Microsoft Corp. and Sourcesense will collaborate on the strategy, development and deployment of open source solutions for the Microsoft Office product suite.
One of the initial goals of the partnership is contributing to the development of a new version of Apache POI, a top-level project of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Widely used in financial services and critical enterprise applications across related sectors, Apache POI is a leading open source file format reader and writer to create, edit and read Microsoft Office formats used in Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Visio.
Apache POI is a Java application programming interface (API) used to access and manage Microsoft Office binary formats, and can be easily applied to today’s billions of binary format documents by alleviating the need for complex programming and/or reverse engineering.
Because Apache POI libraries are used in numerous open source projects, developing future libraries to support the Ecma Office Open XML File Formats (the default file format in the 2007 Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint products) will play an important role in new interoperability scenarios where XML-based standard formats will be key for Office documents.
Apache POI support for Open XML is currently in development within the Apache Software Foundation; its first release is anticipated during the second quarter of 2008. Code contributions are made by ASF members and committers (developers authorized to “commit” or “write” code, patches or documentation to the ASF repository), and overseen by the Apache POI Project Management Committee (PMC).
A half-day training session on how to use Apache POI, led by Nick Burch, Apache POI PMC Chair, will be held at ApacheCon Europe in Amsterdam, Netherlands, taking place April 7–11, 2008. Those interested can visit http://eu.apachecon.com/ for training details and registration.