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Summary of important user-visible changes for releases of the io package

===============================================================================
io-2.4.12   Release Date: 2018-10-28 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - dbfwrite.m: avoid crash and vectorize writing data to file (bug #53899)
      by Matthew Parkan
    - dbfwrite.m: add unwind_protect block to be able to avoid dangling file
      handles in case of errors; better checks on data column homogeneity;
      texinfo (help) header fixes
    - A little more robust Java check
    - csv2cell: improper string indexing (bug #54407), fix by Orion Paplowski

*** Code improvements:
    - POI interface: adapt to POI-4.0.0 (new getCelltype enums)
    - POI: overhaul cell type handling when reading and writing
    - dbfread.m: improve speed when reading a subset of data

===============================================================================
io-2.4.11   Release Date: 2018-04-18 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - OCT interface: fix reading shared formula results (bug #52875)
      credits to Radekivv
    - OCT interface: fix a rare case of nested text cell XML with special
      formatting attributes (bug # 53298)
    - OCT interface: don't over-allocate memory when reading text cells in
      xlsx (bug 533910, credits to Peter Giles
    - OCT interface: return correct date values for .ods file (bug #53401)
    - dbfwrite.m: don't prepend space before string values
    - bug #53510: fix detection of Java version for Java > 8
    - OCT interface: (part of) bug #53459, i.e. reading .xlsx files with a
      more complex mix of chartsheets, macrosheets and worksheets, and
      exploring such files with xlsfinfo. Writing to such files however
      isn't guaranteed to be bug free. However, other interfaces (POI, UNO)
      provide a workaround.
    - COM interface: clearly distinguish between worksheets and e.g.,
      chartsheets when referencing sheets by number.

===============================================================================
io-2.4.10   Release Date: 2018-01-09 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - Remove leftover stanza in configure.ac (bug #52830)
    - col2num: make input argument case-insensitive

*** Code improvements:
    - csv2cell: now reads files with varying number of fields per line. The
      number of fields in the first line (assumed to contain column titles)
      is assumed to be the nr. of columns in the file.
      Thus csv2cell is supposed to correctly read most csv files w/o any
      additional parameters (only the separator needs to be specified
      if it isn't a comma)

===============================================================================
io-2.4.9   Release Date: 2018-01-03 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - read_namelist.m: character sequences may contain a '/' character
      (bug #52310, fix by Brice Davier)
    - chk_spreadsheet_support: adapt to core cset 516437d2194d (don't allow
      func parameters to be persistent)
    - csv2cell: fix erroneous column header to column-number conversion

*** Code improvements:

===============================================================================
io-2.4.8   Release Date: 2017-10-21 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - csv2cell():    * Improve ignoring CR (char (13)) in csv files 
                       (bugs #50979 and #50297)
    - OCT interface: * More robust identification of worksheets (spreadsheets
                       written with POI interface were misinterpreted)
                     * Overhauled reading .xlsx files; catches more types:
                       inlineString, Boolean, ... (with lot of assistance from
                       Markus Muetzel, thx)
    - read_namelist.m: improve reading when ending char is not fist on line
                       (bug #52242, fix by Brice Davier) 

*** Code improvements:
    - Replace utf82unicode with native2unicode v.v. in Octave 4.4+ (thanks
                       to Markus M├╝tzel)
    - If no filename extension is given, default to .xlsx rather than .xls
    - xlsread.m and odsread.m now accept a function handle, an output options
      struct and interface as arguments after the third (range) argument, in
      any order.
      See "help xlsread" or "help odsread" for more info.
    - all spreadsheet I/O functions now accept an empty string as worksheet
      name, implying the first worksheet.

===============================================================================
io-2.4.6, io-2.4.7   Release Date: 2017-03-03 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - OCT interface: * fix erroneous empty cell assignment to cellstr array
                       bug 49579)
                     * correct XML double-quote translation
                     * reading multi-line text cells in .ods files (bug #50200)
                     * properly write multi-line cells in .ods files
    - xlsread: initialize r_extnd (bug #49656)
    - xlsfinfo, odsfinfo: error when no named range exists in .ods file
                          (bug #49922)
    - JOD interface: * avoid NPE when opening empty file
                     * Remove "A" & "B" column headers in new sheets
    - UNO interface: * avoid NPE when writing to new sheet
    - csv2cell():    * warn that multi-line text fields (containing newline
                       characters) are not allowed (bug #50224)
                     * ignore CR (char (13)) in csv files (bug #50297)

*** Code improvements:
    - POI interface: * update support to POI 3.16a (add new java .jar)
                     * better distinguish .xls and .xlsx support

**** New features:
  - csv2cell()       now accepts a spreadsheet-style range argument. That
                     option allows reading .csv files with heterogeneous
                     number of fields per line

===============================================================================
io-2.4.5   Release Date: 2016-11-08 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - OCT interface: various fixes related to XML handling (bug 49510)
    - Correctly handle sheet names containing spaces and quotes (bug 49558)

*** Code improvements:
    - xlswrite.m: arrays aren't truncated to 1x1 if a range of only one cell
      is specified. It'll be now interpreted as topleft cell
    - odswrite has always worked like above; it is now explicitly documented

===============================================================================
io-2.4.4   Release Date: 2016-10-23 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - xmlread.m, xmlwrite.m: fix typo (bug 49095; credits to Andreas Weber)
    - xmlwrite.m: properly close I/O stream (bug 49197; credits to Pantxo
      Diribarne)
    - POI, OXS interfaces: close I/O streams in case of errors (bug 49197)
    - POI: fix fallback to JXL/UNO for BIFF5 files (Excel '95)
    - (named ranges) pick first sheet in case of multiple matches with named
      range (bug 49286)
    - tidyxml.m: also preserve char(127)
    - xl2oct.m, ods2oct.m, octls.m, oct2ods.m, tidyxml.m: supply an option
      to convert UTF-8 characters to one-byte characters and back (thanks
      to Markus Muetzel; bug 49222).
    - Fix writing to another spreadsheet file upon closing spreadsheet pointer

*** New features:
    - New functions utf82unicode.m and unicode2utf8.m. These convert double-
      byte UTF-8 strings into single-byte char strings and back, resp.
    - When reading from / writing to spreadsheet files, text strings can be
      converted from/to UTF8 encoding by specifying an option flag
      "convert_utf" in calls to xls2oct.m / ods2oct.m / oct2xls.m / oct2ods.m.
      This is probably *only* useful for systems where the Octave terminal
      cannot support UTF-8 display (e.g., Windows 7 and below)

===============================================================================
io-2.4.3   Release Date: 2016-09-03 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - COM interface: return proper used range in case of just 1 column of data
    - JOD interface: temporary fix for reading numeric values (bug #48013) til
      bug #48591 has been fixed

*** Code improvements:
    - io_xls_testscript.m, io_ods_testscript.m: return results rather than
      bail out when hitting errors
    - cell2csv: increase precision when writing double values (credits to
      Martin Kunz)

===============================================================================
io-2.4.2   Release Date: 2016-07-04 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - odsopen.m, xlsopen.m: do not allow writing to non-existent subdirs
    - xlsread.m: return with error if file open failed, rather than trying
      to proceed
    - OCT interface: mention file creation errors verbosely rather than
      silently
    - OCT interface, OOXML: improved reading of cached values (but #47815)

*** Code improvements:
    - Swapped post-install.m hack to allow initialization of io package
      for PKG_ADD/PKG_DEL directives; no more risk of affecting user space
    - Changed several calls to (now deprecated) octave_config_info into 
      calls to __have_feature__.m
    - Add support for complex numbers in read_namelist.m and write_namelist.m
      (credits to Ryusuke Numata)

===============================================================================
io-2.4.1   Release Date: 2016-03-09 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - OCT interface: avoid reading/writing double-byte characters.
      Excel and LibreOffice convert characters < 32 or > 126 to double-byte.
      Octave cannot handle double-byte (unicode) characters (yet). The 
      provisional solution is to simply strip those characters from text
      strings before writing them to file, or strip them before handing the
      just read raw output cell array to Octave.
    - Convert illegal XML characters ('"><&) to XML escape sequences and back.
    - Delete temporary files when processing .xlsx files (bug #47378)

*** New features:
    - New function tidyxml.m:  simply strips characters < 32 or > 126 from
      character arrays or cell arrays (including mixed cell arrays).
    - test_spsh.m now shows a nice summary of test results for each interface.

*** Various changes
    - Replace calls to deprecated sleep() with calls to pause().
    - Adapt code to changes in octave_config_info in Octave development version.

===============================================================================
io-2.4.0   Release Date: 2015-12-23 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - UNO interface: flag mismatching 64bit/32bit builds of Octave and LO/OOo.
    - xlsopen.m/odsopen.m: avoid too many empty lines; improve output of 
      interface detection.
    - OTK interface: more reliable formula reading.
    - Fix unneeded empty lines while detecting interfaces.

*** Improvements
    - Panxto Dixbarne has supplied xmlread.m and xmlwrite.m to replace the
      undocumented, unsupported and unusable binary code by Laurent Mazet.
      xmlread.m and xmlwrite.m depend on the Java Xerces library > 2.11.0
      These functions are now Matlab-compatible.

*** Various:
    - Remove duplicate code (checks on javaclasspath entries).
    - Do not allow code to remove non-supported .jars from javaclasspath.
    - Prepare for a 2.4.0 release now that xmlread/-write work properly.

===============================================================================
io-2.2.11   Release Date: 2015-10-22 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Primarily a bug fix release

*** Bug fixes:
    - More robust Named range code processing & code simplifications
    - odsfinfo.m / gnumeric: fix errors when sheet has no Named ranges
    - xlsopen.m: don't allow .xlsx to be opened by OXS interface (OpenXLS
      .xlsx processing is immature while it works fine for plain .xls/BIFF8)
    - odsfinfo.m: implement fformat and nmranges output arguments
    - some cosmetic issues and spelling

===============================================================================
io-2.2.10   Release Date: 2015-09-24 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - Support for Named Ranges.  If present in a spreadsheet file, a Named
      Range can be entered instead of a spreadsheet-style range for xlsread,
      xls2oct, odswrite, etc.  odsfinfo.m and xlsfinfo.m can be used to 
      explore Named ranges in spreadsheet files.
      Due to bugs in JExcelApi, jOpenDocument and ODF Toolkit, Named Ranges
      do not work for the JXL, JOD and OTK interfaces.  Currently LibreOffice
      invoked through the UNO interface can only use Named Ranges for .xls /
      .xlsx files, not .ods files

*** Bug fixes:
    - Allow UNO to work with 64-bit LibreOffice
    - Adapt UNO jar search to new Java class lib locations in LibreOffice 5+
    - Improve PKG_ADD Libre-/OpenOffice search
    - Two OCT .xlsx write bugs (#45915, #45916). The former is a workaround
      for a (possible) LibreOffice incompatibility
    - PKG_ADD: avoid uninstalled previous LO/OOo installations when searching
      for LO/OOo on Windows
    - Allow .ods to be read with xls2oct.m
    - xls2oct.m: catch unsupported file formats for OCT interface

*** Various:
    Improve formula support and reading/writing logicals (BOOLEANS) with JOD
    interface (jOpenDocument versions 1.3 and 1.4beta)

===============================================================================
io-2.2.9   Release Date: 2015-07-10 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

This is a bug fix release.

*** Bug fixes:
    - Fix typo in duplicate sheet names check code (bug #45498)
    - For the OCT interface, increase numeric write precision to 15 digits
      (used to be just 6) and ensure that very large and small numbers can be
      written (bug #45498)
    - Fix wrong indexing when writing a new gnumeric file with wsh pointer > 1
    - xlsopen.m (xlswrite): fix type preventing writing to ods

*** Reminder: (hmm a bit moot as of early 2018)
    This will be (one of) the last io package release(s) before the spreadsheet
    I/O is moved into core Octave, so this version will only install in
    Octave < 4.2.x (override using the -nodeps option with pkg.m)

===============================================================================
io-2.2.8   Release Date: 2015-06-21 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - xlsread: properly fall back to dlmread when reading .csv files (don't
      bother with COM (Excel) or UNO (LibreOffice) interfaces)
    - private/__COM_spsh_open__.m: use entire given pathname to convert to 
      full path, not just filename proper (bug #44642)
    - Same for private/__UNO_spsh_open__.m
    - xlsread.m/xls2oct.m using OCT interface: fix wrong worksheet reference
      (bug #45303)

*** This will be (one of) the last io package release(s) before the spreadsheet
    I/O is moved into core Octave, so this version will only install in
    Octave < 4.2.x (override using the -nodeps option with pkg.m)
      
===============================================================================
io-2.2.7   Release Date: 2015-03-07 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - dbfread: catch really empty (= spaces rather than zeros) date entries.
    - xlsopen.m: Clarify error message about missing I/O with file extension.
    - xlswrite.m: clarify supported file types/interfaces in texinfo header. 
    - private/getxlsinterfaces.m: make COM interface detection more robust.
    - csv2cell, cell2csv: fix SEP/PROT argument processing for 64-bit indexing
      Octave
    - num2col.cc: fix uninitialized variable bug that crashed Octave-3.9.1+
      (wasn't exposed in earlier versions)

*** Various:
    - NEWS file scrutinized (formatting, typos) by Armin Mueller (thanks!)
    - Replaced all occurrences of deprecated core function strmatch() with
      find (strcmp ())  or  strfind()
    - Silently create new spreadsheet files (there used to be a
       "Creating file ..." message)
    - Checked all Java-based interface support SW for newer versions. Results
      are mentioned in the doc/...html files.

===============================================================================
io-2.2.6   Release Date: 2015-01-03 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - dbfwrite.m: can write cell arrays to a .dbf file (provisionally v.III+)
      For the time being dbfwrite (and dbfread) are considered experimental.

*** Bug fixes:
    - xlswrite: provide sheet name if empty string was supplied for sheet name
    - dbfread: fix wrong indexing of logical values in output array.
      Properly implement selecting data columns with cellstr headers.
      Better dbf file version checks and memo field checks.

===============================================================================
io-2.2.5   Release Date: 2014-11-22 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - On Windows, try to avoid using 32-bit UNO interface for 64-bit Octave.
    - Added a first dbfread.m, to read dbase files. Needed a.o., for reading 
      shapefiles etc. dbfread.m is considered experimental for the time being.

*** Bug fixes:
    - Enable writing formulas to OOXML (.xlsx) in OCT interface(bug #43321a).
    - Fix creating new .ods file in OCT(bug #43321b).
    - xlswrite: supply default data cellrange if no or empty cellrange argument
      is supplied.
    - OCT interface: make sure requested worksheet names are matched exactly
      (bug #43353)
    - OCT interface: make sure writing to relative paths works. Creating the 
      intermediate subdir tree won't work (a zip / gzip limitation)
    - Fix reading from sheets with some special names (bug #43331)
    - Fix worksheet bookkeeping when adding new sheets (bug #43354)
    - More robust code to read SharedStrings.xml (bug #43399)
    - Oct2xls (OCT) fails when sheet names are being used (bug #43400)
    - Invoke SaveCopyAs rather than SaveAs for new Excel files in COM interface

*** Other changes
    - First throw at restructuring to eliminate duplicate code:
      . chk_spreadsheet_support.m: singled out checks for java class libs per
        interface
    - Checked odfdom-incubating 6.1 (odfdom-0.8.10): doesn't work properly
    - Added checks for unsupported jar versions in chk_spreadsheet_support.
      This function won't load unsupported .jar versions anymore and will even
      remove them from the javaclasspath if it finds them. The only way that
      unsupported .jar versions (spreadsheet Java class libs) can get in the
      javaclasspath is if users manually add them.

===============================================================================
io-2.2.4   Release Date: 2014-09-11 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - Add 'headerlines' parameter to csv2cell, to allow skipping a first number
      of lines before reading actual data. See "help csv2cell".

*** Bug fixes:
    - Replace __num2char__ / __char2num__ (.mex files) by .oct versions num2col
      & col2num as 64-bitOctave cannot compile mex files with int64_t.
    - Add some delays (0.25 s) in OCT and UNO file open/close functions to give
      zip and unpack some time to finish I/O operations (lazy write) on fast
      systems.

===============================================================================
io-2.2.3   Release Date: 2014-08-14 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Bug fixes:
    - Replace canonicalize_file_name calls by make_absolute_filename to avoid
      ActiveX/COM errors (due to changed canonicalize_file_name in 3.9.0+)
    - More robust strrep code in OCT/xlsx write code (modifying access time)
    - Fix handling empty cell range argument when writing .ods with OCT
      interface (bug #43783)
    - Better string detection when reading .xlsx with OCT interface
    - Properly return a value of 0 after xlswrite/odswrite write errors

===============================================================================
io-2.2.2   Release Date: 2014-05-12 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - Write support for gnumeric

An updated overview of which interface can be used for what types of files
(extensions):

                                 Interface
File extension       COM POI POI/OOXML JXL OXS UNO OTK JOD OCT
--------------------------------------------------------------
.xls (Excel95)        R                 R       R
.xls (Excel97-2003)   +   +      +      +   +   +
.xlsx (Excel2007+)    ~          +         (+)  R           +
.xlsb, .xlsm          ~                     ?   R           R?
.wk1                  +                         R
.wks                  +                         R
.dbf                  +                         +
.ods                  ~                         +   +   +   +
.sxc                                            +       +
.fods                                           +
.uos                                            +
.dif                                            +
.csv                  +                         R
.gnumeric                                                   +
--------------------------------------------------------------
(~ = dependent on Excel/LO/OOo version;  + = read/write;  R = only reading)
(+) unfortunately OOXML support in the OpenXLS Java library itself is too
    buggy, so OOXML support for OXS has been disabled (but it is implemented)

*** Docs (html) & texinfo help texts updated

*** Bug fixes:
    - UNO open/close: catch changed behavior of canonicalize_file_name in
      Octave-3.9.0+
    - odsfinfo.m, xlsfinfo.m: also check for leading period in file extension
      switch statement
    - Replace java_get (deprecated in Octave > 4.1.0) by __java_get__
    - Catch rare Java exception in OTK interface under Octave-4.1.0+

===============================================================================
io-2.2.1   Release Date: 2014-04-26 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Bug fix release:

*** Bug fixes:
    - First check built-in Java support before further testing Java-based
      interfaces (bug #42192)
    - Invoke __char2num__/__num2char__ rather than __OCT_cc__ for spreadsheet
      cell address translation in OCT interface funcs as well
    - Fix wrong file handle refs. when updating app.xml in OOXML files

===============================================================================
io-2.2.0   Release Date: 2014-04-13 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** New features:
    - Experimental write support w/o Java or ActiveX, just native Octave, for
       ODS 1.2 (LibreOffice native format) and OOXML (Excel 2007+ .xlsx)
    - (write support for gnumeric pending)

An updated overview of which interface can be used for what types of files
(extensions):
(~ = dependent on Excel/LO/OOo version;  + = read/write;  R = only reading)
                                 Interface
File extension       COM POI POI/OOXML JXL OXS UNO OTK JOD OCT
--------------------------------------------------------------
.xls (Excel95)        R                 R       R
.xls (Excel97-2003)   +   +      +      +   +   +
.xlsx                 ~          +         (+)  R           +
.xlsb, .xlsm          ~                     ?   R
.wk1                  +                         R
.wks                  +                         R
.dbf                  +                         +
.ods                  ~                         +   +   +   +
.sxc                                            +       +
.fods                                           +
.uos                                            +
.dif                                            +
.csv                  +                         R
.gnumeric                                                   R
--------------------------------------------------------------

*** Docs (html) & texinfo help texts updated

*** Bug fixes:
    - (gnumeric reading): Properly handle ValueFormat tags
                          Fix older formats w/o Value* tags
    - Restored UNO interface option in ods2oct.m
    - (xlswrite) when truncating an array (sheet capacity, too small a range),
      convey truncated range rather than topleft cell
    - PKG_ADD: Fix case-sensitivity when searching for Libre/OpenOffice loc.
               Do not automatically load Java class libs on *nix
    - OCT: delete tmp dirs after closing spreadsheet files
    - POI: return complete cell range for a.o., xlsfinfo

===============================================================================
io-2.1.x   Release Date: TBA Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

(unstable version)
For changes see 2.2.0 (above)


===============================================================================
io-2.0.2   Release Date: 2014-01-09 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Another bug fix release

*** Bug fixes:
    - PKG_ADD, PKG_DEL: move into script dir to be sure they can be invoked
      while loading / unloading io package

*** New features:
    - chk_spreadsheet_support: Remembers which javaclasspath entries it loaded,
      can remove them too
    - PKG_DEL: Removes all javaclasspath entries added by chk_spreadsheet-support
      when unloading the io package
    - PKG_ADD: Searches for OpenOffice.org / LibreOffice in some conventional
      places to allow silent automatic loading of Java class libs &
      directories required for OOo / LO

===============================================================================
io-2.0.1   Release Date: 2014-01-01 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Bug fix release

*** Bug fixes:
    - Fixed rfsearch error (empty subdirs) when loading package

*** PKG_ADD: Also search user (%USERPROFILE%\Java or ~/Java) for Java
             spreadsheet support .jar files; also add conventional Linux
             place in search (usually /usr/share/java)

===============================================================================
io-2.0.0   Release Date: 2014-01-01 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Some code simplifications & style fixes

An updated overview of which interface can be used for what types of files
(extension):
(~ = dependent on Excel/LO/OOo version;  + = read/write;  R = only reading)

                                 Interface
File extension       COM POI POI/OOXML JXL OXS UNO OTK JOD OCT
--------------------------------------------------------------
.xls (Excel95)        R                 R       R
.xls (Excel97-2003)   +   +      +      +   +   +
.xlsx                 ~          +         (+)  R           R
.xlsb, .xlsm          ~                     ?   R
.wk1                  +                         R
.wks                  +                         R
.dbf                  +                         +
.ods                  ~                         +   +   +   R
.sxc                                            +       +
.fods                                           +
.uos                                            +
.dif                                            +
.csv                  +                         R
.gnumeric                                                   R
--------------------------------------------------------------

For unsupported file types, UNO will write .ods whatever the actual file
extension.

*** Bug fixes:
    - Fixed texinfo headers for the test scripts

    - The UNO interface no longer writes ODS for all file extensions. An
      updated list is shown above.

*** Known issues:
    - OOXML write/read support in OpenXLS (OXS) is a bit wonky. Doesn't
      pass Octave OF-io's test script. Upstream has been informed of one
      example bug.
    - OpenXLS' OOXML depends on another .jar file (gwt-servlet-deps.jar).
      Rip it from this archive (108+ MB download): gwt-2.5.1.zip,
      available at:
      http://www.gwtproject.org/download.html  ("Download GWT SDK")
    - LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org (UNO interface) doesn't write .csv
    - OTK interface (.ods) sometimes writes ridiculously wide columns.

===============================================================================
io-1.3.6   Release Date: 2013-TBA Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** OXS (OpenXLS) now has read/write support. AFAICS it is the fastest Java-
    based interface. Provisionally .xls (BIFF8, Excel'97-2003) works fairly
    reliably. OOXML works too but is unstable (see below, "Known issues").

*** Some code simplifications & style fixes

*** xlsread may fall back to csvread for .csv files when no Excel (COM) or
    LibreOffice/OOo (UNO) interface is supported (bug #40993)

An updated overview of which interface can be used for what types of files
(extension):
(~ = dependent on Excel version;  + = read/write;  R = only reading)

                                 Interface
File extension       COM POI POI/OOXML JXL OXS UNO OTK JOD OCT
--------------------------------------------------------------
.xls (Excel95)        R                 R       R
.xls (Excel97-2003)   +   +      +      +   +   +
.xlxx/xlsm            +          +         (+)  +           R
.wk1                  +                         +
.wks                  +                         +
.dbf                  +                         +
.ods                  ~                         +   +   +   R
.sxc                                            +       +
.fods                                           +
.uos                                            +
.dif                                            +
.csv                  +                         +
.gnumeric                                                   R
--------------------------------------------------------------

*** Bug fixes:
    - post_install.m: seems unneeded, provisionally commented out all commands
    - PKG_ADD: dropped all references to Java package, now just checks
      octave_config_info("features").JAVA

*** Known issues:
    - OOXML write/read support in OpenXLS (OXS) is a bit wonky. Doesn't pass
      Octave OF-io's test script. Upstream has been informed of one example bug.
    - OpenXLS' OOXML depends on another .jar file (gwt-servlet-deps.jar). Rip
      it from this archive (108+ MB download): gwt-2.5.1.zip, available at:
      http://www.gwtproject.org/download.html  ("Download GWT SDK")

===============================================================================
io-1.3.5   Release Date: 2013-TBA Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** Merged in changes from io-1.2.5 (OCT interface)

*** New spreadsheet test routine; improved existing routines to write with one
    and read with some other interface (helped to uncover many concealed bugs)

*** (pending) Cleaning up chk_spreadsheet_support.m

*** Bug fixes:
    - OCT: Replace fgetl calls by fread
           Improved regexp's
    - JOD: Wipe "A" and "B" in A1/B1 in new empty spreadsheets (a very old bug)
    - POI: File extension checks improved

===============================================================================
io-1.3.4   Release Date: None (internal)
===============================================================================

*** chk_spreadsheet_support restyled from Matlab into Octave style
         "   ,  introduced recursive subdir search for Java class libs (nice for
                Fedora)
    Added rfsearch.m, function to find files in subdirs

===============================================================================
io-1.3.3   Release Date: 2013-08-15   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Intermediate unofficial development version for Octave 3.7.x.
Only released on patch tracker

Changes: see section for version 1.2.3

===============================================================================
io-1.3.2   Release Date: 2013-06-18   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Intermediate unofficial development version for Octave 3.7.x.
Only released on patch tracker

** Bug fixes
--- chk_spredsheet_support: better Java detection (bug #38725)

--- xlsopen.m: .xlsx files are properly recognized

--- Re-enabled OXS (only reading) and UNO

** Created test_spsh.m test script
--- This will find all supported spreadsheet interfaces and tests them one by one

===============================================================================
io-1.3.0, io-1.3.1  Release Date: -internal-   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

Version 1.3.0 - 1.3.1 are intermediate development versions for Octave > 3.7.1
with built-in Java support.
They are largely untested; the built-in test scripts work for all tested interfaces
except UNO and OXS (which consequently are disabled).

===============================================================================
io-1.2.5   Release Date: 2013-11-14 Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

*** - Added string/formula read support to xlsx/OCT. There's now full read
      support for .xlsx (OOXML) files w/o requiring Java or COM
    - Added requested range for .xlsx/OCT reading

*** Bug fixes:
    - Better filetype / file extension detection (bug #40490)

    - Added unpack.m from dev core Octave as private/__unpack.m to avoid
      unzip errors for .xlsx and .gnumeric

    - Removed harmless but annoying error messages from Java detection

    - Fix tablerow repeat counter bugs (affected reading ODS w. OCT interface)

===============================================================================
io-1.2.4   Release Date: 2013-11-05   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================
*** Added !experimental! OCT (native Octave) interface for reading .ods,
    gnumeric, and xlsx. OCT doesn't need Java or COM/ActiveX; it works without
    any support software. That independence does come at a price however:
    - reading .ods is fully flexible like the other interfaces but a bit slow
    - reading .xlsx is FAST but it only gives numeric data (no strings yet)
    - reading gnumeric only reads "hard" data, no formula results. I'm afraid
      this isn't gonna change (it's a gnumeric developer issue)
    Markus Bergholz supplied the code for very fast reading of OOXML (at
    present only numeric data) - Thanks very much Markus!

An overview of what interface can be used for which types of files (extension)
(~ = dependent on Excel version;  + = read/write;  R = only reading)

                                 Interface
File extension       COM POI POI/OOXML JXL OXS UNO OTK JOD OCT
--------------------------------------------------------------
.xls (Excel95)        R                 R       R
.xls (Excel97-2003)   +   +      +      +   R   +
.xlxx/xlsm            +          +              +           R
.wk1                  +                         +
.wks                  +                         +
.dbf                  +                         +
.ods                  ~                         +   +   +   R
.sxc                                            +       +
.fods                                           +
.uos                                            +
.dif                                            +
.csv                  +                         +
.gnumeric                                                   R
--------------------------------------------------------------

*** getxmlattv.m, getxmlnode.m: new functions (for support of OCT interface)

*** xlsopen.m: suffixes for Excel filenames (.xls, .xlsx) need not be specified.
               (But the files on disk do need these suffixes!)

*** odsread.m, xlsread.m: No output arg required (output is sent to terminal
                          if not output args specified)
       ''          ''     Check if filename is a text string

*** odsopen: Relax requirement of lower case filename extension

** Bug fixes:
--- xlsopen.m: Undue fallback to JXL for OOXML files hopefully fixed now
       ''      Misinformation in error message about unsupported OXS & UNO fixed

--- private/__POI_getusedrange__.m: Check return value of XSSF getFirstCellNum
    method

===============================================================================
io-1.2.3   Release Date: 2013-08-15   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================
** Bug fixes:

--- private/chk_jar_entries.m: trim multiple entries to avoid padded spaces

*** private/getxlsinterfaces.m: add multiple jar entries for POI cf. Fedora
    naming (actually a Fedora packaging complication)

*** chk_spreadsheet_support.m: same as getxlsinterfaces.m

*** Added logical types to object2json (by Keith Sheppard, bug #39429)

*** Tested odfdom-0.6-incubator (odfdom-0.8.9): too buggy to support :-(
    Updated doc/READ-ODS.html and added checks to chk_spreadsheet_support.m
    and private/getodsinterfaces.m

===============================================================================
io-1.2.2   Release Date: 2013-05-21   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================
** Bug fixes:

--- xlsopen.m: avoid fallback to JXL for OOXML files in some cases

--- xlsopen.m, odsopen.m (actually silently fixed in 1.2.1): always re-read
    javaclasspath when a Java spreadsheet interface is requested explicitly
    (because between calls to xls-/odsopen new classes could be added to the
    javaclasspath, this wasn't picked up properly)

--- csv2cell(): Fix hanging when it encountered EOF w/o preceding EOL (#143
    in former OctDev bug tracker)
    csv2cell(): Fix inconsistent behavior when first field on a line is a
    string protected by "" (see
    http://octave.1599824.n4.nabble.com/csv2cell-inconsistent-tc4635817.html)

--- __UNO_oct2spsh__.m: wrong assignment in code finding existing sheetnames

--- Fix checks on xls or xls? suffix (due to Vermylen)

--- Temporarily commented out tests in private subdir (bug #38755)

** csv2cell(): Tests added for above bugs and proper SEP and PROT args

** cell2csv(): Tests added incl. for proper SEP and PROT args

** Added read_namelist.m and write_namelist.m, kindly contributed by
   Darien Pardinas Diaz and Terry Duel

===============================================================================
io-1.2.1   Release Date: 2013-03-01   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================
** Bug fixes:
--- post_install.m: fixed wrong format specifier in error message

--- chk_spreadsheet_support: Java call to return JVM memory size returns
    varying type dependent on Java version. Made this part of code more robust.
    Also prepared for Octave-3.8 built-in Java support

--- xlsopen.m, odsopen.m: improved matching file type to specific interfaces
    (e.g., .sxc can only be read by JOD and UNO; .xlsx only by COM, POI-OOXML
    and UNO)

** moved common Java detection code from getods/getxlsinterfaces to separate
   function

** post_install: if PKG_ADD couldn't be removed from .oct file dir, inform user
   to add spreadsheet Java class libs manually to the javaclasspath

** Replaced all calls to to-be-deprecated java_new & java_invoke calls by
   javaObject and javaMethod

===============================================================================
io-1.2.0   Release Date: 2012-12-27   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================
This will be the last major version that is "depending" on the separate Java
package for most of the spreadsheet I/O. In a next major version this will be
based on Octave's built-in Java support.
Some of the spreadsheet support files in io-1.2.0 are expected not to work
anymore in Octave-3.8+

** Bug fixes:
--- xls2oct(POI)/__POI_spsh2oct__: now correctly evaluates formulas (as far as
    POI can handle cell formulas)
--- Fixed sheet selection code for UNO and COM interfaces

** Moved all interface-specific subfunctions and code into ./private subdir.
   This allowed for elimination of a lot of duplicate code.

** Moved functions parse_sp_range.m, spsh_chkrange.m & spsh_prstype.m into
   ./private subdir

** Support for POI 3.9 added

===============================================================================
io-1.0.20   Release Date: 2012-09-07   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

** Bug fixes:
--- xlsopen, xlsclose, odsopen, odsclose: replaced canonicalize_file_name call
    with make_absolute_filename for non-windows systems (canonicalize_file_name
    doesn't work with non-existent (new) files on *nix) (bug #36677);
    Web addresses (URLs) only need two rather than three slashes;
--- xlsopen: matching .jar names to javaclasspath entries worked the wrong way
--- io_xls_testscript / io_ods_testscript: added small delay for UNO calls to
    avoid lock-ups with recent LibreOffice (3.6.x)

** The annoying flashing LibreOffice splash screens have been fixed upstream;
   with LibreOffice 3.6.1 I didn't see them anymore

** Extended file rename section in odsclose similar to that in xlsclose

===============================================================================
io-1.0.19   Release Date: 2012-06-08   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

** Bug fixes:
--- getusedrange subfunc getusedrange_jod: str2num applied to indices rather
    than the substring. Must have been there for > 2 years, only surfaced
    with jopendocument v 1.3b1
--- oct2xls, oct2ods: cast all numeric types in input array to double as
    spreadsheets have only double, boolean or character string type. This bug
    has been there from the very beginning of the spreadsheet functions  >8-O

--- Support for reading back formulas from .xls spreadsheets using ActiveX/COM

** Compatible with jOpenDocument version 1.3b1
   getUsedRange() method added (MUCH faster than the old hack)

** Compatible with odfdom-java-0.8.8-incubator.jar (ODF Toolkit 0.5-incubating)

** Compatible with Apache POI 3.8 final

===============================================================================
io-1.0.18   Release Date: 2012-03-22   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

** The following functions have been imported from the miscellaneous package:
      cell2csv    csvconcat     xmlread
      csv2cell    csvexplode    xmlwrite
   Their error messages and help messages have been cleaned up a bit.

** Bug fixes:
--- odsfinfo: fixed "wrong type argument `cell'" bug when run interactively.
--- xlsopen, odsopen: fixed messed up screen output due to UNO usage warning.
--- csv2cell: checks if file is empty and if so, return an empty cell.
--- xlsopen: better Java detection logic, more informative error messages

** Adapted to internal LibreOffice-3.5-final changes.
   Some bugs (flashing LO screens) still have to be fixed upstream - see here:
   https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=42470

** Tried OpenXLS-6.0.7.jar. Reads OK, still unusable for writing .xls files.

===============================================================================
io-1.0.17   Release Date: 2012-02-27   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

** Bug fixes:
--- oct2ods, oct2xls, odswrite default range input arg. These functions may not
    have worked properly for two years (!)

** Fixed support for odfdom v.0.8.7 (ODS). Note: the OTK interface only works
   well with xercesImpl.jar 2.9.1 (Sep 14, 2009)

** Many small bug fixes & documentation updated to actual functionality.

** Fixed "seealso" texinfo header string in almost all functions.

** Added formal test scripts to "internal functions" section.

===============================================================================
io-1.0.16   Release Date: 2012-01-19   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

** Bug fixing release

** PKG_ADD now expects Java spreadsheet class libs (.jars) in /lib/java
  (for MinGW)

===============================================================================
io-1.0.15   Release Date: 2011-10-02   Release Manager: Philip Nienhuis
===============================================================================

io-1.0.15 is primarily a bug fix release and a snapshot / wrap-up of current
  development status (some still a bit experimental). It mainly comprises:

** A number of bug fixes (incl. some serious ones, notably with .ods/OOo Calc);

** Some mainly cosmetic improvements to existing code; less verbosity;

** pch2mat (reading & transforming Nastran PCH files, contributed by
  B. Oytun Peksel);

** object2json.m (creating a json description string of objects, contributed
  by Daniel Torre). This was already silently introduced in io-1.0.14;

** A scripted troubleshooting / classpath setup tool for spreadsheet I/O
  support (chk_spreadsheet_support.m);

** Experimental OXS support (OpenXLS) for reading Excel xls (BIFF8).
  OpenXLS is -let's say- a little bit lacking: For reading it is faster than
  JXL. However, while OXS write support has been coded (and works) I had to
  disable it as the OXS Java classes won't release the file handle so Octave
  will hang upon closing :-(  I'm stuck with this so I just release it as-is;

** Experimental UNO support, i.e. invoking OpenOffice.org (or clones like
  LibreOffice) behind the scenes to read spreadsheet files, much like
  ActiveX/COM for MS-Excel. This is also based on Java. The first time you
  use UNO, OOo has to be loaded and you'll have to be patient, but once loaded
  (and in the OS cache) you'll see the pros:
  --* Very fast;
  --* Much lower Java memory usage as OOo loads the spreadsheet in its own
      memory chunk (not Octave's) => much bigger spreadsheet capacity;
  --* You can read *all* formats supported by OOo: .ods, .xls, .csv, .xlsx,
      .sxc, .dbf, Lotus wk1, Quattro Pro, ......; and it doesn't really matter
      whether xlsopen of odsopen is used.
  Of course all this wonderful stuff comes at a prize:
  --* After closing the spreadsheet file (odsclose, xlsclose) ALL OOo
      invocations will be closed, also those started outside Octave. This is
      due to "the way OpenOffice works" (quoted from OOo dev forum), especially
      through Java. There are other ways to close OOo but they'll hang Octave;
  --* The Java UNO classes supplied with e.g. LibreOffice aren't kept quite
      up-to-date with the main program. As a consequence, with e.g.,
      LibreOffice 3.4 the main LO window will pop up (it can't be hidden). I
      filed a bug report for this
      (https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=40991) but I haven't seen
      it being picked up yet. Another example: while LO 3.3.1's row capacity
      was already > 10^6, it took until LO 3.4 before this capacity was
      implemented in the Java UNO classes.
  Like with OXS, I'm a bit stuck here - all this has to be fixed upstream.

Hint:
for older Octave versions (< 3.4.0) you can install io-1.0.15 using the -nodeps
  flag. You'll then loose the old and buggy textread and csv/dlm-read/write
  functions but I'd consider that as no big loss.

  <please scroll up/back to see rest of io NEWS>