Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How to make a pie

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Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog: How to make a pie

I have a friend who is a great chef and owns a restaurant. A while ago he called and asked me in his mild French accent "how to make a pie." I can cook, and I do it quite often. My family loves the food I make, but I have never been asked before for a recipe by a professional chef, and I felt really flattered. I started telling him about my great apple pie, a recipe I learned from my mom, and he started laughing, saying "no, no, no, no." He wanted to know about spreadsheet pies.

A few months ago I told him how useful it could be to manage his restaurant's financials with Google spreadsheets. He would be able to access his data from home, from work, or while on one of his many trips. My pitch worked, and he started using Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Now he is asking me how to add charts to his spreadsheet, and he is not the only one -- many people have asked us about this. So today we are unveiling a quick, simple way to add charts to your spreadsheets: select the cells you want to use for the chart data, click the new chart icon in the toolbar, and, in the popup dialog, select your chart type and customize it.

Here are a few more of the new spreadsheet features:
  • Named ranges: you can define a name for a range of cells, and use this name in formulas to refer to cells, for example write =sum(expenses) instead of =sum(c12:e17). This helps make calculation logic clearer to write and understand. Check it out under the "Formulas" tab.
  • Cell comments: Attach comments to individual cells, great for additional information or for collaboration on a single cell.
  • Bi-directional text: The ability to properly view and edit text in right-to-left languages like Hebrew. This is very important for our local community here in Israel.
  • A quick way to duplicate a sheet.
  • A new right-click option to search the web for the text in a cell.
So do have fun with this release, and keep sending us ideas and suggestions.

URL: http://google-d-s.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-make-pie.html

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogs of Note: 1000 and counting!

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Blogger Buzz: Blogs of Note: 1000 and counting!

Today's Notable Blog is our One Thousandth - hurrah! For the curious, this Buzz post delightfully tells of Blogs of Note's history; in Ev's words it's:
"a simple, ongoing, irregularly updated list of blogs [we]'ve happened to come across and found interesting for one reason or another. This reason need not be substantial. It could be [we] liked a particular post. It could be the blog seems to have good writing, or good design, or original content or concept, or [we] just like the name."
Since re-launching Blogs of Note over a year ago, we've done a pretty good job of publishing a new one each day; of course this is entirely thanks to you all for creating such great blogs - keep up the great work!

Lately they've ranged from cooking (breakfast, a single dad's kitchen) to travel/outdoors (Alaska, Dubai, Australia) to music to documentary to international awareness - and that's just in the past 10. For more, check out the 5+ year archive at blogsofnote.blogspot.com, and here's to the next thousand!

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/04/blogs-of-note-1000-and-counting.html

Google data APIs connect Cocoa developers to Google

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Official Google Mac Blog: Google data APIs connect Cocoa developers to Google

Posted by Greg Robbins, Software Engineer

When you trust your personal data to Google, it's still your data. You're free to edit it, to share it with others, or to download it and take it somewhere else entirely. The principle is simple: we won't lock you away from your data. In practice, we work hard to be sure that you and the software you use have the access that makes the principle really meaningful.

Last year, Google introduced Google data APIs, based on the Atom Publishing Protocol. Google data APIs are just a standard way to allow programs to get at your data on our servers. They already work with Google Calendar, Google Base, Blogger, and many other services. Google provides libraries to make it easy for programmers working in Java, C#, and Javascript to use the APIs.

The native language for Mac OS X applications is Objective-C, and it's our preferred language for Mac application development. To make it simpler for us to write Mac software that interacts with Google services, I created a framework to use Google data APIs directly in Objective-C programs. We are using the framework for our application development, and today we are making the framework available to all developers. The Google Data APIs Objective-C Library joins MacFUSE and Breakpad as open-source development efforts of Google's Mac software team, hosted at code.google.com.

A few small examples will give programmers an idea of how natural it is to use the framework to interact with Google services. Say an online roleplaying game wants to add a reminder to your Google Calendar that you need to be ready to join your guild in battle tonight between 10 and 11 pm. Adding the appointment to your calendar takes a few lines like this:

#import "GData/GData.h"

GDataServiceGoogleCalendar *service =
[[GDataServiceGoogleCalendar alloc] init];
[service setUserCredentialsWithUsername:@"myaccount@gmail.com"

NSURL *calendarFeedURL =
[NSURL URLWithString:kGDataGoogleCalendarDefaultPrivateFullFeed];

GDataEntryCalendarEvent *newEvent =
[GDataEntryCalendarEvent calendarEvent];
GDataTextConstruct *content =
[GDataTextConstruct textConstructWithString:@"Battle today at 10pm"];

[newEvent setContent:content];
[newEvent setIsQuickAdd:YES];

[service fetchCalendarEventByInsertingEntry:newEvent

Or, if a screensaver wants to get the items you've advertised for sale on Google Base and animate them in a groovy fashion, this is how it would retrieve your stuff:

NSURL *baseFeedURL = [NSURL URLWithString:kGDataGoogleBaseUserItemsFeed];
[service fetchGoogleBaseFeedWithURL:baseFeedURL

The framework calls back into the screensaver with the list (called a feed) of Google Base items:

- (void)baseTicket:(GDataServiceTicket*)ticket
finishedWithFeed:(GDataFeedGoogleBase *)feed {
NSArray *myItems = [feed entries];

The framework also supports key-value coding, so it's quick and easy for Mac code chefs to use Cocoa bindings to whip up user interface displays of your information. Several sample Cocoa applications are available at code.google.com to show how to use more features of the Google data APIs.

Google Calendar, Google Base, Google Spreadsheets, and generic Atom feeds like Blogger are supported now in the framework, with access to more services already in development. If you are a Mac developer, I hope you'll join the open-source project and help us make even more Mac applications Google-savvy.

URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2007/04/google-data-apis-connect-cocoa.html