'Apache OpenOffice track at ApacheCon: Day 3'

Category: blog

To complete our coverage of ApacheCon Europe 2012, here's a brief overview of some sessions and activities from Day 3. Slides, audio and/or video of all sessions will soon be posted on the ApacheCon Europe site.

See the reports of Day 1 and Day 2 for further information.

Microsoft interoperability and cross-project cooperation

The day opened with the presentation by Matthias Stuermer about a User initiative for improving OOXML integration in LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice: the German cities of Munich, Freiburg im Breisgau and Jena, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the Swiss Federal IT Steering Unit (FITSU) and the canton of Waadt agreed to provide 140,000 EUR to improve the OOXML filters in LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice. Improvements are expected in the formatting of borders, images, tables and bulleted lists in .docx documents, correct display of comments in .docx and .xlsx documents and the possibility of embedding fonts.

To ensure that the code could be useful to both projects, the consortium demanded that the source code be available under the Apache 2 license, the new Apache OpenOffice license, which guarantees that the code can be reused by other projects. The license is a necessary but not sufficient condition to allow a smooth integration: the talk was followed by a short discussion on how to make sure that Apache OpenOffice can really use the code. The Apache OpenOffice project welcomes contributions that are meant to benefit more than one project, and if you are considering such a contribution please e-mail our development mailing list to know how to manage it properly.

In a related talk, Weike Liang explained his work on improving the .docx export filter in Apache OpenOffice, where he showed new developments based on code that is already present in Apache OpenOffice but is disabled since its quality does not yet match the high expectations users have of the Apache OpenOffice export filters.

Other highlights of the day include: an introduction to the OpenOffice build system by Andre Fischer (with a live build going on during the talk!), Scripting Apache OpenOffice by Rony Flatscher of the University of Vienna (showing several interesting "nutshell scripts" to demonstrate how to programmatically work with Writer, Calc and Impress) and Jian Lee's talk on how he improved the table formatting in Writer, and especially stability and performance of the table-splitting algorithm.

Apache OpenOffice and the Apache community

A conference is much more than sessions. It is an occasion for people to meet, for ideas to sparkle and for contacts to be created. This was the first ApacheCon for the Apache OpenOffice community, only two weeks since it had become a top-level project, and it showed that Apache OpenOffice and the Apache community at large can be mutually beneficial.

For example: imacat, an Apache OpenOffice PMC member, organized a session about Women and Gender Diversity at Apache; our developers had technical discussions with the Apache POI and the Apache ODF Toolkit (incubating) developers to study possible synergies. And it was very nice, while dropping by to watch some presentations from other tracks, to see that most ApacheCon presenters had prepared their slides with Apache OpenOffice using the presentation template contributed by OpenOffice committer Shenfeng Liu and friends. See you at the next ApacheCon!