Reviewing PDFs, sure, but what about Word and Excel?
Develop | Posted March 26, 2009

  • In v5.0 (beta coming April 6!) you can review PDFs!  And since anything can be converted into PDF -- even with free tools -- that means you can review anything.

  • Well, almost.  There are various "free" PDF conversion tools but most are technically only free for "personal use," which this probably isn't.  Also it's a pain to have to do the conversion into a temp file, then upload it to Code Collaborator.

    It turns out it's a lot more difficult to process and display Microsoft Office formats like Word and Excel than it is PDF, mainly because PDF was designed to be cross-platform and (at least somewhat) documented.

    Still, there's a few things we're contemplating for the future to make it easier to directly review Office formats.  Here's a taste:

    1. OpenOffice is free and open-source and will convert Microsoft Office documents to PDF at no charge.

    2. We
      are planning on making a "Print to Code Collaborator" special printer
      driver for Windows only. This skips the "PDF" step and allows you to
      upload anything from any application that allows printing (which is
      essentially everything!).  IT would have to agree to install it, but we
      would provide it at no extra charge as part of the Code Collaborator

    3. We might be able to extend our existing client-side installer to be able to convert Office docs (and perhaps more) to PDF, and/or to then directly upload the result to Code Collaborator.

    4. We might be able to convert Office documents on the server ourselves.  With simple documents with a recent version of Word and Excel this is probably possible.  More complex things, probably not.

    Your feedback here would be invaluable.  Do you know of a free PDF conversion tool that can be used commercially?  Do you have more ideas than these four?  Do you know more about OpenOffice than we do?

  • Leave a comment and help us out!  Thanks.


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