[Libreoffice] UX opportunity ... / Easy Hacks

Michel RENON michel.renon at free.fr
Wed Nov 10 01:27:13 PST 2010

Hi everybody,

Just a short intro for my first post in this list :
I'm a Mac OpenOffice user for several years.
I've been coding with C++ years ago, now i code mostly in PHP and Python 
I'm also interested in UX and ergonomics, and i've made a (not so
complete) proposal for Renaissance project 

Le 28/10/10 11:37, Michael Meeks a écrit :
> Hi Christoph,
> 	( and any other UX gurus out there :-)
> 	Hi guys; I'd -love- to get a number of "easy hacks" - ie. small fixes -
> that can be made to our ergonomics into the page here:
> 	http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Easy_Hacks
> 	These are entry level tasks for people - but IMHO[1] an accumulation of
> small failings creates an overall bad experience. The problem is that
> much of StarDiv's work (due to the process penalty for small changes)
> tends to be of the form "totally re-write the slides side-bar" rather
> than "fix slide side-bar-multi-select glitches" :-)
> 	I was wondering - do you have a list of small pet peeves, you know the
> stuff: extra clicks, broken keyboard/mouse grabs, bad keyboard
> navigation, over-complicated interactions in specific areas that we can
> turn into easy hacks ? It would be great to get some volunteer
> developers working on these things - and we are (so far) burning through
> our most easy hacks rather quickly.

Here are some requests.
Some are enhancements, others are bugs.
I don't know if they can be considered as "easy hacks" or if i should 
enter them in the bugtracker.
Please let me know.
And in which category of "easy hacks" should I insert them ?

(FYI, I already sent some of them in openoffice mailing list months ago, 
but they had few or no response)



* MacOS : cursor visibility :
when I type some text, mouse pointer should be hidden (the arrow or the 
It's a standard behaviour on Mac since... 1984 !

- today, when you paste an image in writer, the anchor mode is always 
"to paragrah".  This is very annoying when you paste several images : 
they overlap.
it would be usefull to define the anchor
   - in preference
   - and/or during pasting

- add a menu "Save a copy as..."
I really miss that for Calc : it would allow me to save the current 
spreadsheet in csv, while not changing the current ods file.
It should be usefull for writer, draw and impress too.

- today, when you want to insert a spreadsheet or draw object in writer, 
you have to do :
select menu "Insert" > "Object" > "OLE object", then choose a line in a 
dialog !
It should be much simpler ! most people don't know what "OLE" means.
Provide a more direct acces to "insert LibreOffice 
Write/Calc/Draw/Impress object" function.

Maybe show the "OLE Object" menu line only on windows ?

- writer :
be able to search text with format "hilight color" or "background color"

- when you open 2 windows of the same document, there is a problem with 
the zoom : if you reduce zoom in one window, it may change rendering in 
the other window.
Maybe the problem also appears whith scrolling.

- draw : create a hand tool that would allow easy and fast scrolling. It 
would be activated/desactivated with a keybord shortcut
In Inkscape, it seems to be CTRL + ALT

- draw : change the object selection
exmple : create a big rect 'rectangle1'. create a smaller rect 
'rectangle2', inside 'rectangle1'. For the user, 'rectangle2' is above 
'rectangle1'. Select 'rectangle1' : his handles are shown. Click inside 
'rectangle2' : nothing changes.
With Inkscape (and others drawing software), 'rectangle2' is selected.

- have only one type of floating windows for tools

for example, the tools "border", "color" show a standard window.
But most others tools (specialy drawing tools) use the openoffice 
implementation of floating windows.
Why not use only the openoffice implementation ?
(I don't know if it's technically possible or if it'll create UX problems)

writer, mac : small freeze at startup

After a cold start of writer, il you start to type some text, openoffice 
freezes for some seconds (loading some code ?) and then shows the text.
It's not a bug, but it gives the impression that openoffice is *slow* or 

* mouse position problem
The problem appears when you select (single-clic) an object (drawing or 
OLE) in writer, Impress or Draw.
We have several steps :
     step 1 : user clicks on an object (mousedown + mouseup)
     step 2 : OpenOffice handle the click : draw handles on the object, 
update toolbars and side panels, other stuff...
     step 3 : the user move the mouse in order to change properties of 
object (through toolbars or panels)

The problem in Mac OS is :
- the step 2 takes a noticeable amount of time (> 0,5 second with OOo 3.1)
- at the end of step 2, Openoffice has lost the 'mouseup' event (bug ?) 
: if the user starts to moves the mouse before the end of step 2, 
OpenOffice starts a 'move object' command !!

The only workaround (for me) is to wait at least 1 second every time i 
click on an object, till OpenOffice finishes the toolbars updates.
The time taken is step 2 seems to be related to the size of the object : 
if you insert a big jpg file in Draw (hundreds Kb), it become obvious.
I tested on Ubuntu and it doesn't appear : step 2 is quite instant.

This problem was horrible with OOo 3.1 and is reduced with OOo 3.2 (but 
still present I presume), due to performance enhancements.
I don't know if it's mac-only.

The problem also appears when you select a slide in the left column of 
Impress. If you perform others clicks in the list (before the end of 
openoffice's update), you may have strange behavior (slide moves, 
multi-slide selection...)
I created a screencast of this pb under Impress 3.2 :
http://michel.renon.free.fr/OpenOffice/click_impress.mov (6.8 Mb)
I just clicked on slides 1, 2, 3, 2, 1....and repeat until OOo moves one 
slide (the third becomes the second)

FYI, I have a MacBookPro 2,16 Ghz 3Gb RAM.

Writer MacOS : problem with text rendering
OOo draws he text cursor (the blinking "|" in the text, not the mouse) 
at some wrong positions in full justification.
It's very obvious when there are few words on the line and when OOo is 
obliged to extend a lot the spaces.
I created an example that explains the problem
the first text line is the text the user has entered.

the last line is a simulation of what OOo compute to draw the text 
cursor : i manually extended spaces.

But when we compare with Ubuntu, we can see that the problem is reversed 
: the line used for simulation is ok ! the first line drawn in mac os is 
not ok.
And if we export in pdf, we have the same answer :

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