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Java Developer Says He Built, Launched Basic Open Source Office Suite In 30 Days 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick-and-dirty dept.
alphadogg writes "A freelance Java developer claims it took him only 30 days to build and launch a basic open source office suite that runs on multiple OSes. Called Joeffice, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as in browsers, according to the developer, Anthony Goubard. It includes a very basic word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program and database software, Goubard said. The office suite was built with NetBeans and uses many popular open source Java libraries. That allowed him to built the program in 30 days, he said, a process that he documented daily on YouTube (video). The suite was released as an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet. Goubard's Amsterdam company, Japplis, launched the suite, which is available under an Apache 2.0 license. This license allows companies to change and redistribute the code internally without having to share the new code publicly, he said."
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Java Developer Says He Built, Launched Basic Open Source Office Suite In 30 Days

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  • by digitaltraveller (167469) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @05:35AM (#43826253) Homepage

    That's proof he is lying. Even the developer's of netbeans don't use netbeans.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    #include
    void main() {
      printf("Basic office suite\n");
    }

    As you can see, it was possible to program this office suite so quickly because I used libraries. Note: this is an alpha release and some features aren't finished yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      #include <stdio.h>
      #include <stdlib.h>
      int main() {
      printf("Basic office suite\n");
      exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
      }

      Thanks FSM for Free Software, otherwise I couldn't have fixed your bugs.

      As you can see, it was possible to program this office suite so quickly because I used libraries. Note: this is an alpha release and some features aren't finished yet.

      Can I join the developer team? Hopefully we can finish the program quicker, if we double the dev.-team.

    • You needed 3 minutes to write that code?

      • You needed 3 minutes to write that code?

        He included the time it took him to pour a cup of coffee. Everyone knows that coders cant write without caffeine.... (grin)

  • Nice work,

    but any Open Source license allowing "companies to change and redistribute the code internally without having to share the new code publicly, he said." Even the GPL is allowing companies to change and redistribute the code internally.

    But maybe his definition of "internally" and "publicly" is different then mine?

    • by drolli (522659) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @07:59AM (#43826643) Journal

      No, its just usual to have even good developers licensing somtheing under a license without having read and understood these or other licenses.

      The top misunderstanding is actually the one about the GPL mandatign you to publish the source code openly, which lies at the heart of the "Softwar as a service" problem.

      To state that clearly: The only thing the GPL mandates is what you should give to the people to whom you give your software product. The GPL is designed for the freedom of the user (or customer), not the intellectual property protection of the programmer or as socialistic "software mus be open for everybody". If you distribute a product inside a company, the person you are distributing it to will have certain rights *as a part of the company*. However there is nothing wrong with a company rule which does not allow him to exercise these rights, like confidentiality agreements. Currently i am working for a company where the GPL is blacklisted due to that misunderstanding.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        The GPL is designed for the freedom of the user (or customer), not the intellectual property protection of the programmer or as socialistic "software mus be open for everybody".

        How do you figure that one? The GPL grants users a limited license to the programmer's copyrighted works. That most definitely is a form of intellectual property protection. As for the socialistic part, that's a rather loaded term; still, it seems like you haven't read much from Stallman or the FSF.

        • by drolli (522659)

          No the intellectual property (copyright) is protected by the usual copyright laws. Without these, the GPL would be be meaningless.

          The GPL creates a well defined usage under which the programmer permits to use the code. It will remain under his copyright forever. There is no way that he will not be the creator of the specific parts of the code in the sense of the law (that would obviously apply to undocumented intentional backdoors placed in the code).

          Regarding the "socialistic": i think the irony should ha

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Maybe what it means is that the company is allowed to restrict redistribution, which most open source licenses are not.
  • Nothing New (Score:2, Funny)

    by Grashnak (1003791)

    EA has been putting less than 30 days of work into its titles for years. At least, that's how they feel.

  • Claims to have built an office suite in 30 days, but it is only an alpha and not everything works. Well how much is not everything? It is just a bunch of nice splash screens?

    • by Mark Hood (1630)

      In other words, an unemployed Java coder spent a month working on something to get him publicity and hopefully hired....

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, he did a very nice job of it. Why do coders have to be so jealous and dismissive of other people's knowledge/achievements?

        I applaud the guy for taking sacrificing his time and energy on software that could have been a failure. By taking a risk, he's accomplished something impressive.

        • by cdrudge (68377)

          Why do coders have to be so jealous and dismissive of other people's knowledge/achievements?

          Because the rest of us don't get mentioned on NetworkWorld.com or Slashdot for working 30 days to create incomplete alpha software to solve a problem that has been solved by multiple free (speech and/or beer) and commercial software packages that actually are complete and work well.

          • Come on. That's not true at all. We complain about Lotus Notes all of the time.

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            Because the rest of us don't get mentioned on NetworkWorld.com or Slashdot for working 30 days to create incomplete alpha software to solve a problem that has been solved by multiple free (speech and/or beer) and commercial software packages that actually are complete and work well.

            But you'd like to get yourself mentioned on NetworkWorld.com or Slashdot? So ... you're vain and jealous?

            • by narcc (412956) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @04:56PM (#43828797) Journal

              I had a project featured in PCWorld and NetworkWorld last month. While I'm not the parent, I think I understand his point and can speak from a better position.

              Why all the hate? It looks like a brag on the part of the developer, intended only to impress people who don't know anything about development.

              Considering the long list of bugs, missing features, and (lofty) promised utility, it's pretty obvious that this guy is a long way off from completing the project. He didn't write an office suite in 30 days, he started writing an office suite 30 days ago!

              It doesn't look like Network World put the spin on the project. The arbitrary 30-day time frame was clearly a goal of the project -- not for extra challenge, but to make it appear more impressive. It's deceptive and dishonest.

              As many Slashdot users know, it's not difficult to tell when a personal project is going to get some press. This looks like it was tailored specifically to get that kind of attention. That really bothers people.

              So, we've got a not-that-impressive project from a less-than-respectable arrogant press-monger.

              A lot of people here also think that they could do a *better* job given the same constraints. A cool project should make you go "how'd they manage that?" not "I could easily do better."

              I don't know that "envy" is the right word for that so much as "injustice". After all, we've seen tons of cool personal projects on Slashdot that get little other than praise. If envy were driving the hate in this case, wouldn't we expect to see a similar reaction to other personal projects?

    • Not an exactly answer, but "If all goes well, Goubard aims to release a full version of the suite next year." He's only spent ~14% of the amount of time he thinks he'll need (and that could be an underestimate, of course). That suggests that there's quite a lot that doesn't work.

    • by Chelloveck (14643)
      So he's proven that it's possible to quickly bang out a half-assed pile of code that resembles an office suite, except for the difficult bits. Wow. Color me impressed. Back in my day we would have needed a fancy term for this, like "rapid prototyping" or something. Be he did it buzzword-free! I'd expect him to at least need to use "agile".
  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 26, 2013 @06:24AM (#43826399) Homepage Journal

    If you can get to 'alpha' stage in 30 days, how many years is that to a 1.0 release?

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @06:37AM (#43826439)

      This dude is just trying to get himself attention and Slashdot is obliging. I mean for one, building an "office suite" is not necessarily impressive. All that office suite actually means is a program that does word processing, spreadsheets, maybe presentations. Well, there can be a great range in that. High end office suites, like Microsoft Office, do a whole lot of complex shit and do it well, and has a bunch of well built tools (like a spell checker and so on). However a crap office suite might do little more than you'd get out of Wordpad and SSS.

      Then there's the fact that "alpha" has traditionally meant in software "feature incomplete, still under heavy development." These days given that beta often seems to mean that (it used to mean feature complete, working on bugs) alpha might mean "Well, it complies now and runs sometimes!"

      It would not be very hard to set a rather low goal for what constitutes an "office suite," bash the basis of that out, and then call it an alpha. I can't try it, since I do not care to install Java on my system, but looking at the screen shots, it looks like he did precisely that. It looks exceedingly simple, largely using a bunch of the built in Java controls. That's fine and all, but I don't find that really that impressive for 30 days of work. Part of the point of managed languages like Java, C#, that kind of thing it to be able to bash together something basic pretty quick.

      So ya, I'm voting that he's just publicity whoring. If he wants to call us back when 1.0 comes out, then I'll have a look. Maybe then it'll be something cool, but I kinda doubt it. Personally I'd stick to MS Office, Google Docs, Libre Office, or whatever your current preferred suite is.

      • by alphatel (1450715) *
        One might also add that he hasn't delved into the patentable/copyrightable regions by being at alpha. No doubt if you came up with a fully functional suite that did things that MS or IBM patented, you wouldn't be in business very long.
      • He did make it to the front page of Slashdot, which is a pretty cool achievement unto itself. I've only made the front page for a meteor shower...

        And I don't think it's "whoring", it's self promotion, and hugely successful, at least from the perspective of a developer (front page of Slashdot). Self promotion is how one gets ahead in the world, combined with development skills.

        The .Net distributed caching layer I'm working on isn't as visible as an office suite, although it is more marketable in the corpo

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26, 2013 @06:26AM (#43826403)

    He assembled components together in 30 days. He can't get from those components to a competitive product, he would need to rewrite each of those netbeans to bring the functionality up to the level of the competitors in order to actually make an Office Suite.

    But as a way to show off Java as a development environment that's good.

    But a Microsoft guy could do the same, dropping in a load of stock rich text edits and grid controls to product a very similar quickly.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @06:41PM (#43829217) Homepage Journal

      But a Microsoft guy could do the same, dropping in a load of stock rich text edits and grid controls to product a very similar quickly.

      But it wouldn't be multi-platform, which one of the selling points of the experiment. Microsoft has worked hard to make Windows-centric development easier, but only for MS platforms.

      (My spailchekker tried to put "mulch-platform" instead of multi-platform, which may be more fitting for MS.)

  • by unwesen (241906) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @07:10AM (#43826523) Homepage

    "it took him only 30 days to build and launch a basic open source office" and "The suite was released as an alpha version" mean's he's got the 80 (visible) percent done that take 20 percent of the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle [wikipedia.org]

    I wish people wouldn't get headlines with this sort of claim. It helps push the entire profession towards cutting corner in order to under bid each other, which does not speak well for the quality of future software.

    Speak instead of prototyping. That's much closer to the truth.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @07:23AM (#43826563)

    Because end users won't give a damn about how much time did it take to build, or whether it's opensource. The only thing that matters to them is whether it's better than the existing ones.

    • better... and compatible! Because are usually writing docs to be shared with other people. I doubt in 30 days he was able to make that possible, especially when you look at openoffice and how much it took them to make something really useable.
  • Then it took 3 weeks to open the first hello world document.
  • by golodh (893453) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:40AM (#43826751)
    Someone banging out a crappy alpha piece of code by sticking pre-fab functionality together and then billing it as 'office suite' ? Do we really want to know about this?

    Even the article noted it doesn't work, being alpha code.

    This is too much like all those crummy half-baked Kxxxx apps that come with KDE, and they're a huge waste of download time and disk-space too.

    So can we just stop wasting our time with all this and ignore it until and unless there are some in-depth reviews that come up positive *and* that give a good reason to choose whatever this is over existing software?

  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @08:44AM (#43826765) Homepage
    Perhaps as an exercise if people think they can do better in other languages then by all means lets have a Slashdot "Office-A-Thon" of sorts to see who builds what in 30 days. Certainly beats sitting around a /. post grumbling at a guy who put some time and effort in his off time to do something and wither or not this is /. worthy.

    Get your nerd on and lets see other people build something better in 30 days solo. Be nice if /. set aside a section that lets you see a summary of people's progress on that challenge.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by VortexCortex (1117377)

      This sort of response reeks of retardation (the slow kind). Have you any idea the amount of wasted effort that would be generated if we all tried to create the crappiest office suite in the world, each our selves? I MIGHT have been behind the idea if it were to have been collaborative. There's a reason why we don't all rush out to re-invent the wheel: It's just retarding progress. Hell, Java has all the components, like a rich text editing widget + inline images, 2D Animations, spreadsheet, and more,

  • Software development times are extremely variable. It all depends on how much good quality reusable existing code and tools were found or known about beforehand.

    How long it would take to write an Office Suite using no tools, environments, or libraries newer than what we had in 1984? No Linux, no Windows, no MacIntosh, just one of the many DOSes. Probably have to be C, Pascal, or some kind of BASIC, and that only if performance wasn't an issue. Otherwise, it would have to be assembler. C++ existed the

    • My 80x25 textmode Pascal programs had mouse support. The feature is even a termcap... I just inverted the FG/BG color of the texel to show where it was. Built a D&D character sheet creator / dice roller that was essentially a DB + form view. Used chr: 220, 222, 223 in CP437 to make "shadows" for buttons you clicked -- They would change to a brighter color when you "hovered" and shift 1 texel horizontally when pressed. Had to write textfield and textarea routines, as well as stat tracking. You co

  • Seriously, there's no support for basic formats like plain text or openoffice formats.
    However there is support for the pseudo-standard MSO formats.

    If I can't open any of the files on my PC, what's the motivation to use this?

  • by Casandro (751346) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @10:55AM (#43827319)

    First of all congratulations on the achievement. However it doesn't quite have a practical use. I mean office software in general is fairly useless, you type a document, you print it, maybe you export it to PDF, but that's just about it. It's a slightly smarter typewriter. Spreadsheet software seems interesting at first sight, until you realize that having more than a screen full of cells makes it harder than just writing a little program to solve your problem.

  • ... The suite was released as an alpha version, which means that not everything works yet....

    It it is not working yet, it has not been built.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I remember something very similar being done with VB controls in the 1990s. I bought a package at Books-A-Million that was just a wrapper around a full-functional spreadsheet control implemented as a VBX. I wish I could remember the name of it! I can see it on a sale table with a lot of other software. Those were the good old days.

    If it "uses many popular open source Java libraries" it would be easy to put them together. I know there are classes that read and write Excel files and probably others. I guess t

  • it took him only 30 days to build... a very basic word processor

    Lame. I could write an even more basic word processor in 30 minutes!

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday May 26, 2013 @04:10PM (#43828625)

    Seriously? When you start with NetBeans as your base platform, you've already got a word processor built in. You've already done most of the work, for the presentation and spreadsheet apps as well, controls built in for displaying database data.

    Seriously, you're building word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation apps on ... a word processing, spreadsheet capable database app. It probably does presentations too.

    Guess what I can do! In 20 minutes I can make a complete IDE. I'll just start off with NetBeans RCP! https://netbeans.org/features/platform/ [netbeans.org]

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