Use Google Docs Viewer for Document viewing within Browser
I was looking for a way to let users see Microsoft Word Doc or PDF files online while using my application without leaving their browser without downloading files and then opening it to view with Word or PDF viewer. I was looking for some way out either via any PHP or Microsoft.NET libraries, did some googling on that; but later on I just got an idea that google already has all code written for me.. when I have any email attachment in PDF or DOC or DOCX google does it for me..! Even while searching I can see PDFs by converting them in HTML. So I just googled it up and found that Google already has this ability that we can use Google Docs Viewer without any Google Account Login. YES that's true no Google Account login is required. It's damn simple and easy. Just pass document path as attachment as parameter and we are done.
Google Docs Viewer gives us ability to embed PDF, DOC/DOCX, PPT, TIFF:
Yes that's true; Google Docs Viewer gives us ability to view/embed functionality of PDF, DOC/DOCX, PPT and TIFF viewing on the fly without writing a single line of code by just giving a link or embedding within. No PPTX or XLS/XLSX is supported, but hopefully it should be coming in future.. But the document types which are supported are well enough and TIFF viewing ability is excellent and so if we have some requirement of letting users view TIFF files we don't need them to use any browser plugin or additional software to do that. This service was made available in September 2009.
All viewer URLs should use the path http://docs.google.com/viewer. This path accepts two parameters: url : The URL of the document to view. This should be URL-encoded. embedded : If set to true , the viewer will use an embedded mode interface. http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=<URL_OF_DOCUMENT> or http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=<URL_OF_DOCUMENT>&embedded=true
You can follow this link to see how document would look like in non-embedded mode.
Sample PDF document (in non-embedded/full mode)
Embedded view is available just right below (using IFRAME):
Sample code used for embedded viewer:
<iframe style="border-style: none;" src="http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.digitss.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2010%2F01%2Fsample.pdf&embedded=true" height="390" width="400"></iframe>
Caching and Performance:
Yes, Google Docs Viewer does cache documents for performance reasons; I don't know how long exactly but it does. Now if we don't want caching then we can just use the same trick we do for refreshing our static contents sometime. We can pass time-stamp in query-string and Google Docs Viewer will consider it as different document and it will be your updated docuemnt with same name and URL path.
I have observed that PDF files have performed better; mean that they really get being read by viewer faster than Doc/PPT files.
Please share your experience of using GDV (Google Doc Viewer) or any other Online Document Viewer service/tool you have used.
View original Google Docs Blog post: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/09/view-online-files-using-google-docs.html