OWWProject:GoogleDocs

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Name: GoogleDocuments
Image:OWWProject cartoon 40x41transp.png
Description Add Support to OWW for publishing spreasheets and documents to OWW from Google Documents
Project Type  lab
Status  ongoing
Requested By  Endy
Start Date  3/1/2009
End Date  9/1/2009

Contents


Description

This work started with inserting a set of tags into OWW to support the display of documents stored by a user in their Google Documents account. Currently, Google supports display of

  • presentations
  • spreadsheets
  • word documents

Google does not provide programmatic display of the following document types:

  • pdf files

Google provides javascript interfaces to access stored documents. A document id, using different formats in both spreadsheets and word documents, can be passed via javascript to Google. If the ID is associated with a published document, the document will be returned in a format the user has specified.

If a user is logged into a Google Documents account, unpublished documents can also be accessed, but only by the logged-in user. Additionally, Google allows a logged-in user to list all documents along with their format. status, and timestamp fields.

Since the interface uses Javascript, the OWW server is not involved in the interaction. The job of the server is to populate an OWW page with appropriate information as the page is assembled so that a user, upon viewing an OWW page including referenes to a Google Document, will submit the request for the document to Google.

The flow of information is therefore only from a viewer of an OWW document to Google servers. The contents of the document is never inserted into OWW.

This app is built on top of a Javascript library for Mediawiki called 'Widgets'. Examples of these widgets are located in a few places (references need to be provided). All users have access to these widgets. There is no need to configure them.

A further level of integration is possible. In this model, a private (unpublished) document could be shared by a subset of OWW users, such as the members of a lab. In this case the users would log into the Google Document server. Using additional Javascript library code, the users could see the list of shared documents and open them as needed. This would be done on an OWW page. However, the page would be replicating the function of Google's own Google Documents portal. It would be a way to provide a more meaningful context.

This would also provide a way for users to submit documents. Since OWW will not see the documents, this is largely a convenience. There are no plans at this time to add this additional interface.

Comments

Issues

Javascript

The nature of the Mediawiki 'widget' interface is an issue. It was not created as as core part of mediawiki. It is one of a number of overlapping initiatives working on adding more sophisticated Javascript interfaces to Mediawiki.

Time to complete: Some time ongoing as other javascript interfaces are introduced.

Mediawiki Widgets

The widget code encapsulated much of the javascript programming. However, the code does not allow for changing how a screen looks. This has led to my making MediaWiki templates that modify the behavior.

Time to complete: Completed

UI Mods

Google is inconsistent in what information is made available for each type of document. This has led to issues related to placement of tags and the selection of what buttons or links are shown.

Time to complete: Friday (8/6)

Normalizing the interface for different types of documents

Currently there are a set of changes to the templates that need to be verified. Unfortunately, in at least once case, there is no way to remove a tag (on the spreadsheet page) that is not availabel with other classes of document.

Time to complete: Friday (8/7)

Documentation

This need to be completed. This should include notes to complement the existing code as well as a blog entry and additions to the FAQ's describing them.


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