Posts Tagged 'ooo'

Dealing with OOo’s braindead context sensitive toolbars

Dealing with OOo’s braindead context sensitive toolbars

[Update 1 March 2012: Verion 3.5 of LibreOffice is still, apparently, brain damaged in that it still has these stupid context sensitive toolbars but they pop up at the bottom in my new install, so it doesn’t cause the text to reflow.  Haven’t fully checked whether they can be turned off anywhere.]

[Update: Link to bug report at bottom of article]

Someone at OOo decided that context sensitivity of toolbars was a good idea.  I disagree (and have lodged bug reports), but the OOo people prefer to agree to disagree on this issue.  What happens with context senstivity is that when OOo senses you are doing something which might need a specific toolbar, it pops it up for you.  Equally, if it thinks you aren’t it will remove that toolbar for you (how kind).

So imagine this situation:  you have a document which includes some numbering.  You’d like to add numbering to a currently unnumbered paragraph.  So, you click on the paragraph and then go up to the numbering toolbar.  In the split second it’s taken you to click and move, OOo has realised you’ve just clicked on an unnumbered paragraph – so you mustn’t want the numbering any more.  Just as you’re about to click the button on the numbering toolbar to add numbering, ‘poof!’ it disappears.    Similarly if you’re scrolling through a document with both numbered and unnumbered paragraphs it constantly redraws the screen adding and removing the toolbar (and offsetting and un-offsetting the text as a result).

This behaviour cannot be overridden.  If you would like to have, say, the numbering toolbar persist, that’s your bad luck.  Just because you might have pinned the numbering toolbar somewhere doesn’t mean anything.  OOo will take control of it and turn it on and off (usually when you least expect it).

Whatever one might think of context sensitivity of the toolbars (and frankly I don’t see the point) the failure to support an override of this behaviour is particularly egregious. So far as I can tell, there is no way to vary this psychotic behaviour of the toolbar, one must simply grin and bear it.  However, one is not completely without redress.  The UI Nazis haven’t completely had their way with OOo.  The solution to this <cough> ”feature” lies in the buttons – all of them – and their removal.  I have done it and I am greatly relieved.  The toolbar still flashes on and off in its impotent stupidity constantly as I edit my documents.  No longer, however, do I have to put up with it moving my text about while it fulfills its destiny.  Now relegated to a few small pixels the numbering toolbar appears anonymously beside my other toolbars, and disappears equally so.  So much so that I hardly even notice it happening, although once in a while it catches my eye.  Like just a few moments before I started this.

[for Planet LA’s benefit, the title displayed in planet comes from the title on this screen shot I took.  The real title is replicated in the first line of the post.]

[OOo Bug reports:  “Context Sensitivity is one of OO’s key features, thus this behaviour will NOT be changed at all.

And Issue 59706]

Learning to H^HDislike OOo-3

Apparently, not only does OOo-3 break python, it also dis-innovates with presentation layouts.  One of the advantages that OOo used to have was to allow you to print handouts on an otherwise blank page.  This allowed plenty of room for taking notes, especially if one moved the slides a little away from their starting points.  OOo-3 apparently “improves” on this by mimicking MS Office’s stupid note taking lines.  As far as I can tell they are surgically implanted, unable to be removed.  So now my handouts are useless to me because the lines are the wrong size for me to write on and take up all the note taking space.

So this is now the second time I am rolling back from OOo-3.  Each time my experience of it has survived less than a day.

OOo-Python Integration Annoyances

Have spent a fair bit of time fiddaddling trying to work out why I couldn’t import com.sun.star.beans

Apparently it’s because I installed OOo-3 a few days ago (I can’t recall why) and OOo-3 doesn’t work with the System version of python.  Not that I can prove this.  I only have this small and ambiguous statement to go by (and my lack of success): ” I also tested it with version 3.0 of OpenOffice but it only runs if you use the version of Python that comes with OpenOffice.

That, of course, and the fact that once I rolled back OOo to 2.3.something-or-other-x64 (which, by the way, was not a pleasant experience in Yast, which uses “gentle persuasion” to move you onto the most recent version – it apparently also refuses to remember that I asked it to lock the ooo versions – grrr) Python could suddenly find the module.

Anyway now:

*  my first attempt at Python-OOo scripting works; and

* I can’t get any of the openoffice components to run [ – correction, I can,  they wouldn’t run b/c i had a headless instance of soffice running?] (remove -headless from command line to be able to edit docs while scripting) and

* I don’t have any OOo artwork/icons – in fact, some widgets (eg checkboxes) aren’t there either and the toolbars look screwy. [Update – kde integration (file dialogs were all wacky fixed by installing the openoffice-kde integration package icons  were hard to remedy – as there was nothing in yast to install to fix it.  Had to find the old themes elsewhere and copy their zip files to /usr/lib64/ooo-2.0/share/config/

Eee at Vicini, Using OOo and OpenSuSE live

Vicini is a truly lovely cafe/restaurant in Annandale. They serve probably the best flourless chocolate cake I have had – ever (ahh… I mean “ever if you’re excluding those baked by family members”). [update July 08- their supplier has stopped making cakes to focus on biscuits. Argh! update Sept 08 – apparently it is back on the menu again, but they don’t serve it with double cream] I took the eee with me for coffee this morning. This time I actually used it for serious work (drafting an advice for a client) rather than just posing.

The moment I took it out one of the waiters came over and fawned over it. “I want one,” he said. A little later one of the other waiters came over and asked about it. I gave a short demo and told them the price and where to get one. It is increasingly clear to me that the eee is an object of desire.

Ooo writer has a noticable delay in bringing up an “open file” dialog but otherwise operates fine. I would like a view mode in which the text is not wysiwyg, but rather the text is flowed to the borders of the screen – I have not tried web layout, but this seems to do the trick. This will allow editing in a large font which can then be reviewed for layout later (or on a desktop machine). The eee demonstrates how poorly thought out the OOo’s treatment of context sensitive toolbars is as it in effect will not permit the toolbars to be turned off to save screen real estate. More on this later if I have time.

I was able to ping someone’s wireless router from the cafe but that’s all. So the wireless clearly works.

There is an OpenSuSE live flash drive iso available with instructions, but having booted it up last night it appears to be designed primarily as a means to overwriting the existing distribution on the eee – which is not something I want to risk atm. It is not a full blown live distro in (eg) the knoppix mould. Why it takes up 2G is beyond me [note later in day – I mounted the flash drive and took a look at it – it is only about 50MB and most of that is in the boot directory].


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