Calligra Office Suite Adds eBook Creation App

When it comes to open source office suites Libre Office and Open Office get all the press but they have all the developers. A lesser known (this is the first I'd heard of it) KDE related project called Calligra recently announced a new app for making ebooks.

 Calligra has been under development since 2010, when it was spun out of KOffice as resolution of an internal conflict in the development community. The office suite covers all the basics (word, powerpoint, excel) as well as a number of sophisticated apps including ones for editing vector graphics (SVG), taking notes, making flowchart, and of course making ebooks.

Calligra Author is currently not much more than a clone of the Calligra Words app, but long term plans include greater customization of the interface and features. The developers are envisioning their potential users novelists, textbook authors, and others who others who create long and complicated works. And they are planning to support more than simply the writing process; the announcement mentions everything from writing the original synopsis to writing, reviewing, polishing, and publishing it.

While right now the app makes Epub, later versions will also output Kindle and wiki. The former is intended for the Kindle Store, obviously, but the latter might be of use to anyone who extensively edits wikis - writers of documentation, for example. The app is also going to support making Epub3 as well as enable authors to integrate interactive content including 2D and 3D animations, embed web content, and support for javascript. And some of the more immediate features to be added include embedded video and MathML - 2 features already supported by Calligra but which still need tweeking so they export correctly. The developers also plan to coordinate their work with other app developers so Calligra Author integrates well with other writer's tools like writing project organizer Plume Creator.

I have not tried the app myself, so I'd appreciate feedback. Right now Calligra  doesn't offer a stable Windows option, and since I don't run Linux on my computer the office suite is simply out of my reach. Let me know what you think.

I have to say that I'm looking forward to seeing this app be officially released later this year. Right now I cannot recall an MSWord type of ebook creator besides iBooks Author, and that is format and platform limited and thus not all that useful. And while there are a number of plugins for MSWord and Open Office which make ebooks, none offer the direct manipulation of the content from the ebook makers point of view. They just help you turn a Word doc into an ebook, and that's not the same thing.

And then there's Sigil, but that's more of an editor of existing ebooks than it is a way to create them; it also gets far more into the guts of the ebook than most authors might be comfortable with. And before someone accuses me of forgetting Scrivener, I have heard of it and according to Charlie Stross it has several fundamental problems.

In any case, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Windows version of Calligra gets done soon and includes Calligra Author.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

2 Comments

  1. Robert Nagle27 August, 2012

    First, it’s good news that Calligre is out there for linux. I’ll definitely check it out.

    David Rothman and I were both lamenting that there is no decent blogging client for Linux (compared to Live Writer on Windows). I’ve tried blogilo with somewhat good results, and both of us have played with the others a bit. I don’t know if it’s practical to integrate that functionality onto office apps…

    Reply
  2. […] has included an ebook export option since 2012, although I am not sure very many people are using […]

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