With all the recent
conversations on gnome-office-list, included some flames, it seems things can start
to roll up pretty well. Specially, if we follow Martin’s
advice of “cross fertilize and use our GUI apps in ways not usually
thought of“. That is the kind of spirit we should have for GNOME Office,
and this can be “easily” done if we share as much technology as possible.
From the database front, it looks to me that having access to all the data managed by all
applications from all the applications themselves gives a lot of opportunities. Things like
mail merging and report generation are the first to come to mind, and are somewhat
already available (mail merging in Abiword from GNOME-DB data sources), but more innovative
things can be built on top of the, IMO, good solid base we’ve got (libgoffice, Jody’s
graphics engine, to be included in libgoffice, libgda, etc). As a first step, live updates
of database content in Abiword documents is what Martin and I have started talking about.
We just need Abiword to get a set of rows from the data source, via libgda, and, once
support for live updates is added to libgda 1.2, have the Abiword document display the content
of the underlying database live, refreshing when changes occur. That is really useful for
reporting and other goodies.
We need then to start following Martin’s advice and look for innovative ways of making GNOME
Office applications work together. That would be a winning point of GNOME Office over the
other well-established-in-the-market suites. We’ve got an advantage over all of them, which is
that we can integrate into GNOME much better than the others, so we should be looking for ways
to do that integration that would make GNOME Office a better choice for GNOME users.