Google Spreadsheets now supports simple graphs and named ranges; see the announcement on the google-d-s.blogspot.com blog. I’ve also just noticed that my Google Apps account now includes Docs & Spreadsheets; finally I can move my business documents from my private GMail account into Goggle Apps. Looks like a presentation tool is also on the way.
This confirmation of Google’s continued commitment to D&S is opportune as I had decided a few weeks ago to invest some time finally getting my head around GData, in particular, the Spreadsheets and Calendar APIs. I investigated the APIs using VBA, as my main interest in interfacing with GoogleD&S & Calendar is as a back-end to Excel; i.e. using Excel as the front-end heavy duty data tool and Google Apps as the collaboration and orchestration tool (and Amazon S3 as the back-end data store). But I didn’t use VBA within Excel, instead as I was also investigating Proto I used this excellent Proto example as my starting point.
Byron Binkley CEO of Proto has kindly offered a total of 50 licenses (until July 13th 2007) at $79.50, a 90% discount to the listed price for Proto Individual (http://www.protosw.com/products/purchase). The offer applies to anybody mentioning this http://gobansaor.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/proto/blog post. I have no connection financial or otherwise with Proto Software, just a fan of the product.
While the email and calendar facilities offered by Google Apps are superb and the web page building tools are easy to use, there is (or was see UPDATE below) one major flaw. Google Apps applies a robots.txt file that prohibits all search engines (including Google’s) from indexing the site. This wasn’t always the case, it appears to have first raised its ugly head sometime in November.
Where’s the logic in this ? As it turns out none, it’s a bug, well it may be a bug as a comment I left on Peter Coopers blog prompted him to email a contact he had within Google, who contacted somebody else within Google, who confirmed it was a bug. Makes you worry about handing over too much of your infrastructure to “faceless companies”. Who do you call, or email? Where are the bug databases? Questions on the support forum, remained unanswered. I guess we can always ask guys like Peter Cooper, thanks again Peter.
The bug may already be fixed, at least for my apps.gleesonIT.com domain. Still seeing the offending robots.txt appearing occasionally on this side of the Atlantic, but accessing the apps sub-domain via an Amazon EC2 image (hosted in Washington State, USA) the robot is now consistently blank.
Now I have to make a decision, will I move the site back onto Google Apps (had moved the “www” domain to Zimki )? Better do something fast before the duplicate content on apps / www.gleesonit.com ends up being penalised!
Posted in GAFyD