Calligra Project Announces Calligra Author

Today the Calligra team announces a new application in the Calligra Suite: Calligra Author.

Calligra Author is a specialized tool for serious writers aiming to become what Krita is for painters. The application will support a writer in the process of creating an eBook from concept to publication. We have two user categories in particular in mind:

  • Novelists who produce long texts with complicated plots involving many characters and scenes but with limited formatting.
  • Textbook authors who want to take advantage of the added possibilities in eBooks compared to paper-based textbooks.

For the first category Calligra Author will provide tools which are used in different phases of the creative process: Synopsis, writing, reviewing, polishing and publishing.

For the second category Calligra Author will provide interactive content elements like multimedia, 2D and 3D animations, embedded web content and support for javascript scripting. It is our ambition to work with other application developers to make Calligra Author integrate well with other writers tools like e.g Plume Creator.

Naturally Calligra Author will also take advantage of developments in the other applications in the Calligra Suite.

The development team behind Calligra Author will work closely with writers to provide them with the tools that they feel are important. Every new feature will be selected by the users. If you feel you are a serious writer and you want to work closely with the developers to create the perfect eBook writer’s tool, then contact anyone in the team.

The first version of Calligra Author will be officially released together with the Calligra Suite version 2.6 in late 2012. At that time it will include full documentation in eBook and Wiki formats.  Our documentation team is also our prime test team.

Inge Wallin, initiator of Calligra Author and the Calligra marketing  coordinator says:

“We will make sure that Calligra Author will be a useful tool for all phases of the writing process. We have seen a lack of dedicated writing tools to create eBooks that at the same time support the Wysiwyg model. We will support modern enhancements of the traditional book format with dynamic contents and the interactivity that will be the foundation of textbooks of tomorrow.”

If you find this interesting, please come and work with us!

The Author team
Inge Wallin, co-maintainer
Gopalakrishna Bhat, co-maintainer
Mojtaba Shahi Senobari, development
Irina Rempt, documentation
Myriam Schweingruber, documentation

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47 Responses to Calligra Project Announces Calligra Author

  1. RGB says:

    Interesting project! Is there any roadmap / planned feature set? How do you plan to contact the writers, through KDE forums?

  2. finid says:

    Excellent!

    On another note, is it possible to create an organizational chart with any component of Calligra? If yes, which one is it, and it there any guide or tutorial?

  3. Alex Elsayed says:

    This is quite cool. One thing that might be useful is to look at Charles Stross’ analysis of working with Scrivener, and see if you can tackle the areas it falls short: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/07/writing-a-novel-in-scrivener-e.html

    In particular, being part of the Calligra suite should help with the post-submission part of the process, since you have much more powerful tools to deal with the document format.

  4. Friedrich says:

    Will there be any cooperation with/reuse of Blogilo? I see big overlaps in the purposes of Calligra Author and Blogilo, and it would be only cool if Calligra Author in the end can do all stuff that Blogilo is able already :)

  5. KS Augustin says:

    Yes! As an author who loves Linux, would love to help. But the pages at the Calligra project point to more generic loops, like a developer’s loop or a general Calligra loop. Anything specific set up for Calligra Author yet?

  6. Markus S. says:

    So where is it? I don’t see any code drop in git.

    • Inge Wallin says:

      We had some technical difficulties yesterday. Just when we were going to submit the application for an initial review at git.reviewboard.kde.org we found out that there was a problem. Author started out as a copy of Words (it even lives inside the source code of Words right now) and even though the application seemed to run nicely it saved its configuration as if it was Words. Gopalakrishna is fixing that now and we expect to submit it today instead.

  7. Superschnitzel says:

    I would like to see plugins for this, so that it can also be used for screenwriting.

    • JACK says:

      AMEN!

      I’m currently using Celtx (celtx.com), but would love to bring my entire digital life under the KDE umbrella!

      Really excited – but really REALLY want solid screenplay / screenwriting functionality & workflows!

      –JACK

  8. Techie Talks says:

    It’s good to try new tools that is usable in linux. Though its still on its early days, it has some of the kewl features that an author would like to have.

  9. stephen king says:

    Really great. The marketing that is. The product is just a rechurn of word (which is basically crap).

    • Inge Wallin says:

      I have been thinking about whether to let this through since words like “crap” is not consistent with our code of conduct. But since I want to hear more details about this I will – this time. Could you elaborate on what you think is so bad with Words? Many people likes it a fair bit…

      And regarding rechurn: yes, right now it’s just a clone of Words (actually we’re still creating the basic app) but we will start to add Author-specific features immediately.

  10. Travis Randall says:

    Of course, wait until after I finish fighting with LibreOffice to complete edition 2 of my game book (Legends of Nor’Ova: a table top RPG core rule book) to make this.. .

    Oh well, maybe it will be here for me to make campaign books with. Regardless, this is awesome news !

    …. you guys ever make putting in and working with tables better yet?

  11. Tuxwriter says:

    We have seen a lack of dedicated writing tools to create eBooks that at the same time support the Wysiwyg model.

    Great project! However doesn’t Sigil already do this for the production of eBooks? The Sigil home page describes the program as “a multi-platform EPUB ebook editor” released under the GPL. So how’s this different?

    • Inge Wallin says:

      As I wrote on the forum.kde.org thread: I think there is somewhat of an overlap but this is no replacement for Sigil. Sigil is a pure eBook (even EPUB) editor which gives a lot of control to the author. But it is very technical and exposes the xhtml and css to the user, which is not suitable for our intended user groups. It also (as far as I know) lacks annotations, the advanced styling that odf allows us to have and graphics editing like Calligra has. So it has an emphasis on different types of features.

  12. Luke says:

    Hi,

    I’m very interesting about ebook creation. What kind of ebook wl be created? Epub3?

    Luke

    • Inge Wallin says:

      Epubs work already since we have a brand new epub export filter. Epub 2.0.1, I should add. Before the release we hope to have also export to MOBI and maybe to wikis. The latter is of course mostly for documentation writers, not so much for novelists. We also expect to have support for a few features from epub3 (video and mathematical functions using MathML, but not for scripting and the other advanced stuff. In the long run, though, epub3 is our intended target format.

  13. Helga Fischer says:

    That’s a lovley idea! I hope that it will be realized.
    At the moment I’m using the very old application ‘knowit’ for structuring long texts (chapters) and noting persons, locations, timeline. Important for my work is a glossar. ‘knowit’ isn’t really able to handle links. Linking to the glossary would be very fine. I could image that linking to a mindtool will be useful. I miss this feature in the old calligra-suite. Sorry, kdissert is working for me better as the new braindump. Sometime lesser possibilities are better than many functions, which require to read the manual.

    Helga,
    Editor and Technical Writer using openSUSE/KDE

  14. Thomas Savary says:

    Hello!

    I have ceased writing short stories, but maybe I will start writing again some day. Anyway, I am very interested by your project. As a professional corrector (French texts only) , I feel there is an urgent need for a better automation of typographic corrections, at least in my language, for most author, even good ones, are unaware of the ABC of typography. Each language—I should have written “each country”— has its own typographic tradition and conventions, so Calligra Author should be flexible and versatile enough to adapt to any language or country (for instance, French-speaking Switzerland and France have different typographic customs). Besides, Calligra should enable stylistic ligatures. For each language or country, it should also use a syllabification dictionary to break words correctly at the end of lines.

    I am sure that Calligra Author will be a terrific opportunity to write and publish “self made” books. But these books should have a professional look. Most eBooks I saw were so ugly and amateur in this aspect!
    Although I cannot code, I would be pleased to help the French team of Author as soon as there is one (my typographic knowledge for the English language being very limited), by listing the typographic corrections who could be automated for French.

    • Inge Wallin says:

      While the main focus for Calligra Author right now is writers, I actually find that creating a special version for reviewers is a very interesting idea. That doesn’t exist anywhere, does it? I would love to discuss this more and get some idea of what it would mean.

  15. P Gillespie says:

    Very interested in seeing, trying out and using this product (now or in the future). And it’s about time. All office suites with word processing should have integrated publishing tools.

  16. himagain says:

    Have just found you!
    I was hoping to find things R.T.G. :-)
    No F.A.Q.??
    No Newsletter??
    Author coming???
    How about just an email address for the release??

    It can fill a big hole “out there”!
    I’m just struggling with LibreOO – converting from MSWord at last!

    Cheers!

    • Inge Wallin says:

      Well, the project is just announced so there is no Frequently Asked Questions (people haven’t had time to ask them yet). The newsletter is so far my blog. I’m sorry but I don’t know what RTG is…

      There are two email address where the discussions are being done and that’s either calligra-devel@kde.org if it’s relevant to all of Calligra or calligra-author@kde.org if it’s only relevant to Author.

      The first release will be in december with the rest of Calligra.

      • himagain says:

        Hi there from Downunder (Australia)!
        Thanks for your very prompt reply, don’t know how you find the time :-)
        I’ve been waiting for 10 years for this, so a few more months isn’t long. :-)
        I will keep an eye on your blog.

        Cheers, and thank you again,

        Jack

  17. Craig says:

    I think this is a great idea. To be honest to write a novel you do not need anything more than a basic word processor. Which I believe Words can do. I also read the link to the Scrivner issues and have to agree that what it is lacking is basic word processing functionality.

    What I do like about many of the novel writing tools are just that tools. Character Sheets, Plot tracking, Novel Ideas and scene management. Also some of these features are available in FinalDraft that I have found helpful also.

    Not to push another program or organization, but years ago when I started writing, even the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Workshop had a nice set of foundation steps for novel writing that has helped me to this day.

    So I am very excited about this project and can’t wait for a release to do a follow-up post.

    Craig

  18. Niko D. says:

    I really hope it includes a full screen editing mode like FocusWriter.

  19. J.J. Massa says:

    I’m very eager to see how this goes and try it out. It’s ambitious, but oh, so attractive.

    I’ve been looking frantically for some organizational software that can see me through the entire process–so far, nothing quite fits. If I find something I can work with for writing, formatting goes out the window. There’s just no middle ground so far. I haven’t tried Scrivener, though it has several of the features I’m looking for. Editing and most of all — proofreading has been an impossible dream in the various software applications. Thus far, it looks like I’ll end up using 3 or 4 separate tools, which flies in the face of organization–I’ll still have files all over the place.

    • Inge Wallin says:

      I really hope that Calligra Author will be what you are looking for. But it will take a couple of releases until we have something even close to what you are looking for. But we have started to look at the medium-term roadmap and I think I’ll be able to present a roadmap for the next year in a couple of weeks.

  20. Jacky says:

    I am so interested. I just downloaded the latest version of calligra that appears in the ubuntu downloads for ubuntu 12.4. I know what I want. I want something that has a toolbar with a button to click page sizes, and automatically convert the document to 6×9 and so on. I want a page break button right there on the toolbar. I want an automatically formatted first page, copyright page and contents and intro that is self numbered and a ‘new chapter button that automatically inserts a new page. All the features if you like of a professional book but without having to mess around putting them in. I then want to be able to click a button to convert to any format. Maybe a book and an ebook template in the same place. I want my own ‘Lulu’ type cover designer integrated so you have the basis of a book cover already in the processor. Again some templates. I want the typesetting indents set to professional settings not just bog standard word processor and even better would be an automated lulu and create space and smashwords and everywhere else uploader. I would also like an integrated readability check at the touch of a button and a grammar check like atd as a matter of course. It would also be useful to have a dual English and American version converter and integrated templates with some fancy stuff for poetry -I would like no number on the first page of every chapter as automatic but not to have to change styles for every new chapter etc and still have the numbers work without fiddling around. Of course if the Contents could magically change at the same time that would be wonderful. In other words I want everything set like the online publishers want but how the professionals would do it, and to be able as an alternative to print out the book at a local printer. I would like all the other stuff like drop caps etc but all easy to do by setting what happens at the start of the chapters in the book and some title fonts that are not bog standard………In other words the one who will win my support it when I get all the formatting done for me so you cannot tell it is not a professional book but not so it looks like I did not use a professional. I would also like a little man sitting inside to edit for me but I guess that is too much to ask. Maybe definitely a choice on quote marks and a way of quoting text that looks good. I realise all of this can already be done in some way, and use libre but you did ask. I would also like to know how to get Calligra 2.6 or integrate author with 2.5 as I am new to Calligra and trying it out. I guess in a nutshell I want a set of tool bars that do the above. I also think there would be milieage in having small toolbars for each editing job…like align or so on already created.

  21. woodsmoke says:

    I will beta test Author, and also help with the documentation.
    woodsmoke

  22. Welsh Andy says:

    Any news on how this is coming along? I’m really excited to try it out.

    @Jacky, is there anything out there that does the things you have listed??? That would be awesome.

    Andy

  23. Paolo says:

    Is the release together with the Calligra Suite version 2.6 still confirmed? I’m eagerly waiting, but found no reference in announcements of version 2.6… :-(

  24. Aaron Jones says:

    Will these software suite be available through spoon.net? I am moving most of my computing to the cloud and don’t want to install anything on my hard drive if possible.

  25. Ade Malsasa Akbar says:

    Where is the screenshot?

    No pict = hoax :)

  26. Werner says:

    The thing that put me off Word was the furiously bad font support. It has a really bad way of mangling them into a mess for me by being chopped, fuzzy or both. This is not a joking matter, sometimes it is impossible to pick out the letters at size 10 or 12. Any other editor can do this but a small e looks like a small c at times. When editing a text, well it’s either zooming or enlarging the font. Either is a failure for me, people on the moon shouldn’t be able to read my text for me to edit less than an arms length away from the screen.
    In the long run it’s unbearable to look at. Especially as the rest of the applications manages to render perfectly.

    Aside that, being able to mark and/or annotate sections as you go along would be very nice if you can link it to reference documents containing the extra info you might have on the subject, like characters etc. You might not write their backstory but it’s every so useful to have at hand. Right now all that end up in a wikimedia for me and I have to manually link it up. And while Libreoffice does have support for notes and they can hold links it’s a awful way of trying to keep track of things.
    Another extremely useful tool is a synonym thesarus. I really enjoyed Kthesarus which seems defunct in the Suse repos at the moment. Having wordnet included was a real boon at times.

    I’m really looking forward to see what comes of this project. Hopefully more than just a great piece of software.

  27. milktea says:

    This is such a great idea. I installed Calligra today due to this announcement. That said, I hope that this project is still in the works and will be available soon (since late 2012 is the date announced). Is there a process flow available which shows how writers can benefit from this software?

  28. thatperson says:

    Awesome! I have started writing a book recently, and I am going to use Calligra Author for exactly that!

  29. Mark says:

    Thi is outstanding! I’m just discovering this now. An authoring tool that allows the complex organization of a book to be displayed by frame by the side, it’s Front-matter, Parts, Chapters, “scenes”, Back-matter, etc. (just like ZIM Wiki), is one tool Linux users really need, but don’t have, besides ZIM Wiki. Calligra could pick up where ZIM Wiki leaves off, with the ability to markup the document, store revisions, count words, track time and effort, and finally format it for ebook, submittable or publication. The most important element is the organization with a frame that includes the tree like structure of the novel. This is where Word and Libre Office completely fail. After that, the other items of creating a complex work, are just icing on the cake, so to speak. I’d be happy with that, and the ability to export to rtf, epub, html and LaTeX

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  32. Steve says:

    Since there has been no noticeable movement here for a year, I can only assume that this project is dead. It’s a shame, it really is, as this looked very promising.

    • Inge Wallin says:

      I am not really sure what makes you say that. On the website (Calligra.org) we have announced 2 major versions since this announcement, the latest just two weeks ago. We have also released almost 10 bugfix releases.

      On my blog (ingwa2.blogspot.com) I just announced that we have achieved everything that we set out to do from the start and that we are looking for the next feature requests. That was also written on the Calligra Author forum at forum.kde.org.

      So I can assure you that it is far from dead. You may have gotten this impression from the fact that Calligra Author is not a project in itself, but a part of the larger Calligra project which has both an office suite and graphics applications.

      If you are interested in the next version, please look through the forum and the blog and give me your wishes. There aren’t very many right now so it’s likely that we will pick yours.

      • A Commenter says:

        You really should put an announcement up on the homepage, or update this one to say it’s available. It doesn’t look good when the most recent announcement about it was from Aug 2012. I also assumed it was not available based on the homepage.

  33. Mark says:

    I’m hoping it has an outliner (or Tree Navigator) so that a single document can be divided up like a table of contents, to easily find specific sections. Also, a spellchecker. Surprisingly, there are no word processors out there that can do this, in a single document. –Yes, I did try to use the LibreOffice Navigator, but was unable to figure it out. MS Words equivalent is also difficult to master. It should be something that’s quick, easy and intuitive, like Zim Desktop Wiki. (each Leaf on the Tree is an individual .txt file with wiki markup) Also, spellchecker, Corrector and Thesaurus are the only other things that’s really required. Everything else is just icing on the cake, or if poorly done, sour frosting on a sweet cake.

  34. Michael P says:

    Reading these comments in conjunction with the Calligra wiki, it seems there is a lot of interest for the novel-side of Author. And yet, trying Author sees much effort put into the iBooks aspects of the application.

    Like many other posters her, my main interest is in the novel-writing tools. I’ve tried many such pieces of software, and the one that I use is Liquid Story Binder (for now). That said a now-defunct application called MyNovel had the most promise, but the creator of it failed to give it the support and development it needed.

    LSB provides many useful tools and has a lot to offer despite now being no longer under development: it creates internal files and stores them in unique directories and links them together so it is easy to keep track of work. Any application that steals me away from LSB will have to offer at least: character creation and dossier compilation; timeline (with variable units for the x-axis); outlining; todo lists; notepad; export to popular ebook formats; status attributes (first draft, second draft, first edit, etc); text zoom; spell-as-you-go; comments I can insert within a chapter; section, chapter, and scene creation; curly quotes (!). That’s a start.

    There are many low-level or underdeveloped applications around, but I want one with the lot! I’d be more than happy to contribute to (the novel-writing aspects of) this project. I had to proffer my email before posting here, but please feel free to drop me line if you think I can contribute something useful. I’m working on completing my first novel, but used to write (technical documents) professionally.

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