SoC2007 ideas

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Main gsoc 2007 page

Google Summer of Code 2007 projects ideas

Submitted Applications

Please review the appilcations and make your comments/suggestions for improving them

Here is a list of projects that could be done during Google Summer of Code 2007.


Write an imposition (booklet printing) plugin for Scribus.

We have one applicant Mateusz Haligowski <halish at> for this project.

Imposition Plugin Discussion

End-to-end publishing solution

We have one applicant Timo Stollenwerk for this project.

End-to-end publishing solution

GSoC 2007 Publishing Solution Task Plan - This is the result of a discussion in #scribus on 2007-03-16.


Live DTP CD or DVD – there is definitely a need for such a solution.

We have two applicants - Reiner Herrmann and Khaled Hosny - for this project.

Improve scripting

We have one applicant Henning Schröder for this project.

Improve scripting and its experience in Scribus by adding an extension manager and further integration into the GUI and the core. Some examples should show what is possible with scripter.

Add Math Support

We have one applicant Hermann Kraus for this project. It is proposed to be implemented using the TeX-frame approach Add Math Support.

Dynamic Layout support

We have one applicant James Michael Koren for this project.

Open Ideas for improving Scribus that were not submitted for GSoC 2007

Scribus Team Ideas

Text merge

Write a text merge plugin for Scribus. This would allow scribus to read data records from a table and use it for text content or filenames for image frames. It could also provide a mode to print labels etc.

There is a mail merge RFE. One of Czech student is working on it. It looks like it will turn into common usable text merge from various data sources (CSV, XML, db...) --Subik 13:05, 7 March 2007 (CET)

Text frame usability enhancement

Improve on-page text editing usability and performance (ringerc).

Currently, editing text on the page is slow and clumsy, and suffers from some limitations that make it less useful than it could be. Scribus's usability would be considerably enhanced by improving this, so the story editor isn't needed for minor editing tasks. In particular, tweaking layout and formatting would be much easier if on-page text editing could be improved.

There's existing work related to this area, especially the new text system work, so you wouldn't just want to jump into this. Getting in touch with Andreas Vox might be the best starting point, to find out what is already done or will be done, and what won't be touched by the new text system work.

Enhance inline objects

Enhance inline objects (ringerc).

Inline objects are supported in Scribus, but not easily discovered. Support for positioning and sizing them is poor, and they aren't editable once they've been pasted into a run of text. Considerable improvement is needed in formatting and editing them to make them more useful.

Merge Field Support

Implement true "merge" style field support / variable text /conditional text a-la FrameMaker (ringerc).

In technical writing, automated mailing, and certain other uses it is desirable to dynamically alter sections of the text.

The most common need is to substitute certain values into `fields' in the text, as in a mail merge. Supporting such fields would be very useful, especially as Scribus's support for external data sources improves and it becomes more suitable for automated use.

The second major need is to handle regions of text that can be hidden or shown based on a variable. This can be useful with technical writing. Consider: maintaining manuals for with-wifi and without-wifi variants of a DSL router in a single document by turning off wifi-related sections when exporting without-wifi version. It's also useful for mail merge, as sometimes you want to include or exclude sections of a merge document based on parameters of the record's information. For example, users paying with different methods might need different information, or maybe you want to tell "premium" customers something else. Whatever.

Adobe's FrameMaker has supported these features for a long time, but few other tools handle anything like it - let alone tools like Scribus with decent layout capabilities. Many people who need this sort of thing currently use PDF generation libraries to produce their documents using languages like Java.

Document-embedded images

Support loading images from alternate sources. You should handle existing filesystem links and docuement-embedded images ( XML CDATA/PCDATA sections ), and leave room for things like a URL handler for HTTP images.

Externally linked text

Building on the concept of an XML editor (see below), implement support for using text in externally linked files (as we currently do for images). Linking should support normal file system URLs, but leave room for handling WebDAV etc in the future. There is a clear role for this in working with content management systems such as in an end-to-end publishing system.

Tales from the Crypt, a.k.a. Ideas from the Bug Tracker

XML Editor

It could be practical to have an on/off toggle in the text editor between Wysiwyg and some kind of XML. One click you have the classical way to type text, Another one, formating disappear, XML tags appear like this :

-------------------------------------- <font name="Bistream Vera Sans MS" size="10"> blah blah blahalahb blah blah </font> <justify>blih blih blih blah blah</justify> <style name="paragraph"> ploplpoplpoplploplpo frudubulubruih :) </style> --------------------------------------

notice the difference between the (ugly) formating tags at the beginning, and the descriptive style tags, wich then define the look of the text.

The ability to expose the internal XML for text objects might also be rather interesting for the Python interface. (ringerc)

The approaches of Inkscape and InDesign are worth looking at. (C schaefer)

Applicants could choose between two different approaches here:

  1. Write an enhancement to the Story Editor to enable users to edit the XML content of text frames.
  2. Write an XML editor to edit the whole Scribus document (as Inkscape does with SVG)

Inkscape's re-architecturing effort: Subsystem Architecture

OpenDocument import/export extension for the Story Editor

Start with the OO text import plugin and work out a plugin that would export valid Open Document Format (ODF) xml for re-import into OpenOffice.

Scribus-specific elements and attributes would need to be stripped off, of course.

Multiple Search and Replace

Allow users to do multiple search/replace action at once in a document. For each string we’d be able to access all settings available right now for just one text string. This will add computing power to Scribus, from the UI.

Individual snappable baseline grid lines

Baseline Grid Enhancements - Discussion page.

Snap guides to locked objects

Instead of letting objects snap to guides, sometimes the reverse is needed, namely letting guides snap to (locked) objects. It would be nice to have this, e.g. by dragging guides while pressing the shift key. The reverse mode should be visible in the cursor (other colour or something similar).

Latex Text Frames

We have one applicant for this project (concentrating on math formulas)

I think using LaTeX for setting text (including math, footnotes, bibliography and indices) and Scribus for the layout would make a very good match. But that means you want Scribus to control the position, size and shape of the textframes, and having access to Scribus's colors and fonts wouldn't be bad, either.

I think it would be better to make it easy to use the same fonts for LaTeX frames and non-LaTeX frames. AFAIK font installation was/is a bigger issue in LaTeX than it ever were in Scribus. If there is a way to automate it, we should take it.

What I thought of was that Scribus should only provide an interface to LaTeX in the first step: Write LaTeX commands in the SE and let LaTeX do the rendering. At this stage, Scribus style options etc. aren't involved at all.

Still, LaTeX needs to know the pagesize; or you have to use preview.sty to get pages cropped to the bounding box.

Hm, I guess you could do similar thinks with my solution. You'd just have a separate set of text options for LaTeX. If you take a look at fntguide.dvi from the LaTeX docs you'll understand why. There might be some Scribus options which could be translated to LaTeX parameters, but I doubt there will ever be a 1:1 correspondence. I'd be happy if I manage to find a way to translate Scribus' fonts into appropiate LaTeX font load commands and find a suitable math font for each...

[ COMMENT |: It's a good idea to have the user be able to choose whether he wants the TeX typesetting engine, or the one Scribus uses natively (likely this will be the Unified Text Layout Engine the HarfBuzz group is working on), and so on a per-frame basis. TeX coded text (e.g. math formulas) would be rendered within a TeX-frame. — I don't think fonts are the big issue here. It's true that it's always been troublesome to add new fonts to your TeX distribution, but this has been resolved eminently by the XeTeX distribution, even to that extent that XeTeX is able to deal with OpenType fonts, taking advantage of the features. XeTeX simply takes the fonts that are on the system and uses the OS's OT engine. I think you should contact the XeTeX developer Jonathan Kew at You might want to get into contact with Hans Hagen at as well, who is the main developer of another TeX distribution, ConTeXt, which is able to render MathML. There are rumours ConTeXt and XeTeX would be merging soon. At least ConTeXt is able to parse LaTeX documents, so that ConTeXt really would be your option to use as a typesetting engine within Scribus on a per-frame basis. :| LUDWIG ]

Auto-change quotes based on language settings

I'm looking for a way to automatically change quotes (", ') to typographical quotes (unicode 201c/201e etc.). Would be great if I could use the text filters to do something like: "replace every other occurence of " with unicode 201e, the rest with 201c"

Add spellchecking to Story Editor

Using one of the standard libraries existing on Linux (aspell, ispell, MySpell), or possibly even use Enchant [1]

Automatic Widow/Orphan Control

Add a Clone tool as in Inkscape

If this matched the featureset of Inkscape's clone tools, this would match the features requested in bugs 922*, 923 and 924, and as an extra comment in bug 344.

PDF Export enhancement for PDF embedding

Enhance PDF exporter to enabled embedding PDF within PDF for PDF 1.4+ per roadmap

Implement JDF support

JDF seems to be the coming standard for job tickets. It may be patent encumbered in the US and countries with so-called FTAs with the US, but scribus should definitely offer the possibility to use the format somehow to be considered a "serious" application.

In particular, Quark has added support for using JDF as a source of preflight information. It's something I've wondered about for a while, and ended up talking to some of the MS Publisher folks about too. It turns out they're not interested in in-app preflight (despite how much easer it'd make life for publishing shops that have to take .pub jobs from users who can't read a job spec to save their lives).

If implementation of JDF is too large a task to implement during SoC, applicants could consider implementing one of the subsets, like the Print Production Format (PPF) or the Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF).

Rich Text Format import plugin

Implement an RTF importer based on the existing plugins for other formats. (Investigate librtf's features.)

WordPerfect Format import plugin

Implement a WordPerfect importer based on the existing plugins for other formats. (Investigate libwpd's features.)

Other Import Filters

Applicants could also decide to write import plugins for other file formats. Please have look at the list of desired import filters and the list of colour formats.

Blue Sky Ideas

Present the title of your idea here and link to the wiki page where you elaborate on it.


twext texts provide comprehensible input for language learners, and can integrate will many softwares (including MediaWiki and/or the wiki for the $100 laptop ).. why not a twexter plugin for Scribus?