Universal I18N Framework for Office Applications
Dieter Loeschky - Star Office GmbH, a Sun Microsystems Company & Shanmugam Senthil - Global Products Engineering Team, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Star Office: Going from a single byte character-based office productivity suite to a unicode-enabled office which supports locale specific features.
Star Office is a full featured office productivity suite offering applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc. It runs on several platforms like Windows, Solaris, Linux and even more in the future.
Due to inconsistent internationalization API support of the different platforms, StarOffice has developed its own platform-independent internationalization framework. The i18n framework provides advanced locale specific features like word, line and sentence break iterators, search and replace functionality and multiple collators per locale - features which are required by most desktop applications. All locale sensitive components of the i18n framework like the collator or calendar component were developed using a unique component technology so that additional locale support can be plugged in as a new service without recompiling or modifying existing code.
To establish the planned functionality, several steps were required. First the single byte character-based StarOffice had to be enabled for unicode. This meant that many of the over 7 million lines of source code had to be changed. The next steps from collecting the requirements, designing the APIs and integrating the i18n framework in StarOffice to the implementation of locale specific features, also took a lot of time and experience.
Sun Microsystems is releasing the StarOffice productivity suite technology through the open source project "OpenOffice.org". It is also the idea to make all of the advanced features of the i18n framework available at OpenOffice.org, to enable other desktop applications in GNOME or elsewhere to use this functionality.
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