GSoC 2009 ODT/SXW Import plug-in for Scribus by atmb4u

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Developed as a part of 2 and now a part of an ISO standard supported by Google Docs, the OpenDocument Text (ODT) format based on the former format SXW is the most widely used open word-processing file format. This project aims to implement full import of ODT/SXW files into Scribus. This goal will be achieved through implementation of an ODT/SXW file import plug-in. ODT/SXW file text export from Scribus will be taken into consideration during the import plug-in design phase.


The need for the rich word processing format import capabilities in desktop publishing software is undisputed. When it comes to the most widely used format, the problem becomes crucial. ODT and SXW are very popular universal open word processing formats thus it is essential that they can be imported natively into Scribus. Scribus makes desktop publishing with free and open software possible and import of ODT/SXW files directly into the scribus workspace will only make it work better. As with all DTP software, Scribus is rarely used to write text. Instead, it is used for layout purposes while the text is prepared in a word processor. Therefore, as I found during the time I spent using Scribus, it is necessary to import documents from a word processor. This project will produce wide-reaching usability improvements for most Scribus users. I choose SXW along with ODT, since these file formats are very similar. Moreover, I'd appreciate working with an open source project like Scribus and the open source community during this summer.


The project's objectives are to produce:

  • ODT/SXW import and, if time permits, ODT export for Scribus via plug-in.
  • Document the plug-in.


The major challenges that will be faced during the implementation of this project are

  • Reading ODT/SXW files.
  • Importing basic and common items like text, graphics, page setup, margins, page numbering, static headers and footers, paragraph and character styles and document meta-data as supported by Scribus.
  • Opening an ODT/SXW in the workspace by converting it to a Scribus document.

The Plan

  • Decode (read the XML) the ODT/SXW files from the compressed form and save them in a temporary storage space.
  • Read bitmap, vector and text contents from ODT/SXW.
  • Styles, page layout and margins will be read from the source file and imported into the Scribus document.
  • Convert the entire ODT/SXW file into a Scribus document.
  • Positioning the objects has to be correctly determined, but this will have lower priority as there is no anchor support in Scribus yet.


April 28-May 08: Understand the XML formatting of ODT and SXW files. Read the documentation of Scribus completely, especially learn as much as possible about working with Scribus codebase. Communicate with mentors and clear basic doubts about the project.

May 08-May 17: Design the structure of the plug-in, the scope of import and minimum support required other than proposed and discuss its structure on IRC and mailing lists.

May 18- May 20: Open the ODT/SXW files using a newly created plug-in from Scribus. Extract the content to a temporary folder for further operations.

May 21- May 22: Testing and debugging phase I.

May 23- June 28: Import Different components like images, text etc ... from the ODT/SXW file.

June 29-July 10: Import different styles like font styles and paragraph styles from ODT/SXW file.

July 11-July 24: Convert the entire file into a Scribus document.

July 25 -July 30: Testing and debugging phase II.

July 31 - August 11: Complete the coding and sync the entire project.

August 12-August 17: Complete the documentation and arrange the the code (Clean Coding).

Note: Timeline doesn't include the expected everyday interaction with my mentor.

Project Outcomes

The expected outcomes of this project:

  • ODT/SXW files can be imported with basic contents and the breadth of the import support will be expanded as time allows with a minimum guarantee for basic and common items like text, graphics, page setup, margins, page numbering, paragraph and character styles in ODT/SXW files to be imported into Scribus. This will not be a complete ODT/SXW importer, which would be too large to be fit in the limited time frame of GSoC 2009.
  • Proper documentation acceptable to the Scribus maintainers accompanies the code.

About Me

Name: Anoop Thomas Mathew

University: Cochin University of Science and Technology(CUSAT),Kerala,INDIA

IRC Nick: atmb4u

Email ID:

Location: Kerala, India

Timezone : GMT + 5:30

I am Anoop Thomas Mathew, and am currently studying for B. Tech degree in Computer Science and Engineering, at College of Engineering, Chengannur, Kerala, INDIA.

I have been using GNU/Linux for the past 5 years, starting off with RHEL 4.

I have good knowledge in C, C++, Java and Python, and I've been into coding in them for the past 5 years. I started learning programming when I was on 3rd grade with LOGO, then BASIC (5th), C (6th), C++ (9th) and python (11th).

I am a member of the FSF since 3 years and have fixed a few bugs in the VIM text editor. I am in the VIM development mailing list for more than one year. I don’t have any previous experience with Scribus, but I hope to work with Scribus through GSoC 2009.


I can provide you with the certificate from my college, proving information about my studentship till 2010. Also I can provide with a copy of my passport showing my age details on request.