ar-OM] , Sardinian_Italy [sc-IT] , Quechua (Ecuador) [qu-EC] ,Oromo_Ethiopia [om-ET] , yghur_China [ug-CN], Ancient Greek [grc-GR], Somali_Somalia [so-SO] , Sorbian, Lower [dsb-DE] and Upper [hsb-DE] .