Older blog entries for msevior (starting at number 27)

Latex Equation Editor

I discovered a great little utility called itex2MML written by Paul Gartside which converts itex (which is basically Latex) to MathML. Since we can nicely display MathML I used this utility to make a Latex based Equation Editor for AbiWord.

I'm very pleased with the results. This is exactly the way I'd like to enter and edit mathematics in my documents.

Here's is a cute little screenshot of the feature in use. I cooked this up in just about 10 minutes of playing :-)

 http://www.ph.unimelb.edu.au/~msevior/abiword/TightEditMathGrammar.png

6 Mar 2005 (updated 6 Mar 2005 at 01:07 UTC) »

The World's Biggest Commit

From my great friend and fellow abi hacker Marc (uwog) Maurer!

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Had some tiny issues with this one. I think after this sync, all will be well again. It even compiles! Yay!

Marc

Sync with HEAD
CVS: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- CVS: Enter Log. Lines beginning with `CVS:' are removed automatically CVS: CVS: Committing in . CVS: CVS: Modified Files: CVS: Tag: JMM-DOUBLEGRAPHICS-1 CVS: CREDITS.TXT GNUmakefile.am Makefile configure.ac includes.mk CVS: ac-helpers/abi-glib-gtk.m4 ac-helpers/abi-gnome.m4 CVS: ac-helpers/abi-gucharmap.m4 docs/build/BUILD.TXT CVS: docs/build/BUILD.html po/cy-GB.po po/es-ES.po po/ms-MY.po CVS: po/nl-NL.po po/pt-PT.po po/sq-AL.po src/af/GNUmakefile.am CVS: src/af/ev/cocoa/ev_CocoaMenu.mm CVS: src/af/ev/cocoa/ev_CocoaToolbar.h CVS: src/af/ev/cocoa/ev_CocoaToolbar.mm CVS: src/af/ev/unix/ev_UnixMenu.cpp src/af/ev/win/ev_Win32Menu.cpp CVS: src/af/ev/xp/ev_EditBits.h src/af/gr/Makefile CVS: src/af/gr/cocoa/gr_CocoaGraphics.h CVS: src/af/gr/cocoa/gr_CocoaGraphics.mm CVS: src/af/gr/cocoa/gr_CocoaImage.h CVS: src/af/gr/cocoa/gr_CocoaImage.mm CVS: src/af/gr/unix/gr_UnixGraphics.cpp CVS: src/af/gr/unix/gr_UnixGraphics.h CVS: src/af/gr/unix/gr_UnixImage.cpp src/af/gr/unix/gr_UnixImage.h CVS: src/af/gr/win/gr_Win32Graphics.cpp CVS: src/af/gr/win/gr_Win32Graphics.h CVS: 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Successful Debugging!

I had an intense debugging session today and got tight wrapped objects for AbiWord working well enough to commit.

Screenshot with a tightly wrapped object.

http://www.ph.unimelb.edu.au/~msevior/abiword/TightWrapSS.png

Screenshot with a square wrapped object.

http://www.ph.unimelb.edu.au/~msevior/abiword/SquareWrapSS.png

Thats about 3 weeks from the idea to implementation. I love writing software :-)

In Japan

I arrived in Japan today. It is cold and snowy which is quite a contrast from the extremely pleasant Melbourne late summer.

I bought a couple of toys at the Duty Free shop at the airport. One is a new set of headphones. These suck. They don't stay in my ears :-(

The other toy was a little Belkin FM transmitter. You plug this into any audio source like an MP3 player or a laptop and you can play your music through a high quality FM receiver. This works really well. I finally get good bass from my laptop and I can control the volume right from my desktop.

I'll try it from my MP3 player and through the car FM receiver later.

I have this thing about disconnected remote control. I find it very cool to change the volume on my computer and get an instant response out of my FM receiver in a totally different room.

AbiWord and Grammar checking.

I finally got the grammar squiggle code working as I'd like it. I really do find this useful because I'm such a bad typist. There is still a fair bit to do.

We need to come with some heuristics to determine whether paragraphs need to be grammar checked. Almost all headings are incorrect sentences. It is silly to grammar-check them as they almost always get squiggled.

While in principle I can see how to make link-grammar provide corrections to a sentence, I can see that it will be a long-term project. I hope we can grow a community of people interested in natural language parsing to work on it. It seems quite possible to extend it to other languages as well. The project needs experts in native language grammar.

My next big feature for AbiWord will be tight wrapped positioned images. I have most of the code written. It now needs to be debugged.

Fedora Core

AbiWord and Gnumeric will be moved to FC-Extras for FC-4. It's pretty disappointing since AbiWord-2.2 really does provide a whole extra level of user-friendliness not found in other competing products anywhere. Gnumeric is the best Spreadsheet on the planet and far better than OOo.

We seem to have been pushed out by a whole slew of server-side stuff. I guess it's clear where RedHat sees it's future.

I hope we can find maintainers for FC-Extras. I guess it's time to start looking for a new distro for me, family and friends.

Debian has totally taken over what used to be a RedHat Workplace here so something like Ubuntu is looking good.

AbiWord - Plugins.

I've been hacking on some really cool plugins for AbiWord. These are now maturing enough to become useful though they're still very alpha.

The first is a plugin framework to allow arbitrary content to be rendered in AbiWord. I have a document describing this that I'm working on. I haven't finished the document because I keep tweaking the interface.

The first application of the framework is a plugin to use Luca Padovani's GtkMathView to render maths inside AbiWord. Luca and I worked out how to draw MathML into AbiWord at last years GUADEC. However by placing the code inside the new plugin framework we can move the code to CVS HEAD while allowing those platforms unfortunate enough to to not have GtkMathView to build and develop. The works really well and fully utilizes the AbiWord and GtkMathView abstract graphics and font classes to draw and  print directly into an AbiWord document. Furthermore, the framework can make png snapshots of  itself so that the AbiWord document with the maths can be viewed without the plugin. This is great for backward compatibility or for platforms that don't support GtkMathView.

Despite the name, the build of GtkMathView that we use does not need GTK and is in principle totally portable. In practice this hasn't happened yet. We need Windows and OSX developers to port it.

While GtkMathView is an awesome piece of code, it is not complete. It needs quite a bit more work to be production ready and it's editor needs to be fully implemented.. At the moment all we can do is insert MathML into a document. We can't create it on the fly.

While this is the first application of the framework it is by no means the last. I think we can use the code to enable arbitary rendering of content within AbiWord. So we can embed gnumeric documents, postscript, pdfs and maybe even the netscape plugins. We'll see.

The other cool plugin is for grammar checking. Last year I created a new type of plugin based on notifications. These work by having AbiWord broadcast notifications to plugins that "listen". I used this send the text in each paragraph to the excellent link-grammar grammar checker. Dom wrote a great auto-enabled build system for the code and now we have automatic English grammar checking in AbiWord. It seems to work really well!

Dom has already posted one screenshot, here is another showing some nice maths too :-)

AbiWord for website design?

We got an interesting email from Michel Strasser on using remote filters to do AbiWord document conversion with a particular example of using AbiWord to design websites.

See http://thebirdslake.free.fr/Abiword/index.htm

I think this is a very interesting idea particularly for CMS.

His example is really impressive. Click through and give it a try!

30 Nov 2004 (updated 30 Nov 2004 at 02:47 UTC) »
Work

Finally finished marking my exams. Just in time for the 2.2 release so I can party with a clear conscious :-)

Hacking

Beagle is a total bitch to compile on FC-3. I really want to get it running together with dashboard though. I'll spend some time on it again this arvo.

AbiWord

Got a lovely piece of fan mail on the -dev list today from a teacher on the joys of AbiWord. I think this will be a big growth area for us now we also have an OSX port as well as having Gnumeric for windows. There are tons of Mac's in Schools and Gnumeric is more than enough for every spreadsheet needed at School.

5 Nov 2004 (updated 5 Nov 2004 at 01:43 UTC) »
AbiWord and dashboard

Julian Satchell got permission to release his contributions to the abidash plugin. So AbiWord now sends clue packets to dashbaord. One day Real Soon Now, I'll get dashboard and beagle working here to try it out.

Unfortunately I'm very busy at work and home and now beagle requires a modified kernel. I'll wait till FC-3 comes out to install these and play with them.

Julian tells me that the results are really impressive with just the little bit he's implemented (sending clue packets based on changing paragraphs). It will be really interesting to try tuning things so that highlighting text does some aggresive searching and clue matching.

Just one last blocker bug until AbiWord-2.2.0

AbiWord

Lots and Lots of bugs fixes, tweaks and improvements since my last post. Still quite a few more needed before 2.2.

I've also been working with Julian Satchell to enable AbiWord to use the dashboard AI system. Julian reports that it basically works now. I'm intrigued to see how well it works. I would certainly be interested to see if software can really give me useful hints to help me with my writing.

I could sure use them!

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