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I forgot to mention earlier that I was actually invited to add a few words – or a few hundred - at the end of the Google Docs seminar given by Stijn Dekeyser and Richard Watson. I talked about the problems with its markup, as discussed herebefore.

Reading up on this a bit more, I’ve discovered that Google Docs and Spreadsheets (mainly spreadsheets) will soon have an API. Can’t find any concrete details, but this is a huge opportunity for the ICE project. ICE is about finding the safe space within the feature sets of HTML, Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org so documents can interoperate; we’re good at figuring out how to do this, so if there’s an API that allows any control at all then I think we can work with GoogleDocs.

One obvious place to start would be a process to clean up their list structures. Clicking around the Google Docs toolbar can make some really awful structures, most of which would be pretty easy to normalize into proper HTML.

This would mean that instead of having to install the whole ICE software stack (just OpenOffice.org plus the ICE app and optionally MS Word)  a casual user could visit the ICE site and click a button to send the document to Google Docs – edit it there and send it back (maybe automatically?) ICE could continue to look after the course, or intranet or thesis as a whole.

I wonder how well Google Docs handles really long documents?


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