Google Docs and Spreadsheets | Publish Dynamic Content For Free

Google opens up a trove of data for users to harness and build into their own websites…

The Basic Idea:
Allow users to create and publish spreadsheets with dynamically updating data online to their own websites. The method used to cull the data is quite easy -a little too easy if you have a desire to publish complex data results- and has the potential to make any Joe Shmoe an instant RSS expert (Not sure about this, but typically, RSS feeds allow for very little customization by the end user; this is unlike Google’s new dynamic cell formulas).
Here are the formulas users will apply in Google Spreadsheets:

GoogleLookup function
Syntax: =GoogleLookup(“entity”, “attribute”)

GoogleFinance function
Syntax: =GoogleFinance(“symbol”, “attribute”)

In The Past:
Only VB programmers and businesses wealthy enough to subscribe to Bloomberg and Reuters data services have been able to harness the vast amounts of dynamic data available over the internet. Today, they still are pretty much the only ones who can do this – Although, Google Spreadsheets has integrated these very interesting functions which at least takes a step in that direction.

The following is a live example embedded into this post:
(This was super easy)

Publishing your own dynamic spreadsheet:

    1) If you haven’t already, sign up for a Google account. Play around with the above formulas until you’re happy with what the spreadsheet looks like (you’ll see the data dynamically populate the cell once you enter a “proper” attribute, entity and/or symbol – this wan’t so easy for me while messing with different LookUp function).

    2) Click the “Publish” tab on the top right. Change the “Automatically update every 5 minutes?” option to YES. Now click on the “Re-Publish” button to save your settings.

    3) Look further down in this section and click on “More publishing options”

    4) For “File format” choose: HTML to embed in a webpage – adjust the other settings as desired.

    5) Now, simply Generate URL and copy the HTML into your webpage (note: WordPress users should go into their options and revert from the RTF editor to avoid any problems).

Get examples & read more about these functions here:

  • How can I use spreadsheets to answer some of my many questions about the world?
  • How can I get financial market information updated automatically to my spreadsheets?
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets API Documentation on Google Code
  • Publish spreadsheets as web pages
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