Google Spreadsheets As An Engine For API Goodness

I was watching my partner in crime Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) build the weaponized edu Twitter bot using a Google Spreadsheet as an engine. Something she learned from Zach Whalen, a professor at University of Mary Washington. Audrey is not a programmer, but she has become extremely proficient at building these little bots, and using the Twitter API--demonstrating the potential of Google Sheets as an engine for an API-driven bot solutions, or in this case bot mayhem.

Zach's approach is extremely well defined--you will have to copy and go through the spreadsheet yourself to see. Everything you need to get the job done is there, from step by step instructions, to storing your API tokens, and planting the seeds for your bot intelligence. This is the kind of API stuff I'm always talking about when I say that API shouldn't just be for developers--all it takes is having no fear of APIs, and well laid out blueprints like Zach has provided.

It is an approach I'd like to explore more as I have time. I'm not a big fan of the spreadsheet but I fully get its role amongst muggle society. Spreadsheets keep me fascinated because of the many dimensions of API they possess. Spreadsheets can provide APIs, consume APIs, and as Zach's approach to bot development demonstrates, they can be a pretty serious engine for driving API goodness.