Friday, January 05, 2007

Blogging from Google Docs

I had heard about using Google Docs to blog. This seemed like it could be promising, since Google Docs has a little nicer interface than Blogger. Also, one had to figure the integration should work really well given that my blog is on Blogger -- which is also part of Google. I'm actually writing this blog using Google Docs (what used to be Writely.)

Setting up the integration wasn't quite smooth. I entered my blog as a Blogger(beta) (even though I thought it isn't a beta anymore...) and it told to optionally list the name of the blog. I put in "Programming and Politics." I hit the "test settings" button and it said everything worked. I then wrote a blog and published it to my blog. It was posted to the wrong blog: Mike's Photo Blog . I had misspelled the title "Programming and politics" so it instead defaulted to the first blog it found under my account: Mike's Photo Blog. Once I corrected the title, it posted to the right blog. It would have been nice if it would have told me I got the name wrong, or if it would have provided me a list of blogs to pick from (seems like that would be the best solution, and it show just be a simple AJAX call.)

Next issue was the title. Supposedly it would use the title of the document for the title of the blog if your blog "supported titles." Certainly my blog has titles to its document. I titled the blog, but it's title did not go through to the blog. So I had to re-edit it inside Blogger to give it the right title.

Next issue was tags. Blogger calls tags labels, but Google Docs calls them tags (like the rest of the world, and other Google apps.) It claimed that any tags for the document would become tags for the blog. Only problem was that there was no tagging option from either the edit doc or publish doc screen. It actually does exist from the "Active Documents & Spreadsheets" screen.

One other kind of frustrating thing is spell checking. One thing I really like about Firefox 2.0 is that it checks spelling for you automatically. When I want to fix the spelling, I just right click on the misspelled word. Only Google Docs takes over the contextual menu. So instead I have to use it's own spell checker. I can understand them taking over the contextual menu, but they should put spelling corrections as part of it. That's MS Word does, too, of course.


Kevin Gamble said...

I'm trying to figure this out as well. Did the labels appearing on your post come from entering tags in Google Docs, or did you add them to the article using the Blogger edit interface?

Michael said...

I used the Blogger edit interface for the tags. I didn't see the Docs tagging until I had published the post.