Path variables are used as placeholders for system-dependent paths or parts of paths which are only known during the runtime of OpenOffice.org. The path substitution service com.sun.star.util.PathSubstitution - which manages all path variables of OpenOffice.org - checks the runtime environment during startup and sets the values of the path variables. The path substitution service supports a number of predefined path variables. They provide information about important paths that OpenOffice.org currently uses. They are implemented as read-only values and cannot be changed.
OpenOffice.org is a multi-platform solution that runs on different file systems. Obviously users want to have a single user configuration on all workstations across all platforms in a networked installation. For example, a user wants to use both the Windows and Unix version of OpenOffice.org. The home directory and the working directory are located on a central file server that uses Samba to provide access for Windows systems. The user only wants to have one user installation for both systems, so that individual settings only need to be specified once.
The path settings service described in Path Settings utilizes the path substitution service. In the configuration of OpenOffice.org, path variables describe the path settings, and these variables can be substituted by platform-specific paths during startup. That way, path substitution gives users the power to apply path settings only once, while the system takes care of the necessary platform-dependent and environment adaptations.
The illustration below shows how a path variable can resolve the path problem that arises when you use the same user directory on different platforms.
The following sections describe predefined variables, how to define your own variables, and how to resolve path variables with respect to paths in your programs.
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