LibreOffice on Android #4 – Document browser revisited

I’m borrowing the post title that Tomaž and Andrzej used before to talk about the work that I have lately been doing at Igalia regarding LibreOffice on Android.

You might know there are several projects living under android/experimental in our code tree; it is exciting to see that a new experiment for a document viewer that uses a fresh approach recently arrived to the party, which can be the basis for an Android editor. I was happy to add support to receive view or edit intents to the shiny new viewer, so we could open any document from other Android applications like file browsers.

Besides, android/experimental hid some very interesting work on an Android-centric document browser that could be a good starting point to implement a native Android wrapping UI to LibreOffice, although it had some problems that made it unusable. In particular, thumbnail generation was making the application crash – for that reason I’ve disabled it until we get a proper fix – and the code to open a document was broken. Fixing and working around these issues were the first steps to bring the document browser back to life.

I noticed that the browser was inconveniently dependent of the ActionBarSherlock library, which is not really necessary now we are targetting modern Android versions with out-of-the-box action bar support. I replaced Sherlock ActionBars with Android native ones, and that allowed to remove all the files from ABS library from our source tree.

I also took the freedom to reorganize the application resources (design definitions, bitmaps and so), removing duplicated ones. It was the preparation for the next task…

Finally, I merged the document browser project into the new viewer with this huge patch, so they can be built and installed together. I also did the modifications for the browser to open the documents using the new viewer, so they become one coherent, whole application.

Now both the viewer and the document browser can evolve together to become a true LibreOffice for Android, which I hope to see not too far away in the future.

LibreOffice document browser screenshot

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