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The OX Document Converter is a product for converting different kind of documents into many formats. It can be obtained as part of OX App Suite or as a stand-alone product.

Depending on the source and destination format, different technologies are in use. Inside OX App Suite, OX Document Converter is used to convert documents to PNG (first page only) that can be used as thumbnails in OX Drive or as a quick preview image. To display documents in the Viewer, they are all converted to PDF. Until now the PDF pages are converted to SVG in order to display them in the browser. With the upcoming version OX App Suite 7.6.2 we are able display PDF directly in the browser with the help of PDF.js.

Most of the conversions are done with the help of Open Office. There is a lot of logic in place to make the conversion as fast as possible – have some Open Office processes running so they can quickly be used (avoid the slow start-up), detect if Open Office processes have crashed or are hanging, make sure the processes are not being reused too often because of possible memory leaks or side effects.

A new feature currently in development is support for using Sharepoint for document conversion. While the conversion with Open Office is quite good and fast in most cases, PowerPoint presentations sometimes don’t look like expected. We are developing a WCF service that can be installed on the Sharepoint server, and the OX Document Converter will then direct certain conversions to the Sharepoint server instead of to the Open Office processes.

The OX Document Converter is not running inside the OX App Suite server, but is designed as a dedicated system, preferably to run on it’s own machine(s). It doesn’t need to know anything about the OX App Suite configuration, nor does it need to have access to user data and user files. User management and file access is in the responsibility of OX App Suite, and the OX App Suite backend will pass documents for conversion to the OX Document Converter.

Here is a small presentation containing a slide which explains the architecture.