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Apache POI: An Overview

Owned and maintained by Apache Foundation, Apache POI is a programing platform developed with the intent of making it easy for users to feed in files in Microsoft office format. Example of such file format are Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Apache POI runs on Java, which is pretty easy to handle. If you were to work as a developer in the finance department of a company, for instance. You will agree that most of your work will have to be in Excel format. Now, instead of taking the trouble of exporting files to excel all the time, with Apache POI, you could do this at the click of the button. Other file formats – as initially mentioned – are supported as well.

It should be borne in mind that Apache POI is an open source library, meaning that just about anybody can make modifications to it.

How Apache POI works: It’s Components

Like every other programming tool, Apache is composed of several elements without which it won’t work. They include:

Horrible Word Processor Format (HWPF): If your final output were to be in Microsoft office format, the programing tool you are using will first have to read the MS-word file, and also write it. HWPF takes care of this.

Horrible Spreadsheet Format (HSSF): Does the same work as HWPF, only this time it handles files in Excel format.

Horrible Slide Layout Format (HSLF): This needs little explanation – it handles files in PowerPoint format.

Horrible Publisher Format (HPBF): Reads and write file output in Microsoft Publisher

Horrible Property Set Format (HPSF): Microsoft office files have a property set attached to them. HPSF is used for extracting this set property.

Dreadful Drawing Format (DDF): This component of Apache POI makes it possible to read and write Microsoft Office files in drawing format.

With all these components, your life as a programmer when working with Microsoft office files is made easier.


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