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ODF in KDE’s Qt

The Trolltech Labs Blog announces a new ODF writer module shipping with Qt 4.5. This will make it much easier for applications built on the Qt toolkit to write ODF, as a peer of plain text, HTML and PDF.

Thomas Zander writes, “For end users the biggest advantage of the uptake of ODF is that more and more applications will standardize on this one format and thus applications will be much more interoperable. OpenOffice and KOffice are the early adopters here, I expect that many more applications will start to generate or consume ODF in some form or other. For example to export an abstract dataset to a nicely formatted document ready for printing, or the web.”

Zander also shares the idea that ODF will make a better format for emails than HTML does, since it provides more, and more explicit, layout options. I wonder what email client will first adopt this? It seems natural to first write a plugin for Thunderbird, and then if it gains traction, it could become a core part of that and other email applications.

Back to the heart of the matter, Zander explains what the new Qt module does:

“To speed up ODF recognition, Qt 4.5 will ship with an ODF writer. Qt’s text module turns into a one-stop document generation API where you can use QTextCursor to create your document via a nice API and you can then export the created QTextDocument to ODF, ready to be opened by any opendocument implementation. Naturally exporting to plain text and html are still supported, as is printing to PDF… Support for writing ODF in Qt sets a trend that we believe in the OpenDocument Format and we think its useful to have for our customers, the open source community and all end-users out there.”

Broad-brush conclusion: lots of effort is being put into ways to read and write ODF files, meaning the format continues to build momentum and will become an ever-better solution for communication with people around the world.

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