Friday, 21 March 2014

Seamless Editing between LibreOffice, OneDrive, Office Mobile Android


Microsoft made Office Mobile free today [6 May 2014]. This is a game changer for users of LibreOffice and Android.

I love the functionality (and price) of LibreOffice, the convenience of Android, and the portability of cloud storage services like OneDrive and Google Drive. Ideally, everything would use Open Document Format (ODF) and I could seamlessly edit between all three. E.g. create a presentation in LibreOffice, save it in Google Drive, and edit it on my Android phone. And now I can, with a few limitations.

I'll cut to the chase ...

The winner is Microsoft

My setup:
FireFox and LibreOffice are the only two (quasi) open source packages. As for the rest, I had to pick between open source and 'free' (as in beer). I'm not inclined to substitute out Windows or Android because that's what 89% of my readers use.
MicrosoftEdit in LibreOfficeEdit in OneDrive BrowserEdit in Office Mobile AndroidLimitations
Create in LibreOffice PC (save in OneDrive folder)OOOMust save in MS Office format.
Create in OneDrive (Browser)OOO
Create in Office Mobile AndroidOOONew Word or Excel files only. Powerpoint can be edited in Office Mobile
I'm sure Microsoft means for me to use (and buy) their Office suite, but in keeping MS Office local instead of migrating it wholly to a web app like Google Docs, they allow substitution by LibreOffice.

Why not Google Docs/Drive?

GoogleEdit in LibreOfficeEdit in Google Drive (Browser)Edit in Google Docs Android
Create in LibreOffice PC (save in Google Drive folder)OXX
Create in Google Drive (Browser)XOO
Create in Google Docs AndroidXOO
Furthermore:
  • Google Docs PC is a combination of Desktop App for drive, and Browser based application. It is not in the same league as LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or MS Office.
  • Google Drive PC launches a viewer for ODF and MS Office files, Converting to Google format for editing is an additional step.
Google has improved their Office Suite on Android, but to me that's not the point. I want interoperability with the Office Suites of my choice. And Microsoft has, perhaps inadvertently, delivered.
Huzzah, Mr Nadella!

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