As many of you know, I'm an OpenDocument fan, I love working on making KOffice rock, which is something I do at every opportunity. The work I do is mostly outside of the KOffice repository nowadays and others are picking up the slack. One really cool development is that I found some people willing to put some corporate funding into making our ODF compliance rock!
If you want to write some software and you want to maintain it for various years the best way to do this is to have regular testing in place to ensure that with further development the features you released in a previous release didn't break. This is a common practice and the quality of your release is directly linked to the amount of testing you do. In the open source world the many users tend to work as testers, which is a concept that generally works pretty well. A much better solution is to have auto-tests. This is basically a program that does a certain task and checks the outcome for the expected values.
In KOffice we are working on improving out ODF compliance by first writing a test, and then making sure that the feature gets implemented. Before committing all tests ever written are ran and only when all of them (still) pass we can say the new feature is done. It should become obvious to anyone reading this that writing new software like this will create better software that is easier to maintain over time. Especially in open source where new people come and go on a regular basis.
I'm therefor extremely happy to report that Girish Ramakrishnan has so far created and made passing 51 61 OpenDocument Format loading tests. This in effect means we have lots of ODF features we researched what they should do (by reading the ISO specification) and then make sure we actually do that. Now and years from now they will do what they are meant to do.
The features we are testing are, for example, lists. That a document that is meant to have a numbered list with any sort of complex numbering load and show correctly. But sometimes we have some quite different test, things that KOffice never did before. In that case new features have to be added to KOffice. One such feature is the dropcaps. This is a feature that people that write newspaper style documents will love. Let me show a screenshot which explains it best. :)
For this new feature we have yet to add some dialogs to configure this, so to try it out I started OOo and loaded the odt doc in KWord. Which I admit is a pretty cool way to show how far we have come in the interoperability area :D