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From Rob Weir <>
Subject [PROPOSAL] ODF Toolkit for Incubation
Date Wed, 20 Jul 2011 20:29:23 GMT
Apologies to those who have received multiple copies of this message.
I've cc'ed members of the Apache POI project, the Apache OpenOffice
podling and the ODF Toolkit Union, due to the prior interest they've
expressed in this.  I invite them to join the discussion on  If they want to subscribe to this list
they can do so by sending an email to

= The ODF Toolkit =

== Abstract ==

The ODF Toolkit is a set of Java modules that allow programmatic
creation, scanning and manipulation of OpenDocument Format (ISO/IEC
26300 == ODF) documents. Unlike other approaches which rely on runtime
manipulation of heavy-weight editors via an automation interface, the
ODF Toolkit is lightweight and ideal for server use.

The ODF Toolkit is currently hosted by the ODF Toolkit Union and is
licensed under the Apache 2.0 license.

== Proposal ==

To move the following components from the ODF Toolkit Union to a
single "ODF Toolkit" project at Apache:

Simple Java API for ODF:


ODF Conformance Tools:

(We'd be open as well to a catchier name.  We've been calling it "The
ODF Toolkit", prefaced always with "The".  Or individually by
component name.  But "The Apache ODF Toolkit" or "Apache ODF Toolkit"
are ponderous.)

In addition to migrating the code, we would migrate the website,
tutorials, samples, Bugzilla data, and (if feasible) the mailing list
archives.  We would also seek to transfer the domain
name to Apache.

While under incubation we will merge these projects into a single SDK
with three layers:

# Package layer, representing the ZIP + Manifest container file of an
ODF document.  This structure is shared by other document formats,
such as EPUB
# DOM Layer, a schema-generated layer that maps 1:1 with the ODF
schema.  This uses Apache Velocity as the templating engine.
# Convenience layer: an intuitive, high level API for use by app
developers who are not familiar with ODF XML, but who have basic
knowledge at the level of a word processor user.

== Background ==
The ODF Toolkit Union was jointly announced by Sun and IBM at the Conference in Beijing, November 2008. The idea was to
create a portfolio of tools aimed at accelerating the growth of
document-centric solutions. The Open Document Format specification is
large and complex. Most developers simply do not have the time and
energy to master the 1,000-page specification  By providing
programming libraries, with high level APIs, the ODF Toolkit offers an
means to reduce the difficulty level, and encourage development of
innovative document solutions.

== Rationale ==

During the recent OpenOffice incubation proposal discussions, the
mention of possible moving the ODF Toolkit to Apache was met with

Apache is emerging as the leading open source community for document
related projects.  The ODF Toolkit would have a good deal of synergy
with other Apache projects, including the ODF Toolkit's dependency on
Apache XML tools like Xerces, to possible multi-format applications
with POI libraries to pipelining ODF with SVG and PDF rendering with
Batik, FOP or  PDFBox.  Getting these various document processing
libraries in one place, under a compatible permissive license would be
of great value and service to users-developers interested in combining
these tools for their specific project requirements.

Last, but not least,  there is obvious synergy with Apache OpenOffice,
as a prominent office suite supporting the ODF format.

The ODF Toolkit is already licensed under Apache License, Version 2.0,
enabling a smooth transition.

= Current Status =
== Meritocracy ==
We understand the intention and value of meritocracy at Apache.  The
initial committers are familiar with open source development.  A
diverse developer community is regarded as necessary for a healthy,
stable, long term ODF Toolkit project.

== Community ==

The ODF Toolkit is developed by a small set of core developers, though
the community extends to include a broad set of application developers
who use the code and contribute bug reports, patches and feature

Although there are some open source projects that use these components
directly, such Apache Directory Studio and GNU Octave,  to support ODF
import/export, it is more typical for these kinds of libraries to be
used by application developers in small, ad-hoc document automation
and data wrangling applications.

== Core Developers ==
The coders on the existing ODF Toolkit will comprise the initial
committers on the Apache project.  These committers have varying
degrees of experience with Apache-style open source development,
ranging from none to being committers on other Apache projects..

== Alignment ==
Along with the technical synergies described earlier, Apache aligns
well due to its license and emphasis on meritocracy.

= Known Risks =
== Orphaned products ==

The risk, as in most projects, is to grow the project and maintain
diversity.  This is a priority that is keenly desired by the

== Inexperience with Open Source ==
The initial developers include experienced open source developers,
including committers from other Apache projects. Although the majority
of proposed committers do not have Apache experience, they do have
open source experience.

== Homogeneous Developers ==
The ODF Toolkit Union was created by IBM and Sun (later Oracle) who
provided the majority of its engineering resources as well as its
direction. Moving this project to Apache enables a new start.  We
intend to engage in strong recruitment efforts in order to further
strengthen and diversify the community.

== Reliance on Salaried Developers ==
When we look at sponsored developers, with the ability to work on this
project full time, IBM currently has more committers.  We believe that
this situation will change, as the project grows in incubation.

== Relationships with Other Apache Products ==
Several potential areas for collaboration with other Apache projects
have been suggested, including:

[[|Apache POI]] which is similar library, focused
on Microsoft Office format documents

[[|Apache Tika]] is a generic toolkit for
extracting text and metadata from various file formats.

[[|Apache PDFBox]] is a Java library for
working with PDF documents. If not direct code sharing over the Java /
C++ divide, then at least sharing of PDF know-how and perhaps things
like test cases between these projects would be great.

We are interested in further exploring these options.

==A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand==

Our primary interest is in the processes, systems, and framework
Apache has put in place around open source software development more
than any fascination with the brand.


There is documentation for the Simple Java API for ODF project,
including a Cookbook, and JavaDoc:

For the ODFDOM, there is a good overview documenting the project here:

A 3rd party introductory tutorial here:

==Initial Source==

Will come from the ODF Toolkit Union, the latest stable source, plus
any work in-progress

==External Dependencies==

We do not believe that we have any external dependencies other than
Apache Xerces, Xalan, Velocity (a build-time dependency), Java 6 and
the ODF schemas (also a build-time dependency)


We are currently working on adding support for digital signatures and
encryption of documents. The project will complete any needed export
control paperwork related to these features.

==Required Resources==

The following mailing lists:

 * `` - for developer discussions

 * `` - for user discussions

 * `` - for Subversion commit messages

 * `` - for JIRA change notifications

 * `` - for continuous
build/test notifications

===Other resources===

A source code repository, preferable git

An issue tracker

A wiki

A website

==Initial Committers==

 Rob Weir
 Biao Han
 Svante Schubert
 Ying Chun Guo


Sam Ruby

===Nominated Mentors===
Nick Burch
Yegor Kozlov

===Sponsoring Entity===

The Apache Incubator

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