Direct editing of documents

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Development Project Status: Completed

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Project description: 

Editing documents in OpenVPMS is currently a laborious process as it involves downloading documents to the user's PC in order to edit them, followed by re-uploading to OpenVPMS.

This project will enable documents to be edited within OpenOffice, by providing a limited WebDAV service that allows OpenOffice to open an OpenVPMS document, edit it, and save it.

WebDAV resources are accessed by URL, so one can edit a WebDAV document in OpenOffice by using File -> Open, and specifying the URL. To simplify this, and remove the need to expose the URL to users, an External Edit button will be provided to launch OpenOffice when an appropriate document is selected.

The External Edit button will be available for editable documents in the following workspaces:

  • Patient -> Summary
  • Patient -> Medical Records -> Documents
  • Customer -> Documents
  • Supplier -> Documents
  • Administration -> Templates

Editable documents

Letters, Attachments, Investigations and Images that have an attachment document in a Word/OpenOffice format are editable.
This includes the following archetypes:

  • Patient Letter
  • Patient Attachment
  • Patient Investigation
  • Patient Image (providing the content is a supported document type)
  • Customer Letter
  • Supplier Letter
  • Customer Attachment
  • Supplier Attachment

Non-editable documents

Documents that are generated on demand aren't saved and therefore cannot be edited. This applies to:

  • Patient Form
  • Customer Form
  • Supplier Form

OpenOffice Launcher

When the External Edit button is clicked, this will trigger OpenOffice to be launched for the selected document using Java Web Start.

Note: if Web Start applications aren't signed, Java will prevent the application starting, and display a dialog "Java Application Blocked", with the message "Application Blocked by Java Security". To avoid this either:

  • the application needs to be signed. This will require OpenVPMS purchasing a code signing certificate (and renew it yearly)
  • users go into Java Control Panel and edit the Exception Site List to allow WebStart applications to be launched from their OpenVPMS server. This needs to be done per client machine.


The following won't be supported:

  • Document versioning

Only the latest version may be edited

  • Locking

The WebDAV protocol supports locking, to prevent two users editing the same document at the same time. This project will use optimistic locking instead, i.e. two users may edit the same document, but the first to save wins, and the second save is rejected.

  • Editing using Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office supports WebDAV, but requires locking support. Without it, documents are opened read-only and cannot be saved back to the WebDAV server. This can be addressed in a subsequent project if required.

  • Viewing documents via Windows Explorer and other WebDAV clients

This project will not expose collections of documents, so it will not be possible to browse available documents via Windows Explorer et al.




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Re: Direct editing of documents

This has been fully funded thanks to one of our most generous supporters.

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