Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IBM Businesses Software Sun Microsystems

ODF Toolkit Announced 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-blocks dept.
Sweetshark writes "IBM and Sun joined at the 2008 OpenOffice.org conference in Beijing to announce the ODF Toolkit Union. The ODF Toolkit project will be independent of the development at OpenOffice.org, and will operate under the liberal Apache license. It goes from small tools that simplify using ODF in the software development process to large ODF Java and .NET libraries that can be used within other projects. 'The future of accessing and distributing software is here today,' said Michael Bemmer, senior director of Collaboration Engineering at Sun. 'It is no longer an acceptable business practice to have silos of office document data stored in proprietary formats. The industry has moved forward and is replacing the silos with business content, such as on-premise business applications, software solutions offered over the Internet and applications supported by mobile devices that are critical in Service Oriented Architectures.' Will this help ODF to make inroads in the business world after the successes on the desktops of users at home?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ODF Toolkit Announced

Comments Filter:
  • by verbalcontract (909922) on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:48PM (#25683355)

    Will this help ODF to make inroads in the business world after the successes on the desktops of users at home?"

    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: As long as there are PHBs who think "writing = Microsoft Word," good luck getting rid of DOC.

    • by trjonescp (954259) on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:56PM (#25683421) Homepage

      Long answer: As long as there are PHBs who think "writing = Microsoft Word," good luck getting rid of DOC.

      That answer is useless. The question, essentially, is, "Will this help people realize that Writing does not necessarily equal Microsoft Word?"

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by peragrin (659227)

        that question is only useless to the intelligent. PHB's aren't intelligent.

      • by tjstork (137384)

        That answer is useless. The question, essentially, is, "Will this help people realize that Writing does not necessarily equal Microsoft Word?"

        The problem with Open Office is that, in the corporate world, writing equals Microsoft Excel, not Word, and Calc isn't anywhere close to what Excel is.

    • Long answer - yes.

      If there's a framework for document transformation, summary, indexing, etc. that works for an open document format, Microsoft are going to have to do a lot of catching up.

      Not all bosses are PHBs - and with the credit crisis in full swing, open formats and the savings that they can bring will soon be flavour of the month.

      • by maxume (22995)

        What?

        Moving from whatever system is currently being used to a system that uses open formats is invariably going to involve costs. People looking after their pennies are going to stick with what they have, not incur development and training costs.

        • People looking after their pennies are going to stick with what they have, not incur development and training costs.

          That's penny-wise and pound-foolish. Ignoring the costs and dangers of proprietary data formats - the dependence on a single vendor, the loss of old data - because of development and training costs, is unwise.

          • by maxume (22995)

            Not when what you have is working and your primary goal is to reduce spending in the short to medium term (which is implied in the post I replied to).

            Over the long term, sure, open formats make loads more sense.

    • by wzzzzrd (886091)
      I beg to differ. It is a huge convenience if you are able to process data from documents like spreadsheets in code you write. Especially when it comes to requirement documents or test descriptions. Removing the barrier that usually stands between documents and implementation is a big thing. Yea, there are some libs that can process excel stuff, but we usually have to convert everything to csv files and load them. But having full programmatic access to odf documents makes it possible to integrate those docum
      • It is a huge convenience if you are able to process data from documents like spreadsheets in code you write.

        I agree. The problem is there really is no working "ODF Toolkit". It's vaporware. Sun and IBM have been promising an odf toolkit since 2006, but to date nothing of any use has been produced. The current "ODF Toolkit" has virtually no documentation or example code, and is generally useless for importing data from an openoffice.org spreadsheet into a java program. If readers here don't believe me

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mvdwege (243851)

          The problem is there really is no working "ODF Toolkit".

          Are you sure about that? [cpan.org].

          I know Perl is not considered sexy by the fad-hunting 'programmers' that haunt sites like this, but it works. And OpenOffice::OODoc is a very nice toolkit to programmatically create and manipulate ODF documents.

          Mart

          • by pallmall1 (882819)
            I agree, the CPAN OpenOffice-OODoc tools are good, but I didn't realize they were part of the ODF Toolkit.

            Perhaps you can tell me when they did become part of it?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mvdwege (243851)

              I see. You're waiting for an official, branded 'ODF Toolkit'(tm). Sorry, no, but OpenOffice::OODoc is not part of that. I sincerely hope that is not what is stopping you from using it.

              Mart

    • From my perspective at my own work (where we tend to write smallish apps from time to time that are usually based on DotNet), I'd guess that if we were writing software that needed to generate documents that'd open in MS Office, the fastest and easiest way to do so at the moment is probably to use the OOXML SDK [microsoft.com] (yuck).

      If there's something similar for ODF, we'd definitely at least look at it, especially if it ended up being easier to work with. With Microsoft at least claiming they'll support ODF with MS O

  • QOTD! (Score:1, Troll)

    "It is no longer an acceptable business practice to have silos of office document data stored in proprietary formats."

    No, but it's still perfectly acceptable to have executable code stored in "jars", right Sun? -_-

    • Re:QOTD! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:00PM (#25683471)

      Jars are just zip files, they are completely documented, as the java class structure. Multiple JVM implementations exist. I'm unsure what your point is.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Just that it's "proprietary". I don't get how people think that because something's proprietary that automatically makes it bad. All proprietary means is that it's owned by someone. JAR is a specification, owned by Sun, and as such it is proprietary -- however well-understood and documented it is. Shouldn't the discussion be on how well the format performs relative to business cost, since that is the target use?

        • Yeah it's as proprietary as the English language seeing how anyone can speak it. Woe is me!
        • by Braino420 (896819)

          Just that it's "proprietary". I don't get how people think that because something's proprietary that automatically makes it bad. All proprietary means is that it's owned by someone. JAR is a specification, owned by Sun, and as such it is proprietary -- however well-understood and documented it is.

          Maybe that's what proprietary means when not referring to software [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:QOTD! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:01PM (#25683485) Homepage
      Well yeah except you don't need Sun to open your jar. You can use Winrar to extract the info so it's not like it's a closed format.
  • I've struggled to get people to convert people at work and they won't. It's not because ODF is inferior it's because they know Word and it's safe for them. Forget that OOo does docs...Word as well is safe too and god forbid they learn something that's nearly the same GUI-wise, imo.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:11PM (#25683591) Journal
      In an ideal world, beating Word won't be necessary. Word itself isn't the enemy here. The enemy here is the notion that document format X must imply program Y(read .doc and word respectively). I don't care what word processor people feel like using. I do care what format the documents they send me are in.

      In this case, the ODF Toolkit mentioned isn't a word processor at all, it's just a layer that makes it easy(er) for any sort of program to interact with ODF documents. Whether that means server side programs that parse information out of ODF formatted resumes that get uploaded, programs that generate ODF documents for various purposes based on database input, somebody's eccentric hobby word processor that needs to speak a standard format, whatever.

      I'm not a huge fan of word, personally, and I'm very glad indeed that there are Free alternatives; but word isn't a big issue. Undocumented, badly documented, or deliberately obfuscated formats, that force us to all use a particular program just to communicate are the issue.
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:55PM (#25683905)

        In this case, the ODF Toolkit mentioned isn't a word processor at all, it's just a layer that makes it easy(er) for any sort of program to interact with ODF documents.

        Exactly. Where this really seems likely to help is in integrating ODF as a message format within the SOA/Messaging/Web Services world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TeknoHog (164938)

        IMHO, the enemy is the notion of using a glorified Paint for making structured documents. While I can't imagine everyone using TeX instead, there must be ways of promoting logical structure (e.g. with a TeX frontend like LyX) as opposed to WYSIWYG.

        I think the problem of format X being tied to program Y is a symptom of this problem. Word processing has become monstrously complex, and while new features creep into the structure, people still expect a perfect preservation and control of the looks. Thus the

        • by maxume (22995)

          Yes please. I am currently at the wrong end of a project that is using Word as the glorified paint that you describe and it would save me untold amounts of grief if I had been able to deliver what I meant, rather than a nice drawing of what I meant. Of course, that part of the discussion was out of my control, and I'm not sure anybody actually involved in making the decision even understands the idea of separating meaning from presentation.

          • Let me guess, at least one of your team members considers hitting tab a lot and squinting to be a valid substitute for the use of line breaks, page breaks, and typographic alignment. If so, I'm so sorry.
            • by maxume (22995)

              No, to some extent, I'm that jerk.

              I was engaged to create content in Word (No, really, the overall process specifically involved using Word), and that content is now being stuffed into a layout system, and the stuffing process is broken, so the layout is broken and no one with any control is doing anything about the systematic problem (from what I can tell, it is all more opaque to me than I would like, but that bridge is behind me)...

        • by Daengbo (523424)
          You just need to have structure enforced. Us OO.o with only headings, or use Google Docs. There's almost no formatting available there at all. ;)
        • TeX has no support for structured documents. It is a drawing language with good support for text layout, but it has absolutely zero support for semantic markup.

          LaTeX is a semantic markup language written on top of TeX, but it doesn't have a clear separation between the semantic and syntactic markup. Because TeX, and hence LaTeX, is Turing complete it is very difficult to process.

    • Comparing ODF to Word is like comparing HTML to IE. A data format is not the same thing as a program! Sheesh!

      If you want ODF and Word, try here [sun.com] (works for me) or maybe here [sourceforge.net] (haven't tried that one).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Well yeah except for the fact that everyone knows that the doc format is synonymous with Word so you know wtf I'm talking about and if I want Word's doc format and ODF then I'll use OOo rather than a plug-in for Word.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      I'm a big FOSS fanboi but OOo does not have mature doc support. It doesn't support any complicated documents, or most of the important embedded attachemtns being sent to me from rich businessmen in Nigeria...if you catch my drift.

      • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:46AM (#25685835) Homepage

        Erm I've *never* had a problem with OOo reading doc formats (or even ppt and xls).
        Apparently there are the occasional glitch when saving complex documents in Microsoft's format, but I havent seen any.

  • Just asking

    idle really IS pants

  • A good strategy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krisher (951627) on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:12PM (#25684037)

    Sun and IBM are opening a community that will help propel adoption of the ODF standard by making the format more useful. By providing free libraries to access the data inside the documents, they encourage applications that consider the importance of the content, and minimize lock-in for a single presentation tool.

  • So does this mean... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Al Al Cool J (234559) on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:46PM (#25684255)

    that one day I will finally be able to use command line tools to work with odf documents -- like convert them to pdf or postscript, cause that would be awesome (it would also come about six years after I really really needed that kind of functionality, but oh well)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeffstar (134407)

      you can already do this - I made a perl script that took the contents of a web - form, inserted it into a .doc form (converted to odf) and then printed it as PDF and emailed the PDF file to the powers that be.

      yeah, so there are already perl modules to do what this toolkit is about. no surprise there!

  • The ODF toolkit project isnt new. [http://odftoolkit.openoffice.org/]

    Ive been using the ODFDOM code for a couple months now, and i wonder what this announcement will bring for the development prospects.

    One key change so far has been the shift to Apache 2.0 license from the LGPL v3.

    Its ironical that an open format like ODF doesnt have a fully functional toolkit and is inferior to Apache POI which is the toolkit for MS binary formats.

  • That is why this is a good move. Face it, OOo is the horrible bastard child of "development by committee" that has not really moved forward for several years now. The text processor part is almost usable, but the rest is just a bloated bugfest. Having this as the primary association to the document format cannot be a good thing.

    In the long run, I hope alternative tools will emerge (no, KWord does not count yet, it still produces rather interesting results on most documents that are not walls of text) that a

  • That site seems to be about library. I think it would be handy to have simple command line tools - like:

    txt2odf myfile.txt myfile.odf

    odf2txt myfile.odf myfile.txt

    getcell d7 mysheet.cal

    changecell d7 123 mysheet.cal

    etc.

  • If they do it well, they could change/update the ODF spec when necessary to include whatever new feature and then have the new stuff QUICKLY supported through ALL the new tools/libs they made, right? That should be pretty awesome: applications using some of these tools or libs not losing compatibility.

    Let's hope it's all going to be lightweight enough, I don't know how much you can trust Sun with that, considering OOo and Java are both pretty big beasts.

  • Wake me up for ODF rootkit.

Ever notice that even the busiest people are never too busy to tell you just how busy they are?

Working...