Community Member Monday: Jean-Francois Nifenecker

Screenshot of TheCAT LibreOffice extension

Today we’re talking to Jean-Francois Nifenecker, who’s working on LibreOffice extensions and macros, and more…

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m 68 years old, freshly retired from a job as a French civil servant (local IT department). I’m married and have three children and nine grandchildren.

I’ve been living in Bordeaux for 35 years now, and I like going to the movie theater, walking, reading and… computing 😄

What are you working on in the LibreOffice project right now?

I’ve been a long time user of (since v.1.1.1 in 2005), and then naturally, LibreOffice. Since the beginning, I’ve wanted to learn about the tools I’m using and document them. This is why I’ve written a batch of user docs for (14 docs, still available on their web pages).

The user side of the documentation is still something I’m thinking of. But, in parallel, I’ve created a (very) small business to help a friend of mine, regarding migration and training from other office suites to LibreOffice. And then, as I have a programming background (mainly in Pascal and Object Pascal), I have been working on the macro side. This is a part of my business since migrating macros from Excel to Calc can be a chore. Naturally, I’ve spent “some” time into extensions creation (like the one pictured above).

I’ve written a set of reference cards (in French and in English) about BASIC macros programming, that Olivier was kind enough to publish on the extensions site 😄

LibreOffice reference card header

Thus, programming macros and extensions is my main current activity in LibreOffice.
I’ve written a set of “articles” in English for my own use until now, which I grouped under “The LibreOffice Macros Corner” title, with the aim to publish them sometime, when I’ve got time/desire enough to set a website (which is not the case).

Also I’ve got a book (currently in French) on my plate about extension creation. It is a long time project, started two-to-three years ago, which still requires much work. I think such a resource is missing and might help programmers to go one step further.

Why did you choose to join the LibreOffice project, and how was the experience?

I actually saw the project creation after Oracle took over Sun but had not much time to participate when I was still active (I guess I’m still active, but well…).

Anything else you plan to do in the future? What does LibreOffice really need?

My only “skill” is with documentation and macros programming, so I’d continue on this route.

As a heavy user of Writer (among others 😉), I’m missing a few features, but it seems that there aren’t enough resources to satisfy my demands: pages styles inheritance, real table styles instead of a fake one which is more annoying than helping are my main gripes 😄
Unfortunately I can’t help the developers here 🙁

Thanks a lot to Jean-Francois Nifenecker for his contributions and support! And if anyone else wants the features he mentioned, get involved and give us a hand, or consider funding a developer. Then everyone benefits!