Libreoffice Design Session: CMIS Improvement

The Libreoffice UX team presents a proposal for an improved integration of content management interoperability services (CMIS). It was the outcome of the second 'design session' that will be conducted regularly.

Topic of last week’s Libreoffice design session was the integration of content management interoperability services (CMIS). Here is the outcome of this meeting.

Topic: CMIS Improvement

Bug Tickets/Feature Requests:


  • CMIS is only accessible through LibreOffice’s custom file dialogs, which isn’t turned on by default
  • Setting up a new CMIS entry is not always easy/possible (AskLibO)
  • Feature is not visible to the average user
  • No straightforward integration into LO dialog (+/Server…, subtypes at CMIS)
  • No feedback during connection
  • No refresh/sync on changes, at least for Google Drive (LO overrides GD)

Screenshots of current UI


Figure 1: Servers are configured from the internal file dialogs and inserted under places.


Figure 2: A wide variety of services is available.

Features/Functional Requirements

  • Access from start center (to promote this) and toolbar/menu (for fast and easy use)
  • Own dialog since integration into standard dialog is possible but very limited
    • Libreoffice file dialog is removed completely (local files are opened via default dialog) and new dialog for remote files is introduced
  • Types: WebDAV, ftp, ssh, Windows Share, CMIS (with 10 subtypes incl. Google Drive); CMIS types get one level up
  • Synchronization will be most likely not possible

Heuristics/Nonfunctional Requirements

  • Developers should take care about feedback when implementing; that means feedback on access but more relevant when the file that is being saved was changed meanwhile (perfect solution would be a synchronization)

New design/Mockup


Figure 3: Implementation into start center like for ‘Open File’.

  • Access from the start center via additional item below Open File with a similar behavior

Figure 4: Dialog ‘Open Remote File’ (with parts of the toolbar).

  • Toolbar gets another open button; save gets the option to save remotely (alternatively it can be applied as an option in the button menu)
  • Dropdown ‘Service’ to select the predefined service that contains of type plus name
  • Breadcrumb, folder view, and file list for navigation; filter function for ‘unorganized users’
  • File name allows to enter the name when this dialog is used to save a document; otherwise the caption Save is replace by Load

Figure 5: Three layouts of the dialog to add a service: Empty, Google Drive (GD), and WebDAV.

  • Provide a selection for the type first
  • Types are organized and sorted user-centric (apps, connections, protocols)
  • Most simple type is GD with just the email address
  • Every dialog has the option to change the label (later from dropdown ‘Add service > Edit’) that is filled with a default
  • Dialog’s complexity depends on the connection type
  • Password is asked when connecting to the service but might be included here in advance


First discussion with Libreoffice UX experts revealed an issue when the configuration dialog contains the type of service: The amount of information depends on the type which leads to a ‘jumping’ dialog. Solutions might be: a) accept the change of dialog height (as it is right now), b) introduce some kind of wizard where you first have to select the type and configure it on another page, and c) select the types from ‘Add Service’ and move the functions edit and delete (the selected service) to another button. What do you think?

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