Open Wonderland supports drag-and-drop docs

One of the great features of Open Wonderland is its application-sharing facility. And one of the benefits this provides is the ability to use OpenOffice in-world to create and edit documents that are compatible with Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office suite.

But what if you just want to show a document in-world without the overhead of application-sharing? Or, what if you’re running your Open Wonderland server on a host, like Windows, that doesn’t provide application sharing?

Well, the long answer is to open your document, save it to a PDF, and then drag-and-drop the PDF document into your Open Wonderland client. For the +Spaces project we needed something easier; something that would enable users to easily share their documents with other users in the context of a debate about policy proposals.

But now, a new module in the Open Wonderland Module Warehouse streamlines this process by allowing you to drag-and-drop any text document, spreadsheet or presentation supported by OpenOffice — in addition to its own file formats, of course. The office-converter module relies on a little advertised feature of OpenOffice: its ability to run in headless server mode. The module bundles the open source JODConverter software to provide a web-based API to OpenOffice and adds the necessary hooks into the Open Wonderland client and server so that it all works seamlessly.

In the movie below, I demonstrate how to drag-and-drop common Microsoft Office documents into a wonderland client.

And here, an interesting use case that extends the functionality of the office converter by combining it with the PDFSpreader module.

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Bernard Horan

Bernard Horan works as a member of the +Spaces EU Project as a researcher investigating the use of virtual worlds to engage with policy makers. Prior to joining the University of Essex, Horan was a senior staff engineer for Sun Microsystems Laboratories, where he was the Principal Investigator for the Meeting Echoes project, collaborating closely with members of the Open Wonderland project. Horan was also the instigator and technical lead of the successful collaborative project that used Wonderland to create a Mixed Reality Teaching & Learning Environment (MiRTLE).