Soon, owners of Android-based devices out there should be able to enjoy a new document editor on their smartphones and tablet PCs, in the form of LibreOffice.
The team behind the application has been considering the development of an Android client for quite some time now, but they haven’t had the chance to make real progress on it until now.
However, info coming from Tomaž Vajngerl suggests that this has changed, and that a plan for the building of the Android app has already been established.
Initially, the mobile application will be built only as a document viewer capable of displaying all document types that are supported in LibreOffice. Next, the software will receive various other features, including the ability to edit documents.
“I am really excited with what we have achieved and really looking forward to see where we go from here. By the time of LibreOffice 4.4 we should have a working and polished document viewer application ready,” Tomaž Vajngerl says.
He also explains that the base of the application is being built upon the code for Fennec (Firefox for Android), as it eliminates a lot of work for the team, including drawing of tiles, touch handling, scrolling, and tools.
However, parts of the code that are not needed for LibreOffice on Android will be removed, such as the calls to Gecko (rendering engine in Firefox), which have already been replaced.
Apparently, the application is capable of displaying a mock document with working scrolling and touch handling, although it is not actually interfacing with LibreOffice yet.
Moreover, it appears that LibreOffice has already been integrated into said app and that the team also managed to correctly initialize LibreOfficeKit. Thus, we can have a look at what a real document rendered by LibreOffice would look like.
“The application uses OpenGL ES 2 for rendering so the user experience is smooth for the most parts (there are still things to optimize),” Tomaž Vajngerl explains.
“This is the current state of the application but it is still far from complete however a lot of quite difficult technical challenges have been resolved and true development and polishing can now start.”
Next, the team will focus on cleaning up the code for the application, as well as on integrating various useful parts of their previous attempt to bring the app to Android, which was called LibreOffice4Android.
Other fine-tuning will also been needed, that’s for sure, but it appears that things are looking good at the moment and that more advancements might be announced sooner rather than later.