on September 14, 2010 by Simon Cockell in How To, Under Review, Comments (0)

Posting to a Knowledge Blog using Google Docs

It is possible to use Google Docs as your blogging tool on Knowledgeblog. This post explains how this is accomplished, and serves as an example of the process, since it was authored itself in Google Docs.

Author

Simon J Cockell

Bioinformatics Support Unit

Newcastle University

United Kingdom

NE1 7RH

s.j.cockell@newcastle.ac.uk

Basic Setup

  • Use your web browser to navigate to http://docs.google.com/ and log in (or set up an account if you do not already have one).
  • Click ‘Settings’ and then ‘Documents Settings’
  • Now select the ‘Editing’ tab and ensure that the ‘New version of Google Documents’ check box is unticked
  • Save your settings
  • Create a new document (Create new -> Document)
  • Write your post
  • Click on the arrow next to ‘Share’ in the top right of the screen
  • Select ‘Publish as web page…’ from the resulting drop-down
  • Follow the link on the following page entitled ‘Set your blog site settings’
  • Select ‘My own server/custom’
  • Select ‘MetaWebLog API’ from the API dropdown (see ‘Technical Problems’ below)
  • Enter the XMLRPC URL in the ‘URL’ box, this is the blog URL with xmlrpc.php on the end. So for this blog, it is http://process.knowledgeblog.org/xmlrpc.php
  • Enter your username and password in the appropriate boxes, you should now be able to check if you have everything correct by pressing the ‘Test’ button
  • If everything works OK, pressing ‘Publish’ will post the article to the Knowledge Blog

Technical Problems

Despite being the most feature complete blogging API, the Moveable Type API used by Google Docs is unable to give posts a title, so if you publish by this method you will have to log into the Knowledgeblog admin interface and manually add a title to your new post. There is evidence that this problem is solved by using the MetaWebLog API instead, which is why the instructions here detail this method.

Similarly, Google Docs cannot add categories to posts, so to classify an article as e.g. ‘Under Review’, you will again have to log into the Knowledge Blog and add categories to the post manually.

Text pasted into a Google Doc from Microsoft Word is unlikely to upload successfully. This is due to it containing a number of characters that Docs does not interpret correctly.

Revising a Post

Docs deals well with post revisions. Once you have published a post, if you continue to edit the original document, then go to Share -> Publish as web page…’ and click ‘Republish post’ the original Knowledgeblog post will be updated.

Features

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks you have inserted into your document should work as expected. To insert a new hyperlink, highlight the word that you want to be linked, select the ‘Link’ option from the toolbar and enter the URL you want to link to in the appropriate box. Alternatively select the ‘Insert’ menu, then select ‘Link’, you will then be prompted to enter the text you want to display, and the URL you want it to link to in the resulting dialog box.

Images

Images can be added to a post in the same way as adding them to a normal document. Go to the ‘Insert’ menu, and select ‘Image…’. Once you have selected the image you want in your post, it will appear in your document. When you publish the post, images will appear in the post, but will still be hosted on Google Docs.

Example:

Lists

  1. As the above demonstrates, bulleted lists work as expected.
  2. So do numbered lists.

Text Justification

Text will be justified in the blog post as it is in the Word document.

This text is centred.

This text is right justified.

Blogging features

Most normal blogging features (tagging, catergorisation, draft publishing) are not supported by Google Docs.

What can’t you do?

  • Schedule posts for future publishing
  • Change the publication date of posts
  • Tag posts
  • Give posts categories

Other Resources

This post is published from a publicly available Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AfOYO2CrGVW4ZGQ5d2o0ODRfMTQyY2dtNjRnYzg&hl=en_GB.

Other articles covering blogging from Google Docs:

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