WordPress.com for Google Docs

NOTE: There various random elements in this post. They are testing the add-in’s ability to transfer formatting from Google Docs to WordPress. For instance, this note is double spaced to test if the add-in will carry over the spacing to my blog.

HORIZONTAL_RULE: HorizontalRule

Last week WordPress announced the release of the WordPress.com for Google Docs Chrome add-in. Simply, this add-in enables Google Docs to function as a post editor for your WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress.org blogs.

The power of this add-in comes from benefits that are innate to Google Docs:

  1. Collaboration – Co-creation of content is what Google Docs excels at. You and your collaborators create document in Google Docs and then post to the desired blog. Having lead a multi-author blog in the past, I know what a huge effort to create a post collaboratively and then cut-and-paste it to the blog. Only to then have to reformat the formatting that didn’t survive the cut-and-paste.
  2. Richer Editing Environment – WordPress’s editor has a limited set of functionality for formatting a post – in one off situations. (I can change the CSS if I want to change these things universally.) I particularly have wanted to have more control over font, font size, and emphasis. Like strikethrough. I’ve also wanted better control of padding around images and spacing between paragraphs and lines The add-in’s page in the Google webstore says “Your images and most formatting will carry over too. No more copy-and-paste headaches!” I’m using this post as a test of various formatting states, we’ll see how well it ports over to WordPress.

I’ve found that control of images and where they are within the text of a post a bit problematics in the editor in WordPress. Docs does this better so I’m hoping that inserting images that I want in a particular location will work better with this add-in.

And how about my question regarding font size.

This is normal. I assume this will correspond to “paragraph” in WordPress.

This is a bit larger.

This is even larger.

This is a test to see how the inserted polldaddy.com thumbs up/thumbs down rating deals with this add-in

I haven’t tried to arrange a group of photos on my blog yet, but noticed in the comments on the add-in page that several people do this, so i thought I’d play with it here. Just for fun.

INLINE_DRAWING: InlineDrawing

ISSUES

After I use the add-in I’ll revise the post to at least add comments as to what came across and what didn’t. I’ve included two images below of the document in Google Docs, so You’ll be able to see for yourselves.

But before that, there are a few issues that have been raised on the add-in’s page in the Google webstore. Some users of WordPress.org sites are having issues authenticating their blogs to the add-in. However, if they turn off all other add-ins, authenticate their wordpress.org sites to the add-in and the turn all other add-ins back on; everything seems to be running correctly.

The other issue that has been raised is that some people who are adding images via URLs. It seems here that most have used URLs they believed to be public but they weren’t.

Finally, one functionality that others have brought up that I agree would be awesome if it were available is that updating the Google document does not update the blog post. A revised version of a post would effectively be a new post. Since most blogs don’t allow backdating, you’d be publishing the revision today and then the question would be, do you delete the original post – which is problematic if there are comments and or trackbacks to it.

This add-on is definitely a 1,0 and the plan from Automattic, WordPress’s parent company, is that new features should be expected as the add-in usage builds.

OK, time to upload my page and see how it comes out. Here is what it looks like in Google Docs

INLINE_DRAWING: InlineDrawing

_________________________________

So the results.  This is actually the second time I tried importing from Google Docs.  The first time only the text came through.  I reported it to WordPress and they said they were fixing a few things and to try again.

The second time through, it seems to be working as expected.   Here is a marked up image of what it was supposed to look like, had everything I put in the document come through:

wordpress google editor test

The X’s represent formatting that didn’t come through.  The Double spacing of the “Note” at the beginning.  The horizontal line, the image of the WordPress editor (because it was make using the drawing tool in Google Docs), the stair step font sizes and then the collage of pictures (again created with the drawing tool).  My direct images (the two icons one right and one left) came through, but a little out of place.  The strikethrough text and the polldaddy thumbs up thumbs down poll.  So 4 of 8 came through.  According to WordPress, the formatting that didn’t come through can’t be supported in the import.

So all and all, kudos to WordPress and Google.  This is a nice add-in to Chrome.

2 responses to “WordPress.com for Google Docs

  1. I would expect such a bridge to carry over all structuring elements (paragraphs, pictures) but leave behind formatting. Nowadays formatting can be achieved and overrun by so many ways it’s mind boggling (css, inline style, tables, float, flex, elements). Eventually it could very well be error sin your theme css, something neither Google or WordPress is even aware of. Also, you would lose some consistency in the appearance of your post. Did you try to move the same google doc to say Evernote. What is transferable will eventually be the least common factor. I would use this for very plain documents.

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    • Hey Bruno. You’re exactly on the mark, that’s why some of the Google formatting can’t come through and some can. George Hotelling from Automattic (WordPress) was quit responsive in explaining that in building this add-in for Chrome, they had to watch out to not get tangled up with the theme css etc. It is also why it only works for WordPress.com sites – where WordPress can attend to such issues.

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