I have just returned from the OpenOffice.org Miniconf at the linux.conf.au conference.
Highlights for me included an insight into developing OpenOffice.org from Ken Foskey, one of the few independent OpenOffice.org developers. His advice on getting started? Work with macros or with the UNO API. More on how this relates to my work later. Ken also corrected my assumption that there are no Mac OS X builds available beyond the aging 1.1.2 that is available on the official site, but I have yet to follow up his advice on how find other versions - more on that too later.
It was also great to meet Ian Laurenson who gave five talks, with a lot about macro-based customization. Ian pointed out lots of useful resources and techniques for working with the application.
From Ian and Ken I got a clearer idea of where we should be putting our development resources for the courseware-related project we are doing at USQ and for my work on word processor interoperability, both of which need XHTML export. The key seems to be to use either macros from inside the application or the UNO interface to program it from outside, possibly using Python, but Java may do the job if we can work out installation issues. We have had lots of problems getting the plug-in export filter system to work, this may help.
My talk on exploring OpenOffice for courseware development was far from my best ever performance. I tried the experiment of having written notes, but I was unable to read them, party because I had to squeeze my presentation down a lot due to a late start after lunch. But I do think the approach of writing the talk out is useful - it made for a more coherent flow (at least it should have), but I needed to use a highlighter to pick out key phrases and points.
Presentations are not online yet, I'll update this when they are.