07

Google Script – Plain Text

Google Sheets often thinks it’s smarter than you. That’s helpful at times and irritating at other times.1 The Google Form to Sheets path is one place where that can come up repeatedly and in ways that are hard to see. For instance, if you use the Time entry on forms, Google Sheets tries to coerce it into a date structure while leaving you seeing just the time in the sheets view. That leads to weird and unpredictable stuff if you’re trying to use Google Scripts to interact with that cell data based on what you see. For instance, this is data from the time entry field as seen on the sheet side. Note the two places you might expect to see truth. Now if we get that same data via Google Script . . . Cell data that you’d expect to just be that time element returns as Sat Dec 30 1899. The time is right though. If you manually change the format of that column to plain text things work . . . but it gets re-set on all subsequent submissions. My solution so far has been the following Google Script set to fire on every new form submission. In my case, I’m changing the format of the latest entry in the spreadsheet in columns F and G to […]

06

Weather API + Google Sheets

I have many little robot scripts busy saving data to Google Sheets. Here’s one I made based on a little comment from one of my kid’s teachers. It goes to a very kind URL that returns the data structure at the bottom of the page. http://api.wunderground.com/api/YOUR_API_KEY/conditions/q/VA/Richmond.json It’s a pretty nice starter script for anyone wanting to play with an API and Google Scripts. The full Google Script is below and I’ve tried to comment it up pretty thoroughly. I’ll also break it down below for those of you who want to play at home. Get the Data The first variable ‘url’ is the API endpoint we’re getting the data from. Where it says YOUR_API_KEY, you should put your API Key. I recall early on trying to do this stuff I’d get confused when people did different things to indicate that an API Key should go somewhere. People would put it in quotes or surrounded by asterisk or something else. I’d end up confused about what should go there because I had no baseline to judge this against. It’s fairly obvious now but I haven’t forgotten that feeling of basic confusion. Sometimes it helps to be very basic. Google has a nice UrlFetchApp class that you use in Google Script instead of fetch like you’d use in vanilla javascript land. Since […]

03

WordPress Plugin Health Dashboard (Early POC)

In trying to get a better handle on how we’re going to manage our plugins in the future, I found the API for the WordPress.org plugins data. Not like they were hiding it but I’d not seen it before.Consider me Columbus– absent the genocide, slavery, and other terrible things. Replacing *slug* in the following URL gives you a pretty robust javascript With that option, I could build a little Google Sheet/Scripts viewer that would look up information based on a list of plugin slugs. I could set conditional formatting to do various things for visual cues . . . I could even build a little mini-algorithm to evaluate different aspects and weight them towards a total plugin score. I’m debating whether it’s worth working into a more sophisticated plugin that will tell me how many sites the plugin is installed on, display that data etc. There are plugins like that out there but they die on large multisite installations.1 I’d also like some way to tie into the vulnerable plugin announcements. Here are the two little functions that look up and write the plugin’s health based on the slugs being written in column A and a header in row 1. 1 I have a functional, if crude, option that paginates through them in a way that doesn’t crash/die.

25

Rampages Numbers

In responding to some data requests, I delved into the WP tables to pull some rampages data. All users ever . . . I need to set up something more automated but for this I dumped the MySQL tables as CSVs and then just imported them to Google Sheets. With very minimal functions, I got this data. My favorite function combos are to pull the unique values from a range =unique and then do a =countif off those values. It’s a really quick way to get graphs like these.

WP JSON to Google Sheets – Reflective Data

Image from page 86 of “Refraction and motility of the eye, with chapters on color blindness and the field of vision” (1920) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Way back in 2015, I wrote a little plugin1 to count URLs, get the word count and do other stuff so I could reflect on my blog posts. Given some (k)new knowledge2, I figured I could make a version that runs in Google Sheets and indeed I can. The reason I like this as an alternative to the plugin is that it works for anyone who has access to Google Sheets even if they can’t install plugins. Google Sheets also offers a lower barrier to messing with your own data once you get start capturing it. You can count the !s, or a variety of emoticons, or how often you use the word “spaces,” or whatever you want- all without the ability to program in php or javascript. I think it starts to open up different doors for students3 to gather their own kind of data for reflection and amusement. It starts to get at the DIY ethos inherent in the quantified self communities. The sheet is here. I’m going to build it out into something a bit more robust and plug/play in the […]

Google Script, Twitter API & Google Maps

Image taken from page 12 of ‘Guide to Cambridge: the town, university and colleges … To which are added, notes upon the villages within ten miles, a map, etc’ flickr photo by The British Library shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) This is more playing with Martin‘s TAGs in Google Script and then moving it into Google Maps for visuals . . . the TAGS related functions will only work in that context but the purse Google stuff should work in any spreadsheet. Get Twitter Location by Account This function will get the user’s location as defined by their profile. So =getLoc(“twoodwar”) would return Richmond VA. This function will get the lat/long via Google Script. So =getLl(“Richmond, VA”) would return 37.5407246, -77.4360481. Keep in mind if it’s trying to get the lat/lng for someone who put “the Interwebz” as their location like OnlineCrsLady then your lat/lng may not work out that well. So that’ll let us take a chunk of TAGs data.1 and do something like this with Google Maps. I’m not going to break this chunk down quite yet. I did it at very odd hours and it works but it’s not very clean and I know there are ways to do it better.There is no shame in my game but there is some bashfulness. Pretend I’m an […]

WordPress – Comments to Spreadsheet

Image from page 981 of “A system of instruction in X-ray methods and medical uses of light, hot-air, vibration and high-frequency currents : a pictorial system of teaching by clinical instruction plates with explanatory text : a series of photographic cli flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) This is a bit odd but if you work in education it’s quite possible it’ll come up . . . Sometimes people just want the blog comments in a nice friendly CSV file. That might be for grading, it might be for further analysis in Voyant or something like that. What I need to do is write a little plugin for the export like Alan did for posts but until I get around to that I took advantage of another plugin Alan wrote to expand comments to the 100 most recent comments. So since I have lots of comments available in the feed, I can just use the =IMPORTXML function to port right into Google Sheets. There’s probably a smart way to parse out multiple XML fields at a time but this seems to work ok. All the functions I used are broken down in the sheet embedded below. Most are simply some version of IMPORTXML(b1,”//title”). B1 is the URL for the feed and the […]

Interactive Google Sheets Dashboards

It’s pretty easy to put a bunch of data and charts in a spreadsheet and call it a dashboard. It became a more interesting challenge to make those charts change to reflect variables chosen via dropdown cell menus. The key it turns out is using =query. I can do some really powerful things with query and as long at the data bounds (columns/rows) are the same, I can change the content and it’ll replicate in the chart assigned to those columns/rows. For instance, I can have raw data on a sheet called data. I can use query on that data on another sheet with something like =query(data!A1:N,”select B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N where A=”&”‘”&A2&”‘”) That formula is going to the sheet named data and querying cells A1 through N(whatever the last row is) and selecting columns B through N where the content of cell A matches the text of cell A2 on the local page. As a result we can manipulate the contents of cell A2 and change the data being returned. In this case I did a little data validation drop down to restrict it to the three items for which we have data. Do take note that for numbers I could have just appended the cell reference (&A2 in this case) but because it was a text match I had to staple […]

Setting Cell Values – Google Forms/Sheets Workflow

flickr photo shared by Internet Archive Book Images with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Often, people really like the workflows enabled by Google Forms but they’d like it to go one step farther . . . like adding up two submitted items, or running a particular function/formula against the submitted data. You can certainly go in there and manually enter formulas or drag down to apply them to additional cells but that sucks and if you’re automatically displaying this data live somewhere it’s an impediment to a solid workflow. Most importantly, it sets a human to do something that a machine ought to be doing- that is the path to Skynet assuming control. We can and must resist! Subjugate the machines whenever possible! The script below is broken into three parts and shows two different ways to set the value for columns based on data entered in a form. Part 1 – This is pretty much default information that lets the script know which spreadsheet and which page it’s working with. The getLastRow() is really handy for applying this to data as it is entered. This example form writes data to columns A – K. In example one, we do the math internally and just spit the result into the cell. That’s handy for lots of stuff and can be […]

Free Speech? Random Scenario Generator

Talking to Dan about his sports law course resulted in this random generator which might be fun for others. It’s still developing but I like the potential for reinforcing some concepts about free speech in a fun way that allows you to repeatedly explore the topic without it getting tedious. I thought this would be a few minutes of work but I believe that Google has shifted the structure of their JSON feeds from the Spreadsheet. It could also be that I am insane. This particular experience did remind, rather unpleasantly, that I don’t fully understand how nested JSON parsing works. I ended up in the right place but only through about 40 minutes of slamming my head into various walls of misunderstanding. I also need to spend a bit of time applying the DRY concept to this bloated mess.