OpenOffice NetBeans Integration

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The intention of the StarOffice/ NetBeans Integration is to simplify the development of office extensions. StarOffice/ offers an API to program with or for the office and allows to automate tasks even remote or in process and allows to extend the office with completely new functionality. The NetBeans integration should simplify the access and usage of the API in new projects and should simplify the task of creating complete office extension packages (comparable to NetBeans plugin modules).


All featues listed here are available in the current Preview. Download it here org-openoffice-extensions.nbm and try it out!

Project Types

All project types create working code. Once the wizard is finsihed, 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 precompiled glue code is bundled with the client application. 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 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 office 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 already implemented component helper functions and default implemented interface methods.

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 necessary information for an office 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

For creating idl files, a file type wizard is available. First, the name location and UNO type (e.g. Service or Interface) must be selected. In a second step additional information can be added. So, 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 actions are available in the context menu of an extension project in the "Project" view.

  • Create OXT

If not yet done, the compile action is executed. Together with other necessary files as configuration files, a manifest file, eventual images, the resulting jar is packed in an OXT file, located in the "dist" directory of the project.

  • Deploy Extension

"Create OXT" is executed, if not yet done. The resulting OXT file is registered inside the user installation of

  • Debug Extension in Target

"Create OXT" is executed, if not yet done. 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 installaion again.) Then is started with this user installation. The action that triggers the registered extension must be done in Execution stops at any breakpoints aded 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 inside of the OXT file and added to the classpath of the extension. A registered extension in can still use the functionality provided there. The jars can be added to the project as single jar or as part of a NetBeans library. Note that all the jars from a library will be added to the OXT file, indepent 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 the definition of new Calc build-in functions for the spreadsheet application which can be directly used from the build-in functions wizard. The user doesn't 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 simplifies the initial creation of a new component enormously. 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 coomplex 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 an installed StarOffice/ installation and an appropriate StarOffice/ Software Development Kit (SDK).

For the Add-on wizard you require the latest version of the uno-skeletonmaker (comes with SDK 2.2.0) and you can download a precompiled 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 has to be installed manually as a normal NetBeans plugin over 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 have to configure the plugin because it needs an installed office and SDK installation.

The current version of the plugin ask during the installation for an office and SDK installation but you also configure or change both programs later. But note that if you change the office or SDK installation these changes are effective for new created projects only. This will be changed in the future and you will be asked if you want accept these changes for existing projects also.

For changing the office and SDK installation please choose

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

and select a valid office and SDK installation.

OpenOffice Extensions Plugin Options.png

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

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 doesn't work on Linux (Solaris not yet tested), even the javadoc generated Java UNO runtime reference documentation doesn't work on Linux. Under Windows both work as expected.
  • the integrated update center module doesn't 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 office versions because this file extension is introduced in 2.0.4 first. Please simply rename it to .uno.pkg
  • projects are currently not platform independent. If you want to build a project on a different platfrom you have to 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 but the support of 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 probably 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 office scripting. It should provide the possibility to import scripts from the office 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 simply usage of the office API in own projects. It bundles the necessary API jar files from the office in the library and in client applications. This of course is necessary to make use of the office API in clients running on machines where no office is installed and where the communication with the office 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 office process as well as the debugging of scripts in the office.
  • Support of office extension package
    This have to be defined in detail but it should at least support the browsing of a .oxt file in the NetBeans file system similar to jar|zip files.
  • File type for xcu files
    This have to be defined in detail but we can think of a special editor for office 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 and the whole stuff 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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