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OOo file reader--as Firefox extension

 
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bhorst
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject: OOo file reader--as Firefox extension Reply with quote

Long have members of the OpenOffice community discussed the need or usefulness of a simple OpenOffice file reader... A small download that would allow people to view but not edit files saved in OOo's formats. The other day, while monkeying around with Firefox extensions, the obvious answer came to my mind--we should write a Mozilla Firefox extension to act as this OpenDocument file viewer!

Firefox is hot right now, enjoying great press and millions of downloads. It's also a small download. It reads documents in standard formats and displays them on the screen, and some of these formats (xhtml) are probably similar in many ways to the XML-based formats that we call OpenDocument. The fit is perfect. The work to create an OOo file viewer by this route is probably smaller than any other current option!

We'd also be building a strong software ecosystem around the complementary products of OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox, strengthening the place of each in the market. The symbiotic relationship between the two programs would be enhanced, as would the case for FLOSS on the desktop (regardless of underlying OS).

Microsoft's fears of the browser becoming a platform that makes operating systems obsolete would really begin to be realized. (I don't care one way or the other about MS, except when they hold back what's good for the user and market to advance their own interests. Then I'm angry.) Other additional advances will take place at an even more rapid pace.

If I had the programming skills, I'd already have started on this project. As it is, I hope to ignite the motivation in fine programmers already out there looking for a great new project (and I'll be learning to program as time permits).
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bhorst
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some additional suggestions that I received from DC on the OOo Marketing list:

Now, there are roughtly two ways to do this:

1) Use an XSLT transformation to turn OpenDocument files to XHTML and have
FF render the XHTML.

2) Write a complete plugin from scratch.

Option (1) is much easier, provided that:

* Firefox knows what to do with an XSLT.
* It's ok to lose formatting.

Writing an XSLT isn't the biggest problem. OOo already comes with one for
XHTML export. So it comes down to whether FF knows what to do with it. The
second item might be more problematic. HTML simply cannot represent
OpenDocument files with accuracy.

Option (2) has the advantage of better formatting accuracy. It would look
similar to the PDF plugin.

One idea would be to do this as a "quick and dirty" plugin, and plan on a
better plugin later on.
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bhorst
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject: more info available Reply with quote

I also posted this question on the forums at MozillaZine, and found more information there. If you'd like to follow up, here's the link to that thread:

http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=1372179#1372179
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Cybb20
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bhorst: The problem was and will always be that OpenOffice has the biggest source code base in the OpenSource area (disregarding OS vendors). It is not a slim and thus flexible application like Firefox is. However it has a huge API.
I would loveto contribute but I have no idea how to write plugins for Firefox. You would need some people with programming knowledge for Firefox plugins and some more with OpenOffice API knowledge or XML knowledge.

Christian
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goa103
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: OOo file reader--as Firefox extension Reply with quote

bhorst wrote:
Long have members of the OpenOffice community discussed the need or usefulness of a simple OpenOffice file reader... A small download that would allow people to view but not edit files saved in OOo's formats. The other day, while monkeying around with Firefox extensions, the obvious answer came to my mind--we should write a Mozilla Firefox extension to act as this OpenDocument file viewer!


I'm definitely for a OOo document viewer. We talked about it a few years ago, last time I remember was in january 2004, here are some quick & dirty references :

Quote:
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2442&highlight=viewer
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=18532#18532
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=18535#18535
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2813&highlight=viewer
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=290&highlight=viewer
http://fr.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?listName=users&msgNo=22082
http://www.openoffice.org/servlets/ReadMsg?listName=discuss&msgNo=34983
Issue 11118 - Viewer


The keyword is... viewer Smile.

If I had time to develop such an extension I would just try to embed OOo in the browser view, keeping OOo in its own mess. It's what can be achieved thanks to ActiveX objects for example. There's Office and it's mess... and some ActiveX objects to view Office documents everywhere, the same for Adobe Reader to view PDF, MS Visio documents, SVG... As a developer I think the task itself is not hard to complete but there are some technologies to master, OOo and its UNO, Mozilla (XUL)... Maybe the trick is to develop a Java applet as there are some Java in OOo, I think it's most written in Python but who knows... Everything is possible Smile. For example XMLSpy is a Windows XML editor but its developers found a way to port it to Eclipse, the IDE... And Eclipse is written in pure Java ! How did they do ? ActiveX of course ! There's XMLSpy and its mess, and the clean & neat plugin for Eclipse. The problem with OOo is that the source code is so obscure and the project itself so well architectured... That you would have to dig very deep to extract what could be used to view the documents.

Who wants the job then ? Nobody ? Smile.
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