Call for Help — Styles Widget for Calligra Words

Background

Some of us in the Calligra team recently got together and held an IRC meeting to discuss a redesign of the text styles dock widget in Calligra Words. The meeting was attended by both coders and usability people. A full summary of the meeting is available on the wiki, but some of the conclusions were:

  1. We need two dock widgets: one compact for people who value screen real-estate and one big dock widget for the styles junkies out there who always wants to have the list of text styles available on-screen.
  2. Applying styles should be a one-click operation.
  3. As the styles dock widgets are mostly used to apply styles, styles should be presented in the dock widgets as a simple list, not as a tree showing the inheritance between styles.
  4. Previewing of styles should as much as possible be done in-list. That is, items in the styles lists are previews of themselves.

Apart from that, most of what was decided at the meeting were details regarding the implementation.

Below are some preliminary mock-ups of how we envision the new styles widget to be used in the two dock widgets. Note that the same styles widget will be used in both these dock widgets, so the two dockers will probably share 99% of their code.

Compact Dock Widget Mock-up. Click to enlarge.
Compact Docker Mock-up. Click to enlarge.
Big Dock Widget Mock-up. Click to enlarge.
Big Dock Widget Mock-up. Click to enlarge.

Call for Help!

Some preliminary coding of the styles widget to be used in the two new dockers has been started by Casper, but now we’re looking for someone to finish the work. The task involves implementing the actual list view used in these two new dock widgets. If you feel that you

  • want to help out with making Calligra Words a lot more usable
  • have some experience with the Qt model/view framework
  • want to work with a motivated and friendly team of developers
  • like to have your work shine at a very prominent place in Calligra Words

then you’re the one we’re looking for! If you’re interested in helping out, you’re welcome to contact us in the Calligra Team either in #calligra on irc.freenode.net or on our mailing list.

My somewhat unsung heroes

Right now, this very weekend, the developers of KOffice, a free software office suite, are gathering at the KDAB offices in Berlin for a final meeting before their long anticipated 2.0 release. Among the attendants are both developers and marketing people. The meeting will have two tracks; one technical track for discussions about all the remaining technical issues with KOffice that needs to be solved before the release, and one marketing track for discussions about how to present the release and how to handle people’s expectations of it. Something that is very important after such a long and hard development cycle.

These people have been working relentlessly on this release, with a release cycle that spans years. Along the way much has happened. Endless design discussions have taken place on the mailing list and on IRC. There have been disagreements among developers, but also reconciliation. The developers are all motivated by different things, and they have all put in a tremendous amount of free time in making this release come out as good as possible. I’ve tried to help out a little bit by putting in a few patches here and there, but at the end of the day, I find the amount of work and the dedication shown by the core KOffice team simply amazing.

In my eyes the KOffice project is one of the more important ones within the KDE sphere. An office suite is something that almost any computer user have to use one day or another, and in the Free Software world the only real alternative at the moment is the OpenOffice.org suite. Other KDE projects such as Amarok, which are not near the size or scope of KOffice have gotten a huge amount of attention, and rightfully so, don’t get me wrong. However, KOffice haven’t really.

Anyway, to conclude this post; the KOffice developers are my heroes, and however the 2.0 release turns out, I think they deserve a big Thank You!