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DOCS.COM: What’s New?
ANDRZEJ TURSKI | October 11, 2011
Yes, there was another Docs update yesterday. The focus was to improve sharing with groups. We've got some earlier complains that the group sharing did not always work as expected. Closer investigation revealed that the primary problem was with the application permissions to access group membership data in Facebook.
Let's imagine that somebody in your group shared a document. To verify that you have access to the document, Docs need to know if you are indeed a member of the group. But the default Facebook application permissions do not include group membership data! Docs would request the additional Facebook permissions, for example if you too tried to share a document with the group or if you had a link to the shared document and tried to open it. But until then, the documents shared with the group were not visible to you. Not exactly what most of you would expect.
There is only one good way to fix this problem. Because the group membership is critical for the proper operation Docs, we are now requesting it upfront. If you already gave Docs permission to access your basic Facebook data, you may now see an additional request asking for access to your groups. Please grant it and the group sharing will work the way it was meant to be.
ANDRZEJ TURSKI | October 1, 2011
A few days ago we announced a significant DOCS.COM update. Since then, we’ve gotten many questions concerning what exactly has changed. The answer can be summarized in three words: security, stability and performance. In other words, this was an important backend upgrade that did not bring many immediately visible UI changes, but provided a platform upon each we will be able to add even more features in the near future.
The two most important parts of the upgrade were enabling HTTPS-encrypted access to DOCS (security), and deploying a new versions of embedded Office viewers and editors (stability and performance). HTTPS encryption and its implications are discussed in a separate document (How Secure Are My DOCS?). Here, we will discuss all the other features.
The new version of Office offers viewers and editors is what is often called a service pack. There are little changes to the existing UI, but you may expect all the features to work better and with fewer unexpected problems. That said, there is one new feature worth mentioning: support for online creation and editing of Excel graphs. We know Excel is often used to present data in a graphical form. DOCS were always able to display graphs created in a desktop version of Microsoft Excel, but from now on out you can do the same directly in the browser. We recommend that you highlight the input cells first, then hit a graph button.
Speaking of how DOCS and desktop Office applications work together, we wanted to mention another little feature deployed over the summer: the Upload button. Online editors can be very useful, but they will never be as feature rich as the desktop versions of Office products. If you need some advanced features only available in desktop programs, you can download the file, edit it locally, and upload back to DOCS. The Upload button allows you to upload the file as a new version of the document, preserving the document name and identity.
If you want to edit the online document in a desktop application, and you have a supported browser/Office combination, there is even shorter way. You can click Edit Document to start online editing, then select Open in Word/PowerPoint/Excel to open the document in your desktop application. Once you make any changes (in Office 2010 you may need to Enable Editing first) and click Save button, the document gets saved directly to DOCS servers. As soon as you close the document window, the online changes get committed and the new version of the document becomes available to DOCS viewers. Direct online editing of DOCS documents is very easy and intuitive, but if you cannot use it for any reason, the Upload button effectively provides an equivalent functionality.
Finally, there is one more cool, but yet-not-discussed DOCS feature: embedded documents. If you have your own Web page and want to incorporate a DOCS document viewer into it, you should read our embedded documents guide.
-Andrzej Turskid not always work as expected. Closer investigation revealed that the primary problem was with the application permissions to access group membership data in Facebook.
Finally, there is one more