Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

October 18th, 2003

A change in direction

I am having to reconsider the use of AbiWord as an editor for web page content. The reason for this is not due to a flaw in the idea itself, but rather the quality of the AbiWord software. Even the stable version (2.0) has some significant bugs that make it untrustworthy for handling important content.

The two most serious problems I’ve hit are:

  • AbiWord sometimes generates invalid XML.
  • AbiWord occasionally writes files that it then can not read.

I will continue to maintain and distribute the AbiWord plugin in the hope that future versions of the software will address these fatal defects, but I am now going to look at alternative editors.

The most promising is OpenOffice. The software is well maintained by a large team, is regarded as being of high quality, and the file format is very well documented. My initial impression of the file format is that it will be easier to handle than the AbiWord format turned out to be.

The biggest drawback to attempting an OpenOffice PubTal plugin is the huge numbers of features that OpenOffice has. Most of these features will not translate well into a web page, and so will have to be ignored by the plugin.

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