Open Beta of My Google Docs Writing Tracker Version 2

I have done a major refactoring of my Google Doc Writing Tracker. Several new features have been added, but the biggest change is that the scripts are not data-driven, making them much easier to setup and configure. If you are using the scripts today, or have been wanting to try them out, you are welcome to install the new beta version.

You can get the files from the beta-version-2 branch on GitHub.

Be sure to read the README as that has been updated to reflect the changes in the system.

New features

  • NEW: A new spreadsheet is available with all of the configuration information built into it. You just fill in the blanks on the Config tab, and the script takes care of the rest. This makes it easier to configure and customize without the need to go into the code.
  • NEW: Option to break down daily word counts into fiction/nonfiction.
  • NEW: Ability to run the scripts in test mode. Allows you to see the results of your configuration in the log without the changes being applied to your spreadsheet.
  • NEW: Ability to customize the order of the columns on the Writing tab.
  • NEW: Ability to customize the names of the tabs in the spreadsheet.
  • NEW: Ability to customize the location and names of the Sandbox and Snapshot (formerly “Earlier”) folders.
  • NEW: Ability to capture time spent writing by integrating with the RescueTime API (experimental).
  • NEW: Ability to generate Daily Almanac summary email that lists stats for the day, and identifies trends and records.
  • NEW: Improved logging in test mode.
  • NEW: Validation of configuration settings.

What I hope to accomplish with the beta

So far, these changes are working very well for me. But I can only really test in my own environment, and because I initially wrote the scripts for me, they may be inadvertently tailored to my environment. In this version, I’ve tried to generalize a lot of the code and make it more flexible and easier to use in other environments.

What I am looking for in this beta is to have people test the scripts in many environments in order to identify any problems, and iron them out before merging this code back into the master branch.

To that end, if you use the scripts I ask that you do 2 things:

  1. Log an issue if you find a problem. Understand that I don’t have a lot of time to work on these scripts. I set aside a chunk of time once a year or so to do a major refactoring like this, but that’s about all I can do. So while I will try to address all of the issues, it may take a while.
  2. If you see a way in which the documentation can be clarified, by all means let me know.

If I do have time, I will try to address the issues as quickly as I can, but that time isn’t guaranteed, and as I say in the README, while I’m making these scripts available to anyone who wants to use them, I don’t have time to support them. You use them at your own risk, so be sure to read the README.

The initial setup can be a little cumbersome and I’ve tried to clarify it in the documentation. Once it is setup, if all goes well, it should just run silently in the background and add to your spreadsheet each day.

If you use the scripts, let me know how they work for you. They work great for me, but of course, they were designed for me and my environment. With this revision, I’m hoping that they work equally well for anyone who chooses to use them.

7 thoughts on “Open Beta of My Google Docs Writing Tracker Version 2

  1. Installed these today and ran a few tests — things seem to work as they should! I assume that the blogging stats are manually entered in the blogging tab of the spreadsheet?

  2. Mark, I have the blogging stats automated in my version. The tricky part about pushing that feature out is that I grab the words counts from the RSS feed. Some feeds are full, and some are partial. Mine, for instance, is full. Obviously, you can’t get the full word count from a partial feed. So the code I’ve written is highly tailored to parsing the feed of my own blog.

  3. Thank you Jamie. I have set this all up and it is working perfectly. My question was about the blogging component too, but I see you have answered Mark’s question already.

    Now, if you could just code something to deal with my writer’s block I would be in heaven 😉

  4. Katie, so glad it is working for you. I’ll likely be taking it out of beta in the next week or so and merging it back into the main branch. And yeah, blogging stats are a little more complicated because the XML format can vary between sites.

  5. Not sure if I should post the comments here about the writing tracker or on gitHub so I might do both. Q: Should the folder be named ‘Sandbox/Earlier’ as you have in the documentation or ‘(SNAPSHOT_FOLDER)’ as it is in the script itself? I received an error message about line 119, so I assume my folder title is incorrect.
    Nonetheless I will try again. And I thank you for your efforts. Hopefully this will spur me or one of my sons to try scripting another app since i dont usually use GoogleDocs, until now!

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