Java and Education: hacking StarOffice
On their excellent presentation Tuesday afternoon, Jurgen Schmidt and Colm Smyth revealed (to me at least) that StarOffice has a Java programming API. How cool is
that! This open up a number of intriguing possibilities.
programmatically(this could take care of writing “I will not
talk in class” 100 times very nicely).
Embedding StarOffice in a Java
application as an engine to view and edit rich text.
Integrating live services (LDAP,
database queries, Web service, addressbook) into documents.
Using the StarOffice bean as a
formatting gateway. Besides it's native XML format, StarOffice can
output HTML, PDF, RTF, Flash, SVG and a variety of Microsoft Word
Of course, to be fair, the Other Guys'
office suite has been programmable for a long time, as the
proliferation of Word macro viruses attests. For that matter
StarOffice, too, has a StarBasic scripting language. But as someone
who has done a bit of VBA programming, I can tell you it isn't
pretty. Programming an office suite in a real, robust language like
Java is a refreshing change.
In the present version of StarOffice,
ver.6, the API is complete but undocumented. To use it, go to
http://api.openoffice.org/ and download the SDK, which contains the
Developer's Guide and JavaDocs for the API. The Developer's Guide
has a number of useful examples. The next version of StarOffice will
come with the SDK on a separate CD.
All of this is possible in OpenOffice
as well. StarOffice's open source twin is virtually identical except
for a few features that contain third-party proprietary code (such as
the phonetic spell checker). And, my MacFriends tell me, StarOffice
1.01 runs very nicely on the Mac in Apple's X11 beta, so it is truly