My first hack-(rest-of-the)-week at Collabora

I must say that I’ve been attentive reader of TDF feeds almost from the very beginning of its history, when I couldn’t think to develop for LibreOffice. And reading posts of developers, where they described what they had done at their hack-weeks at SUSE, made me really envy them…

So here is my first hack-(rest-of-the)-week at Collabora Productivity! That’s cool!

And when it happened, it turned out that I need to finish a work that I started this week. What a pity! Well, the task itself was really interesting, and I’m glad that it is in a close-to-be-finished form in gerrit… but still. So, only hack-weekend 🙂

As I didn’t have that much time, I couldn’t afford doing something big and lengthy. So I turned to my favorite topic: SAXParseException.

Here I need to tell you what is it. Until LibreOffice 5.0.4, many errors in XML that LibreOffice reads were simply silently ignored. Note that both LO’s native format, ODF, as well as its most popular competitor, OOXML, are XML formats. It means that the file could be read incorrectly, some data could be dropped, some bugs could go unnoticed, but file opened as if everything was OK. Data loss could go unnoticed.

In January 2015, two days before my daughter’s 3rd birthday , a named hero Michael Stahl took required steps and committed a patch that put that madness to end. Now every error in the XML data that LO reads is reported to user as famous SAXParseException. This annoys users, but it yells loudly “Fix me!”, and it has already enabled us to find and fix quite a number of errors that previously went unnoticed.

So, I must say that I like to hack on these bugs. But since I started to work full-time as developer, I had not that much time for them. And now I took bug 99227 for the rest of my hack-week.

It turned out to be LibreOffice OOXML export filter fault, that caused loss of drawings in footnotes/endnotes. It also created an invalid XML, which was caught on following import, telling that it found “Extra content at the end of the document”.

I’m happy to say that the patch is on its way (it’s on review, and after some rounds of fixing my evident mistakes pointed out by merciless reviewers, it will be pushed).

It may seem odd that I feel so enthusiastic about changing hacking on LO by … hacking on LO. 🙂 But actually, my daily work is so great, I really love it! and being able to choose tasks myself is the only part that I miss sometimes… and that I get now.

Thanks to Collabora Productivity, to all fellow hackers, and thank you for reading this 🙂


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