How can a Google Doc be used to replace content in an existing topic?

(John Redding) #1

How can a Google Doc be used to replace content in an existing topic?
Many thanks for ideas.

(Blake Erickson) #2

Here are a few ideas…

  1. Just copy and paste whats in the Google Doc into the topic.
  2. Just include a link to the Google Doc
  3. I’m sure some plugin could be created that could watch the google doc for changes and update the topic
  4. Setup a script on the server that would watch the google doc and update the topic using the api.
  5. Or just not use Google Docs and edit the topic directly in discourse.

(John Redding) #3

The script and the plug-in are things that might be tempting to look at a bit closer for some of our needs. I want writing done by writers and they often lack basic SW skills so using things they are used to is desirable. Many thanks, John

(Wayne Scott) #4

Unfortunately I haven’t tried this, but there is a script to export Google Docs as Markdown
If it worked correctly then you would be able to include all the formatting in your post.

(ampburner) #5

I love these low-tech suggestions because they are so true :laughing:

So your writers are not tech savvy…
There is no technical solution in the world which can solve that problem in an efficient, effective, graceful manner.

Online publishing inherently contains an online element - For example: effective publishers will need to think about their online audience (who are they writing for, in what context is their content consumed, which devices are being used, etc)

Sure, you could write a plugin which grabs text from a google doc and injects it into a discourse page, but that will have all sorts of negative side-effects.

It will be buggy.
It will be a pain to use for your writers.
Your writers will end up publishing half-finished content.
Users will be confused because they think the author is an active fellow discourse user.

I think you are looking for a technical shortcut to a non-technical problem.

Instead, consider:

  • teaching your writers to use discourse
  • finding other writers who are a bit more web savvy
  • accept the fact that they prefer working in google docs and manually copy paste the content into discourse.
  • send people directly to the google doc via a link. That way they will know what to expect when they interact with the document.


Perhaps I’ve misunderstood the question John.

Why would you not just publish the doc and post the link like this:

(John Redding) #7

Many thanks Wayne,
I’ll look at it.

(Blake Erickson) #8

This embedded Google doc looks horrible on moble by the way.

(John Redding) #9

Yes, some fancy stuff could be very nicely done this way.

I am toying with a style-sheet for the textual content.

(Sam Saffron) #10

Yeah, it is cropped, a train wreck on mobile


John you may wish to take a look at applying a CSS transform to the Google Doc iFrame.

Microsoft use this to good effect in SharePoint 2013 search preview to ensure iFrames fit within the target viewport without cropping. Example below showing SP sub site live preview scaled to fit available area.

and the element mark up:

<iframe id="xxx_item_hoverViewer" src="https://xxx/factory/audio-digest" scrolling="no" frameborder="0px" class="ms-srch-hover-siteViewer" style="display: block; width: 1200px; height: 900px; transform: scale(0.37083333333333335, 0.37);"> </iframe>