OpenOffice NetBeans Integration

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The API plugin for NetBeans simplifies the development of extensions. You can use the API to program, and automate remote or in process tasks extend with completely new functionality. The API plugin for NetBeans simplifies accessing and using of the API in new projects and simplifies the task of creating complete extension packages (comparable to the NetBeans plugin modules).


Download the latest verrsion from within NetBeans by clicking on Tools - Update Center. See that "Netbeans Update Center" is selected in the list of available centers and click Next. You can find the plugin in the Features section as " API Plugin". Install it and try it out!

You can also have a look at the current Preview. Download it here org-openoffice-extensions.nbm.

Project Types

All project types create working code. Once the wizard is finished, a working compilable project is created. It may not do anything, but it can be used in from the beginning.

This project type creates an adapted J2SE client application project with additional support of the simple UNO bootstrap feature. To enable this, some pre-compiled glue code is bundled with the client application. The result is a portable jar file that bootstraps on any supported OS.

This project type creates an adapted J2SE class library project with special support for a UNO component library and an office extension package. The wizard collects the necessary information for new Calc built-in functions and abstracts from the underlying UNO technology.

This project type creates an adapted J2SE class library project with special support for a UNO component library and an extension package. The wizard collects information about services and additional optional interfaces which should be implemented. Additional IDL types can also be defined. A complete code skeleton is generated, with the component helper functions and the default interface methods already implemented.

This project type creates an adapted J2SE class library project with special support for a UNO component library and an extension package. The wizard collects the necessary information for an Add-On component and generates an Add-On specific code skeleton.

File Types

  • xcu file type

Create an empty xcu file type. The files are recognized in NetBeans and syntax highlighting is supported.

  • xcs file type

Create an empty xcs file type. The files are recognized in NetBeans and syntax highlighting is supported.

  • UNO idl file type

You can use a file type wizard to create idl files. In the first step, you must select the name location and UNO type (e.g. Service or Interface). You can add additional information in the second step. When an interface is created, the second step asks about the functions that the interface should contain. A complete working idl file is created.

Create, deploy and debug

These are actions that are available in the context menu of an extension project in the "Project" view.

  • Create OXT

If necessary, your code is compiled. The resulting jar file is packed into an OXT file, together with other necessary files such as configuration files, a manifest file, and images. The OXT file is located in the "dist" directory of the project.

  • Deploy Extension

If necessary, "Create OXT" is executed. The resulting OXT file is registered inside the user installation of

  • Debug Extension in Target

If necessary, "Create OXT" is executed. The resulting OXT file is registered in a temporary user installation of, which is located in the build directory of the project. (Cleaning of the project removes the user installation again.) Then is started with this user installation and the action that triggers the registered extension must be done in Execution stops at any breakpoints added to the code of the extension and debugging can start from there.


  • External Jars

Additional external jars that are used in an extension are automatically copied into the OXT file and added to the extension's classpath. A registered extension in can still use the functionality provided there. The jars can be added to the project as a single jar or as part of a NetBeans library. Note: All the jars from a library will be added to the OXT file, independent from their usage in the extension.


The current preview (version 0.8) supports four project types, one client application wizard, a Calc Add-In wizard, a wizard for general UNO components and an Add-On wizard. The Calc Add-In allows you to define new Calc built-in functions for the spreadsheet application which can be directly used from the built-in functions wizard. The user does not need any knowledge of the underlying UNO technology and can define new functions on a higher level. The general UNO component wizard requires some more UNO base knowledge but really simplifies the initial creation of a new component. The Add-On wizard supports the definition of new top-level menus and toolbars and generates the appropriate code skeleton and the necessary config files. The generated project can be used as a starting point to extend it to a more complex Add-On.

Once you have installed the plugin manually you will be able to update to future releases easily by using the integrated Update Center in NetBeans. The plugin comes with its own Preview Updated Center where we will provide future previews.


The plugin org-openoffice-extensions.nbm works only in combination with and an appropriate Software Development Kit (SDK).

For the Add-on wizard you must have the latest version of the uno-skeletonmaker (comes with SDK 2.2.0) and you can download a pre-compiled binary from the file section of the API project (Linux-x86, Solaris-Sparc, Solaris-x86, Windows)


The current version of the NetBeans plugin is a first preview and must be installed manually as a normal NetBeans plugin in the “Update Center” in NetBeans. The manual installation is only necessary the first time and then you can use the integrated Preview Update Center. Simply choose

  • NetBeans -> Tools -> Update Center -> Install Manually Downloaded Modules (.nbm Files)

select the downloaded module and follow the wizard to install it.


Before you can use the new project types you must configure the plugin because it needs an installed and SDK.

The current version of the plugin asks during the installation for an and SDK installation. You also configure or change both programs later. Note: If you change the or SDK installation, these changes are effective for newly created projects only. This will be changed in the future, and you will be asked if you want accept these changes for existing projects.

For changing the office and SDK installation please choose

  • Tools -> Options -> Miscellaneous -> StarOffice/ Extensions

and select a valid and SDK installation.

OpenOffice Extensions Plugin Options.png

The configuration step automatically installs a new library which can be used in other projects to support the API. Including this library in your own projects enables context sensitive help and code completion.

Working with new Project Types

The plugin integrates four new project types under the category StarOffice/

  • StarOffice/ Calc Add-On
  • StarOffice/ Calc Add-Ins
  • StarOffice/ Client Application
  • StarOffice/ Component

The wizards will collect the necessary information to create the new projects and should follow the NetBeans philosophy. You can simply choose

  • File -> New Project -> StarOffice/ -> <project_type>

For more details about the project types please take a look at

Known Problems and Missing Features

  • Context sensitive help does not work on Linux (Solaris not yet tested), even the javadoc generated Java UNO runtime reference documentation does not work on Linux. Under Windows both work as expected.
  • The integrated update center module does not work on Unix systems (known bug 72960 in NetBeans which is fixed in NetBeans 6.0). Workaround is to install NetBeans locally where you have write access.
  • The backward compatibility mode for Calc Add-Ins creates still an .oxt extension package. This of course makes no sense for older versions because this file extension was first introduced in 2.0.4. Please simply rename it to .uno.pkg
  • Projects are currently not platform independent. If you want to build a project on a different platform you must adapt the <projectname>/nbproject/ file by hand.

Planned Features

The focus is on creating new wizards for various tasks plus common basic functionality. The main programming language is Java. Support for C++ is also planned and depends on the C++ support in NetBeans which will be available at least for NetBeans 6.0. The planned feature list is not final and more specialized wizards for other service provider interfaces (SPI) are coming in the future.

New Project Types

  • Scripting Project Type
    This new project type will create an adapted J2SE class library project with special support for scripting. It should provide you the possibility to import scripts from and open documents, edit, change and build these scripts, debug them and export them back (currently the support is planned for Java scripts only).
  • API Library API Wrapper Project Type
    This new project type should create a Library Wrapper Module to support simple usage of the API in your own projects. It bundles the necessary API jar files from in the library and in client applications. This of course is necessary to make use of the API in clients running on machines where no is installed and where the communication with is made over a remote socket connection.

Common Features

  • UNOIDL Support
    Means support of a new file type for UNOIDL files, including compiling, UNOIDL editor with syntax highlighting. A wizard for defining new UNOIDL types should be supported as well.
  • Debug Support
    Means debug support directly from NetBeans for new built and deployed extensions in the process as well as the debugging of scripts in
  • Support of extension package
    This must be defined in detail but it should at least support the browsing of an .oxt file in the NetBeans file system similar to jar|zip files.
  • File type for xcu files
    This must be defined in detail but we can think of a special editor for OpenOffice .org configuration files.

Quality Assurance

If you find bugs please submit a new issue in the category sdk and the subcomponent netbeans-integration

Things to be done


This is a preview only. Everything is under development and needs to be improved. Feedback is welcome and highly appreciated and we would like to invite you to discuss it on (Note: you have to be subscribed on the mailing list).

You can also submit new feature or enhancement requests in the issue tracker in the category sdk and the subcomponent netbeans-integration

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