Docs365

 

Docs365 - a Google Docs Add-on - Quick Help

Go here to install the add-on

Docs365 is a new cloud-based approach to (professional) authoring, Docs365 is an Integrated Authoring Environment (IAE) that runs in your favorite browser and stores your content securely in the cloud. Docs365 is based on Google Drive and Google Docs, giving you both free revision history ("source control") as well as multi-user authoring, even within the same document. For some people, Docs365 could be explained as a "FrameMaker for the Cloud".

Docs365 can be used either on individual documents or on projects containing any number of smaller documents (topics).

Docs365 consist of three main parts:

The add-on provides a number of "sidebars" with a set of useful tools, such as inserting a "variable", applying a stylesheet and more.

Docs365 supports four different types of users, the lone writer; the team writer collaborating with other writers; the reviewer; and the manager overseeing a bunch of writing projects.

Docs365 supports the authoring of a single doc; authoring a set of documents; managing a number of writing projects; collaboration on a single document; and collaboration on a set of docs.

Docs365 supports generating different alternative versions of documents and features for generating different types of output from the same source documents.

Perhaps one of the more important features of Docs365 is the content analysis and link management.

The Add-on UE

Docs365

The add-on UI consists of a three different sidebars, each divided into several sections.

The Writing sidebar.

The Drawing sidebar.

The Misc sidebar.

Common snippets section (NEW)

You have a personal Docs365/Common/Snippet folder that can contain small documents with sentences or paragraphs you often want include into documents. This section lists all those "snippet" documents. Use options here to quickly import content.

The Project TOC section

This section shows the project TOC of the project the topic is within. Clicking on one of the topics in the TOC opens a menu. Use the options in the menu to insert a link to the selected topic or open a new tab to edit the topic.

The Incoming links section

This section lists all topics in your drive that links to the document you are viewing. Clicking on one of the topics opens a menu. Use the options in the menu to insert a link to the topic or view the topic.

The Topics section

This section lists all topics in the project the viewed topic belongs to. Clicking on one of the topics opens a menu. Use the options in the menu to insert a link to the topic or view the topic. This section makes it easier to create links between topics in a project. You can also insert "include links" (NEW), these links will replace the link with the linked topic when you generate output using any of your targets.

The Selection section

This section shows style details of the selected text.

The Stylesheets section

This section lists all Docs365 stylesheets in the project the topic belongs to. Clicking on one of the stylesheets opens a menu, use the menu to apply a stylesheet to the topic or to view the stylesheet with the full Docs365 site.

The Styles section

This section lists all styles in the currently applied stylesheet. Clicking on one of the styles opens a menu, use the menu to apply a style to the current selection.

The Insert a variable section

This section lists all variables defined in the project the topic belongs too. Clicking on one of the variables opens a menu, use the menu to insert the chosen variable into the topic.

Conditional text section (NEW)

This section lists all filter values defined in the project the topic belongs too. Clicking on one of the values opens a menu, use the menu to wrap selection with the selected filter value.

Targets - generate output

This section lists all targets defined in the project the topic belongs too. Clicking on one of the targets opens a menu, use the menu to compile the topic using the selected target.

Next Document Link

This section allows you to create extra large documents by linking them into a chain of documents. This is an alternative to using full-blown Docs365 Table of Contents documents (TOCs).

Options

This section has a few useful options to quickly navigate to the Docs365 app as well as your Gdrive.

The Images in docs section

This section lists all images and drawings in the current document. Use this section to resize, export, and/or change image attributes such as "title", "link" and "description". You can modify one or many images, for example select a few and make them the same size. You can also export individual images as well as drawings to external image files copied to your drive.

The Common Images section

This section lists all images in your Docs365/Common/Images folder. Place images you often want to include in this folder.

Images in folder section

This section lists all images in the same folder as the document itself.

Group images section

This section lists all images in your [[shared folder]]/Common/Images folder. Use this to share images with your group that they often need to insert into documents.

Images in drive section

This section lists all images in your drive.

SVG Drawings in drive section

This section lists all SVG drawings in your drive. Use this to quickly insert drawings you create with our Docs365 Draw app.

Group sharing folder settings

You can share common resources (e.g. snippets, headers, templates and images) with a group of people by setting up a shared folder. This shared folder should have four subfolders - Snippets, Documents, Images, Headers. This sidebar section allows you to select the folder that has been shared with you. Hint: you have a personal Docs365/Common folder with the same subfolders for the same kind of resources, one quick way to allow people to use your templates is to share this folder with the group.

Doc templates

This section lists all document templates in your personal Docs365/Common/Documents folder. Use options here to quickly make a new document from the selected template.

Shared group templates

This section lists all document templates shared with you via the [[shared folder]]/Common/Images folder. Use options here to quickly make a new document from the selected template.

Headers

This section lists all headers and footer templates in your personal Docs365/Common/Headers folder. Use options here to quickly pick a header or footer for the document.

System headers

This section lists some useful headers and footer templates that you can either copy to your own collection or just use as is.

Docs365 basic concepts

The main Docs365 folder

When you use the Docs365 main web site and sign-in, Docs365 will add a folder named Docs365 to your Google Drive. This folder will contain all your Docs365-maintained content. This folder contains folders for each project you create and three other very important folders:

Stylesheets (and true custom styles)

Shared stylesheets are powerful tools to keep all the documents in sync. Stylesheets can be used in three ways. It allows you to quickly make all your documents look the same, just open a document and apply the stylesheet in question. Secondly it enables you to use true custom styles in Google Docs, e.g. you can add new custom styles such as "Address" and "CompanyLogo". And thirdly you can use it to fine tune how your docs are converted to other formats such as HTML and PDF.

Stylesheet documents are plain Google Docs documents, you can edit them with Google Docs but preferrably you edit them with the stylesheet editor in the Docs365 web app.

Variables

Docs365 supports variables within your Google documents. You can include text that frequently changes and appears often in your documents as variables. Variables are also useful for providing information that is updated automatically, such as the current date. Variables are also very useful when single sourcing (using the same source document to generate different versions of a document) - you can quickly setup different targets with different values for a certain variable such as "company name".

Variables are also used by masterpages and mastertopics to control how to convert topics into output files.

Variables are defined in variableset documents which are plain Google Docs documents, you can edit them with Google Docs but preferrably you edit them with the variableset editor in the Docs365 web app.

Snippets (aka. conref:s) (NEW)

Docs365 supports snippets of content. Snippets are short documents that you want to reuse and include into topics when you generate output. Snippets are simply regular hyperlinks with a prefix "include:", i.e. to include a snippet into a topic you would create a hyperlink with whatever text you like but you would prefix that text with "include:". The Add-on UI has a special menu option to create these special snippet links. Note: If the snippet link is alone in a paragraph, the whole linked topic is included. If the hyperlink has text around it, only the text of the first paragraph in the linked topic is included. Nested snippets are supported, as well as snippets with images.

Conditional text (filter values, aka. filter tags) (NEW)

Docs365 supports conditional text within your Google documents. You can include text that frequently changes and appears often in your documents as variables. Variables are also useful for providing information that is updated automatically, such as the current date. Filter values (conditional text) are very useful when single sourcing (using the same source document to generate different versions of a document) - you can quickly setup different targets excluding or including content marked as conditional.

Projects

Docs365 allows you to organize your content using projects. A project is simply a Google Drive folder with the extension ".wwf". Within the project folder, you will find two other folders. The Topics folder, into which all the real topics are placed, and the Support folder, which contains a number of support files that are used by Docs365 to compile the project into an output file such as an ebook or PDF.

Output

The Docs365 backend takes projects or individual Google Docs documents and compiles them into different output files. An output can consist of a single file - PDFs, Google Doc, ebooks, Kindle books - or multiple files - web sites and Gbooks.

Table of Contents

You add structure to your project with a Table of Contents (TOC) document. TOC documents are placed in the Support folder of a Project folder. TOC documents are plain Google Docs documents, you can edit them with Google Docs but preferrably you edit them with the TOC editor at the main Docs365 web site. A TOC tells the Docs365 project compiler which documents and in which order the documents should be placed in the generated output.

Targets

A target is a support file that tells the Docs365 compiler what kind of output should be generated from a project. Target documents are placed in the Support folder of a Project folder. Target documents are plain Google Docs documents, you can edit them with Google Docs but preferrably you edit them with the target editor at the main Docs365 web site.

A project can contain more than one target, ie. you can generate different kinds (PDF, ebook, Gbook etc) of output from the same source documents. Targets can be scheduled to be built regularly, for example once a day or once a week.

Masterpages

Masterpages are used when generating single file output files, eg. PDFs and Google Docs. With a masterpage you can add a TOC, an index, headers or footers to the generated document.

Masterpages documents are plain Google Docs documents (but with the extension .master), you use different variables to control where things like the TOC and the Index should be placed in the new generated document. Masterpages are always placed in the Support folder of the project.

Mastertopics

Similar to masterpages, mastertopics control how topics are converted to output files. Mastertopics are used for multi-page output, ebooks, Kindle books and Gbooks. When each topic in the source project is converted to an output file, the selected mastertopic is applied. The mastertopic might for example add a header and a footer to each page.

Mastertopics documents are plain Google Docs documents (but with the extension .mastertopic), you use different variables to control where things like the original topic content should be placed in the new generated document. Mastertopics are always placed in the Support folder of the project.

Index

Docs365 allows you to add indeces to your generated output, e.g. PDF, ebook or Gbook

An index is created by adding index keywords to the content. The Docs365 compiler will later extract these keywords and produce an index section in the generated file. You insert index keywords using regular Google Docs comments. The text of the comment should be formatted like below.

index=key1:subkey1; key2:subkey2; key2:subkey2

 

Content analysis and link management

Perhaps one of the more important features of Docs365 is the content analysis. Docs365 regularly scans your content and detects things like broken hyperlinks and broken variables. The WWW web app gives you quick access to new comments added by reviewers of your content. The analysis dashboard lists all projects with unresolved comments, projects with broken links, projects with broken variables etc. For each project you can get a list of topics with unresolved comments, broken links, broken variables or broken styles.

(NEW) More on conditional text

Docs365 version 1.1 enables conditional text in Google Docs. Our solution is mimicked by conditional text (profiling) support in the DITA standard.

Sets of paragraphs, parts of paragraphs as well as Docs365 TOC entries can be marked with four different types of filter tags (aka. filter values).

Filter values are defined per project by a new Docs365 support file type, “filtervalue sets”, similar to the Docs365 “variablesets”. For our samples below, you would use a filtervalue set support document in Docs365 and define two audiences – “Marketing” and “Support” as well as two products – “Windows” and “Apple”.

At compile time, you tell the compiler to either include or exclude the text marked with the different tags. This is done by with the new “Filters” tab of the Docs365 Target editor. The TOC editor has been improved with a tab for filters in the TOC node dialog as well as a tab for previewing the TOC with filters turned on. The Topic details “editor” in the Docs365 main UI now allows you to preview a topic with filters on or off.

There are two kinds of control markup in Google Docs, one for sets of paragraphs and one for text within a paragraph. The Docs365 Docs add-on will soon include support for inserting this markup. It would be great if Google Docs would allow custom meta-data to be added to text but it doesn’t so we are stuck with this “in-text” markup.

Below is a sample of paragraphs in a Google Doc marked for the “Marketing” and “Support” audience. The gray text is part of the document but is the special control text that Docs365 uses to mark blocks of text. This gray text is always removed by the compiler.

This is text before the conditional text.

Audience{ Marketing, Support

This is a paragraph marked for the Marketing and the Support audience.

This is another paragraph only for the eyes of Marketing people.

}Audience

This is text after the conditional text.

Here is a sample of text within a paragraph in a Google Doc marked for the “Marketing” audience.

This is text before. {a:Marketing}This is text for marketing eyes.{:a} This is text after the marketing text.

This is text before. {p:Windows}This is text for the Windows platform.{:p} This is text after the conditional text. {p:Apple}This is text for the Apple platform.{:p}

Audience in-text syntax. “tags” below is a comma delimited list of filter values.

{a:tags}text text text{:a}

Platform in-text syntax:

{p:tags}text text text{:p}

Product in-text syntax:

{pr:tags}text text text{:pr}

Revision in-text syntax:

{r:tags}text text text{:r}

Gbooks - Docs365 Reader

Docs365 Reader

With Docs365 you can quickly generate a new kind of ebook based on a new web-based format, called Gbook, and viewer, called Docs365 Reader. The Gbook format is purely based on JSON and HTML5 and the viewer itself is a Single Application Page (SAP). Gbooks are preferably hosted on your Google Drive as a public folder, however you can decided to host on the web server of your choice.

Readers of your Gbooks can add enhance your comment with public comments as well as rate each page. As the author and "owner" of the Gbook, you can reject or approve each of these comments. The Docs365 analysis dashboard provides you with all sorts of analysis, for example, most viewed page, pages never viewed, search words not found etc. If you sign-in with your Google credentials, the gbook UE allows you to quickly open the source documents behind the ebook pages as well as approve or reject new comments.

Go here to install the add-on