The Apereo Open Academic Environment (OAE) project team is pleased to announce the third major release of the Apereo Open Academic Environment; OAE Blue Jay or OAE 3.0.

OAE Blue Jay introduces a new and improved Document Previewer that allows rich documents such as PDFs, Microsoft Word and Excel files to be displayed and embedded directly within OAE without requiring a download. OAE Blue Jay also supports migrating all existing documents to this enhanced version.

In addition to this, OAE Blue Jay also brings a wide range of usability improvements based on usability testing.

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Document Previewer

High-fidelity previews

Prior to OAE Blue Jay, the Document Previewer converted the pages inside of a rich documents to images. While it produced picture-perfect previews, it had some drawbacks:

  • Generating image-based previews takes significantly longer
  • Image-based previews are large in file-size, degrading the document browsing experience
  • Image-based previews degrade in quality as zoom level increases
  • Image-based previews are inaccessible to screen readers

In the OAE Blue Jay release, we have replaced the image-based processor with the pdf2htmlEX Open Source project, generating high-fidelity HTML for each of the pages. This enhances previews in the following ways:

  • Generating previews on large documents is orders of magnitude faster
  • Documents that are mostly text are significantly smaller in file-size
  • Zooming of text can be achieved natively in the browser without loss of preview quality
  • Accessibility improvements as the text is available in the HTML

Easy to use viewer

These new HTML-based previews are displayed in OAE inside of our new simplified Document Previewer. This allows you to easily flip through pages, request a specific page or zoom in and out of pages.

On top of that, this new Document Previewer is also fully internationalizable and skinnable.

Full screen reading

It is now possible to enjoy reading documents without distraction by using the full-screen mode feature available in the new Document Previewer.

Solid foundation

This new Document Previewer is only a first step. It opens up the door to indexing and searching the full text of these documents, as well as allowing for annotations to be made inside of documents.

Try it out

OAE Blue Jay can be experienced on the project's QA server at It is worth noting that this server is actively used for testing and will be wiped and redeployed every night.

The source code has been tagged with version number 3.0.0 and can be downloaded from the following repositories:


Documentation on how to install the system can be found at

The repository containing all deployment scripts can be found at

Get in touch

The project website can be found at The project blog will be updated with the latest project news from time to time, and can be found at

The mailing list used for Apereo OAE is You can subscribe to the mailing list at

Bugs and other issues can be reported in our issue tracker at