I think this is a great solution for anyone who wants to throw some articles online without having to muck about with frameworks or the minutiae of managing a blog. Good work, OP!
People might crap on your idea because it relies on a Google product, but massive companies like Snapchat and Airbnb use Google Cloud.
Obviously GDocs are a bit different but lots of businesses are built on top of Google products (e.g. Google Maps)
And if they forgot that, Google just reminded them with massive price hikes and limits on free use https://www.mapsmarker.com/docs/misc/google-maps-tos-changes...
Your comment might be right, but this sentence is puzzling. How does this require less minutiae than, say, Medium or tumblr?
Docs UI -- Editing documents in a proper word processor is better than most blogging platforms
This lets you make a blog of existing docs
It's not a drop-in replacement for everything, but it's novel and makes sense as an option for a lot of people
Wordpress is here to stay and relatively under your control
I say it's a quick and easy way to put some things out there.
That said now that's actually a concern to me. Anyone know of any decent automated google docs backup services?
I would. Deeply unhappy with all the fashionable reliance on external monoliths as a matter of course. Whenever I have the choice, I simply discount technologies that can't stand on its own legs. I would not trust Google with my shopping list. Why would I trust them with a website?
In my opinion, platforms like WordPress can feel bloated or be intimidating to new users.
For this reason, I wanted to build a blogging platform on top of Google Docs.
I actually run my own blog as a side project, and I use GDocs religiously because of its excellent collaboration and sharing features. When I’m collaborating with dozens of writers, it’s convenient to be able to use a product that everyone is familiar with.
Another cool thing, I built and launched this project in 24 hours and streamed the whole thing on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/313288148). I started with just an idea, and streamed the entire process to launch and had a few thousands viewers tune in.
Excited to get your feedback.
Personally, I see the benefits to using GDrive as the backend, but instead of having to host a server, I would rather be able to run a static site generator that exports my GDrive folder into some HTML that I can push to a free/cheap hosting provider. Is that something you've considered?
Static site generation would also obviate the concern that Google could "delete your blog" -- at worst, they could delete the source documents, but the published blog would be unaffected.
There is a rate limit on their API although I don't think I will hit it at this point of the project, but I do plan to start thinking about how I can cache/save the export from the Google doc for pages that are getting hit really hard. Any ideas?
Google can just take down your blog any day if they feel like it. With Wordpress I can host my own.
I wonder if it would be possible to use something like Etherpad as backend instead?
And then since Google has been tracking related emails, they'll close those too.
I thought about using Google Docs for a publishing project, but the lack of an enforced schema made me pick a JS rich text editor instead.
Also, how do you deal with images?
People take to Wordpress relatively easily in my experience.
So I'm reading your plus point specifically as the collaboration support in Gdocs.
Your site says the project is open source, but I can't find any link. Will you share a link to the source?
Contributions are very welcome!
Code is very hacky and I've been trying to manage making some changes between all the feedback I've gotten and my full time job.
You may be collaborating with more people than you know. Cause it's, you know, google. I wonder how many third parties get access to your data. Remember, when you aren't paying or pay very little, _you_ are the product.
Disclaimer: I work at Google Cloud, but not G Suite/Docs.
I'm not making strain
Said, "Someone's paying
When something's too cheap
Somebody's paying something"
You said, "Some one's paying something."
Under a morning moon, yeah
Say those little things that don't make anyone feel better, yeah
I've had a wordpress website for 8 years. Is this going to work in 8 years? 6 months?
You Don't Need To Be Insulted By You Don't Need WordPress.
I work for https://forestry.io/ and we created a CMS for static sites that lets users write markdown with a WYSIWYG editor, and allows devs to build an interface for editing front matter.
It's not impossible to get regular people to mark up text; WordPerfect did so very effectively for many years. But it's worth remembering that (1) that was in the 1980s, when people put up with having to learn things they didn't want to because the technology wasn't advanced enough to offer them an alternative, and (2) eventually the technology did advance, and Microsoft Word came along with its WYSIWYG interface and promptly put WordPerfect into a hole in the desert.
It's also not impossible to write a static CMS that provides a normie-friendly WYSIWYG interface, rather than having everything revolve around editing text files. That's what Movable Type (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movable_Type) was, for instance, a set of Perl scripts that provided a friendly WYSIWYG interface over content stored in a database, and then ground out static pages from that content whenever it changed. But modern SSGs are pitched to developers first and foremost, so they all revolve around stuff like Markdown and Git that are about as approachable to non-technical people as garlic is to Dracula.
Another time a friend of mine, who I wouldn't call non-technical, but isn't a programmer, was collaborating with me on a Github wiki for a project we were working on. I was flabbergasted at the way he would copy-paste and edit the source of pages I'd written just to get bold text instead of typing the asterisks himself. He was just really used to WYSIWYG formatting buttons.
This HN comment provides quite an interesting theory about why Markdown in particular has such a different reception by programmers and non-programmers.
For my blog that I mentioned in my top comment, I use Google Docs because I'm working with people that usually don't know Markdown (I'm interviewing e-commerce business owners).
I need it to be as easy as possible for them to get the written interview done. From my experience, a Google doc is the easiest way to do this, and it allows for very familiar features when I ask them for edits or provide feedback in-document.
Basically, I'm trying to make as little friction as possible to getting the document complete.
This is just my experience.
> Basically, I'm trying to make as little friction as possible to getting the document complete.
I can see how it may be more frictionless for you to use Google Docs, and how this may be less work for you than for example installing and running your own Etherpad. But I think it's too grand a statement to say that "You Don't Need Wordpress" because people that don't want to give up their online freedom still do.
Maybe that's what's upsetting people about this project, it's grandiose title that's dismissing another successful free blogging platform? While I fell kinda bad about defending anything PHP, WordPress does have a lot of extensions and your solution couldn't replace WooCommerce or WPForms.
And every now and then think to myself "I should check what this 'markdown' thing is" :P
Checking it now, I can absolutely agree that 100% of my non-developer friends will believe it is code and beyond them [both untrue as facts but true as perceptions]. And trying to persuade them otherwise will only convince them further how much out of touch with "the real world" I am :D
I'd say that Docs is as safe as YouTube or Gmail. Sure, you might get locked out of your account with no recourse, but the offering itself isn't likely to go away.
Docs doesn't have anything in their current product line that they can do the same to, they might merge another product INTO Docs and kill that product, but never Docs itself.
That would be my bigger concern.
If you want a blog I don't know why you would go with anything but starting with a static site generator and building on top of that.
And you're saying other people can see pictures of my kids with "only" a weekend's worth of work (assuming one is an experienced developer)? Yeah, thanks, I'll stick with Wordpress.
And the comment is directed at people reading hacker news, so a majority are probably tech savy enough to glue together some CSS, small html templates, and markdown.
Hosting is free if you host it on GitHub Pages. I have my own VPS on DigitalOcean. Maintenance of that node is insignificant though, as the machine auto-updates itself. And you don't need to do it if you're on GitHub or GitLab Pages or other similar services.
The initial cost was a little high, setting it up and all. But now that cost is virtually zero.
And guess what ... it's mine, my blog, my website, on my own domain. It's part of my identity, it's the link I place in email signatures. It's my creation, just like my work or open source contributions.
In 2005 when my career started I was also using a blogging service. Until my membership was revoked for some reason and I lost articles in which I poured my soul in. Never again.
Outsourcing your blog to others is ... foolish. And not having a blog, as a computer scientist, is equally foolish.
So setup a static blog with a tool like https://jekyllrb.com. The initial setup smells like yak shaving, however you'll get over it and you won't regret the investment.
After building this project I was thinking about a similar project where you could build a straight up website with Google Docs. Since Google's HTML export is pretty sophisticated (it also converts charts/shapes/etc) to HTML, it could work!
Almost a throwback to that Microsoft product? Can't remember the name..
Not really sure if justice was served at this point.
If something breaks, I know its my fault, and using the knowledge gained by setting it up, I should have a pretty good idea where to start.
Never stop learning.
The underlying technology we used is drive-db, a library I made to use a spreadsheet as the database. Then just used an obscure-ish Google docs API to retrieve each article content. When you wanted to publish an article, you had to create the doc, publish to the web and copy the link to the spreadsheet.
This looks like a very well put together product of the hacky solution I did back in the day, so kudos!
Edit: the best feature of this is that several people can collaborate in real time on an article! Something that Wordpress doesn't have and was used a lot for us in the beginning.
Using Spreadsheets instead of Docs, and it's not a product per-say, more like a go-to setup for medium size websites
Glad to see more people are using the technologies freely available instead of using wordpress for every small project
If so, this is a non-starter for me.
There's a recording on Twitch if you wanna skim through it (I linked to it in my top comment). Cheers
At least your landing page actually talks about what makes your thing good, I've seen worse examples of promotion which then also spend a large percentage of their space talking about their competitors.
However I am beginning to feel that the user experience might not be exactly equivalent.
I looked for this information and could not find it. Thank you!
The most pleasurable set-up I do, for work and personal, is have a DO droplet hosting a bare-boned server, where static pages are served up, mostly text - because content is King, right?