Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Makes Apps Script Available To All

Comments Filter:
  • by nathan.fulton (1160807) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @10:56AM (#31472118) Journal
    In my opinion, this is going to make google's spreadsheet application a viable alternative to some uses of excel. God knows Apps Script is easier to use than excel macros.

    Don't get me wrong, there are some things that excel will always be used for, but google spreadsheets have so far been just useless enough without outside manipulation that most people have turned the option down.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ronocdh (906309)

      Don't get me wrong, there are some things that Lotus 1-2-3 will always be used for,

      Realize how silly that sounds now?

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Will this stupid meme please die?

        It has to be one of the stupidest and most intellectually lazy arguments ever.

        • He was pointing out that excel will likely not be used forever by way of an example of a similar company being no longer used. I mean it isn't proof of anything so there isn't a watertight intellectual arguement... but it is about what might happen in the future, you won't get any watertight arguements.

          That said, it probably was needlessly inflamatory. OP most likely knows that excel will not be used forever. Hell, humans are not likely to exist forever unless we find a way to end time or some such. So i
        • by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#31473480) Homepage

          It's a particularly bad argument, given that Microsoft deliberately designed Excel to resemble (an "improved") 1-2-3 as closely as possible by making sure that it implemented most of the same functionality. Word featured a "WordPerfect compatibility mode" until fairly recently.

          I should point out that unlike some of Microsoft's other quests for market dominance, Office seems to have succeeded by the simple virtue of being legitimately better than its competitors. While Lotus and Corel allowed their products to languish, Microsoft made a product that was initially "similar and just as good," and eventually "similar, but better in a number of respects."

          Now, Microsoft themselves have gotten a bit lazy. Although I hold the (unpopular) opinion that Office 2007 offered many needed improvements, Keynote and Numbers simply blow PowerPoint and Excel out of the water in terms of usability.

          Pages is a sufficiently different product from Word that any direct comparisons are difficult. Although Word lacks many of Pages' page-layout and design functions, Pages also (perhaps intentionally) lacks Word's myriad of features for managing large documents. As much as I hate its quirks and idiosyncrasies, LaTeX is still hands-down the best tool for writing and managing a large document.

          • by Sark666 (756464)

            Maybe in terms of usability (i don't know. never tried numbers) but it doesn't have a macro language.

            Once I started using vba it opened up so many other ways of dealing with data. I'm surprised I'm defending a microsoft product but I think excel is one of their best.

            • Maybe in terms of usability (i don't know. never tried numbers) but it doesn't have a macro language.

              Once I started using vba it opened up so many other ways of dealing with data. I'm surprised I'm defending a microsoft product but I think excel is one of their best.

              Numbers has AppleScript and Automator support. I haven't played with it much, and I don't say that it's more or less than what VBA can do, but it's there.

          • but wasn't part of the reason that they were better was that they had support from the people that wrote the OS, and early access to what to expect from the OS? undocumented API calls, preloaded libraries to enable faster launching, and such?
          • by ignavus (213578)

            The issue you miss is: Microsoft leapt ahead of Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect when they brought out Windows 3. Excel on Windows 2 and MS Word for DOS were behind the leaders in their markets. The emergence of Windows 3.11 as a viable platform for business use gave the Microsoft products a competitive advantage. They were ready for the new environment (Lotus and WordPerfect were not) and they could keep ahead of the competition because they now owned both the OS/GUI and the office suite - a situation that has

            • by spage (73271)

              The issue you miss is: Microsoft leapt ahead of Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect when they brought out Windows 3. ... They were ready for the new environment (Lotus and WordPerfect were not)

              And these other companies weren't ready for the new environment because Microsoft told all the other major software makers that the wonderful new operating system OS/2 and its Presentation Manager window system, developed by Microsoft and a soon-to-be-ass-reamed IBM, was the future and that everyone should port their advanced applications to that. At the time many people considered Windows just a DOS extender with some toy windowed apps and some nifty tricks on the i386 to run old programs, while everyone

          • by dkf (304284)

            As much as I hate its quirks and idiosyncrasies, LaTeX is still hands-down the best tool for writing and managing a large document.

            (La)TeX is only the best if you're doing really complex math. For image-heavy documents, it's not so good. Not that I'd accuse Word of being particularly great in that regard either. There are some very good tools in this area, but they're very expensive.

            OTOH, Word's a lot better than it used to be for longer documents. Sure that's starting from a low base, but I've just been through a project where we were using it for that sort of thing extensively and the world didn't collapse. (Everyone else was using W

            • by VJ42 (860241) *

              For image-heavy documents, it's not so good. Not that I'd accuse Word of being particularly great in that regard either.

              MS Publisher (or other DTP package of choice) is there for image heavy documents. Word processors were just never designed for image manipulation, I've never seen one that's good at it; that's why DTP packages were invented.

    • Method: MakeGoogleSpreadsheetUseful

      Error: unknown Method!

  • When I first saw the summary, I thought, "Apps script lets me automate tasks across multiple sites?! Finally!" Then I read the next few words, and it seems to be only for Google services. Oh well, better luck next time.
    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @11:09AM (#31472190)
      ...Yeah, because we all know how easy it is for sites to work together, right? What did you expect? Except for their own services, Google can't make other people implement a scripting language...
      • I was thinking more along the lines of a system that would allow me to write code that interacted with the HTML and Javascript in web pages, so that I could just write my own bridges between websites and not have to wait around for the owners to cooperate. I guess that is asking a lot though.
        • wicked complicated greasemonkey scripts?
        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          So find a web host and get working. You can do that with some _very_ simple PHP - I have. I have a site that pulls news posts off of a facebook group and reformats them and such. It's about 10 lines of code. I also have an even smaller script that just pulls a specific text block off another page. And one that reads from an RSS feed. It's really not that hard.

          http://php.net/manual/en/function.fopen.php [php.net]

        • I was thinking more along the lines of a system that would allow me to write code that interacted with the HTML and Javascript in web pages, so that I could just write my own bridges between websites and not have to wait around for the owners to cooperate.

          Well, if its XHTML from web pages, you can use the URLFetch service plus the XML service in App Script to do some of that, though App Script, with its run-manually approach, isn't really ideal for most situations where you'd want to build a bridge between

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...Google can't make other people implement a scripting language...

        Oh, we can't, can't we?

    • by maxume (22995)

      There are APIs to retrieve URLs and parse XML. So you should be able to pull content from other sites into Google docs. Output is probably more difficult.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @11:29AM (#31472292)
        Actually, I have tried to automate tasks using various scripting languages, but it is getting a lot harder to do as more and more sites using AJAX instead of plain old HTML. Even pulling down a web page is becoming hard, since many of the web sites I am required to work with use all manner of session cookies (naturally, there is Javascript involved in that too). If you know of some toolkit or program that can actually run the javascript in a webpage, and let me automate the tasks through that page, that would be awesome, but I have a feeling such an environment does not exist yet.
        • by maxume (22995)

          There are such toolkits. I'm not familiar with any of them, but search for 'Mechanize' to get you started (there are such named libraries for Perl, Ruby and Python...).

          Jumping off from that search, the first obvious 'full featured' toolkit is this one:

          http://watir.com/ [watir.com]

        • There are actually several environments like that. You might want to check out HTMLUnit [sourceforge.net] if you're a programmer. Alternatively the spammer community has done a great job of producing fully visual web-app automation environments, for instance, check out UBot Studio. If you can live with the presence of "solve captcha" and "generate random username" type commands and the community that comes with them, it might do what you want. Just be aware that a lot of websites treat screen scraping as abuse. Typically if
        • by Joe Tie. (567096)
          Four days ago I would have disagreed. And then youtube did an update that broke my scraper and I haven't been able to figure out how yet. That said, I'd much rather that approach than, say, apple. Google won't have a problem with you doing weird shit with their services for the most part. As long as it's not scaming or triggers their automated warnings in some way. But you're shit out of luck if your unsupported method breaks. While apple just plain does everything they can to lock you out of doing anythin
      • There are APIs to retrieve URLs and parse XML. So you should be able to pull content from other sites into Google docs. Output is probably more difficult.

        Since the URL fetch service supports the HTTP methods POST, PUT, and DELETE as well as GET, output is not much more difficult than input.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 14, 2010 @12:44PM (#31472786)

    " including you Google Docs low-lifers."

    Fuck you theodp.

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @03:20PM (#31473884)

    ...but am I the only person here who senses an innate danger to entrusting one's data to a for-profit entity? I simply cannot fathom a scenario in which I would create a business-critical or personal spreadsheet to be stored on a Google server. Google's business is data mining, plain and simple. They certainly aren't offering all of these services out of the goodness of their corporate heart (if there is such a thing). Therefore, there must be some deeper motives at play. Yet, there are those who run around breathlessly extolling every move that Google makes.

    Who are these people who would entrust every detail of their business and personal life to a for-profit company? I would have thought the /. crowd, of all groups, would be asking the difficult questions.

    I find the relative silence concerning these issues both disconcerting and scary.

    • Who are these people who would entrust every detail of their business and personal life to a for-profit company?

      Chances are, it's you.

      Do you have business-critical conversations over the telephone? Few suspected AT&T would open up their network to the NSA to listen to your conversations [eff.org].

      Do you use a social network to share with your acquaintances? Can you trust Facebook to keep your messages private [wsj.com]?

      Do you do anything on the Internet? If so, can you trust your service provider to not be doing the same sort of thing?

      People trust companies with this sort of information all the time, but in the end we tend to con

    • by vertinox (846076)

      ...but am I the only person here who senses an innate danger to entrusting one's data to a for-profit entity? I simply cannot fathom a scenario in which I would create a business-critical or personal spreadsheet to be stored on a Google server.

      I use Google spreadsheets to share the monthly bills with room mates and grocery shopping expenses.

      Though I don't know if that is business mission critical... I wouldn't be upset if someone saw or destroyed that data.

    • by verdante (1661279)

      ...but am I the only person here who senses an innate danger to entrusting one's data to a for-profit entity?

      Google is for-profit? I thought it was just ad-supported...

    • am I the only person here who senses an innate danger to entrusting one's data to a for-profit entity?

      I would rather entrust anything to a for-profit entity than to a non-profit one. With for-profits it is clear that their goal is to make money and that they will behave in line with this goal. Non-profits on the other hand must have some different agenda which may be very well hidden and which I think should be a subject of concern.

    • They certainly aren't offering all of these services out of the goodness of their corporate heart (if there is such a thing). Therefore, there must be some deeper motives at play.

      While there is a free version, Google Apps tied to private domains are a commercial offering. The free version builds a user (and, now with App Script, developer) community with familiarity with the commercial product. Having users familiar with the product and developers targeting both are tools to reduce barriers to corporate acc

  • by dirkdodgers (1642627) on Sunday March 14, 2010 @03:44PM (#31474002)

    When you tie yourself to Microsoft Office you have physical possession of the software and they can't change it from under you. When you buy a copy of Microsoft Office and use it to script your business and finance operations, you can count on it continuing to work for 10 years, no question, as long as you can keep the hardware running, and then as long as you can run the OS in a VM.

    With Google, they can change the software and scripting interfaces right under your nose and there's nothing you can do about. It's not even vendor lock-in, it's customer SOL, because unless you are willing and able to update your solution to use the new interface, that changes every 6 months or a year, knowing Google, you are SOL.

    And the problem is largest for the customers who are most likely to want to take advantage of this: home and small businesses. They're the ones who are least able to take on 3 months of development on short notice to update their scripts to Google App Script x.x++. That will put a home or small business under.

    Advance warning: do not allow another company to control your software upgrade cycle for critical business infrastructure, or they will control you.

    • Advance warning: do not allow another company to control your software upgrade cycle for critical business infrastructure, or they will control you.

      It sounds to me that the above statement applies equally as much to Microsoft as it does to Google!

      Businesses require software support & accountability for in-house applications (perhaps the main reason why Linux hasn't been that well adopted in the Enterprise up till now) and if they are perfectly happy running Office 2000 or 2003 and Windows 2000 or XP, th

      • > Businesses require software support & accountability for in-house
        > applications (perhaps the main reason why Linux hasn't been that well
        > adopted in the Enterprise up till now)

        Support and accountability are readily available for Linux. The difference is that if your support betrays you, you are not SOL.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      When you tie yourself to Microsoft Office you have physical possession of the software and they can't change it from under you. When you buy a copy of Microsoft Office and use it to script your business and finance operations, you can count on it continuing to work for 10 years, no question, as long as you can keep the hardware running, and then as long as you can run the OS in a VM.

      Hallooo!

      2 points I would like to make:

      1. You can download your Google information into txt or csv files which basically can be

  • What about Google writing App Script interpreter for Excel? Would that be helpful for migrating away from Excel to Apps?

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

Working...