Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For Developers: Two New Spreadsheet Data APIs (Google Doc's)

At Google I/O last week, we unveiled two new Data APIs for spreadsheets to a very excited audience. The two new Data APIs, the Tables and Records feeds, provide a structured record-based table for storing and updating tabular data in a spreadsheet. Tables can be placed anywhere on the sheet, with multiple tables per sheet and column-based meta-data for each column in the table. The Records feed is a feed of rows within a table, which we are calling records, with stable IDs (moving the rows around will maintain the same row ID).

The APIs allow for creating, reading, updating and deleting records and tables in a spreadsheet. We've also improved the permissioning so that we use the same simple permissions as those given through the Share menu in a spreadsheet. Here's a simple Java demo showing the Tables and Records feed in action.

One exciting and simple example of the Tables and Records feed is through an online store that's powered by Google Checkout and has inventory managed and stored in a spreadsheet.

A feed of the products for sale is parsed and rendered by the Google Checkout store gadget to display a store. The Tables and Records feeds are used to communicate between the store and the sheet and the full text search is also implemented through the records feed.

Learn more about building these mashups in this tutorial.