I enjoy using Google Docs. I have to admit, it is a very easy way to share information between people and to do on-line collaboration. I have used documents to brainstorm ideas and create outlines in real time on-line. Recently I created a form that stores the information submitted into a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, the spreadsheet is a little hard to read with the responses are very long and there are multiple long responses. The provided “summary” view for the spreadsheet doesn’t help, because it just displays all the answers together. This would be great for a survey, but not for a questionnaire. I decided to see if there was a way to get the spreadsheet data and display in a better format, preferably a Flex/Flash application that could be put into a blog page.
The Spreadsheet API provides the information for retrieving and even updating a Google Spreadsheet. I first attempted to download the spreadsheet in CSV format, but that didn’t work. The CSV URL returned a streaming error that might be due to me not setting up the call correctly or a restriction by the Spreadsheet application preventing the Flex/Flash access. After hunting around for a little bit, I found AuthSub in ActionScript . This is one of Google’s methods of authentication. After a quick attempt to get it working, I did a search and found that this probably wouldn’t satisfy my needs either. Since it uses authentication, it will mean that each person who logs on to the site will have to authenticate through Google.
I tried using the “public” view feature on the spreadsheet, but the error back stated that the spreadsheet didn’t exist. In multiple attempts at different URL formations, nothing worked. Most likely, I’ll have to setup something in PHP to retrieve the spreadsheet, store it, then access the data. I’ll have to take a look at it sometime later.
Well, apparently it is much easier to view the public spreadsheet, if the spreadsheet if set to “Public” and not “Private”. Welp, onward and upward!