Integrating LibreOffice with SharePoint – part 1

LibreOffice is a productivity suite that is suited well for using in corporate environments with centralized document repositories, such as SharePoint. Of course, to use it there, program should offer required functionality in convenient fashion. So what is the current state of LibreOffice’s support for integration with SharePoint?

LibreOffice has two ways to communicate with SharePoint servers:

Lately, Collabora Productivity has made a number of improvements made to LibreOffice, and fixes for some existing problems, that made configuration and usage of both types of SharePoint integration more robust and easy.

In this and the next post, I am discussing current status of support and the methods to setup (and limited usage examples) for both ways. This post is dedicated to CMIS, and the next one will be devoted to WebDAV.

CMIS integration

To use CMIS integration with SharePoint, you need to configure your SharePoint Server to offer the CMIS service, and add new CMIS service to LibreOffice.

Configuring SharePoint Server for CMIS

The following configuration steps are shown on a SharePoint Server 2013 instance taken as example.

First, basic authentication should be enabled in SharePoint Central Administration.

Go to Security, choose Specify authentication providers in General Security group:

sp-auth1

Choose required Web Application and click Zone that you want to configure, and enable Basic authentication:

sp-auth2

Of course, HTTPS should be enabled for proper security.

Second, configure your site settings.

Login to your site, go to Settings → Site settings and choose Manage site features in Site Actions group:

sp-site1

There you need to activate Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Producer:

sp-site2

That’s it. Now it’s time to setup LibreOffice to access SharePoint via CMIS.

Configuring LibreOffice for SharePoint CMIS access

You will use LibreOffice’s Remote Files feature, that is accessible from Start Center, as well as from main menu:

sp-lo1

Click Add service and choose SharePoint 2013 as Type, replace with the address of your SharePoint site, supply SharePoint username and password, then click Refresh button to the right of Repository chooser, after which LibreOffice will connect SharePoint Server and populate the chooser with existing repositories:

sp-lo2

To make it easier to use the connection, you may put the directory you want to start from into the Root field, e.g. “/Shared Documents”. This will not prevent you to use other directories later.

Now click OK and you will be prompted for password again. The username and password you entered at the previous step were used to get repositories list, so provide your credentials again. If you choose to save password at this stage, in case you didn’t yet saved passwords for web connections previously, LibreOffice will ask you to set Master Password that is used once per LibreOffice session:

sp-lo3

Entering this password first time you access any web connection with stored password, you will not be asked anymore for passwords until program closes. This password is separate from the site’s password, and should differ from it.

Now you are able to navigate your SharePoint server documents, rename or delete them, open, edit and save back (or create new) each time you use the Remote Files feature or accessing last used files from the server. Here is how the Remote Files dialog looks like for a configured connection:

sp-lo4

LibreOffice will show you a warning if you have not checked out the document yet, and allows you to do that immediately:

sp-lo5

The Check-Out, Cancel Check-Out and Check-In functionality is also accessible from LibreOffice’s File menu. Checking in will bring the following window, where you may fill the required information for new version of the file:

sp-lo6

To see the file’s CMIS properties, you may use Properties window, also accessible from File menu. It has CMIS Properties tab, that allows to see and change those properties.

That’s all I wanted to tell about LibreOffice integration with SharePoint using CMIS. The next post will cover WebDAW method to do (almost) the same.

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