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27 May 2013, 16:48

"30 day" office suite Joeffice launched

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Joeffice logo Joeffice is an alpha version of a open source Java-based office suite, which was created by its author, Anthony Goubard, in thirty days. Goubard documented the development process in a series of videos now available on YouTube.

The application's framework, and the tool used to develop the application, is the NetBeans platform. It is well known that NetBeans is an IDE, but the IDE also supports being effectively hollowed out and being used as the basis for applications. This is called the NetBeans platform and gives applications all the support for customisable editors for documents and having a fully tab-supporting, dock-enabled, single window or multi window environment with toolbars, menus and other interface elements.

Goubard then used Apache's POI libraries – which offer Java applications a way to import, manipulate and export Microsoft document formats including docx and xlsx and legacy versions of those formats – and built customised editors for each. For a database, Goubard used the H2 database engine and again created an editor for h2.db files. For a drawing application, Joeffice works with SVG files and uses the Apache Batik SVG toolkit.

Joeffice spreadsheet screenshot
Zoom Joeffice's spreadsheet functionality is basic.
Source: Joeffice
Underlying all of this is, of course, Java 7 and the Swing UI toolkit which means the application works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It is packaged with native installers. In a brief test at The H, Joeffice appears to be what its alpha label denotes: a very basic proof of concept which will require much further development to add in all the missing features and make the user experience pleasant.

Goubard is looking for developers to collaborate on Joeffice at and is running a to-do list on the project's wiki, hosted on BitBucket. He especially encourages upstream work on Apache POI, which is missing some features in its Office document manipulation functionality. Joeffice is licensed under the Apache Public Licence 2.0 and is available to download from the project's main site.



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