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Diego Doval: openoffice thru java

Abort, Retry, Fail?: February 7, 2003 Archives

Diego Doval:

It seems to be a design more influenced by the "all things to all platforms" mentality of CORBA rather than Java's simplicity. I'd sure would like to see a simple, streamlined Java-only API. Burdening Java with a framework that has to support the complexity (and potential ugliness) of C++ makes no sense to me.

It'll be interesting to see how Diego and Rickard get on with Oo over time. So far in Propylon we're happy. Clyde and Sean twigged initially that using Oo would be a good thing. As a result we've been doing a good bit of work with Oo over the last few months for Irish eGoverment and that has included going through the Java APIs.

But if there is one issue it's this - the surface area of the Oo APIs is huge. It reminds me not so much of CORBA (though its programming model has that ORBy RPC feel to it) but of the java.* APIs or .NET system libraries. Starting out, it took a couple of days to just to get a handle on what was going on, never mind get anything cool or interesting done with it. Nonetheless barring the odd glitch and some minor dissonance I seem to have with how Writer styling works, it's a good setup.

In all fairness, the Sun Oo/StarOffice guys in Dublin and Frankfurt have been very helpful, and the Oo dev lists is a good place to go with questions. But my preference over time has been to deal with XML files directly (though calling to a running Oo server process it to transform documents is still a useful-to-have and that's what we use in one project). A section of the Oo community seems to feel the same way - the xmerge project is targeting the file format direct to provide transformations in and out of of various formats and there is also work under way with Docbook transformations.

Wiith some work, Oo has just as bright future on the server as the desktop. For that alone, a simplified API would be most welcome. One thing that would be great is WebDAV integration for Oo desktop clients (Oo has a basic HTTP client to deal with linking so there is something to work off, and we've noodled in work about throwing something together along those lines if we could find some spare cycles) But to be honest it could well be in there already - after a few months, I still feel I've only touched a fraction of the functionality in the product.

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February 13, 2003 10:28 PM

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