Cloud-based Apache OpenOffice aims to woo mobile users

Summary:A cloud-based version of Apache OpenOffice being worked on could extend the productivity suite to mobile devices.

More details have emerged about the forthcoming cloud-based version of Apache OpenOffice (AOO).

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A cloud version of OpenOffice writer, AOO's document editor, was shown at a presentation at the ApacheCon Europe event in Germany this week.

The presentation, by IBM Symphony Documents team members who work on the AOO project, said having a platform-independent, cloud-based deployment would allow AOO to be used on mobile devices - massively increasing the potential user base of the productivity suite.

Implementing this HTML5-based version of AOO would come at a "small" cost to the development of AOO, the presentation added.

The prototype version of cloud AOO runs from within a web browser. The browser connects to a remote server running a "headless" instance of AOO that listens to the actions the user performs and returns XML snippets that are used to render the OpenOffice GUI.

Future enhancements to the system could feature an adaptive UI, which would align its style with that of the mobile OS being used.

The Apache Software Foundation has said the code for cloud AOO is at an early stage. The team are reportedly facing challenges in ensuring smooth rendering of the GUI across different browsers and in working with the fact that OpenOffice processes can't be shared among users.

The team working on cloud AOO has previously said it hopes the SaaS spin-off would allow AOO to compete with Microsoft in the cloud services space, where Microsoft has its Office 365 offering.

Another talk at ApacheCon demonstrated how to integrate Apache OpenOffice with OpenSocial, the open APIs that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks.

The team working on AOO plans further integration with standards for sharing online information, such as CMIS, OpenSocial and OData, in the releases of AOO due out next year.

Topics: Cloud, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Open Source, Software

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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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