Articles

Is Google reading my mind? Some new Share tools are just what I was thinking…

In Tools on October 9, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged:

One of the great things about “cloud computing” tools is that there are no software updates to install or new version announcements…not with Google Apps (we call them Share Apps) anyway. One day you’ll be thinking, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if you could get an RSS feed from a site”, or “It’s such a hassle to recreate that list page for every meeting we have, why can you make it once and save it as a template!”

Well, what I’ve found is that the folks at Google pretty much must be monitoring my thoughts because sure enough, I thought those things (along with the other members of our team) last week, and sure enough, there they are.

With RSS feeds, you’ll now be able to use your favourite RSS reader to monitor your Share sites (for updates, changes, or comments) instead of relying on the “subscribe to changes” emails ending up in your Share Mail (@share.epsb.ca) inbox.

With the page templates, I can spend some quality time designing a page, then make it a template for my site.  Very useful if you have made a class blog, for example.   If you find other cool ways to use these new features (or old features), be sure to SHARE them on the Share HELP site for staff & students.  Everyone in EPS had editing rights to that site, and anyone can see it on the web.

Terry from the TIPS team.

Here’s what Google had to say about these new features:

(By the way, I keep up with what’s new with apps by following this page.)

You can now access any announcement page as a feed by adding posts.xml to the end of that announcement page URL. For example, this is the feed URL for our sample ski club site:

http://sites.google.com/a/googleuniversity.org/ski-club/Home/Ski-Club-Announcements/posts.xml

Feeds are also available for site comments (add “comments.xml”) and site activity (add “activity.xml”). Announcement and comment feeds follow the permission of the site and require authentication for private sites. This means online feed readers which don’t support authenticated feeds won’t be able to subscribe to private site feeds or site activity.

Lastly, we also added the ability to create custom page templates for a site. Creating a page template lets you define default content as well as settings, like layout, that other collaborators can use when they create a new page. For example, if you are working on an intranet site, you can create a department page template and use that template for each department page. This saves time and adds consistency to your site.

Screenshot - templates

Screenshot - templates

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