XML News from Friday, March 30, 2007

The OpenOffice Project has released OpenOffice 2.2, an open source office suite for Linux and Windows that saves all its files as zipped XML. It also runs on the Mac with X-Windows. According to John McCreesh,

In version 2.2, users will immediately notice the improvement in the quality of text display in all parts of OpenOffice.org. The reason for this is that the previously optional support for kerning, a technique to improve the appearance of text written in proportional fonts, has now been enabled by default. OpenOffice.org's unique pdf export function has also been enhanced with the addition of the optional creation of bookmarks feature, and support for user-definable export of form fields.

While OpenOffice.org 2.1 functions well on Microsoft's Windows Vista, version 2.2 makes use of some of the new cosmetic changes available in Vista, the new file dialogues being an example. Apple Mac users will notice a smaller download and a smaller installed size. The Apple Mac Intel version has many stability improvements, and bug fixes ranging from .ppt export to improved UNO connections. Version 2.2 now requires Mac OS X 10.4.x running X11.

Turning to some of the enhancements made to the individual components of OpenOffice.org, the Calc spreadsheet has received additional enhancements to its support for Microsoft file formats, including improved support for Pivot Tables and some specialised trigonometric functions. Base, the database component, has improved SQL editing functionality as well as a new "Queries within Queries" feature. Compatibility options for some database drivers, such as Oracle ODBC, have been improved. Impress, the presentations component, offers improvements in the handling of hidden slides which has been made more intuitive.

OpenOffice is dual licensed under the LGPL and Sun Industry Standards Source License.

The XML Apache Project has posted the first beta of Batik 1.7, an open source SVG display engine based on Java 2D. New features in 1.7 include DOM Level support, an improved WMF transcoder, more complete SMIL Animation support, and a few SVG 1.2 features including and handler elements.