Open Office XForm Server Side

 Open Office is an open source office productivity suite. It can open and manipulate Microsoft Office files as well as can generate and open PDF documents.

Open Office  is fully complaint with OASIS ODF XML file formats (ISO/IEC 26300). Open Office is very XML friendly and also supports XForm and XML digital Signatures

Open Office is licensed under GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

The above facts make Open Office an ideal choice for an Enterprise and e-Government e-Forms processing application and Forms based work flow.

 Why Not Just use Web Based Forms?

Web based UI (User Interface) are very  useful and they have their own use cases. They do not compete with offline forms processing, which have their own utility.

In the physical world most processes start with users filling out a form and signing it. The signed user form is saved as an evidence and data is extracted and loaded into a database for processing.

Though forms filled on a HTML page can be signed, but as the data is posted; the signed data is divorced from the renderings. Thus a user can claim that there was a clause shown in the online page that is not captured or they may claim that the fine prints were invisible! 

Therefore, for non repudiation in a court of law, the rendering of the data is as important as the content (data) itself. 

When an user signs an Open Office document all data, its rendering attributes like fonts, its size and color, background color are preserved and included in the signature digest.

Thus online forms are transactional and do not provide documentry evedence. So, even when an online form is filled, its desirable for evedencing purpose that the user signs a form offline and uploads or sends it through an email.

Offline e-Forms Use Cases

Typical use cases can be in customer service requests in e-Governance, Insurance companies as well as for Banking and Telecom service providers. 

Also, in certain government and enterprise situations, the organization may wish to retain the documentary evidence of a request by an employee or a temp. worker. Some examples are Tax Deduction or Tax relief request, leave request (in unionised work environment).

A user logs in to an enterprise web site or a portal, and downloads an Open Office XForm Document. Informations that are already available with the portal may be pre-filled in the form. The user can retain the orignal form for reuse. 

Once the user fills the form and signs it, she can upload it into a portal or the web site. Alternatively the user can also send the form as an email attachment.

When the user uploads the signed form, an reference id is provided. Also, the enterprise server retains the document in a secure reposatory, after extracting the XML data from the Open Office XForm document it is loaded into a database. Alternatively, a workflow process can be triggered to process the form data. Open Portal support workflows.   Open ESB WLM and BPEL Service Engines can also be used for managing workflows.

Server Side Open Office XForm PoC (Proof of Concept)