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Hack 9. Beyond Google: Create Documents with Zoho, EditGrid and more

Hack 9. Beyond Google: Create Documents with Zoho, EditGrid and more

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Account."UsingEditGrid,youareabletocreatespreadsheets

with516differentformulas(that'saboutasmanyasGoogle

Spreadsheets),andthencollaborateonyourdatawithothers.

Chartgraphicsaresupportedaswell,aspicturedinFigure133.Also,EditGridsupportsanAPI(ApplicationProgramming

Interface)fordeveloperstoconnectdatatotheirown

applications,similartowhatGoogledoeswiththeirGoogle

SpreadsheetsDataAPI.

Zoho.com,anonlinealternativetotheGoogleofficesuite



TheZohoSheeteditor,withalistofyourdocumentsto

theleft



Ontopofallthat,youcanincludedatafromothersourcesby

launchingtheRemoteDatawizardbyselectingData Manage

RemoteData.Youcanpickfromanyofthethreecategories:

StockQuote,CurrencyExchange,andWebData.

EditGrid'sWebDatafeatureisparticularlyinteresting,asit

allowsyoutograbdatafromanypublicwebpage.At

http://editgrid.com/tnc/cliff/Pressure_Tracker,theEditGrid

teampostedanexampleofthisfunctionality.Thegoalofthe

spreadsheetsampleistogetthepressurevaluefromaHong

Kongweatherwebpage.AfteropeningtheHTMLsourcecodeof

theweatherwebpage,youwillseetherelevantpartthatprints

thepressurevalue,whichgoessomethinglikethis:



CreatingadocumentwiththeZohoWritereditor



TheEditGridhomepage







...

Pressure:



29.68 in.


...>

...







Butallyouneedisthehighlightedvalue"29.68".Atthispoint,

youcanusethefollowingregularexpression[Hack#13]:

(?!nbsp:)Pressure:.*







TheEditGridmaineditorview



Notethatthisactofso-called"screenscraping"as

usedbytheWebDatafeatureissomewhaterrorprone,asyourregularexpressionmaybecome

invalidwheneverthesiteyou'rescrapingupdates

theirHTMLtemplate.Additionally,itmaybe

againstasite'sTermsofServiceorrobots.txt

declarationfiletouseautomatedscreenscraping

mechanisms.IfthewebsitehasanofficialAPI,

youshouldusethatandbecomefamiliarwithits

TermsofService.Thisisnottosaythatusingan

APIiscompletelymaintenance-free(APIs

sometimesgetdiscontinued,orchangetheir

protocolinsuchawaythatyou'llneedtorewrite

yourapplications).



Thisexpressionretrievesamuchsmallerportionofthefull

HTMLpage.YoucannowuseEditGrid'sRIGHTfunctiontoget

justthenumberinquestionandhaveitdisplayinanother



spreadsheetcellofyours,asshowninFigure1-34.

AccessinglivedatafromwebsitesusingEditGrid'sWeb

Datafeature



ThinkFree'sOnlineOfficeSuite

ThinkFree(http://www.thinkfree.com)isanotheronline

applicationprovider,offeringfreeonlinewordprocessing,

spreadsheet,andpresentationeditors.ThinkFree'sprograms

comeintwoflavorseach:QuickEditandPowerEdit.Thequick

editinglackssomefeaturesthatcompetitor'stoolsmayhave,

butthepowereditingisamorecompleteapplication,andit

looksalotlikeMicrosoft'sOfficesuite.NotethatthePowerEdit

modeneedstoinstallasetofJavafilesonyourmachinebefore

youeditthefirsttime.

AsyoucanseepicturedinFigure1-35(awordprocessing

documentinQuickEditmode)andFigure1-36(aspreadsheet

inPowerEditmode),bothprogramvariantsshow

advertisementsontherighthandsideofyourdocument.

TheThinkFreewordprocessingeditor:QuickEditmode



EditingaspreadsheetwithThinkFree:PowerEditmode



THEGOOGLEDOCSFAMILY:GOOGLE

DOCUMENTS

Writingonpaper—likethekindmadefromthepapyrus

plantandusedinancientEgypt,orthekindyou'dbuyin

astoretoday—mayseemold-fashioned,butcompareit

toyourtypicaldigitalwordprocessortoday(like

MicrosoftWord,orOpenOffice.orgWriter)...

Onpaper,youcanuseanytypeofsymbol,withouthavingto

worryaboutinstallingfonts.Youcaneasilyincludeyour

drawingswithoutincreasingthefilesize.Youcangettogether

withasmallgrouptoscribblealongonthesamepaperinreal

time.Youcanunderline,strikethrough,andusearrowsand

quickchartswithoutknowingasingleshortcutorlocationofa

menuentry.Also,paperwon'taskyoutoregisterbeforeusing

it.

WhatdoesGoogledocuments(seeChapter1foranoverview

andintroduction)havethatpaperdoesn't,anyway?Besidesnot

requiringtreestobefelledinproduction,thatis.Here'san

overview:

WithGoogledocuments,youcanviewtheeditinghistoryof

afile.Thismeansthatifyouwantto,youcancomparethe

currentstateofthedocumentwithonefromtwomonths

ago,andreplacethenewversionwiththeoldversionif

necessary.

WithGoogledocuments,youcancollaborateinrealtime

withagroupofpeoplewhoarenotinthesameroom,or

eveninthesamecountry.

Youcancheckthespellingofthedocument,getacountof

allthewordsinthedocument,orsearchandreplacewithin

thetext.

Googledocumentsallowsyoutoletsomeoneelseseeyour



filewithoutyouhavingtomakeacopyofit—theywill

simplybereferredtoyoursourcedocument,providedyou

grantthemaccesstoit.

Now,papyruspaperwouldlastabout200yearsinEuropean

conditions.It'shardtotellhowlongyourGoogledocuments

writingswilllast.Writely,thepredecessortoGoogledocuments

(beforeGoogleacquiredUpstartle,thecreatorsofWritely),has

onlybeenaroundfortwoyears.Butifyou'resuspiciousabout

thelongevityofthismedium,there'sstilltheoptiontoprintout

anyGoogledocument.



Hack10.LetOthersSubscribetoYour

DocumentChanges

UsingGoogleDocs'RSSfeedofdocumentchanges,youcanlet

otherskeepupwiththerevisionsyoumaketoapublic

document.Alltheyneedisafeedreaderapplicationorweb

browser.

Sayyou'reusingGoogleDocstowriteaprojectto-dolist[Hack

#68]foragroup.Therearetwoitemsonthelistalready,as

showninFigure2-1:1.Havesomeonegetthemilk,and2.

Unscrewthelightbulb.Younowwanttoaddathirditem.Docs

alreadyallowsyoutoletothersseeyourdocument,oredit

alongifyoulike.Buthowdotheyknowwhenyou'vechanged

thedocument?



Aprojectto-dolistforyourteam



Onewaytokeepeveryoneuptodateistopublishyour

documentchangesviaanRSSfeed.AnRSSfeedisawebbasedsubscriptionformatthatallowsthebrowseroraseparate

clientprogram(theRSSreader)todisplayfrequentlyupdated

content,likeablog,anewssite—oryourGoogledocument's

changelog.

BeforeyoucanpublishtheRSSfeed,yourdocument

mustbepublished.Publishingadocumentdoesn'tthatmean

youmakeitfullypublic;onlythosewhoknowthedocument

addresswillbeabletoaccessit,andthisaddresswon't

automaticallybelistedinsearchresults(andtheaddressisnot

easytoguesseither).

Tomakeyourdocumentpublic,hitShare "Publishasweb

page"andclickthe"Publishdocument"button.Youshouldalso

activatethe"Automaticallyre-publishwhenchangesaremade"

checkbox.



AnyoneyousendthedocumentURLtocanalso

passitonforotherstosee(andifsomeoneposts

itonadiscussionboard,itmightevenstart

appearinginsearchresults).Publicdocuments

aren'tpassword-protected—useShare "Share

withothers"toshareconfidentialdocswithonly

theusersyouspecify.



Notethatyoucanstoppublishinglateratanytime.

NowyouneedtofindtheRSSfeed'saddress.ClickShare

"Sharewithothers"andthelinkstartingwith"ViewRSS",as

picturedinFigure2-2.Anewwindowopens,fromwhichyou

canbookmarkorcopytheURL.SendtheURLtoyour

collaboratorsandletthemsubscribetoit.Yourcollaborators

cansubscribeviatheirbrowser'snativefeedreaderoption,or

youcanpointthemtoastandaloneRSSreaderlikeGoogle

Reader(seeChapter8)athttp://reader.google.com,asshown

inFigure2-3—andyou'redone.Youcannowaddathirditemto

yourlist(forexample,3.Gethelpincaseunscrewingofthe

lightbulbgoeswrong),andotherswillbealertedofyour

changeswhentheychecktheirRSSreader.Yourteamcanalso

setupaprogramlikerss2emailat

http://rss2email.infogami.comtoautomaticallygetanemail

whenevertheRSSfeedchanges.

TheSharemode,includingthe"ViewRSSfeed..."link



GoogleReader,nowsubscribedtotheto-dolist'schange

history



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