OpenOffice NetBeans Integration
- 1 Overview
- 2 Download and Installation
- 3 Features
- 4 Working with the plugin
- 5 Releases
- 6 Planned Features
- 7 Quality Assurance
- 8 Localization
- 9 Things to be done
- 10 Feedback
The OpenOffice.org API plugin for NetBeans simplifies the development of OpenOffice.org extensions. You can use the OpenOffice.org API to program OpenOffice.org, and automate remote or in process tasks extend OpenOffice.org with completely new functionality. The OpenOffice.org API plugin for NetBeans simplifies accessing and using of the API in new projects and simplifies the task of creating complete OpenOffice.org extension packages (comparable to the NetBeans plugin modules).
Download and Installation
NetBeans 6.x and OpenOffice 3.x (Obsolete)
The plugin appears automatically in Netbeans 6.5.x, 6.7.x, 6.8 (version 2.0.6) but is not listed for later versions.
NetBeans 7.x and Apache OpenOffice 4.0.x
The plugin for versions of NetBeans through 7.x is available for download from http://people.apache.org/~cmarcum/devtools/ provided by Carl Marcum. Use 3.x versions for extension development for OpenOffice.org versions 3.0 thru 3.4. Use the latest 4.0.5 alpha version for extension development for Apache OpenOffice 4.x. This version is under active development and will be made available in the NetBeans plugin manager list when finished. Until then, remember that it is an Beta version.
The configuration is self explanatory, for detailed information see Configuration.
NetBeans 8.x and Apache OpenOffice 4.1.x
The NetBeans plugin is now available for download from NetBeans.org AOO Plugin Page.
This plugin is also available on the NetBeans Plugin Portal Update Center. Use 'Tools > Plugins' action from the NetBeans IDE main menu for convenient installation of this plugin.
The previous version of the plugin for NetBeans 8.x and AOO 4.1.x is available for download from http://people.apache.org/~jsc/aoo_plugin/org-openoffice-extensions-4.0.6.nbm provided by Jürgen Schmidt.
More recent versions of Netbeans
Though the Netbeans plugin is not available in the Netbeans Plugin Portal Update Center (through 'Tools -> Plugins' in the IDE main menu) for versions of Netbeans > 8.x, the plugin will however still function correctly if installed manually on some of the more recent versions of Netbeans, as long as you're using a compatible JDK with Netbeans (Apache NetBeans 12.1 runs on JDK LTS releases 8 and 11, as well as on JDK 14, trying to use JDK 15 may cause some errors both for Netbeans and the OpenOffice plugin for Netbeans). Confirmed to be working on:
- Netbeans 10 on Ubuntu 20.04 and on Windows 10
- Netbeans 11 on Ubuntu 20.04 and on Windows 10
- Netbeans 12.1 on Ubuntu 20.04 and on Windows 10
After downloading the plugin from the NetBeans.org AOO Plugin Page, in order to install you can:
- Linux: go to 'Tools -> Plugins -> Downloaded -> Add plugin' and browse to the location of the downloaded NBM file, then once selected click on 'Install plugin'
- Windows 10: either as above or drag and drop the NBM file on to the running instance of Netbeans
The source is available in the Apache OpenOffice source SVN repository in the devtools tree.
The 3.0 source is available from:
The recent source to use for 4.1 is available from:
Overview of the features included in the current plugin.
Click on "File" - "New Project..." and choose category "OpenOffice.org" to open a new project. All project types create working code. Once the project wizard is finished, a working compilable project is created. It may not do anything, but it can be used in OpenOffice.org 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 OpenOffice.org 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 OpenOffice.org 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 OpenOffice.org extension package. The wizard collects the necessary information for an OpenOffice.org Add-On component and generates an Add-On specific code skeleton.
Click on "File" - "New File..." and select "OpenOffice.org" as category to create a new file for an OpenOffice.org project. Note, that the OpenOffice.org category is available in all projects, although it only makes sense to use it in one of the projects stated above.
- 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, and NetBeans provides syntax highlighting. When you choose to also create an implementation object (only available for service or interface), a Java skeleton file implementing your new idl file will also be created.
- Java UNO Object file type
This file wizard creates a Java skeleton file that implements all functions defined in an interface or service idl file. If you choose a service, the Java implementation file will also be registered in OpenOffice.org when your extension is deployed.
Create, deploy and debug
These are actions that are available in the context menu of an extension project in the "Project" view.
- Debug Extension in Target OpenOffice.org
If necessary, "Create OXT" is executed. The resulting OXT file is registered in a temporary user installation of OpenOffice.org, which is located in the build directory of the project. (Cleaning of the project removes the user installation again.) Then OpenOffice.org is started with this user installation. To trigger the registered extension, an appropriate action must be done in OpenOffice.org. Execution stops at any breakpoints added to the code of the extension and debugging can start from there.
- Deploy and Run OpenOffice.org Extension
If necessary, "Create OXT" is executed. The resulting OXT file is registered inside the user installation of OpenOffice.org. Then OpenOffice.org is started.
- 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.
- Publish Extension on OpenOffice.org Website
The starting page for uploading and publishing your extension on api.services.openoffice.org is loaded in your default web browser.
- 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 OpenOffice.org 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.
Find here links to the specifications of the plugin on the api.openoffice.org page.
Working with the plugin
The following section describes how you can work with the plugin and describes the requirements because the plugin make use of some external stuff provided by an office and the OpenOffice.org SDK.
The plugin works only in combination with OpenOffice.org and an appropriate OpenOffice.org Software Development Kit (SDK). The minimal suggested version is OpenOffice.org 2.0.4. With earlier versions, some features of the plugin will not work.
- OpenOffice.org or StarOffice 8 or higher versions of both programs
- OpenOffice.org Software Development Kit (SDK)
Note that the versions of OpenOffice.org and the OpenOffice.org SDK must match for everything to work.
Before you can use the new project types you must configure the plugin because it needs an installed OpenOffice.org and OpenOffice.org SDK.
- As default settings, a standard installation will be found by the plugin - but only if OpenOffice.org together with the SDK are present.
- When you choose the OpenOffice.org installation and an appropriate SDK is found, that SDK is chosen, the "OpenOffice.org SDK Installation" field is then disabled.
- If you change the OpenOffice.org or OpenOffice.org SDK installation, these changes are effective for projects created from now on only.
For changing the office and SDK installation please choose
- Tools -> Options -> Miscellaneous -> OOo API plugin
and select a valid OpenOffice.org and OpenOffice.org SDK installation.
The configuration step automatically installs a new OpenOffice.org library which can be used in other projects to support the OpenOffice.org API. Including this library in your own projects enables context sensitive help and code completion.
Note: on Debian/Ubuntu, the OpenOffice.org installation directory is
/usr/lib/openoffice/. For other *nix platforms the location may vary, but you can find the location by inspecting the shell script
/usr/bin/ooffice to see where the
ooqstart executable is in your installation.
Working with new Project Types
The plugin integrates four new project types under the category StarOffice/OpenOffice.org:
- StarOffice/OpenOffice.org Add-On
- StarOffice/OpenOffice.org Calc Add-Ins
- StarOffice/OpenOffice.org Client Application
- StarOffice/OpenOffice.org 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 -> OpenOffice.org -> <project_type>
For more details about the project types please take a look at
- OpenOffice.org UNO Client Application Project Type
- OpenOffice.org Calc Add-In Project Type
- OpenOffice.org Component Project Type
- OpenOffice.org Add-On Project Type
To migrate projects from an older version of the plugin to a new one is not necessary - the plugin itself will take care of that: build-uno-impl.xml and the project-uno.properties are updated, when updated versions of these files are needed for new features of the updated plugin. Note that build-uno-impl.xml will be overwritten, but project-uno.properties not. In the properties file, only new entries are added, existing ones are kept as they are. The update of the files happens when an old project is opened with a new version of the plugin and for all opened projects when the new plugin is downloaded and installed.
When migrating from one Office version to another (or porting a project across platforms), only a library has to be changed, called "OpenOffice.org <version_number>" (or "StarOffice <version_number>"). Choose Tools -> Libraries to get an overview of the existing libraries. A library is created when a valid OpenOffice.org and OpenOffice.org SDK is selected in Tools -> Options -> Miscellaneous -> OOo API Plugin (See Configuration for more details).
- To change the library, click right on the project in the Project window and open the properties. Select Libraries as category and remove the one that points to the old installation and add the new one.
- When porting the project across platforms, NetBeans notifies that a reference problem exists. The steps for changing the libraries also help in this case.
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.
- "Red Dot Problem": When you have created a project that supports own idl files (e.g. a Clac AddIn), a "clean" on the project will produce "red dots" that show that imported functionality is missing. The cause for this is the deleted jar file with the idl types that are used in your project. Although this does not seem to be the case, a compile will work and solve the problem. Sometimes the signs appear when "clean and build" is chosen - here the compiled idl files exist, but NetBeans does not recognize that. Open the offending Java file to solve that. Solution: compile idl files in the background and produce a "shadow" jar file in a temp directory that can be used even if the "official" file in the <project_name>/dist folder is deleted.
- With NetBeans versions at least 6.1 there is an update problem regarding NetBeans property sheets and node views: property sheet changes are not reflected in the node view. Seems like the notify mechanism for these updates has changed.
|Release Version||Planned Release Date||Release Date||Planned Features|
|2.0.7.alpha||-||-||changes to support NetBeans 6.9, opnly available in the file section of the API project, org-openoffice-extensions-2.0.7.alpha.nbm|
- Detailed download statistics can be found here (not up-to-date)
- Issues for using the plugin with NetBeans 6.
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
- OpenOffice.org Scripting Project Type
This new project type will create an adapted J2SE class library project with special support for OpenOffice.org scripting. It should provide you the possibility to import scripts from OpenOffice.org and open documents, edit, change and build these scripts, debug them and export them back (currently the support is planned for Java scripts only).
- OpenOffice.org SmartTag Project Type
This new project type will simplify the development of SmartTags for the OpenOffice.org Writer application.
- OpenOffice.org API Library API Wrapper Project Type
This new project type should create a Library Wrapper Module to support simple usage of the OpenOffice.org API in your own projects. It bundles the necessary API jar files from OpenOffice.org in the library and in client applications. This of course is necessary to make use of the OpenOffice.org API in clients running on machines where no OpenOffice.org is installed and where the communication with OpenOffice.org is made over a remote socket connection.
- Editor for xcu files
This must be defined in detail but we can think of a special editor for OpenOffice .org configuration files.
If you find bugs please submit a new issue in the category sdk and the subcomponent netbeans-integration
Things to be done
We will continuously extend and improve the plugin in the future and your feedback is welcome and highly appreciated. We would like to invite you to discuss it on firstname.lastname@example.org (Note: you have to be subscribed on the mailing list).