Aug 102007
 

A quick way to post your musings online is to use Google Apps. Google has a free online word processor (Docs) and free online Spreadsheets. Your documents can remain private or you can make them public.

Word Processor

Google offers a simple yet mostly complete set of word processing tools. It has all the common features you’d expect in a desktop word processor except for setting tabs. Google Docs are ad free (for now). I haven’t found too many uses for online word processing. This isn’t a lack of imagination on my part, but having easy access to other tools. I have a couple wiki which work great for notes and to do lists. I have easy access to my web site so that gets used a lot too. The kind of work I do is very one-on-one and we use more spreadsheets than Word documents. So if the opposite is true for you, You may find Google Docs very useful. I have set up a couple simple Google Docs: a company letter of introduction, a simple to do list, and a booklist . The booklist I moved to my wiki, but this example show the use of tables

Spreadsheet

Google has done a good job to make an online spreadsheet that has many of Excel’s features and functions. This includes being able to upload your desktop Excel spreadsheets to the online Google Spreadsheets. This is a great way to share lists, tabular data, and create mini online applications for your friends, co-workers, customers, clients, or the world. Some spreadsheets I’ve set up include: Movie List, Lighting Audit Form, Fuel Comparison, Lighting Comparison Table, and a Generic Invoice.

Non-Google Online Office Suites

A spreadsheet widget/plug-in is also available at PBwiki.com. I’ve used it, but it’s not easy to find and I found it to have very limited use. I wouldn’t use for much more than a short list of items, and wouldn’t even try to work up a long or complex sheet. PBwiki’s new tool bar gives you a similar ‘word processor’ view of your page. I’ve noticed most online tools now have overlap feature sets. PBwiki has a free version with ads, and a paid version without and more flexibility.

Zoho.com offers a complete online Office suite- even more complete than Google, but I haven’t tested them yet. Another option in the online Office Suite Arena is ThinkFree.com. They have a product that can be use online and offline, although I haven’t tried it either.

This post is part eight of a series on posting content to the Internet.

 Posted by at 8:21 am

  3 Responses to “Posting Content: Google Applications”

  1. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the post. What could we do to improve spreadsheets in PBwiki?

    Thanks,

    -Ramit
    Co-founder, PBwiki

  2. Ramit,
    A couple things would greatly improve the spreadsheet plug-in.

    1. Be able to resize the spreadsheet plug-in. I thought it might be possible using the classic edit mode and overriding the width and height, but that didn’t work.

    2. Have some way to export the data out of the spreadsheet even if it’s just tab delimited text to the clipboard.

    3. It might also be good if we could upload an Excel spreadsheets.

    I know working with the Excel spreadsheets might be difficult but I would think the first two would be do able and would make the spreadsheet more usable.

    Although I was disappointed with the spreadsheet plug-in, I still really like the pbwiki and the new features you have added.

  3. JR,
    Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate your insights.
    Funny, I had played with the hyperlink function but I gave up because I didn’t figure out the relationship between the edit, preview, and published spreadsheets. I have use the function on one column at:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pv54njWhxOy1plgynf98DYw

    I also added a link to my personal web site and to the first IMDB link.

    If I understand your second point, I can use a link like:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pv54njWhxOy00Y-BKWcaqHQ&hl=en_US&newcopy
    and the recipient will be working with a fresh copy of my invoice, sort of like a template functions. This is such a good idea that Google should have a button called share as a template or something like that. Perfect for blank forms like my generic invoice and audit forms.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment on my work.