[ Sunday, 2 November 2008, riklaunim ]
KDE4 isn’t the only application under development rush in the KDE world. KDevelop 4 and KOffice 2 are also being migrated to Qt4 and enriched with new features. This time I’m going to check what KOffice 2 Beta 2 can offer. I’m using KOffice 2 SVN build (frome day before beta 2 was announced).
Like other KOffice apps, Kword has a new interface. By default elements responsible for text formatting can be found at the bottom right corner of the Kword window. In the first tab we have the basic formating rules such as bold, italic, underline and lists. In the second, a list of predefined styles for text elements like headers. This interface emphasis the KDE4 paradigm to allow users to use the software in the “right way”. For Kword it means that you can write a document, but you have to style it using standard formatting for plain text, sections, lists etc. It is probably a good way to do this, but people who want some freedom in the way they make documents may be a bit unpleased.
KOffice uses ODF formats, but compared to OpenOffice, the support of ODF isn’t good, or even acceptable at the moment. Kword crashed while attempting to open some of my bigger ODT files. With smaller and simpler files there was no problem, and the formatting look similar to that from OpenOffice.
Kspread has also the same interface as Kword for formating text, inserting charts and images. The biggest problem is probably with Kchart charts, which are totally incompatible with charts made and displayed in OpenOffice. Cell formating is handled quite good. As for stability, Kspread can crash from time to time.
Some users use spreadsheets to make some sort of documents (reports etc.) which has a lot of custom formating, which can be done in Excel and OpenOffice Spreadsheet. In Kspread currently such documents may look different than in those applications.
Presentations often contain images, charts, text blocks and animations. It looks like KOffice often has problems with those non-text elements. The largest differences between OpenOffice and Kword is visible in Kpresenter. Kpresenter also crashes while attempting to open PPT files now. It can handle ODP files, but most of them will be displayed quite badly.
KOffice is going forward. It has new and improved user interface, more integration between it’s apps, and it’s very lightweight in terms of resource usage compared to other full office suits. Key element for the stable release now is better ODF support (compatible with OpenOffice). As usual stability is a major concern as well.
Translated by el_es. Proofread by Phillip Smith.
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