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Google Adds Scripting Capabilities To Google Docs 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the scripted-dialogue dept.
snydeq writes "Google will add scripting capabilities to Google Docs, allowing organizations to customize their online applications and automate tasks. Google plans to sign up about 1,000 customers over the next few weeks to test the feature, called Google Apps Script. It will be tested initially in Google Spreadsheets and extended to other Google Docs applications over time. The company isn't saying yet when Apps Script — which is based on JavaScript with object-based extensions added by Google — will be widely available. Google Docs users can already apply to try it out."
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Google Adds Scripting Capabilities To Google Docs

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  • Wave is set to pretty much assimilate the web. Just got done watching the demo at wave.google.com [google.com] and I think I need to change my boxers.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by patro (104336)

      Got me thinking. Will Slashdot and similar forums exist in their current form a few years from now? Or will they transform into wave servers and topics like this one will be waves on those servers?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Of course forums like this will still exist. Usenet is still in use, even for important stuff (like comp.risks, or news.admin.net-abuse.*), as well as places like the scary devil monastery. I even found a dial-up BBS that was in active use last year, although that was mainly being used as a historical curiosity than as a proper means of communication. Some things will die out and switch to Google waves, many others will stay in use as they currently exist.

        On the other hand, switching to Google Wave would b

        • by patro (104336) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:07AM (#28148243) Journal

          because it would be under the control of a single corporation, this could well be argued to be a bad thing, for obvious reasons.

          The protocol will be open and every can run their own wave server independetly of Google, so it won't be under the control of a single corporation.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          ...but because it would be under the control of a single corporation, this could well be argued to be a bad thing, for obvious reasons.

          Actually, Google Wave is an open protocol and and open platform, and multiple Wave servers can communicate with each other, so it wouldn't have to all be under the control of a single corporation. That's one of the things about Google Wave which I find quite exciting.

        • Usenet is still in use

          But obviously not for war3z and pr0n. No no no. Not at all.

    • by Philip_the_physicist (1536015) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:55AM (#28148393)
      Remember, the reason not every tool is a hammer is because not every problem is a nail. Google are doing a good job of remembering the key Unix design philosiphy: "Do one thing, do it right, and make sure you can talk to everything else". Each of their apps is fairly self contained, and yet can be tied together with their APIs. Thus, it seems likely that wave, along with everything else, will be useable as a data source for Docs macros, once the API is complete.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        make sure you can talk to everything else

        I wish Google Chrome would talk to my Firefox extensions.

    • by Macka (9388)

      Thanks for the link, I'd not seen that. Just spent the last 1hr20 watching the vid. WOW, this answers my needs on so many levels. I look forward to the day when this is as ubiquitous as SMTP, and email can finally be put to rest.

    • If it was a real program, it *might* be interesting, even though it doesn't really add anything new.

      But crap to run in a browser?

      Hell no.

      • by AnyoneEB (574727)
        It's a protocol which I believe is based on XMPP (Jabber) and makes heavy use of HTML5, so any client would have to pretty much embed a web browser in order to view messages. Google made a web client first because (1) it's Google, they like coding for web and (2) it is a quick and easy way to make an app cross-platform. If Google does not make a native client for it (like they made Google Talk), then other projects will because a lot of people (including myself) agree with you that the web is the wrong plac
  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @05:58AM (#28148217) Homepage Journal

    If they want to make any impression on M$Office advanced users, they have to also offer inter-application scripting. e.g. script to convert special text document to spreadsheet. or script to convert spreadsheet lines into appointments.

    The forte of M$Office is seamless - from scripting point of view - integration between the applications.

    • I don't think the parent is a troll. The sort of giant messes of VBA which he refers to are evil, but very popular, and typically began as a simple connection to fulfil some useful purpose. If Google Docs can't do something as easily as MS Office can, then that will be a barrier to adoption, and Google would do well to remember that trying to force oyur users to do things properly is a bad idea, in general, because they want to do things the easy(-seeming) way.

      There is currently the Google API for tying th

      • by Cico71 (603080)

        Exactly. People that modded parent as troll should go out of the basement and have a look at what happens in large organizations where users are left building Office cross-application. Criticizing this model is one thing, living in a idealistic dream i another thing. So op arguments are perfectly legit.

        Having said so, I don't think availability of this integration between apps is a problem yet. Although there are already some examples, I don't see large organizations queuing up to outsource their office app

    • by confused one (671304) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @08:02AM (#28148607)

      The user has a point. There's a massive number of companies, large and small, that have business processes dependant on VBA scripts in Microsoft Office apps. This keeps a lot of companies using Office, because they don't want to re-create those scripts -- many of which were created by people who don't know java; or, to be fair, don't know how to code in Basic either. (some of the stuff I've seen *shudder*)

      If Google can offer similar scripting capability, and interpret existing VBA scripts, they might take some of Microsoft's business. Unfortunately, there are licensing fees Microsoft demands for VBA.

  • Hope this turns out to be more Perl than Hypercard.

  • Takes me back... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:13AM (#28148263)
    I seem to remember that programmability was the exact reason so many security experts despised the MS Office Suite. How long until the first Google Docs based malware installation?
    • by TheLink (130905)
      How long? I'm not sure whether it'll be a few minutes or hours after hackers get to play with it :).

      It was the first thing I thought of after reading "adds scripting capabilities"- worms etc.

      It's not like Google has had a great security track record (cross site scripting, unauthorized access to picasa pictures, etc).
  • Do not want (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dynamoo (527749) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:14AM (#28148267) Homepage
    The interwebs is already under assault from script-borne malware in PDFs, Flash, QuickTime and of course Microsoft Office has always been widely exploited in the past. Take, for example, Javascript support in Adobe Acrobat.. who uses it? When we turned support off for 5000 users exactly *zero* people noticed. It seems that these things are only of use to the Bad Guys.

    Imagine the fun they will have with docs scripting combined with the wonderful world of XSS attacks. What could possibly go wrong?

    • So Google shouldn't add new functionality to their applications because it might be abused?

      Perhaps companies should stop manufactoring computers, I mean, look how they get abused.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        So Google shouldn't add new functionality to their applications because it might be abused?

        I think the poster was against adding unnecessary functionalities. They shouldn't add new stuff just because it's new, and we shouldn't accept it unless it's relevant and useful.

    • There is some confusion evidently being caused by the summary. This is not a feature being offered for Google Apps, per se, but rather Google Apps for Your Domain.

      Malicious implementations is an utterly irrelevant concern. If I own a domain, I can put malicious software on there whether or not I am using Google Apps.

      Personally, I think this is amazing and brilliant and the way the web should be. Why would you not want your software to be extensible? We will probably start seeing 'competitors' to gmail w

  • by dword (735428) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @06:22AM (#28148285)

    Now, we all know that there are two kinds of companies: those that afford buying quality custom software and those (a lot!) that can't and use Excel and Word scripts. With the power of sharing, multiple simultaneous editors, chat, publishing, safe backups, etc. could Google Docs be considered a more powerful Office suite? They still have some limitations like the number of rows in Google Docs Spreadsheet is a lot lower than the number of rows limit in Microsoft Office Excel. What will happen when they'll overcome those limitations?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by physicsphairy (720718)

      What will happen when they'll overcome those limitations?

      Every one will stand up and clap and then get all misty eyed, because darnit if trying your hardest and making it across the finish line isn't more important than winning!

      Finish up with hugs all around and roll credits.

    • by mspohr (589790)
      64 rows is enough for anyone.

      Seriously, lots of people use Excel as a database and they generate a lot of errors since random flying fingers can generate errors which are impossible to find... and don't even get me started on pivot tables...

    • by Macka (9388)

      For some people it already is. I know a couple of people (not me yet) who've decided that for home stuff they just don't need a full blown PC with Office software anymore and are using Google for everything now. Google Docs are perfectly adequate for writing letters and doing simple tasks that require a spreadsheet. They will only get more sophisticated, and internet bandwidth will keep on increasing, so this will only get better.

  • so we can create macros. not record with this feature
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday May 30, 2009 @07:17AM (#28148457)

    While Google Docs is more stable, its features are still wanting compared to Zoho Writer. Google Docs still has nothing to challenge Zoho Writer's Zoho Creator after all thins long!

    Sometimes I wonder whether it was a mistake not to buy Zoho. Those folks at Zoho are quite amazing. There is a an almost 2 year old comparison [blogspot.com] of the two in which I'd say Zoho beats Google hands down.

  • Javascript, you can never have too many obscure subdialects of it.
  • That may be cool, but the point of Google Docs (for me at least), is to be able to share documents across the web, and edit them online, which you cannot do (reliably) at the moment.

    Currently, if I make a document on the web, and send a link to it to some people, they cannot see it unless they happen to have a Google account [google.com], or they are willing to create one or go through some ridiculous voodoo [google.com]. So for me, it's useless as it is, and new features seem irrelevant. Yes, I know it's Beta etc.

  • Did I hear that right? Google has GAS?
  • glob(*.*).textReplace("company", "boobs lolz")
  • Another google doc scripting vounerability has been found in the wild today. Researchers are still unclear why google thought they were smart enough to implement safe scripting. This marks the seventh nuclear missle fired by google docs this week. The goverment has decided, grudgingly, that perhaps switching to google docs was not the smartest move ever.

    Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?

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