LibreOffice for Android advances, document viewer is on the way

LibreOffice logoThe developers behind the LibreOffice project are working to bring the open source office suite to Android. We first reported on the porting effort earlier this year when developer Tor Lillqvist demonstrated an experimental prototype.

The Android version will reuse much of the underlying code from the desktop version of LibreOffice, but will be paired with a user interface that conforms with the Android look and feel. The current prototype still uses the conventional LibreOffice desktop interface as a temporary measure.

The LibreOffice user interface on the desktop is built with a custom widget toolkit called the VCL. The developers have built a custom VCL backend for Android that allows the LibreOffice user interface to be drawn as-is on an Android window surface.

LibreOffice for Android advances

A complete LibreOffice editor for Android is still a long way out, but a document viewer based on the office suite’s rendering engine is on the way. Ian Billet, a Google Summer of Code student, is building the Java-based document viewer with conventional Android user interface widgets.

LibreOffice developer Michael Meeks, who is mentoring Billet, wrote a blog entry this week with a progress update on the port and some new screenshots that show the current state of development. He also highlighted some of the ongoing tasks that are currently under way.

In order to reduce startup time and storage overhead on the user’s device, the LibreOffice developers plan to adopt a custom linker—with support for dynamically loading native libraries from a compressed APK—that Mozilla created for its Android port of Firefox. They are also working to make their prototypes compatible with Android on the x86 architecture so that they can benefit from better emulator performance.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, LibreOffice

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