The Document Liberation Project was officially announced at LGM in Leipzig on April 2 2014, a year ago. We (the founding members) gave a talk about the project later on the same day.

The project was planned as an umbrella over autonomous projects that handle various file formats and that use the same framework (I do not like this term, but I do not have any better one). This makes it very easy to integrate a new import library to an application, because it uses the same interface as other already inegrated import libraries. But at the same time it allows the libraries to exist as independent projects, with different maintainers, release schedules, licenses etc. Let me repeat this: we have never wanted to excercise any strict control. We want people to work with us, not for us.

At the occassion of the project’s first birthday, I think it is time for a little reminiscence. I also want to share an outlook for the future.

The past year

We did have high hopes for the future a year ago, however, not all of them have been fulfilled (or not completely).

One of the main highlights was the release of a new framework library called librevenge in May. librevenge contains all the document interfaces and helper types that used to be spread over several of the import libraries, thus simplifying the dependency chain. A part of this release was a switch of all existing import and export libraries to librevenge.

We started a new library for import of Adobe PageMaker documents–libpagemaker. It was written by Anurag Kanungo as part of GSoC 2014 and it supports the format of PageMaker 6.x.

We have also extended existing libraries. Some has gained support for more formats: for example, Laurent Alonso has added support for Microsoft Works Spreadsheet and Database to libwps and he is extending that to Lotus 1-2-3 currently. He has also added support for more than twenty legacy Mac formats to libmwaw. There have been various improvements for most of the other import libraries.

We have created two export libraries: for EPUB and Abiword. The libraries are called libepubgen and librvngabw, respectively.

Unfortunately, we have mostly failed to attract new developers (or contributors in general). We did receive an occassional patch for one library or another, but only one substantial new feature: Miklós Vajna has implemented reading of metadata from Visio and Publisher documents. We also hoped that other people would start new libraries, but that has not happened yet (or we do not know about it).

Another valuable way to contribute is to provide sample documents. We have not attracted many people in this area either. Let me at least mention Steven Zakulec and Derek Kalinosky, who contributed, respectively, Microsoft Publisher and CorelDRAW documents for regression testing.

The bright(?) future

There are some interesting developments coming this year. We should see some progress on Adobe FreeHand and Apple Pages import filters (in libfreehand and libetonyek, respectively). We will also be doing doing at least one new import filter as part of GSoC 2015–we have received proposals for import of Apple Numbers, Xara Xtreme and Zoner Draw formats. I also hope to finally move EPUB import in libe-book forward a bit.