Using Google Docs to manage web pages is just about the coolest thing… ever!

Why I absolutely love how practical this is; using Google Docs to manage web page content.

I keep saying to myself;  “How cool is this? I update a Google Doc and my website is updated…”   It’s absolutely great! And here is why…

#1 – Simple changes are super fast

Need to make a minor change to your website?  If you are using a Cloud Snippet all you need to do is go to Google Docs and update the doc. Bam! Done. Super fast.  

#2 – You want someone else to do it

Suppose you run a small business and you don’t have time to do everything.  So you get a part time assistant that you want to update a page on your website.  And suppose that person isn’t the most savvy when it comes to learning how to use tools to update a website. Use a Cloudward Cloud Snippet to publish a specific Google Doc to a specific page, and share it with your assistant.  Awesome!

#3 – You want someone to update a webpage but you don’t want to give them your passwords

Perhaps you barely know your new assistant, or perhaps your assistant is your mother.  Bottom line is that you don’t want to share your password.  In either case, the solution is the same as above.  Use a Cloud Snippet and share the doc.  Bam!

#4 – You want to delegate

Suppose you run a small business and you don’t have time to do everything.  

Same solution.

#5 – The shoe is on the other foot

You are involved in a local non profit and they want you to update a few pages on their website.  Last thing you need is to remember more passwords and stuff.  You can create a Cloud Snippet in your account, with your Google Doc to update the content; and send them the Snippet Code to paste on the pages you are supposed to update.  From that point on, just update the Google Doc and Bam!

#6 – A group of people need to update the same website

Same scenario but more people involved?  Let’s say you are part of a non profit with different committees.  And each committee has a page on the website that needs to get updated.  Create a snippet for each page and a corresponding Google Doc.  Share those Docs with the correct person, and BAM!  How cool is that?  Everyone updates what they need to and not everyone needs access to the web admin tools.

#7 – Sharing the doc and getting help

I’m writing this very blog post in Google Docs.  Thats cool.  And I am going to post it on a blog that’s a snippet.  Cool as well.  After I do my draft, I will share my Google Doc with someone else to help me proof read the post – then make it public.  All in Google Docs and Sheets.  

#8 – Going Mobile?

Google Docs already has mobile editors for Android and iOS devices.  You can update your doc on the fly or start a new blog post.  Just like I’m editing this post right now.

#9 – My mom can do it

My mom uses Google Docs.

#10 – One doc many pages

If you need to publish the same content on many web pages or websites you can use a Cloud Snippet to syndicate that doc and keep it up to date everywhere.  You can paste your snippet code on as many pages as you want and it works.  Awesome yet again!

#11 – Even YouTube!

I can even embed YouTube videos into my Google Docs and Cloudward Snippets will process them.  I just take the embed code from YouTube and add a Cloudward EASE Tag # youtube where the / iframe is.

Here is the embed code:

Change the tags like this…

And it works… like so!

The bottom line

This is so easy, anyone can manage it.  

For myself I used to blog a lot.  But I fell off the bandwagon years ago because I hated logging on to the website tools to post the blog.  I had ideas to share, but I just wasn’t that motivated to go through the extra steps.  So I would write and write… usually in Google Docs, but stopped publishing. This is so much easier.

For me, using Cloud Snippets and Google docs to manage web pages is just about the coolest thing ever!

Check them out here:

Publish Google Doc by ID with Cloud Snippets


Five Nines is Still Not Enough

Originally Published on GigaOm: June 20, 2008 by Danny Kolke

Danny Kolke, Founder and CTO of Etelos, maker of the Etelos Marketplace and the Etelos Platform, is a thought leader in the areas of software as a service and Web-based applications. Danny works with developers and businesses alike building and distributing Web-based software as a service. Known for his honest assessments and sense of humor, Danny is a regular speaker on SaaS, especially its challenges and opportunities.

For the past nine years, I have spent my energy delivering services to users of web-based applications. In that time, I have heard many different marketing messages targeted toward business users, some of which I react to more negatively than others. One of the most deceptive promises I have heard is delivering “five nines,” or 99.999 percent uptime.

In a calendar year of 525,600 minutes, 99.999 percent uptime means that your services would only be interrupted for five minutes and 15.36 seconds. Does this mean that for the other 525,994 minutes and 45 seconds your service is available? I guess it depends on how you define available.

Pick your favorite Web site or Web application. If that service has been interrupted for more than 5 minutes, 15 seconds in the last 12 months, then it doesn’t have true 99.999 percent uptime. In my opinion, when you can’t get to or use a Web application, it’s not up. Regardless of the reason.

We have recently seen, Amazon’s EC2, Google’s Google Apps, Salesforce, Twitter and others struggle with outages of various sizes and causes. Amazon’s recent outage lasted for more than an hour and Twitter seemed to make news for when it was actually available.

Amazon’s outage was enough to kill 99.999 percent as an average uptime for the next 10 years.

A true “five nines” where services are always available (only five minutes and 15 seconds of downtime over 365 days) is an enormous expense to pursue. And with the most well funded sites on the planet failing to deliver “five nines,” is this possible or even worth pursuing?

For those die-hards who look at this and laugh because you “…have machines that have gone years without a reboot…” I have to ask, how do you calculate uptime?

A server in our infrastructure has gone more than three years without a reboot. But, while this server has remained up, it has not always been available. Recently, planned maintenance interrupted access to this machine for one hour. And even though the machine was up, it was not accessible and it might as well have been off.

Thousands of existing accounts experienced no loss of service because their applications were not dependent on the corporate Web site. Technically, a disruption of service occurred, but it did not affect our existing customers, which is not generally part of uptime calculation. In addition, planned outages that disrupt service are usually not considered outages. However, as a business user, “off-hours” planned outages eat away at available working hours in your application. 1 a.m. Monday in Cupertino is 9 a.m. in London. When an application is not available, that’s downtime.

Another area that may not be considered an outage is slow performance. If a user experiences 15-second page loads 21 times, this adds up to 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Enough downtime to make 99.999 percent uptime impossible. Okay, maybe I am being unfair with that one with 15-second calculations, but what about if you went to a Web site that took one minute for a page to load? Six of those and 99.999 percent uptime is toast. Do you call it up or down?

How about this example: My MacBook Pro can take three minutes and 30 seconds to reboot. Two reboots a year and I have consumed more allotted time than 99.999 percent uptime allows. How about an update that takes 5 to 10 minutes to install? On a machine-by-machine basis, maintenance code updates and services need to be performed. This means that either the machines are running old code, or 99.999 percent uptime is simply unrealistic. I suggest that promising “five nines” is a marketing tactic that is virtually impossible to ensure.

I think you can see that depending on how you calculate it, if the goal is to provide service for your users 99.999 percent of the time; it’s virtually impossible and even the biggest (and some may argue the best) infrastructures are struggling with it.

A true “five nines” promise is an enormous expense to pursue. And, with some of the largest sites on the planet failing to deliver, is it even possible or worth pursuing?

Conversation with Danny Kolke of Etelos

Original post here: from June 5, 2007
by Jeff Nolan

A company I have been watching for a few months now is Etelos. Despite having been in business for 7 years, the company has maintained a low profile while bootstrapping their business, all the while eschewing traditional venture capital.

They came on my radar when I found their CRM for Google application. In a nutshell, they take off the shelf Google apps components and combine them with some of their own stuff in a preconfigured Google start page. My first reaction upon reviewing this was “crikey, that’s what mashups should be” (I don’t recall saying “crikey” to myself but it works well now for effect).

This year they have added Netvibes, Windows Live, and most recently, Pageflakes client support but Google remains their most heavily deployed version.

I talked with Danny Kolke, the CEO of Etelos, today and found a kindred spirit… we were finishing each other’s sentences by the end of our conversation.

Danny’s belief system for Etelos is built on the following tenets, which if you have been reading this blog for any period of time you will see that they map to my own beliefs:

  1. The disruption that Etelos is targeting is distribution and consumption. This is not unlike what Salesforce is doing with Appexchange in that it provides a retail experience for software applications that have traditionally been sold through reseller and direct channels.
  2. The SMB market is fractious in that it’s really thousands of micro markets that are being served by small developers with specific domain expertise and no ability to scale their sales operations.
  3. Integration is a big problem that can be served by a service bus approach to application delivery… more on that later.
  4. The consumer experience is fundamentally and irreversibly changing the business software industry.

Etelos is an infrastructure play at the end of the day. Over 850 developers are delivering 200+ applications today and that number is expected to swell north of 300 in the months ahead. Developers can take pre-existing applications written in Java, PHP, or .Net and integrate them with the Etelos backend to take advantage of any service that Etelos is providing, such as mobile device support.

Etelos also has it’s own scripting language called EASE that developers can use to extend their apps, although from what I saw this looks like something that script developers would grok to extend prebuilt applications reliably and with little effort.

The Etelos approach reminded me of what Opsource is doing on top of Mulesource, but beyond the obvious similarities it’s not entirely clear what the distinctions are. Nonetheless, it’s apparent we will see more initiatives like this emerge given that it’s a fairly logical manner to approach a market and represents that plausible “platform play” for those vendors that don’t have the resources to invest massive $$ in pure platform technology to compete with the big vendors.

In reviewing the application catalog on their site there are a handful of vertical markets being targeted, which incidentally map to what Salesforce is doing on Appexchange: retail, insurance, real estate, medical, and independent consultants.

I don’t think this is deliberate but rather a logical conclusion that the addressable market for on demand hosted apps are services markets and digital products. To that end I would add media and advertising, and non-profit and local government to the list, the last two are often ignored by software vendors but represent great opportunities.

The company is based up in Washington state with 31 employees, 10 of which are offshore. I was impressed while talking with Danny, this company is at an inflection point and I expect they will benefit from a strong tailwind as companies begin to realize that start pages, like Google and Netvibes, are a new client interface and for something much more extensible than reading RSS feeds.