eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Fresh Interface

 
 
By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2008-10-06
 
 
 

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1

 

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Fresh Interface

 

Upon firing up the Lotus Symphony 1.1 word processor application, I was impressed right away by its tabbed interface, which makes switching between different documents-

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Fresh Interface

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Stale Features

 

However, it wasn't long before I started noticing the absence of fixes and enhancements that long ago made their way into OpenOffice.org. For one, I missed the control-shift-v shortcut that pulls up the "Paste special" menu I'm accustomed to using to paste text from my clipboard while stripping out formatting. Symphony is based on an OpenOffice.org version that lacks that keyboard shortcut.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Stale Features

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - No Office 2007 Format Support

 

Symphony lacks support for opening documents stored in the OOXML-based format to which Microsoft Office 2007 now defaults.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - No Office 2007 Format Support

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Sidebars

 

In each of its three components, Symphony sports a sidebar for displaying options such as text or paragraph properties. The sidebar helps thin out the sometimes crowded tool bars you find in OpenOffice.org, and places common features closer at hand.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Sidebars

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Context Sensitivity

 

The Symphony sidebar boasts a measure of context sensitivity: When I clicked on a text box in a presentation document, the sidebar offered text property options; when I clicked outside the text box, the sidebar switched to page properties.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Context Sensitivity

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Embedded Browser

 

Symphony also sports a built-in Web browser, based on the Mozilla XULRunner project. The embedded browser has fewer features than Internet Explorer or Firefox, but could prove useful for switching back and forth between an active document and a handful of source Web pages, since the pages appear in tabs alongside open documents in Symphony.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Embedded Browser

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Helpful Help System

 

The Eclipse roots of Symphony show in its help system, which I found easier to use than the one in OpenOffice.org.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Helpful Help System

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Linux and Windows Support

 

Lotus Symphony 1.1 is available as a free download in versions designed for Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. There's also a beta version of Symphony 1.1 available for Ubuntu Linux 8.04. I tested Symphony with Windows XP and with Ubuntu 8.04.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Linux and Windows Support

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Pluggable

 

There are a handful of plug-ins available for Symphony that benefit from Eclipse's module update framework, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Symphony developers at IBM and elsewhere take the platform.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Lotus Symphony 1.1 - Pluggable

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